P80902KThere is NO news regarding the tiny Memorial Tree in Felton Covered Bridge Park that I so frequently provide updates for. It did not do much this year. I probably already mentioned this when it was busy not doing much in spring. It is in a difficult situation, where too many dogs do what dogs do to tiny valley oaks that are busy not doing much more than trying to survive without regular watering, out in a harshly exposed island in a parking lot. Once it gets going, it should do fine. It is only slow now, but is not unhealthy. It is doing exactly what it should be doing this time of year. By late autumn, it will try to defoliate. Valley oaks are never in a rush for that.P80902K+
This angel’s trumpet is more interesting because it was seemingly deceased. As you can see, it is trying to recover . . . just in time for autumn. Unfortunately, there will not be sufficient time and warm weather for it to mature enough for the new stems to survive even a mild frost next winter. At least it will get a bit of time to recharge the roots so that it can regenerate a bit more vigorously next spring.
There is of course the possibility that it will not get frosted too severely in winter. It is somewhat sheltered by the canopies of nearby trees. We may even try to protect it under a box on the coldest nights.
Realistically though, the loss of such minor growth would not hurt it much. As it matures, it will likely lose much or most of its outer foliar growth annually each winter, and then replace it with new growth each spring. The priority for it now, or at least next spring, is to develop substantial stems that are above where ‘gardeners’ will cut it down with a weed whacker. Once it does that, it will have a relatively permanent framework of resilient trunks that it can get frosted back to.
The main problem since it was installed was not the frost, but unskilled labor with weed whackers. No matter how emphatically we explain to the ‘gardener’ that it is not a weed, his crew cuts it down a few times annually when no one is there to stop them.P80902K++
Naked ladies continue to bloom all over the region. These happen to be in the parking lot of Felton Covered Bridge Park. Several that were surplus in a neighbor’s garden were planted in the corners of the various islands. Unfortunately, because of their locations, most of their flower stalks get trampled and broken off. The picture below shows how exposed they are within an area of substantial traffic. The foliage that develops later does considerably better. It is too substantial to be trampled and ruined completely, and it gets a bit more substantial every year. However, the substantial foliage is not here yet to prevent the flower stalks from getting trampled.P80902K+++
By the way, if you think that I wrote this post because of the (former) lack of a horticulturally oriented topic for today, you are correct.

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6 thoughts on “Un-Update

  1. You make me want to rush out there and save those little plants. I would put a little fence around the two and dig up the naked ladies and replant them in my garden. How cold does it get in the winter?

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    1. This is Zone 9b or Sunset Zone 15/16. Winters are quite mild. Naked ladies are well foliated through winter, but then defoliate when the weather gets warm in summer. The blooming stalks emerge naked without foliage. The foliage develops after bloom. The bloom would last better if it came up in conjunction with the foliage. The Memorial Tree and angel’s trumpet will be safe eventually. They just happen to live in a difficult situation.

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  2. My complex has so much trouble with landscape help. Every year they trim plants in July or August after the flower buds for spring have set, so plants put in for their spring bloom…don’t. No matter how many times the landscape committee walks the head person around and he or she nods and agrees, some guy comes in with a power trimmer. And don’t get me started on the squared off nandinas. The only solution, it seems, is to have someone walking around with them the day they decide to trim.

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    1. Gads! That is part of the reason I am mostly unemployed! I could not deal with it any more. While still working, I drove by a long arbor on the side of a supermarket that was loaded with wisteria that was just showing color in spring. When I came back through at the end of the day, it had all been shorn off and taken away. There are two flowering crabapples in my neighborhood that get the same treatment annually. Just as the fat buds are about to pop, the trees get pollarded.

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    1. The valley oak is not too slow. A well watered tree in the nursery can grow five feet annually. It would need staking of course. Once in the ground, it can easily grow two or three feet annually. However, trees are much healthier if they do not continue to grow that fast once they get established. They live for centuries, and become the biggest oaks of North America, so could not keep going at that rate. I think that once the Memorial Tree gets above six feet, it will be much happier. By that time, it will have well dispersed roots. The black oaks that were planted when the Park was build had a difficult time when they were young too.

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