Recycling can be a bad habit. We accumulate more material here than we can use back out in the landscapes. Some gets shared with friends and neighbors. Of these six, all but the Agave (#4) grew from seed, so are not cultivars. Although the Agave grows from genetically identical pups, no one know what species it is! Fortunately, around here, we are not too discriminating.

1. Liquidambar styraciflua, after pruning to compensate for severed roots, has only a few twiggy branches, but is more than sixteen feet tall! What a homely sweetgum! Was it worth recycling?

2. Liquidambar styraciflua grew from seed where it could not stay. It is twice as tall as the eight foot bed of the pickup is long. The roots are now contained in a squatty #15 (fifteen gallon) can.

3. Cornus florida, flowering dogwood, was significantly more prolific with seed than the sweetgum. We wanted to recycle just a few seedlings, but got eighty four. Each cell contains a seedling.

4. Agave of an unknown species was removed from one of the landscapes a few years ago, but has been trying to regenerate since then. We dig and can the pups, but cannot give them all away.

5. Phoenix dactylifera, date palm, grew from seed in a compost pile. There are about seven of them. It is impossible to predict which will be female, or what the quality of their fruit will be like.

6. Acer platanoides, Norway maple, might be invasive, even here. A few that grew from seed in one of the landscapes were therefore removed, but not discarded. I used them as understock for the much more desirable and noninvasive ‘Schwedler’ cultivar last year. The scions, which are above the yellow tie, did not take. I must now try again, or pollard them so they produce no seed.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:


14 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: More Bad Recycling

    1. The first and the second are the same. The first picture is looking up the trunk after the tree was canned. It really looks silly. If it ever gets planted, I do not know how it will stand up. I may just pollard or coppice it. I only need the roots to stay viable for that.

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    1. I did not grow these intentionally. They just show up within the landscapes. I do not know if Cornus florida will come true from seed, but will find out. There are a few that grew from seed in the landscapes, and they are quite pretty, in either pink or white. I have no idea how they resemble their parents, since I do not know who their parents were.


  1. I am perplexed by anyone growing Sweetgums? Southerners consider it a trash tree. Wonderful luck with the Cornus, a friend in Georgia is trying to grow a disease resistant one as a blight is killing the native Dogwoods there. I also cannot throw away seedlings, though I will confess to yanking all the Agave out with my Jeep as I could not deal with the thorns. Do the Date Palms have thorns like P.roebellini?

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    1. Sweetgums are easier to accommodate here because there is so much forest, and their color contrasts very nicely with the deep green of the redwoods. I just do not like them much in the landscaped areas. I prefer to put them just outside of the landscaped areas, but not too far into the forests. If they drop limbs, they just fall out in the forest or down into the canyon, where they do not hurt anything. They were a common street tree in the Santa Clara Valley, but they damage pavement, drop limbs, and drop those nasty maces that are impossible to walk on. They were only popular because they are one of the few trees that reliably develop fall color in mild climates.
      Dogwoods are uncommon in most parts of California because they do not like aridity. However, they are happy here, just outside of the chaparral climate of the Santa Clara Valley. They would not be so happy just a few miles away.
      Date palms are very similar to Phoenix roebellini, but their thorns are much bigger and more dangerous! Phoenix canariensis has the worst thorns!

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    1. Oh, that sad sweetgum! I did not want to remove it, but it was in such a crowded situation, and too close to buildings. The ground is so congested with redwood roots that the sweetgum roots were spread out over the surface. I just sort of peeled it off, and cut the long roots. The trunk is SO tall and bare that it would look silly in a landscape. I could pollard it, but will more likely put down an embankment of one of the canyons. We engage in quite a bit of ‘off the edge gardening’ here. If I put it ten feet or so below one of the trails, the canopy will be right where it should be, and the colorful foliage is so pretty against a backdrop of dark forest green.


    1. How did you get seedlings if . . . ? Well, anyway, I did not grow these seedlings intentionally. I just pulled them from under dogwood trees. I really do not know what they will grow into, or if they perform as reliably as the parents. There are a few that grew from seed out in the landscapes, and they perform as well as cultivars. I just do not expect any of the ‘odd’ characteristics, such as variegated foliage, or rich brick red bloom. I expect more of the common pink or white bloom like those in the wild.


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