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Showing posts with the label tree diary

Northern Catalpa Patio Tree - Leader Pruning and New Vertical Growth - July 2024

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The small, volunteer Northern Catalpa tree that is growing up on one corner of our patio had a three-leader situation going on in June.  Catalpas are whirl'd - which means they show growth out of three points, so having three leaders isn't surprising.  About three weeks ago, I made the decision to cut-off two of them and then forgot about it.  It didn't take long, but the small tree reacted VERY STRONGLY to the leader situation being sorted and has shot up about a foot in the past two weeks.  Here, below, is a look at the tree as it sits currently: I'll note that the peak is right above the tips of the Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses.  Looking back at September 2023 - late last Summer - this same tree was coming in a foot-or-so below the grass tips and I measured it at 41" tall. What is it now - after this growth spurt?  65" tall to the top of the foliage.  24" growth since September of 2023 - and most of it (I think) in the past couple of weeks.

Northern Glow Korean Maple Planted And Front Yard Island Bed Created - July 2024 (My 100th Tree Planted in our Yard)

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One month ago, I posted a 'Getting to Know" post about the Northern Glow Korean Maple and talked about the features of the Korean Maples (More hardy, but look like JMs and can handle sun) vs. their cousins.  I mentioned in that post that I bought the tree and brought it home.  It took me a little bit to figure out exactly where I wanted it to do - backyard, near the patio or....the front yard.   I've posted some front-yard landscaping inspiration in the past and talked about how I can transform from a traditional turf yard to include more beds and conifers.  In some of the photos, they've mixed conifers and Japanese Maples to create a screen of sorts .  I also talked about how I *start* that transformation.  Do I start down by the sidewalk?  Do I eventually want a path through the front yard (yes??) ?    I know that I won't have EVERYTHING to plant at once and the material that I buy is usually small, so it can be awkward to plant things in isolation.   I placed

Three Japanese Maples LOST - First Ghost, Inaba Shadire, Seiryu - June 2024

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It is finally time to call a couple of dead trees:  Three Japanese Maples didn't come back this Spring.  They tried - leaf'd out from the graft - but now...they are foliage-free.  Two of them are from Mr. Maple - the upright Seiryu Japanese Maple and First Ghost - back by the firepit.  Both...are now on the LOST TREES list.  The Seiryu is one that I really was keen to see grow as I planted it in the shadow of the dying Flowering Cherry Tree.  That tree died last year, and now the JM is gone, too.  That leaves a big empty opportunity for a shade-tolerant tree.    The last one was the Inaba Shadire high-grafted tree.  Below are a couple of photos showing the skeletons of these Japanese Maples.  First the Seiryu followed by First Ghost.   Sadly...these are the fourth Japanese Maples that didn't make it just this year - with the unknown laceleaf tree from the orange big box store was pulled and replaced by an Emperor 1 earlier this Spring.   I've now planted ten Japanese

Pruning A Pagoda Dogwood Tree - June 2024

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For the second growing-season in-a-row, I've pruned the small Pagoda Dogwood tree in our backyard.  Planted in Fall 2021 , this native tree has just quietly grown into something about the size of a medium-sized shrub.   It has horizontal branching, so I've been careful to prune it - while making it more tree-form while not taking too much off the tree.   Last year, I pruned back the bottom layer of branches.  Not removing branches, but just cutting them back .  This year, I'm doing the same thing - but a layer higher.  Below is the pre-pruning look at our Pagoda Dogwood tree.  The second layer is reaching out wide.   And, below is the 'after'.  I cut a segment down on each of the second-tier of branching.  Hoping for even more vertical-growth from the leader this season.  

Getting to Know Acer pseudosieboldianum 'Northern Glow' - Korean Maple - June 2024

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Over the years, I've come across Korean Maples that are hybrids with Japanese Maples.  Famously, the folks at Iseli Nursery have introduced a collection of "Jack Frost Maples" that are hybrids of Acer palmatums and Acer pseudosieboldaianum - Japanese and Korean Maples - that have been 'evaluated and selected to tolerate the dramatic weather shifts of the upper Midwest of North America.' The upper midwest?  That's us.   So, when I was at The Growing Place and came across an affordable ($174.00) Northern Glow Korean Maple, I figured it was time to come home and go into our garden.  Below is the sign from TGP that calls it a cold-hardy tree that mostly resembles the Japanese Maple parent. And, here below, is a look at the tree that is currently stashed in the island bed by our driveway.   What do people say about the Northern Glow Maple?  iTrees has this listing : Northern Glow® Maple combines the character of a Japanese Maple and the cold hardiness of a Korean

A Look At Some Backyard Conifers - Junipers, Hemlocks and Mugo Pine

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Conifers should come first.  That's advice that I've (now) adopted.  But, I'm seven-years down the gardening path and it is too late.  But...looking around, I *did* get it right - somewhat.  I planted some tiny Canadian Hemlocks, some creeping Junipers and a tiny Mugo Pine in the 'understory bed' over the years.   Below are a few photos that show how they're doing.  First, is a Youngstown Juniper amongst some hostas and a look at the bottom of one of the Hemlocks.  The juniper was planted in Fall 2019. These Hemlocks started out as 12" tall trees.  Now they're six-feet tall and growing.  Pretty great to see: Below is another creeping Juniper - that's smaller than the first.   And here, below, is the Mugo Pine.  Planted as a tiny one-gallon evergreen shrub in the Fall of 2021 .  It was ravaged by the dang rabbits, but has since rebounded - thanks to some wintertime chicken wire.  This is its third growing season in the garden and is now about 12&quo

Firefly Japanese Maple - Winter Dieback - Spring Color - May 2024

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Last year (2023), I bought three one-gallon Japanese Maples from Mr. Maple and planted them in mostly-shade spots in our backyard .  Of the three, two of them died back almost all the way to the graft.  One of them had a lot of die-back at the top, but re-emerged this Spring with enough foliage to consider it 'alive'.  That one - that survived the best - is the Firefly Japanese Maple.  Acer plamatum 'Firefly' .   Firefly has what is known as 'reticulated variegation' and that's showing this Spring. See below for a couple of photos: In that second photo, you can see the dead stems that rise above the foliage.  I'd say that more than HALF of the tree died-back, but based on the foliage, this CERTAINLY is NOT the grafted rootstock producing leaves.  This *is* Firefly.   I can't say the same thing for the Seriyu and First Ghost Japanese Maples from Mr. Maple dot com .  Despite giving them 'Five dollar holes', baby'ing them with water and see

Squirrel Nest In Tree Swing Tree - Just Started and Removed - April 2024

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This week, when I came home from work one evening, I noticed a particular active squirrel trying to gnaw-off a bunch of small branches near the bottom of the big crotche(s) on our large Northern Red Oak tree in the back that has our tree swing on it.  I observed him/her for a minute, then quickly saw them scurry back to what appeared to be an emerging/being-established nest.  It was located a couple feet-up from the crotch.  I thought about what to do.  And, decided it was best to remove the nest.  My thinking was that it IS NOT baby season.  This nest is NOT occupied - yet.  It is just being built.  My preference is for him to build it much higher in this tree or...in a different tree further back from the patio/tree swing.  So...I hauled out my ladder (a platform ladder) and used an extension pole that is supposed to be used to hang Christmas lights in high places and knocked the little nest down.  My emotions are still mixed and I'm sure that if this gets views in some folks eye

Pagoda Dogwood Spring Buds - March 2024

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I planted a small, native dogwood - a Pagoda Dogwood - that I bought at a local plant sale back in October of 2021 .   I put it back by the firepit area, in front of the Yew hedge, and left it alone for couple of years.  It was small and I wasn't sure how it was going to grow, so no pruning was done until last Summer ( June 2023) when I took back all the lower branches to just a few pairs of leaves.  The goal was to get it to focus a bit more on the taller/higher section and begin to take on a more tree-form shape (vs a shrub with low, wide branching).   I was out in the garden today taking an inventory and noticed that the Pagoda Dogwood has produced long, thin buds that are beginning to burst.  See below for the current state at the end of March 2024: This tree puts out a lovely-looking foliage - here's last Summer's view of the lined, almost-ribbed leaves that emerge out of these buds . According to the Morton Aboretum, this will eventually get up to 15' tall along

Saucer Magnolia Pink Flowers Appear - March 2024

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It is (barely) Mid-March and I'm ALREADY seeing our Saucer Magnolia tree (multi-trunk) in our front yard dotted with signs of pink petals that have begun to emerge from their wooly shells after a long Winter's nap.   What is MOST striking about this is the timing:  a full month ahead of 2023.  Here's a post from April 12, 2023 that shows the pink flowers at the same state they're currently in - photos below. 2023's bloom-time of mid-April was (mostly) in-line with historicals.  2022 saw the tree in peak-bloom in late April .   2024 - (so far) flowers emerged in mid-March 2023 - Mid-April peak-Magnolia bloom 2022 - Late-April 2022:  Peak-Magnolia at end of month 2021 - Mid-April 2021 : In bloom by mid-month (April). 2020 - Early April 2020 : Blooms began the first week of April. 2019 - The tree did NOT bloom at all. 2018 - Early May 2018 : Didn't bloom until early/mid May 2018. This tree was planted in 2017 , so this make it the eighth growing season (seven ful

SugarTyme Crabapple Leaf's Out - March 2024

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Just about a month ago (mid-February), I gave the pair of SugarTyme Crabapple trees a dormant pruning to remove some waterspouts, shorten the length of some branching and clean the two trees up .  They're being trained in espalier into (what I hope to become) a Palmette Verrier.  In looking around the yard, it appears that these two trees are the furthest ahead and have leaves opening up from the buds all along the branching.  See below for the current state of the tiny, green foliage: This *should* be the growing season when I can begin to 'turn up' the tips of a couple of these layers to begin to form the Palmette Verrier espalier shape.  If you go to this post (and scroll down), you can see what I'm thinking for shape .  Of note....these two Sugar Tyme crabapple trees are south-facing and are COMPLETELY protected from any northern cold fronts.  They're right up against the house - a white house - that reflects the sun's heat.  I suspect that the placement and

Dormant Pruning Crabapple Espalier Trees - Palmette Verrier - February 2024

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The pair of SugarTyme Crabapple trees that are planted on the southside of our house - up against the house via esapalier - are now entering their fourth growing season.  Planted in Fall 2021 , they've now been through three Winters and are beginning to be in a position to LOOK more like a tree being espalier'ed.   They flowered in their first Spring (May 2022 ) and I have SLOWLY pruned them into what I *HOPE* will be their final form:  Palmette Verrier Espalier.  That is a form that has horizontal branching that turns UP at the tips with the lowest branching being the longest.  The last time that I worked these trees was May of 2023 when I pruned/wired up the branches .     I've begun to adopt a pattern of dormant pruning on my espaliers including the Greenspire Lindens and these crabapples.   Here, below, is what they look like coming out of Winter.  These were untouched since last May: Below is a closer look at the tree on the left - closer to the back gate: And here, be