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). 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.
- 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’s research includes assessing the performance of a number of durable eucalypts species in a wide range of environments by planting over 30 trials. Data from these trials are being used to develop species and site matching information to guide growers on species choice for their particular site-type.