Northern Catalpa Two-Year-Old Seedling - September 2023

We have a few large, mature Northern Catalpa trees in our yard that I've really grown to appreciate over the years.  They're native trees that have H U G E leaves, put out a really nice set of interesting, white flower blooms on the trees in early Summer, and have a little Fall-show in them with a turn to golden yellow before dropping their large leaves.  They leave behind long, lean seed pods that I've tried to grow into seedlings, but I don't think that I've ever successfully sowed a Northern Catalpa tree on my own.

But...they also produce quite a few volunteer trees.   In the Fall of 2022, I dug up and transplanted one of those volunteer seedlings and moved it into the little, corner bed of our back patio; tucked in between the Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses.  I watered it to get it established and then left it alone. 

Two years later, what does that little volunteer (transplanted) tree look like?  See below for the current state of the tree.  It has grown up and put on some size:

Northern Catalpa Seedling Identification - Zone 5B

A closer look reveals a branching characteristic that confirms (for me) that these are, indeed, Northern Catalpa trees: whorls of three.  Here, below are a few shots showing those 'whorls of three' on this Northern Catalpa seedling.  First...from the top-down showing the latest whorl-of-three peeking out of the apical meristem or leader.  Then, a look under the canopy showing that Northern Catalpa tree triple-branching:

Northern Catalpa Seedling Identification - Zone 5B

Northern Catalpa Seedling Identification - whorls of three

I haven't measured the caliper of this tree (yet), but I now have a height measure:  see below for a photo showing 42" height on this young, native tree seedling:

This is a two-year-old seedling, so you can expect a 3-to-4-foot-tall Catalpa tree after just two growing seasons.  Based on this post on Houzz, I'm seeing the same growth rate that others have in that same two-year span.  

The location of this tree is right on the corner of our patio and is a place that I've been thinking of having a tree tucked-in for a number of years.  Will it provide some shade on the patio in the next few years?  Nope.  But, in ten?  I'm guessing so.   

I've long thought about the concept of miegakure - or 'hide and reveal' as it relates to our backyard.  Along with a pond/waterfall/water feature around the patio, creating some sort of a 'room' around our patio with plantings would help pay off that notion of miegakure.  This Catalpa tree - as it matures - might be a key piece of the puzzle.  

One other note - this tree (a 2-year-old Northern Catalpa tree) is NOT on my list of 'trees planted'.  But, I think it should be, thus, I'm editing my list below.  The most-recent tree that I planted this year was the Inaba Shadire Japanese Maple.   For record-keeping purposes, I'm putting this on the 2023 list, but it was actually transplanted in 2021.   Here's the recap/standing:

2023 marks my seventh tree-planting season.

This is now the twelfth tree planted (yes...calling this planted despite it being a volunteer) of the year and 89 overall.  12 is the average I've maintained over the years.

We (now) have 63 of 89 trees that we've planted.   70% success rate over seven years.  

89 trees planted/7 growing seasons = 12.71 trees on average planted each season
63 trees alive/7 growing seasons = 9.00 trees on average survive each season.

Here's the full accounting:

2017 (9 planted. 4 Dead. 5 of the original annual total alive now):
1. Flowering Pear in backyard on north side.
2. Flowering Pear in front yard by garage. (LOST and replaced)
3. Japanese flowering cherry
4 and 5: 2 Lindens that I espalier'd and placed by the south fence line near our kitchen windows.
6. A Dawn Redwood from Earth Day 2017 (LOST and replaced)
7. Nat's Saucer Magnolia in our front yard
8. A Corkscrew Willow all the way in the back (LOST)
9. A Crimson King Norway Maple near the trampoline

2018 (17 planted. 6 Dead):
10. Another flowering pear from Earth Day 2018
11. Red Maple Sun Valley tree from Earth Day 2018.
12. Weeping Cedar tree - our first evergreen.  (LOST)
13. The weeping flowering cherry tree that the Babe planted for Earth Day 2018.
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. These Frans Fontaine Hornbeams
22. A replacement Chanticleer Pear tree (3" caliper) out front by our garage
23. Our second evergreen - a short Fraser Fir Christmas Tree out by the trampoline. (LOST)
24. This Canadian Hemlock that is the first of nine that our landscape plan calls for in the backyard. (LOST)
25. Our replanted/replacement Dawn Redwood. Same spot as the first.
26. This teeny-tiny Bald Cypress that I planted in the front yard, in between our driveway and our neighbor to the north.

2019 (9 planted.  5 Dead):
27, 28, 29.  A set of three small Canadian Hemlock Trees in our far backyard. (Two Lost)
30, 31, 32.  This second set of three small Canadian Hemlocks along the north fence line. (One Lost)
33.  My new Weeping White Spruce that will only grow about 4' wide placed near the fence line alongside the espalier'd Lindens.
34.  A NEW Dwarf Alberta Spruce planted near the south fence line.  Our first "dwarf" tree.
35.  This new Hakuro Nishiki Willow (Dappled Willow) tree planted close to the flowering cherry on the southside.  LOST - October 2020.

37.  A very thin Lombardy Poplar tree - columnar form - in the way back wood chip area.  LOST - July 2020.
38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45.  These apple trees in a Belgian Fence espalier.
46.  A small Northern Red Oak tree - our first Oak tree planted.
47.  A 'decapitated' Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud that I planted on a whim.
48.  A replacement (from the nursery) Lavender Twist Redbud planted close to the brother.
49.  A tall(ish) London Plane tree that suffered some transplant and frost shock, but seemed to recover. 
50.  Our second contorted tree - this one inspired by Disneyland Paris: a Harry Lauder's Walking Stick tree.
51.  Our third contorted tree - but one that checks A LOT of boxes.  Deciduous conifer.  Weeping.  Contorted.  Japanese.  Planted behind the front Maple - the Horstmann's Recursive Weeping Contorted Larch.  LOST - Aug 2020.
52.  Via the Morton Arboretum Plant Sale - a columnar tree from Japan - the Red Fox Katsura Tree that I planted as an understory tree to the dying Chanticleer Pear Tree next to our driveway. 

2021 (16 planted and 13 alive):
53.  A tiny bareroot Shagbark Hickory from the Benet Academy Environmental Club planted in the backyard.   LOST - May 2023
54.  Our first Japanese Maple - a dwarf Tamukeyama Maple planted in the south backyard bed LOST - May 2023
55.  A large Weeping Nootka Falsecypress from Wannemaker's planted in the new bed on the northside. 
56.  A long-sought-after Emperor I Japanese Maple - our second Japanese Maple - that is now planted on the border near our new-to-be-created fire pit area in the backyard. 
59.  A dwarf Japanese White Pine - Pinus Parviflora Nana (or perhaps something else).  LOST 2022.
64.  A second, tiny Ginko tree - this was a replacement for #62 - planted 'ib2dw'.
65.  A small - and ALL Green - Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) planted in front of the back Yews.
66. 67. 68.  A trio of London Planetree 'Bloodgood' trees that are planted along the fence that I'm going to attempt to pleach.

2022 (9 planted and 7 alive):
69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. Six Green Giant Thujas trees planted as an upright evergreen layer in the backyard. Thuja standishii plicata. TWO LOST.  May 2023.
75. A small Saratoga Ginko tree planted in our front yard by the front walk.
76.  A London Planetree Exclamation planted in our parkway.  A bandit tree of sorts.

2023 (12 planted1 and 12 alive):
78.  Small, Columnar Scotch Pine from Home Depot in early Spring 2023. 
79 and 80.  Dwarf "witches broom" Ginkgo trees - Spring Grove - planted on either side of our back stoop.  
83.  A small, but upright red lace-leaf Japanese Maple - Unknown variety planted amongst the hostas on the north side understory bed.
85.  The second of three trees from Mr. Maple - another one-gallon Japanese Maple:  Acer palmatum 'First Ghost' back by the firepit.
87.  Silver Maple Volunteer Seedling in Kitchen Window Border, behind the Astilbes.  
88.  A high-grafted (5#) Acer palmatum Inaba Shadire planted by the wine barrel water spitter in the backyard.
89.  This two-year-old Northern Catalpa volunteer that is on the corner of our patio.



1. [This says 'planted', but there are two volunteers on here that aren't 'technically' planted in 2023, I just counted them in 2023.]

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