Back to 'Choosing A Tree'
A common question is: How close to my house can I plant a tree? And the answer depends on who you ask. There is no hard rule of thumb but you can let common sense prevail, that being not too close. Generally you should avoid planting any tree close to any buildings or walls. Damage to foundations can be caused by roots either by physically growing into cracks or by sucking the surrounding water from around them causing them to shrink or move (this is more of a problem on clay soils). There is also the danger of trees falling in high winds. In Australia some Eucalyptus are known for suddenly dropping branches, but this is not really a danger in the UK. This tends to happen to much older trees of certain species or if a tree is diseased or in a drought area. But is still a good enough reason not to plant one right next to your front door.
So, how far can you plant a Eucalyptus Tree to your house? A general rule to use as a guide is to take the mature height of the tree, and times this by 1.5 to get your planting distance. This would mean a tree with a mature height of 10 metres should be planted 15 metres from any building. You do however often see trees planted much closer than this. We’d recommend an absolute minimum planting distance of 6 metres for smaller trees.
Some species of Eucalyptus are known to grow 2m in one year. Even those considered the “slow growing” can still make 0.5m in one year. This can make them great plants for fast results and 'Instant Trees', but you will also need to consider the mature heights. The heights of our trees range from 4 - 90m, so you should be able to find one to suit your needs. Annual pruning would be needed if you wanted to keep a tree below its natural mature height.
As with many mature heights, the ones stated are those achieved by the trees in their natural habitats. For Eucalyptus this is largely hot, dry Summers and mild winters. So the many trees would be unlikely to reach the full height in our temperate climate, particularly the taller trees. (Although if you do live somewhere in the UK with hot summers and mild winters, please do let us know!)
A request we often get is “I want a tree that’s really fast growing but doesn’t get too big”. Unfortunately this tree doesn’t exist – if a plant is fast-growing it’s because in the wild it needs to get very tall, very fast to outgrow its competition. Even the slowest growing Eucalyptus we sell are fast compared to other trees, we were stunned by a Eucalyptus Ligustrina – Privet Leaved Stringbark (not considered as a particularly fast grower) which we planted out which at 0.9m tall in the Spring, by Autumn it had doubled in height . Once planted out into the ground they really to take off.
If you are looking for a tree to be planted in a difficult site it can be hard to find something that will grow happily. Luckily there are many Eucalyptus Trees which will grow happy in a manner of normally hard-to-grow spots, these include: windy sites, exposed and cold sites, sites with acidic soil, sites with toxic soil and waterlogged sites. You can view trees which will grow on these sites in our Which Species? Section.
In most cases you can plant a tree as big as your budget will allow! If planting small, you need to consider protecting it from the elements and passing grazers (rabbits and deer).
The only situation where you would need to plant a smaller, younger tree rather than a large tree would be on windy sites. Planting a large tree on a windy site is risky as the tree is much less likely to set down sufficient roots to support itself when it gets bigger, and could fall in a few years.