Thursday, September 6, 2012

Gardening Daily Tips 155

FOOD CROPS . Gardening Daily Tips 155 support from the ArcaMax editors


Smoke Bush, Smoke Tree (Cotinus coggygria)


Plant type: Shrub, Tree

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5a to 8a

Height: 120" to 179"

Spread: 179" to 300"

Exposure: full sun

Bloom Color: Pink, White

Bloom Time: Early summer, Early spring, Late summer, Late spring, Mid summer, Mid spring

Leaf Color: Blue, Green

Growth Rate: slow

Moisture: uknown

Soil Condition: Acidic, Alkaline, Clay, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Slightly alkaline, Well drained

Form: Rounded

Landscape Uses:

Border, Container, Massing, Pollard, Screen, Standard, Specimen

Special Features:

Not North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms
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Q&A: Transplanting Dogwoods

Question: Could I get some tips on transplanting some native dogwoods to one of my garden beds? I have planted a sapling before but had very little success.

Answer: Late spring and summer is a really risky time to try to transplant your dogwood. The loss of roots on such a large plant is very stressful. Combine this with the heat of summer and your chances of success are very low. November would be a better time, as it would allow the tree some time to settle in and begin root growth before the onset of warm weather. When you dig the tree, get as much of the roots as possible. The more the better. Try to get a small seedling. The shock of transplanting due to loss of roots seems to be less devastating to smaller trees. Experts debate the advantage of cutting back the top, but I think that on a dogwood I would not cut the top back as they really don't like being pruned. Dig the new hole only as deep as the plant's root system, wider is okay. I wouldn't amend the soil with anything. Your native soil is fine. Don't put fertilizer in the planting hole. The plant will be trying to establish a new root system, and additional nutrients are not needed until new roots are established. Water the plant in well after planting and keep moist but not soggy this first season.

Q&A: Removing Ivy from Trees

Question: Is it harmful to a tree to have English ivy climbiing it? Many of our neighbors have ivy growing up their trees, and it looks nice, but my mom thinks the ivy will kill our tree. Will it?

Answer: Ivy can cause all kinds of problems when it is allowed to climb up tree trunks. It can hold too much moisture against the bark, leading to rot. It can cause splitting of the outer bark of the tree due to the shear force of the growing vines. If it's allow to climb up very far, it will become heavy enough to cause stress to the tree and it can act as a sail, catching wind and pulling a tree over. Add this to the potential of strangulation and girdling, and the facts indicate it is wise to remove ivy from the tree. At a minimum, cut enough ivy away to expose the flare of the trunk of the tree where it meets the ground. It would be even better to remove the ivy within several feet of the trunk. After removing the roots and cutting the vines at ground level, pull what you can from the tree. This might mean that you'll have to cut the intertwining vines and pull them off in pieces. Anything you can't reach to remove (including the disc-like pads), will eventually weather away. Don't worry too much about removing the pads -- they won't produce new plants. And, unless a piece of an ivy vine has gotten a foothold in a crevice or other moisture holding spot on the tree, the vine should die off after being cut at ground level.

Q&A: Bamboo Screen

Question: I live on the edge of a ridge. I'm 60 feet above the street with a pine-filled strip from my yard to the street right-of-way on a 45% grade. I need a good tall sound and sight barrier along the road. What about a clumping or spreading bamboo?

Answer: Bamboo can make a great screen provided you select a hardy, adapted variety. I would strongly recommend a clumping form that will be less invasive. If you want to try a spreading type, you can install a deep, strong, vertical barrier into the soil to prevent bamboo from spreading, but that might be quite a chore on your steep slope! You can check out the American Bamboo Society web site for info on types and characteristics of bamboo species and varieties: However, I think a better alternative is to plant a row of evergreen shrubs and trees, as they will not threaten an invasion and will give superior screening during the winter.

Tip: Fertilize Leeks

Give your leeks a side-dressing with a complete organic granular fertilizer to keep these heavy feeders growing well. Sprinkle the fertilizer along the row a couple of inches out from the plants, then scratch it lightly into the soil. Use about a cup for every 10 feet of row.

Tip: Shear Early-Blooming Perennials

Some early-blooming perennials, such as nepeta, will produce a second bloom in late summer if you cut them back after their spring bloom. Fertilize and keep weeds at bay, too.

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