Koala Trees

Koala Clancy Foundation grows a number of Koala Trees each year for planting on private land.

Some of these trees are hosted by volunteers and members in the early stages of growth.

This page contains some detailed advice and recommendations on caring for Koala Trees. Please also print out this infographic for quick reference:

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Where to place your Koala Tree pots:

Koala Tree boxes should be placed above the ground on a table or bench, in full sun. It is good if the table has slats so that water doesn’t pool under the boxes.

The polystyrene boxes that the trees are provided in are excellent at insulating the trees – but we hate using polystyrene, so we aim to re-use them again and again. Please be careful not to damage the boxes and return them to us after the trees are planted.

 

Pots:

Koala Trees are sown into tall rectangular pots known as forestry tubes. These are ideal for growing native trees with healthy root systems, and the perfect size for planting equipment.  Please use these tubes where possible, and ask us for more if you run out.

Koala Tree Species:

You will be provided with a mix of the following species, all chosen for koala suitability, ease of growing:

River Red Gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) – the majority of our Koala Trees are this. They are fast growers, with slender leaves.

Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa) – a beautiful and important tree for sites west of the You Yangs. Leaves are broader than Red Gum, with a blue sheen.  Grows more slowly than Red Gum.

Red Box (Eucalyptus polyanthemos) – a beautiful and important tree for sites east of the You Yangs. Leaves are broader than Grey Box, almost round, with a blue sheen.  Grows more slowly than Red Gum.

Yellow Gum (Eucalyptus leucoxylon) – a lovely big tree, very important to koalas.  This is the first year we’ve grown this one, so waiting to see.

She-oak (Allocasuarina littoralis) – totally different to the eucalypts, this small tree is useful for shade for koalas on hot days.  Leaves are tiny and clustered around the stem. They end up looking like pine needles a bit.

 

TIMELINE:

January

Koala tree seeds will germinate any time from one week after sowing to one month. Germination can depend on temperature, moisture and species. River Red Gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) can germinate and grow very fast.

Pots should remain in full sun whole time.

Pots should be watered twice daily, unless they receive rain. Use a fine spray to avoid disturbing the tiny seeds. The soil should always look and feel damp if you push a fingertip in. If soil feels loose and dry, increase your watering.

Seeds are tiny, so when the first leaves emerge you might not notice them for a few days. Be very gentle with them at this time, they are very delicate.

February

Some seeds will continue to germinate through February.  Those already germinated will grow very quickly.

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River Red Gum seedlings early February 2018

The roots grow quicker than the above-ground plant – sometime this month the root will be touching the bottom of the pot.

Pots should remain in full sun whole time.

Pots should be watered once daily, preferably in the morning. Use a fine spray to avoid disturbing the tiny seedlings. The soil should always look and feel damp if you push a fingertip in. If soil feels loose and dry, increase your watering.

You may start transplanting this month – see our page on Transplanting. Every pot should end up with only one tree in it. Extra seedlings have to be transplanted or killed.

March

Pots should remain in full sun whole time.

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Amazing growth – just one month after the photo above.

Pots should be watered once daily, preferably in the morning. The soil should always look and feel damp if you push a fingertip in. If soil feels loose and dry, increase your watering – maybe leave the spray on longer per box.

If soil is still dry, try dunking each box into a large tray of water.  Hold submerged until bubbles stop rising (a few minutes only), then remove.

You should be transplanting this month – see our page on Transplanting.

April

Pots should remain in full sun whole time.

Pots should be watered about every two days, only in the morning. As the evenings get cool there is a chance of powdery mildew forming if pots are watered at night.

Continue transplanting this month – see our page on Transplanting.

May

Pots should remain in full sun whole time.  The days are shorter, so do everything you can to maximise the sunshine pots receive.

Pots should be watered about every three days, only in the morning. With cool evenings  there is a strong chance of powdery mildew forming if pots are watered at night, especially on large leafed trees like Red Box & Grey Box.  If this happens, increase ventilation by separating pots, or placing in a windy location.

This is the last chance to transplant – see our page on Transplanting.

If conditions have been kind, we may even start to plant out this month.

June

We will start asking for Koala Trees back so that they can be planted on sites around the You Yangs.  Give us the largest trees first – they will be desperate to get out of their pots and into the ground.

To assess whether a tree is ready to plant, look at the bottom of the pot. Are there white roots poking through? Try removing one from its pot, gently, by tapping the pot rim upside down against a step, whilst holding the stem between your fingers.  Does the soil stay together around the plant roots (in the same shape as the pot)?  If so, it is ready.

Keep maintaining the smaller trees as you did in May.  We will continue to plant through August, so there’s still time to grow.