Coppicing: The Fountain of Youth for Eucalyptus Trees!

Posted on May 12, 2017 by Ed Coughlin

Coppicing a tree or shrub involves periodically cutting it back to the ground level to stimulate growth.  Designers, savvy gardeners, and homeowners use this method to achieve a desired effect, prolong life, or to fix a problem in the landscape. A coppiced tree’s foliage also remains at a juvenile stage.  A bonus for Eucs because that's when the foliage grows most vigorously and is most fragrant and ornate. A regularly coppiced tree will never die of old age!



Sounds like a pretty progressive concept, but the roots of this age old method sprouted with the harvesting of timber and can be traced back 3806 BC.

Long ago our ancestors realized that, for optimum wood production, certain trees can be perpetually cut to the ground and grow back.  Most deciduous trees can be coppiced, but beech, cherry and poplar produce weaker growth.

Very few evergreens can be coppiced, but one that thrives with this practice of pruning is Eucalyptus!

A lignotuber at the base of the tree protects eucalyptus stands from deforestation during fires and freezes. That single "protector" cell also provides gardeners a host of pruning possibilities when growing this diverse and tough tree.



 Eucalyptus Pruning Tips

How To Prune A Eucalyptus Tree To Control Height

Most species of eucalyptus respond well to this method of pruning. So, if you think you don't have room for a larger variety of Eucalyptus tree, or you like the juvenile foliage of a specific species better than the adult foliage, you can coppice it to control size or just to get wonderful new stems and young foliage.

Note: Perform coppicing pruning in late winter or early spring in hot and humid climates. Trees in cooler and dry climates can be pruned in summer. 

To coppice a eucalyptus tree, slightly angle the cuts, pruning the trunk(s) back about a foot to 18 inches above the ground and removing all side shoots. For unsightly or leggy growth, cut back to about 6 inches from the ground. Then, when new growth emerges, select the best looking shoot and allow this to develop, cutting all others at the ground.



How To Prune Eucalyptus Trees For A Privacy Screen

To encourage lateral branching for screening purposes cut tree trunks to about 6 to 10 feet above the ground leaving the side branches to fill in for privacy. 

How To Prune Eucalyptus Trees For A Hedge

Prune Eucalyptus trees for a hedge at the end of their second growing season, removing about a third of their height and cutting in pyramid shape. Each year thereafter remove about a quarter of the tree to maintain the neighborhood’s most fragrant, colorful, and unique hedge row.

Sourthern Eucs that make great hedge rows are:

'Funky Monkey'


How To Prune A Eucalyptus To Form A Tree

This one is easy. As your tree grows taller remove lower branches to desired height to form a tree with a nice canopy atop exposed trunks. This type of pruning is especially desirable on Eucalyptus varieties prized for their interesting and colorful bark. Don’t prune any lower branches for the first 6 feet until the third season.



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