Tips for Growing Vegetables Near Eucalyptus

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Tips for Growing Vegetables Near Eucalyptus
Plant vegetables in a raised bed near eucalyptus trees. (Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

According to Stanford University, eucalyptus trees are known for their peeling bark, fast growth and the properties of their leaves. The oil in their leaves is extremely flammable, and eucalyptus is considered a major fire hazard in drought-stricken areas of California. While it's never ideal to try to grow a vegetable garden near trees, much less eucalyptus trees, it can be done if you take a few important tips to heart.

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Light

Cut back or thin the foliage and branches of eucalyptus to let in more light. They grow fast, so keep after them. Though eucalyptus has a tall, narrow shape, it blocks sunlight vegetables need for photosynthesis and proper growth. Site your garden east and south of the eucalyptus where it receives the most morning and afternoon sun before being shaded by a canopy of leaves.

Raised Bed

Prevent competition between eucalyptus roots and your vegetables by building a raised bed. Eucalyptus trees are anchored by deep tap roots and spreading surface roots that aggressively search for water to support fast growth. Build a bed with at least 18 inches of soil deep and border it with stones. This helps vegetables grab moisture and nutrients before eucalyptus roots.

Raking Debris

Avoid using eucalyptus leaves and litter for mulch in vegetable gardens. The University of California Davis recommends not using them for composting, mostly because the oil keeps eucalyptus leaves from decomposing quickly. Eucalyptus trees tend to be litterbugs, so keep after the leaves, seeds, flowers and twigs to keep them from blocking moisture and light from vegetable plants.

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