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Subject: Hey Aussie geeks a tree question. rss

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Exit 191
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My wife and I are thinking about putting a Eucalyptus tree in our front yard. I was looking to the source for the pros/cons, what your thoughts are. Oh, we live in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona so similar to the Outback I reckon.
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jane doe
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They drop leaves and bark like there is no tomorrow.
The grow massive!
The drop branches and twigs and stuff everywhere.

Other than that they are great.

lol

No really they look lovely. The obviously grow left right and center over here. What type of Eucalyptus are you looking at?
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Dont worry about a few leaves....worry about the dropbears...
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jane doe
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Yeah watch for the koalas in them too. They can get feisty!
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Thanks for the info!

A couple of questions:
What kind of Eucalyptus is best, in your opinion?
Can we compost the leaves?
Is a Koala family standard? While they keep the neighborhood cats out of the garden?
Is there any other Aussie awesomeness that we should also incorporate?
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Matt
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Not an Aussie, but we have a ton of eucalyptus trees around here.

I park near them at work, so I am clearly biased below.

The following comments apply mostly to a mature eucalyptus. I am not familiar with cute little eucalypti.

1) They have a particular scent. You either hate it, or you tolerate it.
2) They shed bark and leaves that are long and thin, and pretty tough, and can get wedged in all sorts of gaps in your car
3) They shed acorn-like pods that can get lodged in the hood of your car (right in front of your windshield wipers) and smell up the interior
4) They shed sticky little white threads that are terrible on your windshield. The mist-and-wipers approach is useless, because it just smears the glue around, and they adhere to your wipers. They pretty much need to be squeegeed off.
5) If the wind picks up (during a storm, for example) they drop heavy limbs like a salamander will drop its tail. Get better insurance.

Clearly their primary prey is automobiles. Otherwise, they are lovely. From a distance.
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Scholle
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You'll need to find one you like - there are literally hundreds and hundreds:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Eucalyptus_species

The Blue Gum has done well in California. As they've found out, planting a lot of them together makes a good bushfire due to the oil and fallen leaves.

Coming from Sydney I quite like the Scribbly Gum, but without the moths it's not going to be quite the same in Arizona.

The River Red Gum has the nickname "Widow Maker" due to it's tendency to drop heavy branches on your head, but apart from that they're nice. Not sure if it's one to put in the front garden though. How's your life insurance?

If you want something tall then maybe the Sydney Blue Gum or the Blackbutt:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucalyptus_pilularis

If you want something short and bushy then the Mallalie would be a good choice:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucalyptus_eudesmoides

I quite like the Grey Gum:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucalyptus_punctata

It loses bark like crazy, but this makes the colours interesting, and they thrive in poor soil. I had one blow over once out the back of our property with most of the roots ripped out of the soil. It was still alive two years later when I moved.

If you just want a pretty one then this one (Silver-leaved Mountain Gum), could be perfect:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucalyptus_pulverulenta

Have fun choosing. Some people are obsessed with them:

http://www.amazon.com/Eucalyptus-Novel-Murray-Bail/dp/031242...
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Joose wrote:

Dont worry about a few leaves....worry about the dropbears...

Some good info here:

http://australianmuseum.net.au/Drop-Bear
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The Red Gum also makes excellent firewood.

You probably already know this, but Australian trees don't drop their leaves for Autumn Fall, they drop them whenever they feel like, but replace them with new leaves, so they have leaf coverage all year round (unless they are very unwell, or have suffered from some external influence - i.e. 48 degree Celsius day killed one of our gum trees).
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Karlsen wrote:
but Australian trees don't drop their leaves for (unless they are very unwell, or have suffered from some external influence - i.e. 48 degree Celsius day killed one of our gum trees).


A 48 degree Celsius [118.4F]day would fell the best of us.

at the least have us dropping our bark and heading for the beach!
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We have a bazillion here on the California Coast. They stink and make a mess. (No offense Australian friends).

I wouldn't recommend it.
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The dropping things could be an issue. The tree would not be near the cars, but the wind here is insane on a regular basis. Thanks again everyone for all your help.
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It is worth noting that like any tree, they take a while to grow - the "killing you with dropped branches" part doesn't start for 20 years at least. So you're safe for now.

The fun starts in 2-3 decades, when you've begun to slow down.
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Eucalyptus macrocarpa is a beautiful small tree. Silvery foliage and big red flowers. The seed pods are large - unlikely to get stuck under windshields and the like. It's a mallee, which means it will have multiple trunks and be more like a shrub than a tree in many respects, and is less likely to throw branches.

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Sorry to go off topic, but why not try a tree native to the Sonoran desert? If you're watering it, you could grow an amazing cottonwood or your choice of oaks. The local wildlife will thank you.
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polychrotid wrote:
Sorry to go off topic, but why not try a tree native to the Sonoran desert? If you're watering it, you could grow an amazing cottonwood or your choice of oaks. The local wildlife will thank you.


bingo!
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Cringing Dragon wrote:
Eucalyptus macrocarpa is a beautiful small tree. Silvery foliage and big red flowers. The seed pods are large - unlikely to get stuck under windshields and the like. It's a mallee, which means it will have multiple trunks and be more like a shrub than a tree in many respects, and is less likely to throw branches.


That's really nice, and looks like it would fit in well with Arizona flora.
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polychrotid wrote:
Sorry to go off topic, but why not try a tree native to the Sonoran desert? If you're watering it, you could grow an amazing cottonwood or your choice of oaks. The local wildlife will thank you.


That is not out of the question. Just checking things out. The cottonwood would be a definite no per allergies with the wife and kids, I like oaks and will have to look more into that.

We do have three large (two 40+ ft) Chihuahuan Pines in the back that the local doves and mockingbirds do like quite a bit. We have also seen a hawk in the area every so often and not terribly far (across the field) I have seen a few roadrunners. Now if there is a way to attract roadrunners that would be awesome, though between our dog and all of the others in the neighborhood I doubt it.
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OK forget the Eucalypt if anyone in the family has allergies.

there are days when I or my son cant go outside, they are beautiful and have glorious flowers...along with lots of pollen.
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Yeah, we planted gums and wattles for quick shelter belt, but they do make a mess and are not great for my hayfever.
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Eucalpytus also tend to put a chemical into the ground that inhibits the growth of other plants (though this may be a good thing, depending on the context). IIRC, it comes from the shredded bark or leaves (and possibly something else, too).

The leaf litter can also be flammable.

They do have many positive points, however, already pointed out in this thread.
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Red Wine Pie wrote:
Yeah, we planted gums and wattles for quick shelter belt, but they do make a mess and are not great for my hayfever.

Wattle is the number one offender for hayfever.
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To quote Bruce Two "This here's the wattle, the emblem of our land. You can stick it in a bottle, you can hold it in your hand."

I have no idea what type our Eucalypts are (of the hundreds to choose from) but they have no flower issues.
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Geniesse wrote:
Eucalpytus also tend to put a chemical into the ground that inhibits the growth of other plants (though this may be a good thing, depending on the context). IIRC, it comes from the shredded bark or leaves (and possibly something else, too).

The leaf litter can also be flammable.

They do have many positive points, however, already pointed out in this thread.


Came here to post this very point. It comes from the leaves; that leaf litter will, like pine needles, repulse other plants.

I detest the bloody things, and I've never come up with any redeeming features. Ugly, dangerous, messy.
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Very similar to a eucalyptus tree is this species http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angophora_costata

Not sure if it will grow where you live but it is a very beautiful tree ... when it sheds its old bark the new layer can have a beautiful strong orange colour.. do a google image search and enjoy the pics that come up..
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