A Garden Caretaker

Over the weekend I went out and bought my first tree. I have a dwarf lemon tree and a dwarf line tree, but I’m talking about a tree for shade, scent and flowers. We have a very small yard as I point out regularly, so I have been stewing for months over what kind of tree and where I can put it. I tended towards dwarf deciduous but kept saying to myself that I need to research it more and kept putting it off.

Ma came to visit a week ago. She spends her free minutes dreaming about what I can do with my shoe box. It hit her, the perfect tree for me – a Eucalyptus Erythrocorus. We had one right outside the back door growing up. The don’t actually get particularly tall, maximum 5m but usually closer to 3.5m. They have a primary tap root rather than a branched root system along the surface of the soil so shouldn’t interrupt the house. Being a native my tree shouldn’t require too much from me apart from the first year or so. They have glorious golden yellow flowers with bright red caps before they open up. I collected countless red caps as a little tacker and hope my kid’s will do the same one day.

The above image was retrieved from http://pbase.com/sheils and is not my image

I headed off to The Gardener’s Nursery in Anketell. My partner hadn’t been to a nursery before and was pretty impressed, but also realise how dangerous the place could be to our bank account. After quite a lot of browsing we picked up a tree 1.2m or so tall for just under $20. We also grabbed a bad of their soil improver as the soil further than 10cm under our lawn is pure sand with no food. Oh and lastly a couple of stakes.

Remember when picking a tree to look for one that is the right shape (I loved the bend at the bottom but it actually isn’t ideal), the leaves and trunk are free of pests and the tree looks healthy with no deficiencies.

A trip to Bunnings on the way home (the other way, so actually driving past home to get there…) was essential so I could get a garden bed edge for my tree. The one I got was from Whites, you hook it on around the base of the tree after you’ve dug in.

If ever you are planting a tree –

  1. Dig the hole twice the depth of the pot you are taking it from and twice as wide.
  2. Fill with well rotted organic matter – compost, manure, I don’t really mind. Mix in some good soil, depending on what the tree prefers from clay to sand.
  3. Soak the ground well
  4. Put the tree in gently, try not to disturb the roots.
  5. Fill with organic matter and good soil, compacting quite well by hand as you do. You might like to add some slow release fertiliser.
  6. When staking the tree, make sure it has plenty of room to move so that it can stabilise itself by growing a strong and well balanced root system.
  7. Soak the tree really well. Keep up each day for a week, then move to a few good soaks a week with an occasional feed for the next 12 months.


Planting a tree will give you plenty of benefits. They will provide shade to your home or beds over the summer. A great centrepeice, trees draw your eye’s up rather than just across, creating another dimension to your yard and making it feel much bigger. Trees will encourage birds, bees, butterflies and ladybugs. This will help develop a small ecosystem in your yard to keep your plants and soil healthy and happy. My tree is in a windy yard so should help to break the wind to the back door and with sandy soil could help to reduce soil loss in it’s immediate surrounds. Overall, my tree should help to start a microclimate in my yard so that I can reap so much more.

Now I’ve bought one and it’s in the ground, I’m already trying to decide where I can put another! You should certainly think about putting a tree in your yard 🙂