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Cold hardy Eucalyptus forestry in Galicia (II): when snow comes...

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Eucalyptus and Snow: Winter views of eucalypt timber plantations in Northwestern Spain

Gustavo Iglesias Trabado Contact GIT Forestry Consulting
GIT Forestry Consulting - Consultoría y Servicios de Ingeniería Agroforestal - www.git-forestry.com - EUCALYPTOLOGICS

Snow in a 10 year old cold hardy Eucalyptus nitens cultivated forest at 800 m above sea level in Galicia (Northwestern Spain)/ Nieve en bosque cultivado de Eucalipto nitens (Eucalipto de las heladas, Eucalipto brillante) a 800 metros de altitud en Galicia (Noroeste de España) / GIT Forestry Consulting, Consultoría y Servicios de Ingeniería Agroforestal, Lugo, Galicia, España, Spain
Some of the following cold hardy Eucalyptus timber plantations have resisted brief events of -10ºC as absolute minimum temperature, -8ºC as average of extreme minima, 45 to 85 frost events per year, 9 events of winds +95 km/h and several snow storms. Climatic history shows extreme maximum periods of frost risk spanning for 205 days/year (from late October to mid April), but there is a significative variation every year for each location both for severity of winter events and degrees of damage and recovery.


Snow in a 10 year old cold hardy Eucalyptus nitens cultivated forest at 800 m above sea level in Galicia (Northwestern Spain)/ Nieve en bosque cultivado de Eucalipto nitens (Eucalipto de las heladas, Eucalipto brillante) a 800 metros de altitud en Galicia (Noroeste de España) / GIT Forestry Consulting, Consultoría y Servicios de Ingeniería Agroforestal, Lugo, Galicia, España, SpainFig. 1: Winter view of a 10 year old frost tolerant Eucalyptus cultivated forest at 800 m above sea level in Galicia (Northwestern Spain). (Click image to enlarge)

Snow in a 7 year old cold hardy Eucalyptus nitens timber plantation at 750 m above sea level in Galicia (Northwestern Spain)/ Nieve en plantacion de 7 años de Eucalipto nitens (Eucalipto de las heladas, Eucalipto brillante) a 750 metros de altitud en Galicia (Noroeste de España) / GIT Forestry Consulting, Consultoría y Servicios de Ingeniería Agroforestal, Lugo, Galicia, España, SpainFig. 2: Winter view of a 7 year old frost tolerant Eucalyptus timber plantation at 750 m above sea level in Galicia (Northwestern Spain). (Click image to enlarge)

Snow in a 3 year old cold hardy Eucalyptus nitens timber plantation at 700 m above sea level in Galicia (Northwestern Spain)/ Nieve en plantacion de 3 años Eucalipto nitens (Eucalipto de las heladas, Eucalipto brillante) a 700 metros de altitud en Galicia (Noroeste de España) / GIT Forestry Consulting, Consultoría y Servicios de Ingeniería Agroforestal, Lugo, Galicia, España, SpainFig. 3: Winter view of 3 year old frost tolerant Eucalyptus saplings at 700 m above sea level in Galicia (Northwestern Spain). (Click image to enlarge)

Snow in a 5 year old cold hardy Eucalyptus nitens timber plantation at 600 m above sea level in Galicia (Northwestern Spain)/ Nieve en plantacion de Eucalipto nitens (Eucalipto de las heladas, Eucalipto brillante) a 600 metros de altitud en Galicia (Noroeste de España) / GIT Forestry Consulting, Consultoría y Servicios de Ingeniería Agroforestal, Lugo, Galicia, España, SpainFig. 4: Winter view of a 5 year old frost tolerant Eucalyptus timber plantation at 600 m above sea level in Galicia (Northwestern Spain). (Click image to enlarge)


Some key factors for a successful cultivation of cold hardy Eucalyptus for timber production

  • Careful choice of Eucalyptus species suitable for winter conditions in the area of introduction and suitable for target industrial lines. Results from well designed comparative species survival and growth trials for the area of introduction are good indicators.
  • Careful choice of seed provenances within the most desirable Eucalyptus species. Results from well designed provenance trials able to quantify best growth and cold tolerance for the area of introduction are good indicators.
  • Use of genetically improved Eucalyptus plant stock if available, as it normally yields better growth rates and improved physical or chemical timber properties.
  • Good matching of species to site, preferring sheltered from sustained chilly winds and and as sunny as possible areas with Southern exposure, better over soils of moderate depth and fertility.
  • Proper site prepation to encourage as fast establishment of the tender Eucalyptus seedlings as possible. Well developed root systems on deep laboured soil tend to stand better temporary freezing of the most superficial soil layers.
  • Proper planting schedule to allow quick growth during the first year. A good height growth over the coldest layer of air near soil tends to increase survival rates to radiational frost.
  • Proper understorey control during the first years to minimise competence and allow as quick formation of less fragile woody tissue as possible. Even the most resistant plant material is at risk of damage due to impredictable extreme climatic events. However survival and recovery from damage are better once eucalypts reach a certain size.
  • Regular monitoring of weather events and symptoms of cold induced damage (leaf injuries, dessication, bark cracking, newest growth burns, form defects, etc).

Interesting links

Cold hardy Eucalyptus timber production in Galicia (I)

Eucalyptus Highland Forests in Northwestern Spain and Portugal (II)

Eucalyptus globulus. Blue Gum Eucalypt Coastal Forests in Northwestern Iberia

Eucalyptus nitens. Shining Gum Eucalypt Highland Forests in Northwestern Iberia

Eucalyptus macarthurii. Camden Woollybutt Highland Forests in Northwestern Iberia

Eucalyptus delegatensis. Tasmanian Oak Highland Forests in Northwestern Iberia

Eucalyptus dalrympleana. Mountain White Gum Highland Forests in Northwestern Iberia

(more to come, we are hunting them all!)


Have you seen the Giant Eucalyptus Movie?

EUCALYPTOLOGICS: GIT Forestry Consulting Eucalyptus Blog / Information Resources on Eucalyptus Cultivation Worldwide / Forestry Engineering, Eucalyptus Seed, Eucalyptus Plants, Eucalyptus Wood, Eucalyptus Honey, Eucalyptus Essential Oil, Eucalyptus Forests, Eucalyptus Plantations, Eucalyptus Timber, Eucalyptus Lumber, Eucalyptus Furniture, Eucalyptus Veneer, Eucalyptus Plywood, Eucalyptus MDF Board, Eucalyptus Cellulose, Eucalyptus Paper, Eucalyptus Biomass, Eucalyptus Energy, Eucalyptus Floristry, Eucalyptus Foliage, Eucalyptus Garden / Ingenieria Forestal, Semilla de eucalipto, Plantas de eucalipto, Madera de eucalipto, Miel de eucalipto, Aceite Esencial de eucalipto, Bosque de eucalipto, Plantacion de eucalipto, Muebles de eucalipto, Tablero de eucalipto, MDF de eucalipto, Celulosa de eucalipto, Papel de eucalipto, Biomasa de eucalipto, Energia de eucalipto, Ramillo Verde Ornamental de Eucalipto, Jardin de EucaliptoGIT's Eucalyptology Topics

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© 2007 Gustavo Iglesias Trabado. Please contact us if you want to use all or part of this text and photography elsewhere. We like to share, but we do not like rudeness.

11 Comments by our readers :::

CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é http://www.provedorcrescenet.com . Um abraço.

Lodewijkp said...

Globulus cold -hardiness

Posted by Lodewijkp on 1/21/2008, 11:50 am

hi guys

what is the hardiness of the E.globulus?

Im trying to grow this species in the netherlands but i didn't plant the seedling outside yet, some information wil be helpful

greets

Tony (Switzerland) said...

Posted by on 1/21/2008, 12:40 pm, in reply to "Globulus cold -hardiness"

Whereabouts in the Netherlands are you? Unless you are right on the coast you probably won't be able to grow Eucalyptus globulus. There are, however, many other species which you should be able to grow successfully.

If you want to see many different Australian plants growing both outdoors and under cover then I can recomend visiting the garden of my good friend Liesbeth near Roermond. She has what is almost certainly the largest, and finest, collection of Australian plants in Europe! I can send you contact details if you are interested.

Cheers

Tony

georgeinbandon,oregon said...

Posted on 1/21/2008, 4:59 pm, in reply to "Globulus cold -hardiness"

My guess is that E. globulus is probably not reliable as a tree if you get temps much below -7c or so. It can survive lower temps but will die to the ground and then come back as a multiple stemmed shrub. since it is fast growing it may get 5 -10 meters tall if you are in a mild protected area before it gets killed back and then you have to worry about removing lots of dead wood. The closely related and very similar looking E. nitens is hardier (to around -10 or -12c.). E. dalrympleana is somewhat similar looking but is generally hardy to somewhat lower temps than nitens.

François said...

Posted on 1/22/2008, 2:30 am, in reply to "Re: Globulus cold -hardiness"

E. globulus ssp. bicostata is said to be the more cold hardy species of E. globulus, so worth a try, but still a bit risky so far North ... Indeed, other more cold hardy species can be a better alternative.

You should also consider micro-climate and soil condition. If you live in a city it gets a bit less cold, clay soils store more heat (and heat-up slower in spring), but in the event your tree gets big the top growth will not benefit of the heat stored in the soil.

Good luck,

François

Treeman said...

Posted on 1/23/2008, 1:12 pm, in reply to "Re: Globulus cold -hardiness"

Eucalyptus globulus bicostata is the most cold hardy but all mine bit the dust after a few days in the mid twenties.

georgeinbandon,oregon said...

Posted on 1/23/2008, 1:38 pm, in reply to "Re: Globulus cold -hardiness"

Unfortunately, it doesn't really matter what recent winter temps are. It is how often over a period of time do you get temperatures that would be potentially harmful to your plant. What is your average lowest winter temp. over the last 10-20 years or so which will help determine your long-term success. From a practical standpoint, look at what is successfully planted in your area. Do you see lots of large mature eucalyptus (and if so what species), what other broad leaf evergreen species are doing well there (Arbutus unedo, A. x andrachnoides, Magnolia grandiflora, M. delavayi, Acacia dealbata, Quercus ilex, etc.) If you dont see evergeen broadleaf species, its probably because your climate is not mild enough long enough to grow them well, if you do see healthy large mature specimens, then you have a reasonable chance of growing this relatively tender species in your area (which is not long term hardy in most of the U.K. for that matter). Good Luck.

Hans Prins said...

Posted on 1/26/2008, 3:46 am, in reply to "Re: Globulus cold -hardiness"

Hi Lodewijk,

I have been experimenting with Eucalypts for over 15 years now.
The only species that have survived the last 13 winters in my garden, are Euc. debeuzevillei and Euc. rubida. But only debeuzevillei is reliably hardy in my situation (wet loam, Steenwijkerwold, Netherlands)

I have planted many species that died within a few years, mostly after a sudden cold spell with dry winds from the east.

I am now experimenting with planting at least 5 seedlings of each species together. The chances of success are now enhanced (I hope ...). As our climate is rapidly warming up now, I am considering experimental planting at a much larger scale.

Globulus is rather tender, but may be hybrids with hardy species do exist. Some hybrids like gundal (gunnii x dalrympleana) are tested in France for hardiness. They have selected a few superior clones.
This year I will try a new cross: perriniana x nitens.

Good luck with your seedlings!

Hopefully you have seed from a hardy provenance?

Hans Prins

François said...

Posted on 2/1/2008, 3:06 am, in reply to "Re: Globulus cold -hardiness"

Living in Belgium, we have about the same climate as in the Netherlands.

I remember two extremely cold winters in the mid-eighties last century where day maximum barely exceeded -10°C (and even colder in the 'Ardennen') for periods close to one month, this in combination with dessicating eastern wind. It is true that the climate is warming up, and the last winters have indeed been very mild, but in the event of prolongated direct influence of a high pressure zone above Siberia as was the case then we realize that our Northern location is risky for not hardy enough species.

Of course, these were exceptionnal weather events, but we can't exlude these from happening again - not necessarilly for so long but perhaps just a few days or a week, after all, we live much closer to the North pole than to the equator here. I wouldn't be surpised if in case such cold spells repeated almost all of the recently introduced 'semi-hardy' exotics would be wiped out here.

But still, untill this happens you can enjoy growing these beauties ... and harvest fire wood after a devastating winter.

Good luck

Hans Prins said...

Posted on 2/2/2008, 2:51 pm, in reply to "Re: Globulus cold -hardiness"

The climate in the North of Holland is definitely colder than that in the lower Belgian country!

However, I believe we cannot draw conclusions on the hardiness of certain species in a certain area, based upon trials with only one or a few trees. What we need is an area with hundreds of seedlings from different origins and select the very hardiest ones that survived a critical winter for that species.

Only (repeated)selection will eventually result in trees that are adapted to our Northern region and supply us with seeds for the cultivation of trees with improved hardiness.

Maybe we can even improve the hardiness of Euc. globulus this way?! Although it will probably never become as hardy as a snowgum, it might be possible to grow selected strains of globulus along the coast of the North Sea - an interesting face lift for seaside gardens!

Gus-GITForestry-Eucalyptologics said...

Posted on 2/9/2008, 1:03 am, in reply to "Re: Globulus cold -hardiness"

Thanks for your contributions Hans, and also for subscribing to the Newsletter They are useful comments those you made, and 15 years experience with exotic plants in your area is very valuable. Thanks also François for your comment on those extreme winters in the 1980's. Those wiped out almost every eucalypt (and many other plants) in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, the UK and France too (they helped select some of those x E. gundal clones Hans mentioned).

Those events are rare, but seem to happen in some sort of cycles, relatively long (20-50 years?). The hardiest species (much more than E. globulus) would have it difficult to survive a month under zero if reaching -10ºC as highest temperature of the day. Maybe none would! Some specimens might survive and resprout after death of aerial part, but surely these trees are not "designed" to cope with that. Even the hardiest ones.

Hans, you are very right about trials made with a small number of specimens (example: a garden planting) being just indicative. They can give hints. But the proper way is surely planting a statistically significative number of individuals of a given species (provenance really, or several provenances) in as homogeneous conditions as possible, and then observe how they grow and cope with frost damage.

If you keep track of minimum temperatures and duration of these events under zero, then you can have some really useful data too: "a 25% of the trees showed little leaf burn when temperature reached -9ºC for 16 hours in a row" for example. Then, "A 25% of that 25% of trees showing little leaf burn are also very vigorous growers".

That would be an example of a selection pressure of 1:16 (1:4 x 1:4) for a combination of two traits: cold tolerance and good growth. If you removed the other 15:16 of trees and let the 1:16 ones cross-pollinate, you would have a nice seed orchard! To say it another way, to have 100 "select orchard trees" you had initially planted 1600. Just an example. Real numbers can be others (for example, 1:2000).

The main problem with this usually happens when a 0% of the trees survive or show cold tolerance

For the case of E. globulus, studies like this have already been conducted. And you are right, it cannot become as hardy as a snow gum. For an area like the Netherlands or Belgium, there are little chances (if any) of obtaining a hardy enough E. globulus for a long term survival without frost damage (e.g. every 10 years or less). There could be some luck if temporarily winters were cold enough as to select trees, but mild enough as to not kill-heavily damage them all. Still, such a seed (if some tree survived, managed to flower and set seed) could be of interest for other milder parts of the world

So for a case as the one you mention it could maybe be better thinking of starting with another species that has a highest cold tolerance in their wild gene pool before refining it ("selecting it") for the coast of the North Sea.

Cheers

Gus


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