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Natural populations

Eucalyptus bicostata mainly occurs on southern parts of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria [1,2]. There are a number of disjunct stands to the north in the Australian Captial Territory and New South Wales, to as far north as the Walcha district of the Northern Tablelands. There is an unusual, small, isolated population north of Burra near the Clare Valley in South Australia. This species may attain up to 30–45 m in height and a substantial girth, or occur as a low-branched tree 15–25 m tall. It grows on mountain ranges, escarpments, along valleys or on the edges of plains, and grows best on heavy basaltic loams.

Flowering and seeds

Eucalyptus bicostata flowers from September to January [1,3]. Seed capsules persist on trees until at least the following summer. There are about 100 viable seeds per gram; seeds start to germinate in about 5 days if grown at 25°C with no pretreatment required [3].

Cultivation and uses

Eucalyptus bicostata a cold tolerant, fast growing tree that can attain large dimensions. It is commonly planted across southern Australia as a farm tree and an amenity plant. In some urban areas (e.g. Canberra) its size can cause problems if planted in close proximity to infrastructure. Eucalyptus bicostata is adaptable to a range of sites where rainfall is over 600 mm per annum and is relatively drought tolerant. It exhibits considerable frost tolerance and has a range of other uses [5]. It is closely related of E. globulus but its wood properties differ and it has not been used as a pulpwood species [4], but it does have potential for timber production being used for general heavy or light construction purposes, including posts, piles and sawn building timbers [1,6].

Key descriptors:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 600-1600 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer, uniform or winter
Mean annual temperature: 5-17 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 20-28 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: -2-6 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): frost free or more or less frost free, up to 20 or greater than 20
Frost intensity: severe or heavy (greater than -5°C)
Altitude: metres 30-1300 metres
Tolerance of extremes in climate
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant
Fire: regenerates foliage after damaging fire
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range or tolerates heavy frosts colder than -5°C
Wind: known or has attributes to make an excellent windbreak
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, heavy clay (greater than 50% clay), light to medium clay (35-50% clay) or loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam
Soil pH reaction: acidic (less than 6.5) or neutral (6.5-7.5)
Soil depth: moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Drainage: well-drained
Salinity: slightly to moderately saline or non-saline
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in pH: acidity
Extremes in texture: clayey
Salinity: nil - sensitive to saline soils or slight (2-4 dS m-1)
Soil waterlogging tolerance: nil - sensitive to waterlogged soils
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen tree 10-20 m tall, tree > 20 m tall, usually produces a clear trunk
Longevity: moderate to long lived (>15 years)
Growth rate: fast or moderate
Coppicing ability: vigorous, responds to pruning, pollarding; lignotuberous
Root system: moderate to deep or shallow and spreading
Erosion control potential: excellent for clayey sites
Windbreak potential: excellent (known or has good attributes)
Shade tolerance: grows best in full sunlight
Wood density: mod. to high (greater than 600 kg/cubic metre)
Carbon sequestration potential: high
Uses
Potential farm use: excellent windbreak or shelterbelt or shade for stock
Specialty products: flowers produce nectar for honey production, pollen has value for apiculture
Wildlife value: flowers are especially attractive to birds
Wood products: heavy construction, panelling, speciality timber for quality furniture, wood composites
Potentially undesirable attributes
Growth habit: shallow roots may outcompete adjacent plants
Susceptibility to disease or predation: foliage highly susceptible to insect predation or pathogenic leaf diseases

References

[1] Boland DJ, Brooker MIH, Chippendale GM, Hall N, Hyland BPM, Johnson RD, Kleinig DA, McDonald MW, Turner JD (2006) Forest Trees of Australia. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

[2] Slee AV, Connors J, Brooker MIH, Duffy SM, West JG (2006) EUCLID Eucalypts of Australia. Third Edition CD ROM Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

[3] Gunn BV (2001) Australian Tree Seed Centre Operations Manual. Internal Publication, CSIRO Australian Tree Seed Centre, ACT. [Online at http://www.ensisjv.com/Portals/0/atsc-opmanualcomplete.pdf  Accessed March 2008]

[4] Eldridge K, Davidson J, Harwood C, Wyk Gv (1993) Eucalypt Domestication and Breeding. Clarendon, Oxford.

[5] Marcar NE, Crawford DF (2004) Trees for Saline Landscapes. RIRDC Publication Number 03/108, Canberra. [As E. globulus subsp. bicostata]

[6] Victorian Department of Primary Industry Agriculture Notes Blue Gum for Farm Forestry online pdf file: http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/nreninf.nsf/LinkView

Internet links

PlantNET National Herbarium of New South Wales: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Eucalyptus~bicostata

Victorian Department of Primary Industry Agriculture Notes Blue Gum for Farm Forestry: http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/ [Search site for the pdf]

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