Advice on short rotation forestry for the British Isles

Advice on mammals

Information and advice > Advice on mammals

In general, eucalypts are unpalatable to browsing mammals, including rabbits and deer. The relative palatabilities of a range of species to deer have been documented in the USA. The notable exception is Eucalyptus gunnii, which is browsed by many mammals.

In the UK, species other than E. gunnii generally appear not to need protection from browsing, provided the seedlings establish quickly and alternative forage is available for browsing mammals. The marked unpalatability of Eucalyptus glaucescens compared to other eucalyptus species has been confirmed in plantings in West Sussex and in Thetford Forest.

There have been at least two instances in the UK where deer and/or rabbits have caused serious damage to several species of newly-planted eucalypts.  Obviously, small trees are most vulnerable to damage, and re-planting was necessary in these cases.  The most likely reason for such browsing appears to have been the lack of alternative food.   In situations in which there may be a risk of browsing, use of 60cm treeguards is recommended; this also greatly facilitates weed control using herbicides.

There have been no reports of grey squirrels or voles damaging eucalypts in Britain. Hares will prune young trees without eating them, and can be problematic.