The Eucalyptus Tree: What It Means to Be a Naturalized Species and How They Are Managed

You have probably seen a cute photo of a koala munching on eucalyptus tree leaves. These cute creatures adore these trees but how much do you know about the beautiful eucalyptus tree? These trees are exploding throughout North County San Diego and California.

While that sounds great, this non-native species has a much darker side. Read on to learn what it means to be a naturalized species, what these trees are causing, and how to manage them!

How Did the Eucalyptus Tree Come to California?

For some, the eucalyptus has become an icon of California. The Tasmanian blue gum eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) wasn’t introduced in the state until the 1850s. Seeds came over from Australia and were then planted mostly for decoration and then used for timber and fuel.

What It Means to Be a Naturalized Species

To be a naturalized species means that non-native species have been introduced to a new area and established a population. This is why the blue gum eucalyptus is a naturalized species.

It is also designated as a “moderate” invasive species by the California Invasive Plant Council (CAL-IPC). This is because the population has grown large enough and caused negative effects on the new area.

What Are the Negative Effects?

In the drier areas of California, the eucalyptus does not cause as much harm. However, moisture along the coast can foster an environment that makes these trees a bit more dangerous.

Fire Hazards

The bark of the eucalyptus tree may be beautiful such as in the rainbow eucalyptus but it is a danger. Its constantly shedding bark contributes to this and once they have caught fire, they burn very well.

There have been several instances of major fires fueled by the tree. The Oakland “Tunnel” Fire and the Tam Fire are examples of their danger.

Ecological Impacts

There is some evidence that the eucalyptus has disruptive effects such as altering soil moisture, changing light availability, nitrogen mineralization, and soil chemistry.

In addition, the trees may affect the migration patterns of birds. With the lack of native trees to nest along rivers, the eucalyptus has not proven to be a good nesting option. Biological diversity is then lost due to the lack of native plants being replaced with the eucalyptus tree.

How Are Eucalyptus Trees Managed?

There are many ways that eucalyptus trees are managed. Ecologists are welcoming to plans that remove tens of thousands of these trees. One option is to completely remove the tree.

Another option includes thinning the densely populated areas. Making sure that there is adequate spacing can help reduce some of the risks.

Eucalyptus trees may also be managed if they are used for decorative purposes. Tree trimming and proper can may also help to eliminate some of the harsh effects.

Eucalyptus Trees for North County San Diego

Shedding some light on the darker side of the eucalyptus tree is necessary to help decipher what actions we should be taking from here on. This Californian icon may be lots of work.

If you have a eucalyptus tree or another tree/plant-related question, contact us for help from our arborist!

Recognized as a top tree care company, Tree Barber Enterprises serves thousands of residential and business customers in North County San Diego. Our Certified Arborist and Certified Tree Workers are highly skilled and extensively trained in the latest arboriculture techniques, which enables us to perform our tasks quickly, safely and economically.