I've got a tall skinny eucalyptus tree that I planted about a year and a half ago. When I bought it, its trunk was somewhat narrow, and tethered in at least three spots to a stake to keep it straight. However it seems that this has caused it to not have a strong trunk, as it hasn't had to fend for itself in the wind and weather.

Fast forward a year and a bit, and it's at least another meter taller, but no stronger. I've released the tether except for one right at the top to prevent it from bowing over and breaking.

To recover this, can/should I lop off the top in the hope that it re-sprouts further below and develops a stronger trunk on its own (without the tether)? If I do this, how far from the top should I cut?

Tall thin eucalyptus

Here are some close-ups for identification of the specific type of eucalyptus:

Close-up 1

Close-up 2

  • Do you have any other names (Latin or botanical names, or a label) for your plant? Its impossible to see the flowers and leaves clearly in your photograph, so its hard to decide precisely which plant you have there - there are plants referred to as eucalypts which are not actually eucalyptus at all, so need to ID the specific plant you have to give accuirate advice. If not, can you post more photos showing clearly the leaves and flowers...
    – Bamboo
    Jul 13, 2016 at 9:44
  • @Bamboo Yes, I can do both I think. Thanks for your interest.
    – CJBS
    Jul 13, 2016 at 16:38

1 Answer 1


I think its probably Corymbia ficifolia, one of the eucalypts, and the time to prune it is as the seed pods (known as ground nuts) start forming, which is now for your tree. It's usual to prune back branches behind the flowers, otherwise, the tree puts energy into growing taller beyond the point where the seedpods are forming rather than lateral growths. If your tree flowered last year and you didn't prune it afterwards, that would partially explain why it's got so tall, yet not thickened up. Because your tree is rather spindly, were it mine, I'd certainly risk cutting it down by half, leaving no foliage at all, but whether you want to risk that or not is your choice.

I have no idea how well it will respond to that kind of hard pruning, having only ever done that type of prune on Eucalyptus gunnii. The problem with doing that is, if it works, it will force branched growth from the point at which you've cut, and your tree is planted too close to a fence, so that any lateral growths will be butting up against it; if you want to risk it, you'll have to cut it just at the point where the fence stops. I'd also detach it completely from its stake to allow for more trunk movement, especially as its proximity to the fence may means it's getting less exposure to any wind that's about anyway, adding to the lack of thickening of the trunk. General information regarding pruning in the link below.


  • I think I'll take the risk. I haven't pruned at all; last year I don't think it even flowered. It's only been in the ground for a bit over a year. I'll lop around the fence height, and remove the stake.
    – CJBS
    Jul 14, 2016 at 16:58
  • 1
    One query though - not sure where you are in the world, hopefully not somewhere that gets seriously cold winters, otherwise you'd be best off doing a lightish prune back of the topgrowth now and a really hard prune in spring
    – Bamboo
    Jul 14, 2016 at 17:15
  • Coastal Northern California; Mediterranean climate - should be fine.
    – CJBS
    Jul 14, 2016 at 17:23
  • Okay - lucky you!
    – Bamboo
    Jul 14, 2016 at 18:00
  • One more aspect backing up your identification: the leaves don't have an eucalyptus smell -- per nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=4550 the Corymbia ficifolia lacks oil glands.
    – CJBS
    Feb 24, 2020 at 18:36

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