By Mike Davison
For some of our projects, the Landscape Committee is in need of a inexpensive source for eucalyptus trees. We have learned that despite what we have been told, we can get almost any species of tree contract grown, and have verified this. Unfortunately, we are not ready for this.
However, last October, the Santa Ana winds trimmed some small branches with mature seedpods from some of our eucalyptus trees. As an experiment, I bagged trimmings from these fallen branches, carefully labeled the bags, and let the clippings dry. Within a few days, the seed pods opened and sprayed their seeds in the bags. After a week or two, I had the process working well with samples of all 4 of our eucalyptus species. I sifted the seeds from most of the chafe, bagged and labeled the seeds, and stored them in a refrigerator per my researched advice. Then I hit the books to see how to grow these.
By mid January, I had purchased some forestry seedling supplies and had studied all the advice I could find from professional eucalyptus growers. After 2 weeks of nothing happening, I was getting worried. This was advertised as easy by the growers, but it was clear that my research abilities could not compensate for a complete lack of experience.
This is where I was introduced to Erentia Gillmer and her green thumb. She took a look at my trays of seeds and told me that they just need more love. She took over the task of Euc Mom and in less than a week, we had seedlings growing. All 4 species of the eucalyptus trees in our green areas are germinating! Hundreds of baby trees!
- Red spotted gum – Eucalyptus mannifera
- Red ironbark – Eucalyptus sideroxylon
- Lemon scented gum – Corymbia citriodora
- Silver Dollar – Eucalyptus cordata
Eucalyptus trees grow fast. These will out-grow their seedling forestry tubes within a few months. They will outgrow a large pot in under a year.
The Landscape Committee is working on a simulated forest theme plan where we will need lots of seedlings to create a forest environment on some of our embankments. This will eventually have an endless supply of young trees ready to take over for when the large trees reach their end of life, just like in a real forest. Our problem is that to do this right, we need drip irrigation already installed on the embankment so that we can get proper deep watering to the trees, and the seedlings we want to plant.
I suppose that this is the Landscape Committee version of just finding out that you have lots of kids on the way and the nursery ward is not ready.
More news to come as the trees develop.