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The Conservation District in our county in their "Beautification Tree Project" offered
a choice of thirteen ornamental trees for sale. Some were native, others included
some alien invasive species, such as Cleveland Pear and the Mimosa tree. What is the
effect of adding these trees to our landscape and neighborhoods? As good stewards
what should be recommended or omitted from planting in our communities?
In looking at the plant list I have to commend them for making some great trees available
at really good prices. Two named cultivars of red maple, the native fringe tree, dogwood
and tulip poplar, in addition to yellowwood, smoke tree, redbud and golden raintree
are great trees. It looks like they are going for trees that have some form of color,
whether from flowers or from fall foliage. The Cleveland pear fits the bill, but is
not high on my list of favorites. It is a smaller adult form of the ornamental pear
which we collectively often call Bradford, but it still can fruit and become invasive.
We have seedling callery pears coming up all over our state. The mimosa, however,
I do consider a trash tree. Many folks like them, but they often suffer from mimosa
wilt and send up seedlings, so not a good choice.
I have a smoke bush and would like to start a couple more from cuttings. How would
I do that?
Take cuttings now and see what happens. Smoke tree is not the easiest plant to root.
We like to take cuttings from woody plants in mid June through July. The new growth
has had a chance to build some stability but isn't totally woody yet. Cuttings should
be between 3-6 inches in length. I would suggest getting a large pot and filling it
with fresh, sterile potting soil or peat moss. Take twice as many cuttings as you
want to root. Dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone--Rootone, Dip'n Grow or similar
product, and then put the cuttings inside the container and put pot and all inside
a clear plastic bag. Put the bag in the shade and leave it alone. The humidity and
moisture levels should stay high. After 8 weeks, check the cuttings to see if they
have rooted. They will need to be kept in the container all winter and planted next
spring, but the plastic bag can come off if they are rooted. Good Luck.
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