Eucalyptus nitens trial in Kent
This trial, managed by Prima Bio, has proved to be a very good demonstration of the potential of short rotation forestry in the UK.
It is located on the North Downs near Sittingbourne, Kent, and was planted in May 2001.
It was designed to show the growth potential of several eucalyptus species and hybrids in lowland Britain, when established using methods appropriate to short rotation forestry.
Background and details are described in the York Conference paper (opens pdf).
The growth of Eucalyptus nitens has been particularly notable, and is illustrated in the following photographs. Yield data for the E. nitens are discussed in E.nitens trial in Kent - yields and comment.
Tray of Eucalyptus nitens ready for planting. The seedlings for the trial were raised at a commercial forestry nursery in Portugal, using seed sown in December 2000. Seedlings were delivered in late May 2001.
General view of part of the trial site on 3rd September 2001, just over 4 months from planting of the major part of the trial. The site was formerly planted with apples, and the eucalypts were planted in twin rows within the original strips that had been planted with apples. The inter-rows were maintained as mown grass. Treeguards were used primarily to facilitate chemical weed control in the planted strips.
General view on 27th November 2001 of part of the site planted on 28th May 2001.Eucalyptus gunnii on the left, E. nitens on the right. The trees ceased growth around this time.
Eucalyptus nitens on 14th June 2002, 54 weeks after planting.
Eucalyptus nitens on 16th July 2002, 59 weeks after planting, taken from the same point as
the photo on 14th June. Note the very rapid growth since then. No further
weed control was necessary within the E.nitens planting strips after July 2002.
Eucalyptus nitens on 19th September 2002, less than 16 months from planting! This species
achieved canopy closure during August, and the grass inter-rows became suppressed
by the trees following this.
Eucalyptus gunnii on 19th September 2002, with E.nitens behind. Note the much lighter canopy of the E.gunnii; this does not suppress weeds readily and further chemical weed control was carried out.
There was a gale on 27th October 2002. The majority
of the trees were unaffected but a few were blown over. This photo shows
a stem section of one of the windblown trees – firewood logs in 17
Eucalyptus nitens in snow, 7th January 2003. The trees were unaffected by the snow and subsequent
frosts. The tallest tree was 5.7m! Grass had largely disappeared from the
inter-rows and a leaf litter had started to develop.
Eucalyptus gunnii in snow, 7th January 2003
The Eucalyptus nitens on 30th November 2004 , 3.5 years from planting
Inside the Eucalyptus nitens stand on 9th June 2005, just before half of the stand was thinned
Logs from the thinning carried out on 9th June 2005. The logs have been used as firewood. They had air-dried fully by October 2005.
The Eucalyptus nitens on 4th December 2006, 5.5 years from planting. The stand was windfirm in the gales experienced in winter 2006/7.
Eucalyptus nitens logs from the thinning conducted in September 2010 on the part of the stand that was not thinned earlier.
The Eucalyptus nitens in October 2011, nearly 10.5 years from planting. Scale is indicated by the person standing by the central tree.