Eucalyptus question

My wife bought a eucalyptus in a pot from a local garden store (Lowe's I think) two years ago and it grew like no-ones business for the first year. The pot it was in was of the five gallon size. After it grew too big for the pot, we decided to plant it in our yard. This seemed good for the eucalyptus as it kept growing non-stop. I thought it might grow into a beautiful tree and we could enjoy it for some time as it matured. The problem is it does not want to grow straight. I have placed poles alongside to assist it in growing vertical, but as it keeps growing, it keeps tilting (the main trunk does not seem to be able to support the it). Now, I am not sure whether it would be wise to prune/shear the thing in order to promote a bulkier trunk, or is it possible we have a genus that is not capable of growing into a tree but rather should be treated as a shrub. We live in South Carolina and the temperature here is normally very warm with mild winters (with the occasional frost and or snow fall which has not hurt it in the least). A description of this eucalyptus is as follows; 1. the leaves are silvery upon new growth and after maturing they turn green 2. the limbs grow quite long 3. there is a good amount of leaf growth on the main trunk 4. the leaves are mostly round
Any thoughts on whether to prune to the ground and let it have a happy life as a bush or to discretionally prune it for tree growth would be appreciated.
thank you all...
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I was waiting to see if there would be any replies to this question. I too have a eucalyptus. (this is the second one I've planted, the first one was at my first house) They just seem to be kind of flimsy and not stand up straight. My other one was about 8 years old and the bottom of the trunk finally got thick enough to support the bottom half of the tree. But any trunk section smaller in diameter than maybe an inch, was just not self supporting. I would have to tie it up. I had mine on the corner of a posted porch, so it was convenient enough to support it. The exact same scenario with the current one. It's putting out new growth, it's happy where it is and I love the occasional fresh smell when I brush up against a leaf. But, I have to tie this one up too. This one has been in the ground for only 6 months or so. Wish I could have been more helpful, but my experience has been the same as yours. Perry

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wrote:

Eucalyptus are very fast-growing, and they are very leggy in their youth. Not much to do but keep it well propped up until it gets more solid. You can prune them hard, but it won't make them less vertical.
I've seen a number of Eucalyptus cut to the ground or broken off at the ground. They bush out, then shoot right back up.
There are a few shrubby Eucalyptus; these produce a clump of canes rather than a single trunk.
--
Chris Green


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kudzu-cro wrote:

I had this same problem with a red-flowering gum (Eucalyptus ficifolia). However, eucalyptus trees not only grow fast but recover quickly from being cut.
I cut off the top at chest height, leaving a bare stump. When it resprouted, I left four evenly-spaced shoots. After about a few months -- after I saw the original cut healing -- I removed all but one shoot. As this grew, the same problem with a limber trunk occurred.
I cut the top off again, just slightly below the original cut. By now the trunk has grown sufficiently that it is no longer limber. After one or two years, the trunk will show little sign of having been cut (perhaps a slight wave in an otherwise straight line).
This kind of cutting can actually be done to some species of full-grown eucalyptus, but taking 4-6 years before the cut is no longer apparent. However, ONLY CUT in the spring after danger of frost is past. Otherwise new growth can be damaged.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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