Why we like this species:
Swamp Peppermint. A medium sized Eucalyptus that is quite rare in the UK but is one of the few that will grow happily in wetter soils and cold sites. Will multi-stem. Excellent quality firewood logs.
Call us on 0751 526 1511 if you need help in making your Eucalyptus selection.
- Eucalyptus rodwayi MYRTACEÆ; Myrtle Family
- Common Name: The Swamp Peppermint
- Status: Evergreen Tree
- Origin: Tasmania, endemic to the Central Plateau and eastward toward the coast in the swampy, moisture rich valley bottoms
Description, habit, uses and attributes:
Nicely shaped specimen tree, arranging and holding its lower branches well.
Related to E. aggregata of New South Wales & Victoria, Australia, but E. rodwayi has a slightly taller stature, longer juvenile leaves and largers flower buds and fruit. We find that in the nursery E. rodwayi is a slightly more vigorous, larger tree; both are very hardy.
Lignotuber: it has one, which is a good thing! E. rodwayi will regenerate off the lignotuber if cut down by man, beast or nature. It also produces many shoots from epicormic buds lying dormant beneath the bark higher up the tree; so E. rodwayi will respond extremely well to both coppicing and pollarding practices.
How to use in the landscape and/or garden:
Good specimen tree for the wider landscape, for the larger garden and arboretum. Rarely seen in the UK and deserves wider planting as a solitary specimen, avenue or in groups. Good choice if you need a 'non-foreign' looking evergreen tree, especially for wet soils and cold locations. Happy on ordinary soils too.
How to grow or train it to get the best out of it:
Growing a full sized standard. Planting the tree and running away is an option, but it won’t necessarily give you the best results. For information on how to do it properly see our growing notes here - hyperlink to help page
Growing a multi-stemmed bush or tree. Why would you want to do this?
To create - a tree with more body or ‘mass’ for screening purposes - an attractive multi-stemmed architectural tree, especially if it has exceptional bark
- to control height where your Euc can be usefully maintained anywhere between 2.4m (8ft) and 7m (20ft), but genetically it may want to grow taller if ignored.
To produce your own multistem from a young tree or maxi tree see out growing notes here - hyperlink to help page
Firewood Production: Not only is E. rodwayi a good ornamental tree; it is an excellent choice for firewood log production both commercial and domestic use.
More recently it is being considered for sustainable forestry fuel production as a short rotation forestry subject. This eucalyptus is resilient to poor growing conditions, has a vigorous nature and responds well to coppicing practices. Similarly anyone with a spare piece of ground, small holding or farm can utilise E. rodwayi to produce a crop of hardwood firewood logs with very high calorific value, in a relatively short period of time: 5-8 years from planting.
For information on how to grow firewood, see out ‘How to’ pages here - hyperlink to help page
Hedge-Screens & Windbreaks: Can be planted to grow as a shelter belt/windbreak tree. In the cold sites of southern New Zealand, E. rodwayi is planted as a windbreak species, on wet ground with a high water table. In Tasmania, it grows at high altitudes.
For information on how to grow hedge-screens, see out ‘How to’ pages here - hyperlink to help page
- Good tree for livestock to stand under for shade. Eucalyptus provide a cool environment for horses, cattle, llamas, sheep to shelter from the sun on hot days, as the mass evaporation of water through the leaves creates a cool shady canopy beneath. Also, I have been told that the eucalyptol in the leaves deters flies
- Green foliaged species, which looks for comfortable and not ‘foreign’ in a rural setting
- Bees: flowers are useful to bees and other pollinating insects
- Habitat creation and Game Cover: this species lends itself to providing good trouble-free habitat creation for wildlife and game cover, when planted in groups of multi-stemmed specimens.
Birds enjoy roosting in Eucalyptus trees and Pheasants like rootling around underneath them.
- Tolerant of cold and exposed growing environments inland. Thick bark chip mulch, to a depth of 150 mm (6 inches) is essential to assist with good establishment
- Drying up wet soils. As a swamp gum, E. rodwayi is happy in wet ground and will draw on surplus ground water all year round (this obviously peaks during the summer months), helping you to regain the use of the land.
Dry up wet ground flooded by the outflow from a Septic tank system, remedial treatment for winter boggy ground or unwanted dew ponds. Worth trialling as a tree to plant if you want to drain pasture-land for grazing livestock and horses. If you have a field that tends to be a little bit too wet even during the summer or prone to flooding in the winter months, it may be worth planting E. rodwayi and see if it improves the ground.
- SUDS protocol. Plant singly or in groups to draw on drain water percolating into swales or similar. Coppice or pollard every few years if you need to control the overall height of the trees. Eucalyptus draw on ground water for twelve months of the year, unlike willows, which lie dormant for 5 months through the winter.
One of our customers relayed a tale to us about how a mature E. rodwayi eventually drained a substantial area of unusable ground prone to seasonal flooding (such that a boat was kept moored nearby), making the land usable again: they were very pleased with the tree and the boat has finally gone!
Shoots ‘n Leaves: Young shoots, chestnut and bronze turning to green with some carmine.
Juvenile foliage: narrow, strap-like and similar to the adult foliage in glossy holly green
Adult foliage: narrowly lanceolate and slender 5-12cm long by 1-1.5cm wide in a glossy, deep holly green
Bark: Fibrous and textured (vertically), pewter grey and coffee brown on the trunk and main branches, leading to smooth chalk white on smaller branches. The outer layer of the lower bark is crumbly, with harder bark beneath.
Flowers: white flowers, small, in clusters of 7, 9 or 11
Leaf Aroma: typical fresh Eucalyptus
Rate of Growth: moderately fast at around 1.5 m per annum
Height in maturity, if left unpruned: 50 years, if left unpruned, Around 20m -25m but responds well to pruning and if pruned will take on the size and shape of a species rose or coppiced Hazel tree
Hardiness: very hardy, tolerating from -14°C down to -19°C (depending on how exposed or sheltered the site). One of the hardiest swamp gums.
Hardiness in Eucalyptus is governed by provenance of seed, how it is grown (i.e. high nitrogen levels reduces cold tolerance), age of the tree - the older your tree, the hardier it will be (younger Eucs are more susceptible to frost damage).
Planting Position and Soil Preference:
Easy to grow. Highly adaptable; will grow in poor, stony ground, but also tolerates cold, wet locations, such as clay soils prone to seasonal flooding. Prefers a sunny spot. Both E. aggregata and E. rodwayi thrive at Grafton in our swampy yellow alkaline clay soil.
Make life easier for you and your new tree: Plant with the mycorrhizal fungi product Rootgrow. Eucalyptus in particular have a special, lifelong relationship with their root fungi, the latter of which actively transport food and water directly into the tree roots, helping your new Euc establish faster and more efficiently, particularly in challenging types of soil.
Meaning of the name: Named after Leonard Rodway (1853-1936) of the British Royal Navy, later dentist in Hobart and more importantly Honorary Botanist to the Tasmanian Government for 36 years. Notes: E. rodwayi is also related to E. ovata and E. brookeriana.
Another confusing fact about Eucs:- Despite the common name Swamp Peppermint, this species is not related to the traditional group of 'peppermint' eucalypts.....what can I say?