Monday, June 15, 2009

Shade Trees and Locusts

How is spring progressing in your part of the world? Have you taken time to notice? Black Locusts are finishing up their blossoming time and perfuming the local atmosphere. They really put on a show this year, and were hard to ignore along the roadsides.

Some of you even called to ask what the trees were and if Piala’s sold them. We do not sell them, mainly for the reason that all those fragrant flowers produce seeds, and most people do not want their lawns covered in Black Locust pods. They are also somewhat thorny, so that detracts from their appeal as well.

Since most plants are seriously engaged in growing right now, my overtures in past weeks to moving field grown trees is no longer valid. If you procrastinated this long, you will have to wait until fall now. However, all is not lost. Many nurseries carry a nice supply of heeled in stock, i.e. larger trees that were dug during dormancy and have a root ball attached. The root ball is wrapped in burlap or wire mesh and then covered with wood chips or some other mulch. Hence the plant can still be moved relatively safely at this time of year.

Piala’s has a surprising array of plants in this category (referred to B&B, balled and burlapped), as well as smaller specimens growing in containers. So if the urge hits you to put in a tree this summer, you can indulge yourself.

Instant shade!

One area of potential concern I have been noticing too frequently this year relates to the use of wood chips (colored types) and shredded bark. As the mulch decomposes, more needs to be added to keep the planting beds looking nice. That is fine (and necessary), but occasionally some of the older, underlying material must be removed, or the build up becomes excessively thick.

The problem with excessive build up is that insects and rodents can begin to take up residence within the mulch, and wreak havoc on the plants. Later in the summer, the excessive mulch build up can serve as a reservoir for fungal diseases. As a result of those infestations, you might find yourself using more pesticides than in the past. That costs money, and takes more time away from other summer pursuits you’d rather be doing. Be aware, and save yourself headaches down the road. Talk to you again.

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