With all the rain we’ve had in the past year, it’s easy to forget the Canberra region can have prolonged periods of dry weather. It makes sense to still plant trees that are drought resistant for Canberra gardens. Lack of water is the number one stress for trees. During drought periods, you’ll save money on garden maintenance if your trees can cope with low rainfall.
Here’s a list of some of our favourite drought tolerant trees for Canberra gardens. This doesn’t mean you don’t ever need to water them – it just means they can stand up to a lack of water better than others. Always water your trees wide and deep rather than for short bursts around the trunk. We’ve also included a few trees to avoid if water is an issue in your garden.
Drought tolerant deciduous trees for the Canberra region
- Crepe Myrtle / Lagerstoemia spp. / 8mh x 6mw
- Japanese Elm / Zelkova serrata/ 18mh x 13mw
- Laurustinus / Viburnum tinus / 3mh x 3mw
- Manchurian Pear / Pyrus ussuriensis / 14mh x 12mw
- Olives / Olea species / 8mh x 8mw
- Persian Silk Tree / Albizia Julibrissin / 5mh x 4mw
- Ornamental pear / Pyrus calleryana Aristocrat / 11mh x 7mw
- Chinese Pistacio / Pistacia chinensis / 12mh x 8mw
- Honey Locust / Gleditsia triacanthos / 11mh x 8mw
- Crab apple / Malus John Downie / 5mh x 5mw
- Golden Ash / Fraxinus excelsior Aurea / 7mh x 7mw
Trees that prefer moist soil for the Canberra region
- Silver birch / Betulus pendula
- Alder / Alnus glutinosa
- River birch / Betula nigra
- Poplar / Populus tremula
- Weeping willow / Salix alba Tristis
To help your trees establish a good root system, TreeWorks recommends you water your trees for the first 12-18 months. If you water the soil right out to the tip of the widest branch you will encourage a wider root surface area. This will help trees tolerate dry periods. Unless you have a particular need to use a hardy shrub like a viburnum tinus that provides a screen, we generally recommend you select a tree that gives flowers in spring or summer, shade in summer, provides beautiful autumn colour and then loses its leaves to let the sun through in winter. Always check the size the tree will reach and the preferred conditions to save the heartache of having to remove a tree that’s not suited to the site.
Favourite tree nurseries
Below are two of our favourite nurseries we recommend for Canberra gardens because they have a great selection of healthy stock, they have knowledgeable staff who are keen to help and offer suggestions for the best tree species for your garden. Their websites are full of information on how to care for your trees.
Find out more about looking after trees in drought.
TreeWorks is a leading tree services business operating in Canberra, Monaro, and Southern Tablelands. We are a fully licensed, Evoenergy accredited & insured tree surgery company and a member of Arboriculture Australia. Our climbers are appropriately trained and some of our arborists have over 25 years experience in large scale tree surgery and removals. Call 1800 873 343 or book online for a free on-site tree health and safety inspection.