South Esk Pine (Callitris oblonga)


Callitris oblonga, commonly known as the South Esk Pine, is a slow-growing evergreen conifer endemic to Australia. It is found in small populations in two locations in New South Wales and eastern Tasmania. It is a member of the Cupressaceae family and is widely used for ornamental purposes due to its attractive foliage and unusual, twisted trunk. It is considered vulnerable and faces several threats, such as land clearing, habitat degradation, and competition with invasive species.

Tree Height and Spread: The South Esk Pine typically grows to a height of 5-10 meters and has a spread of 2-5 meters. The tree is known for its slender, pyramidal shape and narrow, upright crown. It has an unusual twisted trunk, which is often a feature that is highly prized in landscaping.

Preferred Soil Type and pH: Callitris oblonga prefers well-drained sandy, gravelly, or rocky soils. It can tolerate various soil types, including alkaline and slightly acidic soils. However, it does not do well in heavy, poorly-drained soils and prefers soil that is not too rich in nutrients. It is generally recommended that the soil pH range from 6.0 to 7.5 for optimal growth.

Climate Requirements: The South Esk Pine is a hardy tree that can tolerate various climates found in southeastern Australia but does best in cool temperate locations. It is drought-tolerant and can withstand periods of extended dryness, making it an excellent choice for cool Mediterranean climates. It can also tolerate cold temperatures and is hardy to USDA zones 8-10.

Watering and Fertilising: Callitris oblonga is a relatively low-maintenance tree for watering and fertilising. It prefers moderate moisture levels but can tolerate periods of drought once established. In general, it is recommended that the tree be watered deeply and infrequently rather than shallowly and frequently. This will help encourage deep-root growth and make the tree more resilient to drought.

When it comes to fertilising, the South Esk Pine does not require a lot of nutrients. It is essential to avoid over-fertilising, as this can lead to excessive growth and a weaker tree. A balanced, slow-release fertiliser can be applied once a year in the spring but should be used sparingly.

Pruning and Maintenance: Callitris oblonga is a slow-growing tree that does not require much pruning. However, it can benefit from occasional pruning to remove dead or damaged branches or shape the tree as desired. Pruning is best done in the winter when the tree is dormant. It is also important to avoid over-watering or over-fertilising, as this can lead to excessive growth and a weaker tree.

Pests and Diseases: The South Esk Pine is relatively pest and disease-resistant but can be susceptible to root rot if planted in soil that is too heavy or poorly drained. To prevent root rot, it is essential to plant the tree in well-drained soil and avoid over-watering. Insects such as spider mites and scale insects can occasionally infest the tree but can be controlled with regular inspections and horticultural oil or insecticidal soap.

Callitris oblonga is an attractive, low-maintenance tree well-suited to various climates and soil types. It is drought-tolerant, requires moderate levels of watering, and does not require a lot of fertiliser. Proper care and maintenance can provide many years of beauty and enjoyment in the landscape.


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