Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus forest plantations worldwide cover an estimated 53.4 million hectares, therefore are the second-largest globally at 26%. The eucalypt species are referred to by their botanical names in New Zealand in order to avoid confusion due to the existence of other eucalypt species.

28,575 hectare

Of Eucalyptus is planted in New Zealand.

Short Facts:

  • exceptionally fast-growing
  • popular worldwide
  • source of hardwood timber
  • large number of young trees have been planted in the past five years throughout Otago/ Southland
  • more difficult timber to work with

The Eastern Blue Gum Group - Botanical name:

E saligna and E. botryoides

The Ash Group - Botanical name:

E. delegatensis, E. fastigata, E. regnans, E. obliqua

Other common names: 

Eucalypts

Benefits:

  • Eucalyptus wood is strong and dense, offering a large variety of attractive colour choices.
  • The timber of some species has natural durability.
  • Eucalypt trees are very fast-growing making them the most efficient producers of high-quality woody biomass.

Harvest Age:

21 years

Appearance:

The Blue Gums Group

  • Heartwood -  range from dark pink to reddish brown
  • Sapwood - paler

The Ash group

  • E. fastigata
    • Heartwood - predominantly pale brown with occasional purplish flecks
    • Sapwood - paler
  • E. delegatensis and E. regnans-
    • Heartwood - pale pink or light brown
    • Sapwood - paler
  • E. obliqua- Similar to European oak

Planting

The most popular timber species in New Zealand for timber are E. Saligna and E. Botryoides, E. Delegatensis, and E. pilularis. The adequate rate for eucalyptus is a 3mx3m spacing, but a higher rate will produce a better outcome of well-formed fast-growing trees.

Growing

Difficulties with eucalypts relate mainly to the sawing of logs, where growth stresses may be a problem, and with drying, as some species are collapse-prone. The heartwood of all the Blue Gum and stringybark species are durable in ground contact, lasting 15 to 25 years in ground contact and up to 40 years out of ground contact. The Ash Group species are only moderately durable, lasting 5 to 15 years in ground contact.

Pruning

If planted close enough from the start Eucalyptus is almost pruning itself with no further need for time-consuming high maintenance.