Sourwood

Have you ever looked up in the tree canopy to look for flowers in summer months? Some trees flower in the summer. There are fewer trees that bloom in July and August. Summer beauty can be enhanced by adding a native summer-flowering tree. Take a look at the Kentucky’s Sourwood tree Oxydendrum arboreum. These are a delight to the landscape and flower in summer. Continue reading

Why Are My Arborvitae Turning Brown?

There have been several samples of arborvitae brought in over the past few weeks. In each case, there were brown spots showing up on the shrub. I inspected the samples but could not find any evidence of disease or insect problems. This led me to think it must be something in the environment. What could have happened in the environment to cause brown spots to show up on evergreens? If you think back over the last year or two, a lot of stress has occurred in our landscapes. Continue reading

Unique Forsythia Varieties

Surely one of the most widely recognized harbingers of spring is the bright yellow blooms of forsythia. These extremely durable shrubs have graced gardens for centuries. While beautiful in bloom, these plants grow quite large and may be more plant than your landscape can handle. Fortunately, there are several lesser known types of forsythia that have a more manageable size. These varieties may require a little more effort to locate but are worth the search. Continue reading

Selecting Fast Growing Shade Trees

Trees are a valuable asset to our home landscape.  In addition to blooms, texture, and fall color, trees also help reduce energy bills by casting shade on our homes during summer.  People are often reluctant to plant large shade trees because they don’t want to wait 20 years or more to enjoy the benefit. Selecting a fast-growing tree therefore is a primary concern. However, I would urge you to read about specific trees that are sold as “fast-growing” and any maintenance problems they may have before purchasing.  Bradford Pear trees are an example of a fast-growing tree, but as most people are aware, they are very short lived, often breaking apart in storms after only 20 years of growth. Other fast-growing trees that should not be planted in home landscapes due to weak limbs or other problems include silver maple, eastern white pine, American sycamore, cottonwood, pin oak, and weeping willow. Continue reading

Plants for Tough Sites: Dry Shade

I grew up with a yard that had a slope facing east, shaded by a mature tree with miniscule amounts of good fertile soil to grow any type of plant. I have also inherited this site in my new garden.  This area is too steep to mow easily and the grass is so thin it’s mostly weeds.  I’m a gardener so I’m not opposed to removing the lawn in favor of perennials and shrubs. Continue reading