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Help needed to identify tree species

Samc81
Budding Contributor

Help needed to identify tree species

Hi All,


Looking for some help identifying this tree. TBH it is looking a little unloved and want to understand how to look after it a bit better - ie should it be trimmed back, when, etc.

 

Any advice appreciated 

 

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MitchellMc
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Help needed to identify tree species

Hi @Samc81,

 

It appears that it is some kind of Ficus from the air roots, leaf shape and branch structure. Are the branches at the top of the tree dead? I'm aware of a few deciduous Ficus varieties, but I presume this might be die-back if you don't see it every year. If all those branches at the top are dead and easily snap off, I would say the tree is in relatively bad shape.

 

My first thought is it's suffering from a lack of water, but I'd like to call in a couple of our experienced horticulturists @Adam_W and @Noelle, for their advice.

 

Mitchell

 

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Samc81
Budding Contributor

Re: Help needed to identify tree species

Thanks Mitchell


I don’t actually remember it losing so many leaves in previous autumn/winters and the top of the canopy has look like it was struggling over the last 6 months. I use to be the only tree  in the backyard but about 18 months ago we planted Lilliplilly hedges on either side of it along the boundary and some tristaniopsis lauri nas (water gums?) on either side about 5/6 meters away - that may have contributed as it has to compete for water and nutrients now.

 

love to hear from the team on what it actual is and how we may be able to revive it 

 

Sam 

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Noelle
Super Contributor

Re: Help needed to identify tree species

Hi @Samc81 

It is a little hard to tell from your photos but it looks very much like the ficus (ornamental fig) is growing on the original tree in a parasitic or at least symbiotic relationship! The tree itself looks to be in a bad way and maybe beyond redemption but it is the host or support structure for the fig.

 

The trunk and bark of the tree are not like any ficus that I know of - and it's almost impossible to determine exactly what it is from your photos.

 

I'd start by having a close look at the green plant to see how or where it is attached to the tree and then decide whether to leave it there - if it is a climbing or twining ficus then it will eventually cover most of the existing tree framework. If you don't want either, then cut the tree off at ground level and plant something else in its place.

 

 

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Samc81
Budding Contributor

Re: Help needed to identify tree species

When the tree flowers it has red bottle bush like “flowers”. I think somebody had said in the past it was an NZ Christmas Bush/tree but the hanging roots always have known me off.

 

@Noelle does that help with identifying it? Also what would you suggest to try and save it?

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Noelle
Super Contributor

Re: Help needed to identify tree species

Hi again @Samc81 

Red bottlebrush flowers could be either NZ Christmas Bush - Metrosideros tomentosa - or the Aussie bottlebrush Callistemon sp. The trunk looks more callistemon-like to me.

I still think the aerial roots are growing from another plant that is growing on the tree.  If it is either of the two I have mentioned, they are evergreen and should not lose all their leaves over winter, although both will drop a few leaves in cooler months.

The tree looks very unwell.  Neither metrosideros or callistemon will withstand heavy pruning so cutting it back hard is not an option to rejuvenate it. In my opinion, it is probably best to remove it and replace it with another tristaniopsis or lillypilly.

 

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Samc81
Budding Contributor

Re: Help needed to identify tree species

Small update - think I’ve found the issue. small holes all around the trunk. Does anybody know if these are borer holes?

 

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MitchellMc
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Help needed to identify tree species

@Samc81,

 

They could well be borer holes and the reason why the tree is so ill.

 

Just to qualify what @Noelle mentioned before, the tree you are examining now is unfortunately dying or already dead. On this dead tree is another completely different Ficus that has opportunistically grown there. Are there any branches or leaves still alive on the original tree? It's hard to tell from your photos as the only recognisable green growth is from the parasitic Ficus. If there are any signs of life on the original tree, it would be worth discussing how you could save it. If there isn't, then you can either let the Ficus completely take over or remove them both.

 

Mitchell

 

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Samc81
Budding Contributor

Re: Help needed to identify tree species

Hi @MitchellMc 

 

I’ve had closer look and the air roots are growing from the actual original tree and all the green leaves are from the tree itself - I might have to take some more photos but I don’t think there is another plant on the tree. it seems the issue might be the borer. If there is any chance of saving it I would like to give it a go 

 

Sam 

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MitchellMc
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Help needed to identify tree species

Some more images would be helpful @Samc81

 

Many thanks.

 

Mitchell

 

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