Lophostemon confertus

Lophostemon confertus

Brush Box

[optinlocker]Brush Box is one of the trees performing differently in southern urban centres than it does in its near-coastal native range of northern NSW and Queensland. In Melbourne Brush Box grows to a height near 15m, producing a round-headed, elegant tree with showy bark. Many streets in suburban Melbourne have Brush Box as a base planting. Maroondah Highway in Box Hill is a good example; here Brush Box is variable in height, but produces an excellent evergreen street planting. The trees are in scale with surrounding buildings, and are narrow enough to avoid interfering with power and tram lines.

Arboriculturists believe that Brush Box is not drought tolerant in Melbourne, but trees that have been well-established on sandy loam soils seem to have tolerated the last 5 dry summers very well without additional irrigation. Possibly, the lack of drought tolerance in some sites may result from restricted root volumes of L. confertus on heavy, high-clay-fraction soils. In these soils, the trees do not grow an extensive root system and may not be able to use water from a large volume of soil.

Currently there are no selections of L. confertus available, although research undertaken by G. Williams may pinpoint better horticultural selections. There is also the potential to cutting propagate upright and higher drought tolerant forms from the significant trees from the Melbourne streetscape.

L. confertus forms a single-leader tree with little trouble in the nursery, and should form a strong, well-shaped tree in the landscape. If grown on loamy soils, and irrigated for 2 years post planting, L. confertus should be a trouble-free tree.[/optinlocker]

Typical mature height: variable, to 15m

Useful in: streetscapes, avenues

Sites for best growth: well-drained, some irrigation