Little by little we are adding species cards to our list (which we hope to fill one day). Today we give way to a gardening giant, and we almost have to stand up to just talk about the casuarina, an Australian tree very common in tropical and subtropical regions.
Suitable for your garden? Let’s find out with this grow guide.
CASUARINA GROW GUIDE
We are going to start by commenting a little on some things of interest in relation to cauarine . This is a genus of trees and shrubs that has its origin in Pacific islands or also in Australia . In fact, this tree can also be known as Australian pine, female oak, ironwood, etc.
It belongs to the Caruarinaceae family that make up a total of about 70 species (a small family), and in the specific case of the Casuarina that we are going to talk about, it is scientifically known as Casuarina equisetifolia.
The Casuarina is an eminently ornamental tree , and is very similar in shape to a conifer. In fact, in some countries where this tree stands out, Christmas balls and lights are usually hung on it (like what we do here with a Fir Tree). It also has timber purposes, as it has a high quality wood, from which furniture and boats can be made.
CLIMATIC CHARACTERISTICS OF CASUARINA
We start from the basis that the Casuarina is a tree that grows in tropical (Pacific islands) or subtropical areas, with temperatures that are generally ideal. That is, a range of temperatures ranging from 10ºC to 33ºC . We have to say as an important fact that it is not very resistant to frost (no matter how coniferous it may seem in its appearance), so this is a decisive factor to know whether or not we can plant it in our garden.
CHOOSING THE BEST SOIL FOR YOUR PLANTATION
In relation to the quality of the soils, Casuarina gives us great respite knowing that it is not demanding on a specific type of soil. It is allowed to grow both in limestone soils (up to 9.5) and in those that are slightly acidic. It even grows in coastal climates (Pacific islands, no matter how much we repeat ourselves 😉).
It has been found that the growth of the Casuarina is improved when we remove the soil (we plow it with a machine or with the hoe) just before transplanting the tree. Thus the roots have greater movement and develop earlier.
IRRIGATION AND FERTILIZER NEEDS
Speaking of irrigation, the Casuarina is a tree that withstands dry seasons quite well. Especially in the first years of life we have to be generous with watering, and we can reduce it as the tree grows.
As for the fertilizer, it can be done using organic fertilizers (compost or manure) or mineral fertilizers. Casuarina has nitrogen fixers in its roots, so the application needs of this mineral are considerably reduced. While we prepare the ground we can make a kind of deep terrace for a tree , in which we will add a good amount of organic fertilizer and mix with the earth.
As for mineral fertilizers, the best ones are NPK, for example in an amount of 10-30-10.
MULTIPLICATION BY SEEDS
The Casuarina is a species that produces many seeds every year. If we want to see our tree grow from the beginning (it has a fairly rapid growth), we can plant these seeds in a pot indoors or in a greenhouse in the spring season (March to May).
It is important to plant quickly once we collect the Casuarina seeds since they lose their viability in a short time (a few months), although this time can be lengthened if we control the temperature (around 0 ºC).
It usually has a medium germination power (around 50%) and they germinate in a short time, around 2 weeks if the temperatures are good (that is why we have said about indoor conditions).
What temperature is necessary for its germination?
Well, they are high temperatures, indoors, around 25 ºC and a maximum of 30 ºC. It also comes in handy if during germination the container with the planted seeds is placed in a light area (next to a window).