Needle-leaved Totara (Podocarpus acutifolius)


Podocarpus acutifolius, commonly known as the Needle-leaved Totara or the Westland Totara, is a distinctive evergreen conifer that belongs to the Podocarpaceae family. Originating from the western coastal areas of the South Island of New Zealand, this shrub-small tree boasts an elegant form, needle-like leaves, and an ability to thrive in various environmental conditions.

The Westland Totara is a small tree to shrub-sized conifer typically ranging from 1 to 2.5 metres, reaching 8 to 15 meters in its native range. It has a compact, upward growth habit, creating a well-defined, low-form structure. The spread of the is generally proportional to its height, contributing to its balanced appearance. The size makes it suitable for various landscapes, ranging from rockeries to small yards, gardens, parks, and larger green spaces.

The Needle-leaved Totara is adaptable to various soil types but thrives in well-drained soils with good moisture retention. While it can tolerate multiple soil textures, including loamy and sandy soils, it performs best when rich in organic matter. Adequate drainage is essential to prevent waterlogged conditions, which can harm the roots.

In terms of pH, Podocarpus acutifolius prefers slightly acidic to neutral soils. A pH range of 5.5 to 7.0 is generally suitable for optimal growth. Regularly testing the soil pH can help ensure the tree is planted in conditions that support its health and vitality.

This Totara species is well-suited to cool temperate and mountainous climates. It thrives in areas with cool to mild temperatures, making it suitable for regions with diverse seasonal variations. While it is not particularly frost-tolerant, it can withstand occasional cold spells, especially when established.

This species prefers partial to full sun. It can tolerate some shade, but exposure to direct sunlight is generally beneficial for its growth and overall form. Providing the tree with at least 4 to 6 hours of daylight each day promotes optimal photosynthesis and encourages a dense, healthy canopy.

Proper watering is crucial during the establishment phase of Podocarpus acutifolius. The soil should be kept consistently moist but not waterlogged. Once the tree is established, it becomes moderately drought-tolerant, although regular watering during dry spells is beneficial.

Fertilisation is generally not required in well-nourished soils. However, in nutrient-poor soils or when growth appears slow, a balanced, slow-release fertiliser can be applied in spring. Be cautious not to over-fertilise, as conifers like Podocarpus acutifolius are sensitive to excessive nutrient levels.

The Needle-leaved Totara typically requires minimal pruning. Its natural form is well-balanced, and the branches are usually spaced evenly along the trunk. Pruning can be limited to removing dead, damaged, or diseased branches as needed. This is best done during the dormant season in late winter or early spring to minimise stress on the tree.

It is highly valued for its ornamental qualities and is commonly planted as a specimen tree in gardens, parks, and arboretums. Its elegant form, needle-like leaves, and moderate size make it an excellent choice for various landscape designs. Additionally, Podocarpus acutifolius is known for its adaptability to coastal and inland environments, adding to its versatility in landscaping.

Podocarpus acutifolius, the Needle-leaved Totara, is a striking evergreen conifer that brings beauty and structure to various landscapes. Its preferred growing conditions include well-drained soil, regular moisture, and partial to total sun exposure. Whether used as a standalone specimen or incorporated into a larger garden design, this Podocarp species is a valuable addition that combines aesthetic appeal with adaptability.

In stock

Weight 3 kg
Dimensions 100 × 20 × 20 cm
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1 to 2 metres, 2 to 4 metres, 4 to 6 metres, 6 to 8 metres

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1 to 2 metres, 2 to 3 metres, 3 to 4 metres

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