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Eucalyptus gunnii – Cider Gum – 1 of 9 members of the glorious gunnii group

£36.00

At present, the most commonly grown Eucalyptus species in the UK, but we are aiming to change this! An extremely hardy and versatile species, which can be grown as a large specimen tree or a bushy shrub. Check out more advice on the Important Information Tab

Why we like this variety:

  • Easy to grow – good all rounder – versatile, reliable and hardy variety
  • Produces a beautiful specimen tree, garden shrub or potted plant when correctly cultivated
  • Can be used to grow your own charcoal
  • Excellent for cut foliage for floral art

Check out E. gunnii’s more dwarf cousins on the Important Information Tab.

Sizes Quoted are the approximate height band of the tree above compost level, ie. the height of the tree once planted into the ground. Please note: Eucalyptus are living plants and can grow almost all year round, occasionally we may supply you with a plant that is slightly taller than your order. If this might cause you problems, please include a note with your order.

Click the dropdown below to view our different sizes & prices.

REF: EUCGUN
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Description

Eucalyptus gunnii – Cider Gum – 1 of 9 members of the glorious gunnii group

If you have arrived at this page because you find the names E gunnii or Cider Gum familiar, please read the important advice on the tab Important Information – a vital read

A cautionary note!    We frequently get asked about awkward mature “Eucalyptus that have grown too tall in my garden”

So what’s the problem with Eucalyptus gunnii?  Read our Eucalyptus gunnii Fact File under the adjacent tab Important Information:

 

An extremely hardy and versatile species, which very quickly grows exceptionally tall, but can be pruned as a shrub-on-a-stick or a bushy shrub.

The appearance of bark and foliage is variable across the species, but it can generally be relied upon to grow rapidly into a medium to large evergreen tree with a short massive bole and spreading crown.

It responds really well to pruning as a shrub, and is an excellent choice for DIY cut foliage or a commercial foliage grower and for browse (jargon for food for parrots, budgies, stick insects etc).

 

Shoots ‘n Leaves: Young shoots are glaucous – coated in a white wax, which protects against environmental scorch – sun, salt, cold winds

Juvenile leaves are round and of a most striking waxy grey-green and blue-green colour.

Like most Eucalypts, as the plant matures the juvenile foliage is lost in favour of the elongated adult leaves, so keep it pruned if you want to grow those lovely round leaves for floristry, or maintain it as a more manageable tree or bushy garden shrub.

Adult foliage elegant, more elongated in rich grey-green and blue-green

Bark: Smooth bark in grey, cream, green or sometimes pinky brown, flaking off in large pieces to reveal new bark in shades of yellow/green or creamy grey.

Flowers: Fluffy white flowers are produced in January/February in the UK; great for winter foraging honey bees

Leaf Aroma: Strong fruity, typical Eucalyptus aroma. The oil is often extracted for aromatherapy and medicinal use.

Rate of Growth: Fast at around 1.5-2.0 metres per year.

Height in maturity, if left unpruned: upwards of 25+m, with the tallest heights achieved only at a great age. Can be kept much smaller by pruning.

Hardiness: Very hardy, root-system tolerating down to  -14 to -16°C on a regular basis and down to -18 °C for brief periods.  Hardiness improves with age; young trees are more susceptible to frost damage than their adult counterparts.

 

Additional information

Weight 5 kg
Dimensions 150 × 30 × 30 cm
Size

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Important Information - a vital read

Eucalyptus gunnii – The Cider Gum

A cautionary note!    We frequently get asked about awkward mature “Eucalyptus that have grown too tall in my garden”

So what’s the problem with Eucalyptus gunnii?

The fact of the matter is that there is no problem with E. gunnii the tree species per se.  The problem with this precise tree species is entirely as a result of man’s meddling or should we say ‘lack of understanding?’  But as a result of this mis-understanding, E gunnii appears to have given its entire family a bad name!

Popular in DIY stores and garden centres  because of its pretty round blue juvenile foliage, E gunnii is mass produced in small smooth-walled plant pots and sold cheaply as a ‘bedding plant’ with no word of caution on the label. This practice of our nursery industry is akin to a pet shop selling live baby crocodiles under the guise of ‘toy dinosaurs’. I’ll leave you to imagine the end-game!

This cute bushy shrub is purchased by the unsuspecting members of the public, who are encouraged to plant it in patio tubs and even hanging baskets! Once it has speedily outgrown this second smooth-walled container, it is often planted out in the garden. Released from the purgatory of root-binding (like foot-binding but for trees) and now supplied with endless food and water, E. gunnii quite simply goes nuts.

‘All tall Eucalyptus species are fast growing, so what’s the problem?’ you ask.   Not so fast!

Not all Eucalyptus are biologically equal.

The specific genetic make-up of Eucalyptus gunnii is such that, under the influence of plant-growth-hormone Auxin, this species grows on a spiral.  Some other tree species also do this, such as Horse chestnut.  The trunk twists as it elongates, like a corkscrew.  Over time, wood fibre is laid down in the trunk, but the weight can be unevenly distributed. The tree grows in an unbalanced fashion. Without a stable, fully-functioning root-system to counterbalance the weight up top, E gunnii becomes the horticultural equivalent of the leaning tower of Pisa.

Fast-growing trees cultivated in a tiny smooth-walled plant pots develop spiral root-systems; hardwood corkscrews in fact.  Hampered by a permanently damaged root-system, this behemoth of a tree frequently becomes unstable, often developing a nasty lean and when weighing in at 2 tonnes or more E. gunnii can ultimately fall over – usually on a wet windy night in December.

From germination onwards, Eucalyptus that are cultivated in Air-pot containers are not handicapped with a mal-formed root-system. The air-pot-grown root-ball is engineered by the design of the pot and looks like a baby’s bottle brush or spokes of a wheel. Roots radiate evenly from the central root crown resulting in a stable, well-balanced tree.

Air-root-pruned and Air-pot grown Eucalyptus are the only Eucalypts to have a fully-functioning, safe and stable root-system

What must not happen, at any stage, is to pot on any Eucalyptus species, but particularly E gunnii, into a smooth-walled plant pot.  They must all be cultivated either in an air-pot container or the ground only.  A smooth-walled plant pot raised Eucalyptus that is subsequently planted in the ground should never, ever be allowed to exceed 8-10 feet (2.4-3m) in height. This is to avoid it ever becoming a liability to man, building or car.

Eucalyptus gunnii grows very tall, very quickly, if unpruned and not managed (25m / 75ft or more).   In a small garden, E gunnii should be managed from the time of planting and kept small for life through twice-yearly pruning.

One final but equally important point about the ‘bedding plant’ E. gunnii.  The smooth-walled pot is not its only problem.  The seed from which they are raised is most likely of unknown provenance.  This brings into question the reliability of the tree both for form and habit, and hardiness.  Provenance, like with antiques, tells the purchaser the origin of the plant.  From where was the E gunnii seed obtained?  Seed from the cooler south-eastern quarter of Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand will produce much hardier trees for the UK than seed sourced from the warmer parts of Australia. Was the mother-plant of good form and habit?  Specialist tree producers always keep records of their seed source and know that they are growing the best available stock.

Many people are unaware that Eucalyptus gunnii is a member of a tribe or family of gum trees in the section of White Gums.  E. gunnii subsp. gunnii is the species ‘type’.  The most prevalent species in the group, if you will.  It has ‘cousins’.  Each cousin has its own personality traits, but essentially looks like E gunnii in foliage and bark. However, these cousins do not grow on the extreme spiral of E gunnii and not all of them have lignotubers from which they can bounce back if cut down by frost, beast or man.

Suggestions for good E. gunnii alternatives – other members of the gunnii tribe;

  1. archeri – the identical but better behaved dwarf cousin of E. gunnii and our absolute favourite in the family (even though I know we shouldn’t have favourites!). Silvery blue rounded juvenile foliage with a hint of rose-pink. Excellent hedge screen and pruned shrub, can easily be trained as shrub on-a-stick screening tree. Great as cut foliage. Very bushy habit. Lignotuber present.
  2. ‘Azura’– very shiny, silvery-blue leaves on a smaller Eucalyptus tree. Fabulous as a pruned shrub and in a patio pot. It can easily be trained as shrub on-a-stick or small tree.  No lignotuber present but will regenerate if necessary from dormant epicormic buds on the lower trunk. Much prettier than standard gunnii.
  3. ‘Silverana’ – intense silvery foliage. No lignotuber present, but will regenerate if necessary from dormant epicormic buds on the lower trunk.  Slightly faster growing than ‘Azura’, but still a smaller tree than E gunnii
  4. ‘France Bleu’ – silvery blue leaves. Very Small. Recommended you keep as a pruned shrub. No lignotuber present, but will regenerate if necessary from dormant epicormic buds on the lower trunk. Available from Hardy Eucalyptus from July 2023
  5. glaucescens – the Tingiringi Gum. Large and fast growing. Straight grained and with a lignotuber. Available in 3 flavours provenance sources of ‘Guthega’, ‘Tinderry’ and ‘Central Victoria’.  Visit our E glaucescens page to learn more about this very handsome tree
  6. urnigera – One of our favourites. Slim-line profile in its formative years, only branch out into an umbrella later in life.  Apically dominant, it is reluctant to produce a bushy multi-stemmed shrub, but has a lignotuber. Amazing bark and beautiful blue foliage are strong features of this wonderful species

Planting Position and Soil

Eucalyptus gunnii – The Cider Gum

Hardy, accommodating and versatile

Requirements:

  • Enjoys full sun and open sky above.
  • Happy in a wide range of soils, but performs best on those which are acid to neutral. Grows well on our alkaline clay. Not so keen on chunky limestone soils, but will grow on them.
  • Very tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, including boggy soils, those that are intermittently waterlogged/prone to flooding for up to 6 months of the year.
  • Our E. gunnii grow exceptionally well on our terrible winter-waterlogged / summer-arid, alkaline clay ground at Grafton Nursery.
  • Good in exposed locations.

 

Recommendations:

  • If planting a large number for charcoal or cut foliage, subsoiling may be a good practice to follow, especially if pastureland has previously been used by livestock.
  • For the best results, follow our planting and aftercare watering instructions, issued with every order; they can also be found under the Help and Advice tab on this website.
  • Improve poor soils with our planting kit, at the time of planting.
  • To encourage deep rooting and therefore good stability, prepare a deep planting pit as per our instructions.
  • Ensure there is no competition from weeds or grass around the base of the young tree as this will seriously cramp its style and slow down establishment. Our research has found that grass around the trunks of newly planted Eucalypts can completely stop them from growing and may lead to failure
  • 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.

How to Use

Eucalyptus gunnii – The Cider Gum

When deployed and well-managed in the correct setting, this species can be of great environmental benefit and provide a wide range of eco-system services. e.g. A good work-horse for pumping water in boggy ground.

Grown as a tall evergreen screen: We established a very effective screen of E gunnii at our nursery in April 2012, 3 litre plants grew from 1m tall when planted, to 3.6m (around 12ft) by January 2014. We pollard every few years in March, to maintain a bushy windbreak at around 2.4 to 3.6m tall

Cut Foliage for fodder and floral art: fast growing and productive, this high-yielding Eucalyptus is excellent for pollarding and cutting.

Ecology: E. gunnii flowers in January/February and provides vital nectar and pollen for winter generation honey bees.  When grown as a multi-stemmed shrub, it can provide valuable winter cover and habitat for birds and wildlife.

Environmental: This hardy, bushy evergreen tree has the ability to survive (where no other evergreen can) in waterlogged soils, flooded for several months at a time, pumping water out of the ground into the atmosphere.  Similarly, this fast growing hardwood can quickly sequester and store large quantities of atmospheric carbon in its trunk, branches and root-system.

Container Plant: often kept in a patio pot, this species should never be planted out in the garden once it has grown to a large size unless it has always been grown in air-pot containers. For more useful information, visit our Blog post ‘How to grow a Eucalyptus in a pot and keep it alive’

Firewood, biomass and lumber: Eucalyptus is one of the forestry trees grown for paper production, as well as biomass for fueling power stations and automated industrial and larger domestic boilers. Growing E gunnii for domestic firewood production: often a popular choice for firewood logs, but there are better species, such as E glaucescens Guthega, E dalrympleana, E. aggregata, depending upon your growing environment.

If pruned hard/coppiced or cut down by frost, E. gunnii regenerates well from its lignotuber (at the base of the trunk). The re-growth is similar in habit to a coppiced hazel (Corylus avellana) or red stemmed dogwood (Cornus sibirica). If growing for firewood logs, the mass of regenerating shoots will require hand thinning down to 2 or 3 stems at any early stage. Otherwise, leave the stems and harvest for charcoal production when ready.  As E. gunnii grows on a spiral, it is more challenging to split than other species. We recommend splitting be carried out within 8-12 weeks from harvesting.

If you would like more information on the carbon-guzzling, high yielding Eucalypts for firewood log production, give us a call; we would love to chat about your project and help you choose the best species for your site.

E. gunnii is not recommended for lumber production, due to the spiral growth habit.

Nursery Notes and Trivia

Winter 2022 going into Spring 2023

Available as 5 litre bushes and standards.  100 litre bushy multi-stemmed specimens ideal for challenging growing environments where an evergreen shrub tolerant of wet soils is required

Botanical Name: Eucalyptus gunnii      MYRTACEÆ; Myrtle Family

Common Name: Cider Gum

Status: Evergreen Tree

Origin: a species of Eucalyptus endemic to Tasmania, occurring on the plains and slopes of the central plateaux to around 1100 metres, with isolated occurrences south of Hobart

Origin of the name Cider Gum:  This species produces a sweet sap which can be tapped in a similar way to maple syrup.  We have read that in the past, the First Nation people of Australia fermented this liquid to produce a cider-like alcoholic beverage. Yum!  I’m not so sure about the flavour. If any one out there tries this, let us know!

MYRTACEÆ; Myrtle Family

Origin of the name: Eucalyptus gunnii: after Ronald Campbell Gunn (1808–1881). In 1829 Ronald Gunn migrated to Tasmania and in the same year was appointed Superintendent of Convicts for north Tasmania. In 1836 he took up a position as police magistrate at Hobart and then in 1839 a position as private secretary to the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir John Franklin. Gunn resigned his position in 1841 to take charge of an estate in northern Tasmania and spent the next 14 years investigating the flora and fauna of Tasmania. Gunn was widely liked and highly respected and has been rated by many as the most eminent of Tasmanian botanists. Source: Euclid on-line

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