Need help with tree identification!

semirgSeptember 8, 2013

Hi!
We moved into our home recently and we have this tree in our yard that nobody seems to know what it is! I have asked several landscapers and they don't seem to know either.
It has waxy leaves, almost like ceder trees and purple flowers that the bees love.
It's starting to grow out of control and I have no idea what to do with it! Any help would be greatly appreciated. We live in mid Michigan.
Thanks!

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semirg

Here is a close up of the leaves/flowers

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 12:58PM
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sam_md

Tamarix, likely Tamarix ramosissima. Careful, thoughtful pruning in Winter greatly helps improve the structure of these shrubs.
I kind of like Tamarix for its Summer bloom and wispy, willowy, informal effect. Flowers on new wood. Widely adaptable to soil types and tolerates strong wind.
On the down side, after blooming, not very interesting.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 1:08PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Genus is weedy in much of North America.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 2:14PM
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semirg

Thank you for your help! My husband thinks its ugly and in fact, called it a weed. I actually think its quite unique and it does provide some privacy to our deck area.

Thank you for your quick and informative responses!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 8:56PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

no such thing as careful needed with this thing in my MI garden ...

pick one or two of the tall ones.. and prune it as close to the ground as possible ...

do it every other year or so ...

its called rejuvenation pruning of a flowering shrub ...

if you want privacy for the window behind.. you surely have it.... not many other solutions based on the height.. think long and hard.. should you remove it.. because its going to be hard to find a replacement ...

as you note.. its rather unique.. in that not every single house down the street has one ...

ken

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 7:02AM
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drpraetorius(7)

You have a Tamarisk. My advice would be to kill it. Out here, Utah and most of the west, they are invasive weeds. They have taken over much of the riparian lands here and have choked out much of the native vegetation and animals. Aside from producing literally thousands of seeds a year, they have very deep tap roots, often going down over 20 feet. They will lower the ground water below where other plants cannot reach it. This reduces competition. Another way they reduce competition is by taking salts from the ground and water and secreting them from their leaves onto the ground. Over time this raises the top soil salinity and, again, reduces competition. These are very tough plants. We have had summer with no rain for three or four months, and they do not seem to have been bothered at all. Even fire will not kill them, they just grow back from the roots. They also associate will a bad crowd. Siberian Elms, Tree of Heaven, Russian Olive, you know the disreputable type.

Recently, a beetle has been imported from the Mediterranian area where these things come from. It eats only tamarisks and seems promising in at least thinning them to allow the natives to come back.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 6:04PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

drpraetorius, right on all points. I've seen it in riparian environments in Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. Terrible tree weed!
One of the nicest bonsais I've seen was a Tamarisk in pink blooms as part of the Pacific Rim Bonsai collection in Federal Way, Washington State.
Mike

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 12:44AM
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