Biomass potential for individual species

Eucalyptus nitens (Shining gum)

Species potential for biomass > Species potential for E.nitens

Eucalyptus nitens is exceptionally vigorous, potentially producing very large trees of good form. It is an important commercial species in many temperate parts of the world, used mainly for pulpwood.

Because of this, its characteristics are quite well understood. It is generally windfirm once established, though young trees can be unstable because of their dense canopy of juvenile leaves. It is successfully grown close to coasts in southern New Zealand. In north Kent it has successfully been used in shelterbelts, with thinnings used for fuel logs. The species seems happy on thin soils overlying chalk, though growth in such conditions is slower. Young trees are hardy to -10°C, but most will be killed by -12°C in their first winter. Established trees are hardy to approx -14°C. Coppicing ability depends on provenance and declines with age; most 10 year stumps are unlikely to coppice well. It is not normally browsed. The wood has a basic density typically of 470 kg/m³ at 10 years. Logs have a good reputation as fuelwood, and small diameter logs dry very readily.

The exceptional yields offered by E. nitens have led it to be trialled in recent years in locations that experience periodic cold winters in the British Isles. Many of these plantings have grown very well for several years, but the consequences following the prolonged severe winter of 2010-2011 have also been predictable. It is probably only a reasonable choice of species in suitable locations within 20km of the coast of most of southern and western UK and in Ireland, and within 10km of the coast in eastern England.

E.nitens trials in Kent gives a more detailed description and many photographs.

A stand of Eucalyptus nitens planted in 1994 by Coillte near Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, photographed in February 2011. The stand of Sitka Spruce to the right is the same age.  The establishment conditions used were typical of Irish forestry practice, rather than SRF principles, but a good quality site in a moist and generally mild climate has allowed good establishment and excellent growth.

Three pictures of a trial plot of Eucalyptus nitens planted in spring 1984 in the Kilmun arboretum, Dunoon, Argyll. The photos were taken in February 1987 (left; E. nitens in the foreground), April 2002 (centre), and September 2011 (right). Early establishment was very slow, as evidenced by the light foliage canopy and very modest height growth at 3 years – this was almost certainly due to the weed competition, and is a very typical result when SRF establishment is not practised. Nevertheless, the species is evidently well-adapted to the location, and now contains the champion trees for height and diameter for this species in Scotland.