Choosing the right species

While many eucalypts planted in New Zealand will grow best on low altitude, fertile, relatively sheltered sites with good drainage and regular rainfall, NZDFI trials have confirmed that some species can tolerate very hot, dry, infertile and moderately exposed conditions.


Key site conditions

  • Frost: eucalypt species vary in their frost tolerance. No species are recommended for areas where minimum temperatures go below minus 6 degrees (-6 oC).  Eucalyptus macrorhyncha is the most cold tolerant of NZDFI's selected species; E. cladocalyx the least. Avoid planting flat sites in cooler regions; a north facing slope can ensure good air drainage and warmer winter temperatures. In cooler areas plant in late October or early November to avoid spring frosts on newly planted trees.
  • Wind: eucalypt species vary greatly in their tolerance to wind. In general all common timber-producing species have better form on relatively sheltered sites.
  • Annual rainfall: NZDFI eucalypts can tolerate dry conditions, but this does vary between species. Species selection for very dry sites (<800 mm rainfall per year) needs to be made with care. E. cladocalyx is the NZDFI species most tolerant of very dry conditions.
  • Soil depth, fertility and drainage: some NZDFI species can tolerate quite challenging sites, where soils are dry, shallow and infertile. Others need deep, fertile, freely drained soils to thrive. A small number are tolerant of periodic flooding.

NZDFI has assessed the performance of a number of durable eucalypts species in a wide range of environments by planting over 40 trials since 2011. Data from these trials provide species and site matching information to guide growers on species choice for their particular site-type.

NZDFI selected species: key properties

Key species: more details


See our comprehensive trial results for more information on site x species suitability (see below). More information on wood and durability properties of selected NZDFI species is available by following the links on the right.

Results from NZDFI's trials: species adaptability and productivity across the trial network

A full-scale analysis of NZDFI's demonstration trials was completed in 2023, providing comprehensive data about how different species are performing on different site types.

Full details are available in the Our Science section.

The results are valuable for any grower concerned with species selection.

Expert knowledge within the NZ Farm Forestry Association Eucalypt Action Group

Members of the NZ Farm Forestry Association Eucalypt Action Group comprise some of the most experienced eucalypt growers, with experience of growing, harvesting, processing and utilising different species across a range of site types throughout New Zealand.

You can benefit from their expertise by joining the NZFFA and taking part in regional field days and other events.