As of 2020 I started moving towards selling and planting eucalyptus trees and all other trees as root trained plugs in preference to potted up trees.
A number of reasons:
- The root systems of root trained plugs enable a tree that will establish quickly with a good strong root system that ensures a sturdy stable tree that shouldn’t need staking 😉
- No single use plastic ♻️ I reuse the plug trays many times 🙂
- They are easier to ship 😁
NOTE please 🙏🏻 DO NOT disturb the root plug whether planting directly into the ground or potting on❗️
If you need deeper pots, then 4L poly pots are ideal.
Planting Eucalyptus Trees
I’ve split the following video into chapters:
- Beginning; Background
- 3:36; Milk Kefir
- 7:44; Planting root trained plugs
The points that I am trying to make about placing the stones around the base of the trees are:
- Placing stones around the seedling will act as a deterrent to any creatures digging up the trees in search of a nutritious Milk Kefir meal.
- They also provide shelter and habitat for predatory insects like earwigs, lady birds, lacewings and spiders which prey on Blue Gum Psyllid.
Predatory insects are well worth encouraging 😉
- Using grass as a vegetation suppressant has the additional benefits of improving moisture retention and as it rots and breaks down, will provide additional nutrients to the seedling.
- I am still a fan of using horse / stable, or farmyard manure. I have successfully plated Eucalyptus into these mediums without them having been rotted down first, though I suspect some composting would be beneficial. Having said this, when planting Eucalyptus trees into manure which wasn’t rotted down, I didn’t notice any adverse effects.
Horse / stable, farmyard manure can have harmful bacteria and fungi, though generally I’d still be a fan, especially if you can dig it into the ground a month or so before planting.
- I’ve used poultry manure from the very start of planting my mini forest, and continue to do so; a good organic slow release fertiliser suitable for most trees and plants.
- I’ve used Mycorrhizal fungi in the past, though feel there is now plenty in the soil, encouraged with the inoculations of Milk Kefir.
One “authoritative” source suggests that eucalyptus trees respond particularly well to Mycorrhizal fungi, though my personal experience of planting eucalyptus tress doesn’t corroborate this. My feeling is that once trees are planted, they will attract their own network of symbiotic relationships.
Mycorrhizal fungi are still a bit of a dark art, even for the scientists studying them. Success in the lab may not translate to success in the field. Many strains are host specific and it would be a waste of money using them with any other plants.
It should be noted that there will probably be some strains of Mycorrhizal fungi in the soil you have anyways 😉 Using a phosphorus fertiliser may result in the host tree or plant not entering into a symbiotic relationship with the fungi 😏
The books I have read on the subject so far:
- Entangled Life
- Teaming with Fungi
In Ireland this isn’t too much of an issue; I’ve never had to add additional hydration to the soil after planting eucalyptus trees, even though my ground is free draining.
You will have to make your own judgements. I’d say that slightly too much would be better than too little. Unlike other plants, trees and Eucalyptus trees specifically don’t wilt and give you any warning. Mature Eucalyptus trees will start shedding leaves, especially juvenile leaves if they have retained them.
When to plant Eucalyptus trees 🤔
During the year I started growing Eucalyptus seedlings commercially, I made a point of planting at least one Eucalyptus tree in every month of the year, it made no difference, they all grew 🙂
When I plant Eucalyptus trees I am planting in groups or rows. Even with my very first planting, I decided to plant a metre apart with the expectation that they would be able to support each other in strong winds until they became well established and this strategy has been beneficial. I would note though, that my early plantings weren’t from root trained plugs which I now strongly recommend.
The pattern in the illustration below would be suitable for a hedge or wind shelter / screening.
Planting Eucalyptus trees for a mini forest or larger would require the same pattern, though with breaks to allow for access.
In summary my key ingredients for Planting Eucalyptus trees and trees in general are:
- Poultry manure
- Milk Kefir
Shelter for young trees is important as well, though some varieties of Eucalyptus suffer less from wind burn than others, and I detail my current findings on the individual product pages.
The Milk Effect
I am in no doubt that inoculating the soil with Milk Kefir has helped improve the vigour and health of the Eucalyptus trees I have planted. I don’t currently (mid 2021) have any objective cost comparisons with other fertilisers, though my believe born out from observation is that inoculating the soil with Milk Kefir has a very long lasting effect. The farmers who put the idea into my head said they had used milk, they were both farmers. They said it was evident where they had sprayed and where they hadn’t three years later and I would assume they would have sprayed a very dilute mixture to cover even a small field.
Check out my page on Milk Kefir for Soil Improvement 😉