Water Gum has been widely used in inner-Melbourne streets because of its relatively small size, elegant evergreen foliage, and graceful form. In addition, it has very fine bark, usually a mix of mahogany exfoliating to cream.
In Melbourne, T. laurina will grow well on many compacted sites, as long as they have occasional summer irrigation; for establishment, we recommend weekly summer watering. In Prahran, T. laurina has been used very successfully, with only minimal pruning under powerlines.
In the wild, T. laurina grows near stream banks, and under cover of other dominant trees. In the landscape, this allows T. laurina to be used with southerly exposures, and under the canopies of deciduous trees.
Because of its restricted size and evergreen habit, Water Gum is ideally suited as a large hedging or screening plant. It is also ideal for commercial planter boxes where a tree is required.
Currently, all Tristaniopsis grown as advanced trees are seedling stock. Metropolitan Tree Growers offer three cultivars of Tristaniopsis; two cultivars of T. laurina and one of T. collina, the Mountain Watergum. These three selections were made by Michael Looker as part of his doctorate studies. These cutting-grown cultivars will be available: T. collina ‘Oliver’, originating in St Albans just north of Sydney: T. laurina ‘Isobel’, coming from the Thura River region of south-eastern Victoria, and T. laurina ‘Tonia’, a multi-clone cultivar originating from the Raymond Creek Falls in south-eastern Victoria. Both T. laurina selections are smaller-leaved than typical watergums purchased, which are normally from northern New South Wales or Queensland provenances. Dr Looker believes that smaller-leaved selections should be more drought tolerant in urban settings. Once these selections are available, complete descriptions of each will be available on our website, www.metrotrees.com.au.
Typical mature height: 8m
Useful in: streetscapes, under powerlines
Sites for best growth: well-drained-but-moist sites