Shrubs and Trees

Clean up to prevent petal blight

When camellias complete their long bloomtime, clean up the halo of dropped flowers atop their mulch to prevent petal blight.Then rake away the old mulch, fertilize with an acidforming shrub food made for camellias, gardenias, and azaleas. Add a layer of new mulch, prune to shape if needed, and keep an eye out for scale insects.

Longlived Trees

Imagine it’s the year 2051, or whatever will be your centennial birthday. Generations of your children are gathered at the family place, the gracious home you live in now. They’ve come from near and far to honor your longevity; it’s a truly grand occasion. Now imagine the backyard scene: picnic tables heavy with your favorite foods await the partygoers, shaded by the huge tree you planted way back in 1998.

A bar for the birds?

It's one of my favorite trees, but not because I’ve heard tales of birds pleasantly crocked on late season berries in Possum Haw trees. 'They' tell me birds save the best for last, waiting until the Possom Haw’s berries (Ilex decidua) achieve fermentation to devour them. Whatever the reason, the berries persist until only they are visible across the fields against the gray of bark and sky. A hardy native tree or thicket, Possom Haw deserves more attention from folks - it gets enough from the birds!

Roses that like where we live

China roses are repeat bloomers and tolerate humidity well. Prune them only to remove dead limbs in winter. Middlesized shrubs, Chinas include ‘Mutabilis’ (flowers open yellow, turn pink, then crimson) and ‘Old Blush’ (pink).

Favorite Shrubs and Trees

So you've got a new house.  You know it's not a home 'til it's planted, but what do you plant after the sod gets laid?  Plenty of people ask us about shade trees; it goes like this: fast growing, but not weak wooded, flowers and/or fall color, deciduous, big trees, please.  Whew!  Only a computer model could really be that perfect, but here's four favorites that meet three out of four criteria.  Not bad, really.

Spireas Are For Me

From Loose Dirt Newsletter/spring 1999