Cleanup Summer Foliage


Today was one of those sick days you have to go outside and work on trees. Many of the shimpaku junipers were let grow to recover from a bad year past. Between too much heat, sun, and stress most suffered. So this year they were in grow mode to recover. However; we got some brutal heat this summer and the trees stressed out again, the good thing is that I had not cut them hard and wired them. In the heat of summer the foliage looked very tired. After the passing of the worst heat, it was time to open up the foliage, define branches and do a little restyling.

Shimpaku, Before cleanup 2017

Shimpaku, After cleanup 2017

The first project was this shimpaku. It has always suffered since I got it more than 7 years ago. The bottom branch was too weak and split; I had been trying to…

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Hurricanes: bane for birds, boon for birders

Our Fine Feathered Friends

During a program I presented on birds and birding at the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library, an attendee asked me if I knew what happens to birds in a hurricane? The question, no doubt prompted by such recent storms as Harvey and Irma, is of particular concern now that many of our favorite birds are migrating south along paths that could take them into harm’s way.

Well-known birder Kenn Kaufman shared his knowledge about birds and hurricanes when interviewed back in 2011 on the Audubon website. Among some fascinating insight he shared, Kaufman noted that the way intense storms affect birds depends on the species. He noted that a whimbrel, a large shorebird, would be more likely to fly through a major hurricane and live to tell the tale. On the other hand, such a storm would likely prove lethal for songbirds like warblers and thrushes.

To the questioner at my…

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Losing trees: Pyracantha

Nebari Bonsai

This pyracantha had a rough summer of 2016. The leaves’ veins would turn yellow on a branch, then the entire branch would die about a week later. This post details its demi-demise. First this:

Then this:

It only happened to the left side, and the right side was fine. So it went from a double trunk to a single trunk.

Symptoms list: yellowing leaf veins, followed by branch death, on one side of the tree, and bark cracks showing pink/orange fungus-like growth at times. All during the warm summer months. Well, a little too little, a little too late, I started researching the symptoms and found this little gem:

Fusarium Wilt.

From the University of California’s Website:

Fusarium wilt—Fusarium oxysporum

Fusarium wilt affects relatively few woody ornamental species but can kill certain hosts, including albizia, date, palm, hebe, and pyracantha. Most forms of Fusarium oxysporum attack only herbaceous…

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Plant of the Week ~ Betula pendula (Silver Birch)

Compassionate Roots

Betula pendula botanical artBetula pendula botanical art

This week we are taking a look at the enchanting tree ~ Betula pendula, commonly known as Silver Birch. It is truly a sight to behold with it’s striking white bark and delicate catkins in spring. The distinct triangular-shaped green leaves turn yellow in autumn before dropping to the ground to reveal the beautiful bare trunks of white throughout winter. Sometimes referred to as ‘The Lady of the Wood’, in Celtic mythology, silver birch symbolises renewal and purification.

Cultivation & Care

Betula pendula catkinsBetula pendula catkins

Silver birches are a very easy to grow plant, tolerant of most soils including heavy clay, sandy and nutrient poor soils. Well-drained, loamy soil in a sunny position is ideal, but birches are very adaptable. They will tolerate windy locations, however strong winds will cause the tree to be wind shaped as it grows.

Interesting Facts

  • Known as a pioneer species…

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Selecting material for bonsai part III (Looking for bargains)

Taiga Bonzai

In the articles Collecting material for BonsaiI and IIdiscussions on how and where to find potential material included. Unwanted plants from gardens, waste sites, areas designated for development, roadside ditches and of course the wild all of which require permission to obtain. Other sources are arboretums, which are great places to visit, but due to their vast acreage one needs the minimum of a day to see the vast variety of species. In addition, there are usually plants for sale that can be had for pennies such as this Balkan Chestnut Aesculus hippocastanum acquired for 4€. Obviously it has a long way to go before having any potential as a bonsai, but time and patience is the watchword.

Balkan chestnut. Turku

The garden centre – In spring garden centres start receiving new stock, a vast variety of flora ranging from ‘common-every-day plants’ to the exotic. Where according to some experts one…

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Selecting material for bonsai part III (Looking for bargains – update)

Taiga Bonzai

As stated in the article posted August 3rd 2017 now is the time when the local nurseries or garden centres start selling their stock at reduced prices and thus many bargains can be had quite cheaply. Although a proportion of trees and shrubs will show signs of fatigue, hidden amongst them one can find some good specimens for example, the White spruce Picea abies (syn alba) discussed in the last post August 6th 2017. Here is another specimen a Ginkgo biloba commonly known as the ‘Maiden hair’ tree or 白果 (bái guǒ), ‘white fruit’, and 銀杏 (yínxìng), or ‘silver apricot’. Original price 35€ sale price 17,50€.

Ginkgo on sale

Hidden in this mass of foliage somewhere there is a potential bonsai waiting to reveal itself – I just had to find it. But first my apologies I forgot to video the work nonetheless, here is a written explanation of the process, which should…

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