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I dream of Trees...

Posted by christinmk z5b eastern WA (My Page) on
Wed, Nov 13, 13 at 15:40

Well on my other 'Kryptonite' post several members (Kato, GreatPlains, PM2, and Doug) commented about wishing they had the space so they dabble in the wonderful world of trees.

I totally agree with you guys. If land were unlimited I would no doubt go bonkers and start a small arboretum, LOL. Not to mention the dangerous world of evergreen/conifer collecting...

If truth be told, until recent years I've never been "into" trees. Maybe it's because I have zero room for any, so I naturally didn't pay them much attention until I had to deal with them more at work. Now I have a greater appreciation for them...and a dream list of course. ;-)

So if you had the space what trees would you plant?

Definitely some Liriodendron (there is a variegated form!!), Ginkgo, and a Pagoda dogwood. And maybe a few variegated pagoda dogwoods ;-) Tons of different Liquidambars (maybe a lane of 'Slender Silhouette'!), and a paperbark maple, and perhaps a Stewartia and Halesia. Must have a Laburnum, Heptacodium, Chionanthus, and Paulownia. Love me some Aesculus Pavia! I fell in love with that chestnut after seeing Susans!

And a tricolor beech if they weren't such aphid magnets.

Witch Hazels and Corylopsis! Not technically trees, but you get where I'm going with this, lol.

I've got a feeling all these trees would help fuel my shade plant/woodland plant addiction too ;-]

For those members that DO have the space and have started planting trees, what were some of your first purchases? What are now some of the jewels of your collection? Do you keep your trees separate from your perennial beds, or design with both?
CMK


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I dream of Trees...

CMK, I think I’ve always loved trees as long as I can remember. It’s funny, one of my kids really is crazy about trees too. I have very specific memories of trees that I’ve enjoyed at one time or another. A route I used to drive home to another house we lived in had birch trees through one section that would look amazing covered with snow and ice crystals in the winter. My parents used to drive to work along a street that was lined with Maples that were old and formed a canopy over the street for about a mile and I would love to drive there especially in the spring when the new growth was just out and look up at the sun coming through the canopies. It was magical to me at that age.

We were in Boston recently and in one neighborhood they had a number of Ginkgo trees, that were so pretty, the shape of them was exceptional and of course, this time of year, the color was wonderful. It was at night and they were all lit up from surrounding lights. A real delight.

When I was in my twenties I had a series of gardening books from Time Life and they had a volume on Trees and it was very well worn, even when I had no opportunity in sight to grow any of them and I still don't. (g)

Actually, I can’t think of a tree that I don’t like, there’s just so many that I love. Sugar Maples are a favorite. I just saw a Liquidambar at a nursery with gorgeous red/orange fall color with the straightest, prettiest color trunk. Flowering trees, naturally, anything that flowers, magnolias, yellows especially, cherries, crabapples. Halesias are so delicate, I love them. And evergreens, love them.

Here in Massachusetts, we have the Arnold Arboretum and they have a wonderful collection of old trees.

Someone was saying how much they love beeches on the other thread and it reminded me of this photo of what I believe is an amazing beech, that my son took when he was walking his dog one day. I don't think he would mind if I posted it.


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RE: I dream of Trees...

PM2, if my beech trees get that big everything else is going to have to go! I planted 2 beeches in my backyard knowing that someday they would take over but I'll probably be long gone by then.....

Christin, I love trees as you know. Hard to pick a favorite since they all have such great qualities. I really enjoy all my Japanese maples, paperbark maple and triflorum (ok, my ipad wanted to correct that to trifle rum!). The foliage is great, bark and form. Tough to beat. But, I wouldn't be without my larch, dogwoods, white birch grove, stewartia, yes, love the aesculus pavia and I wish more nurseries would stock this wonderful small tree, heptacodium, blue spruce, fir, oaks, fringe tree, sinocalycanthus which I'm growing as a small tree, love my line of 'Leonard Messel' magnolias, sassafras, I'm excited for when my evodia will be mature enough to bloom since it's a late-bloomer and the bees will love it, there were 4 squirrels up the hawthorn yesterday stuffing themselves. That tree in bloom is alive with bees and insects and you can't even hear yourself think next to it. I have lots and lots of other little trees that I'm waiting patiently for ( not one of my finer attributes when it comes to gardening....I want instant gratification, but trees do tend to make one wait!)

I could extol the virtues of all the trees I've listed above, and I know I've left a lot out that I have, but this post wouldn't end! I think many gardeners should make room even for one or two small interesting trees. I have mine planted in amongst the beds. But....depending on the tree you have to plan the bed design and plant all the perennials at the same time so all the roots can just intertwine and fight it out. I have a few spots that I really am ready to fill in with perennials but the tree roots are too dense and I don't want to do much damage to them.

Ahhhhh.......trees!!!


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RE: I dream of Trees...

One of the first seeds I winter sowed after stumbling across the GW Winter Sowing forum was ornamental dogwood--Cornus kousa. A dozen or more trees lined the brick path that connected the parking lot to the office building where I worked. I didn't even know what type of trees they were but I harvested the raspberry-red, Sputnik-shaped fruits, extracted & dried the seeds, then sowed them in moistened potting mix in recycled containers. The trees are now as tall as I am and are growing in my neighbors' garden. In my exuberance that the seeds sprouted & grew, I gave away all the seedlings. :-(

The Gifford Pinchot Sycamore tree in Simsbury, CT is a landmark that's hard to miss as you cross the Farmington River. The tree is ancient, enormous and grows just beside the bridge (see link). I passed by it daily on my way to and from the office where I worked (and where I harvested the Kousa dogwood seeds I winter sowed).

Initially skeptical, my neighbor (a Vermont farmer) howled with laughter at my winter sowing efforts the first year but brought me recycled milk jugs from the town landfill once a week. I'm sure he gleefully anticipated my utter failure. As a result of his deliveries, I winter sowed 500+ milk jugs of perennials, shrubs & trees.

Once April rolled around and he saw the results, it didn't surprise me to find an envelope stuffed in my kitchen storm door when I arrived home from work one afternoon the following autumn. Written on the envelope was this request: "Please grow these for me." Inside the envelope were 4 apple tree & 10 pear tree seeds from his family's Vermont farm. The following Spring I gave him 4 apple & 10 pear tree seedlings. Those trees are now growing in his orchard.

I incorporated a Leonard Messel magnolia into the plan when designing my free-form/French curve butterfly bed back in 2006--bought it from Bluestone Perennials. I'm not a skilled designer but it made sense to me when designing my garden beds to include vertical accents.

I'm content with the trees my folks planted here a quarter century ago--dogwoods, blue spruce, crabapple--as well as the ginormous oaks that were growing here when I was a child so I feel no burning need to plant more at this juncture--merely an appreciation for those that endure despite adverse severe weather events.

CMK - as usual, a thought-provoking question/thread. Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Gifford Pinchot Sycamore


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RE: I dream of Trees...

thyme2, how could I have forgotten Japanese Maples? I'm sure I could fill up a whole garden with nothing but those. I saw a photo of your Larch on a post recently and I would have to add that to my list of trees to have.

garden weed, that is quite a story. I love Winter Sowing stories and trees and shrubs have to be pretty exciting. Just such a feeling of accomplishment to be looking at a 15ft tree that you started from a seed. Interesting link to the Sycamore in CT, thanks.


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RE: I dream of Trees...

Currently I don't have the overhead space for a tree. Since the neighbors to the west and east both have large trees I try to keep what sky is still available to me open so little trees are all I can consider.

The Quercus turbinella I mentioned grows slowly into a shrub to about 6ft tall on average. I completely fell in love with those thick light blue holly-like leaves and since its a live oak, its also evergreen. You can train it into a small patio sized tree or leave it in its natural shrub form which is what I would do.

Two years ago I bought an unnamed Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) tree on super sale because you can grow sun loving plants underneath these and they bloom all summer. It was an unnamed variety but unfortunately it looks kind of wild, unlike the many nicer shaped, heavy blooming cultivars offered. The reason I mention it is because the leaves emit an overpowering smell like rose scented potpourii and it scents my whole front yard during the day and evening. People walking by often comment on it. With this surprising asset, I decided I don't care that its not a heavy bloomer or one of the pretty ones. No one I have asked has any idea why the leaves are fragrant, that is not typical and there is nothing online about this. Its got only one seedpod so I'm planting some seed and I am trying to root a couple branches to make more of them. The fragrance is just unreal nice and so odd.

One day we might buy a bigger lot so with that dream in mind, I planted 20 acorns from a stately Live Oak up the street two years ago. These are such a clean beautiful trees, fully evergreen and we are just barely within its growing range if we get acorns from an Oklahoma type. Only 2 came up and I have been babying them along in pots just in case. I winter sowed these and as prairiemoon said, it felt like an accomplishment to do that. I learned that with Oaks, you have to use fresh acorns soon after they drop so if there are no trees growing close by, its difficult.

If I had more space I'd plant mostly low growing, airy trees: Honey Mesquite, Mimosa borealis (Fragrant Mimosa), Catclaw Acacia (the only hardy Acacia in zone 7) more Desert Willows, Pinon Pine, New Mexico Plum, New Mexico Locust and Grey Oak in the background. I'd add lots of shrubs along with these and I could make a very long list of those.

This is hard to just dream about, I want to do this like crazy. Ouch!

Chilopsis linearis (Desert Willow)

This post was edited by GreatPlains1 on Wed, Nov 13, 13 at 23:58


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prairiemoon, That Beech tree is unreal. I don't think they grow down here its sort of an unknown type to me and I never hear that name.

I have only seen two Ginkos around here although there are probably more. One was a very large one in my sister's front yard in a house they no longer live in, it was old and gorgeous.


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Beech trees and Gingkos eventually get pretty large, so even we don't see them all that often because they don't fit on most people's property. I think the Northeast and the Midwest have a lot of differences but each has something unique and special.


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RE: I dream of Trees...

Stop it CMK i.e. I should be doing other stuff but I love reading these posts!

As I have mentioned too often I so love any of the Fagaceae family i.e. beech (especially Fagus sylvatica (Copper Beech)).

And every so often I come across that rare American Elm...so inspiring these huge trees.

Given that housing developments for the past many years and continuing have significantly smaller footprints, one is less likely to purchase any of these stately trees for planting and this has a domino effect in that wholesale nurseries are less likely to grow them.

Our property is small but I could not hold off any longer and so in the past 12 months I put in 4 Japanese Maples. They are all very slow growing and so I will likely, hopefully, be quite along in years before I need to worry about any size issues.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Dream Tree

This post was edited by rouge21 on Thu, Nov 14, 13 at 18:38


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RE: I dream of Trees...

-PM2, I think you found the Keebler Elf tree house, LOL. That thing is gargantuan!

-Susan, you do a good job in incorporating trees in your landscape too- not just popping them here and there at random! Maybe when you have time you can share a few pics of your favorites? Especially that Sinocalycanthus/maple/fringe tree combo!

That Chilopsis is gorgeous. Such large flowers too...

-Doug, sorry ;-D I've been off work for a little over a week and already I feel the rustlings of cabin fever brewing! You guys are going to play a key role in keeping me sane over winter I feel, LOL!!
CMK

This post was edited by christinmk on Thu, Nov 14, 13 at 14:35


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RE: I dream of Trees...

We had a beautiful mature Red Japanese Maple that we planted in the mid 90's. It grew slowly for the first several years but it did reach a significant height, as tall as the second story window, and fairly wide. The problem was all the leaves on top would turn crisp and bronze colored each summer even planted on the east side in a.m. sun. An ice storm damaged it and then two years of drought and weeks of 100+ temps killed it last year along with many others in the city. It was the most beautiful red, it used to make the light in our downstairs bathroom a glowing pink because it was planted right by the window. They would probably be much happier growing further north.

I would plant only drought hardy trees that are up to the extreme heat now. I am just plain burned out from too many plants dying in the heat. We will always eventually be subject to these cyclic years of drought and extreme heat down here so its just a matter of time.

We still have quite a few American Elms still standing. They were all affected by Dutch Elm Disease so people eventually cut most of them down and quit planting them decades ago. When I was growing up most parks and many streets were lined with them. The only ones I see now are the huge old survivors that are half dead and hollow inside and anyone who still has a tree down by the street has to pay a lot to get it removed so its not an enviable situation.

Here is what the poor tree looked like in the drought before finally succumbing. We lost so many plants and trees down here and many people are now planting differently. Texas natives offer some excellent choices.


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Here is a native alternative to Japanese Red Maple I would plant. I forgot to put this one on my dream list.

Purple Smoke Tree (Cotinus coggygria) zone 5 to 8, 10ft tall, little or no summer water, no litter and it smells very fresh and medicinal.


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RE: I dream of Trees...

To have my dream I would have to first figure out how to live 200 more years and have several houses in several temp zones.

I have the land now but some trees that I have dreamed of having would not survive my zone, would not be large enough to show the true beauty for 20 years.

My friend recently purchased a home and I was at her house and her Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Tree) was in bloom it was about 40 years old. It was gorgeous. I would love to have that in my yard.

Purple Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate') I have not seen this in person but it looks really pretty on the internet. I have had Mimosa in my yard but they do not seem to survive more than 2 years.


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Wow, this has been a very interesting thread! What a gorgeous beech tree, PM2!

I am quite ignorant of trees, although I always admire their form, bark, and shape and IMO, one of the perks of winter is that I can actually see the tree. I love the silhouette of a bare tree against an autumn sunset or a winter moonlit sky.

Growing up in the city, I knew pretty much three trees - maples, which we had a few of on our street, dogwoods, and "pine" trees - which meant anything evergreen, lol.

I honestly wasn't even familiar with oaks till I moved to my current home about 20 years ago, where I now have way too many.

As a matter of fact, today I am dreaming of cutting down all my trees, which is my usual fall dream after three days of raking leaves (with another week of raking in sight!). But I always change my mind in summer when my yard is gloriously shady and cooler than the neighbors' yards.

I have lost a few oaks over the years to storms, etc., and have thought of planting smaller, decorative/blooming trees, but never looked that far into it. I can see by this thread that there is a whole new world out there, lol!

Dee

This post was edited by diggerdee on Sat, Nov 16, 13 at 21:53


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RE: I dream of Trees...

Ditto PM2. I have loved trees for as long as I can remember!

This lot was overgrown with canopy trees when I moved here 11 years ago, but after several days of tree removal (mostly pines and norway maples), over time, it has become more of an "open woodland".

I dream about creating a mini-arboretum of native and rare trees, although there isn't really room for more trees on this particular parcel. Nevertheless, I enjoy starting trees from seed, and keeping an eye out for interesting seedlings.


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CMK, absolutely the Keebler Elf tree! lol Or Peter Rabbit’s house. I can almost see the door to it at the base in the middle. :-)

That's a nice Purple Smoke Bush.

Marquest, I guess planting a tree that you will never see mature, can be a connection to the next generation, at least. Tulip Trees are lovely. I’ve never seen one that mature, it must be gorgeous.

Dee, you might feel better about your oaks if you had a nice flowering tree to distract you from them. :-) Maybe you could lose a few oaks and add something you love.

I love trees, but also have to have my vegetable garden, so I’d have to have property large enough to have both trees and sun.

Terrene, I think it is nice to have an ‘open woodland’, I imagine you having created a ‘clearing in the woods’ type effect with your garden in the sunniest part. I guess the NEWFS comes close to a collection of native trees and shrubs, yes?

Has anyone been to the Arnold Arboretum? I haven’t been in awhile, but I’ve been in the spring and the fall. When you see these trees that have been allowed to grow without interference and cared for for decades, some maybe for a century, it’s amazing how much more a tree can be then the every day trees you see for the most part. It just makes you think, that is what our landscape is supposed to be like. I don’t know if this makes sense, but I’ve felt that I was then in the right proportions to my surroundings. I haven’t been in the snow yet, that could be fun. If you can go, it is a real experience. If you don’t live in the Boston area, I’m sure there are similar Arboretums in other cities too.

One other thing I was reminded of by this thread, was a PBS special my husband and I watched that was called ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’. It was animated and I remember it even though I haven’t seen it in about 15 years. I think it was artwork that they animated and it was all in sepia tones. The narrator had a mesmerizing voice and it was a really touching story. Highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it.

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Sat, Nov 16, 13 at 21:22


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-marquest, the chocolate mimosa is superb! We got a few in at the nursery and the foliage color is lovely. A customer requested one, otherwise I doubt anyone would have ordered them otherwise. Technically, since our zone is considered z6 under the new usda hardiness map, it might grow here okay with protection. A lot of protection. I'm pretty sure the customer was going to try overwintering it inside though...

PM2, Lol. I can see that too- Peter Rabbit was a favorite of mine ;-) Well if you DO happen to see any elves sulking about the tree please ask them if they can make a cookie for me sweetened only with stevia!! LOL!!!
CMK


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RE: I dream of Trees...

how could I have forgotten Japanese Maples? I'm sure I could fill up a whole garden with nothing but those...

Me to PM2! But this is a new obsession for me that is easily kept in check by our lack of space. Our first JM planted in November 2012 was a shirasawanum "Aureum". The foliage just shimmers in the spring.

Here is a link that might be useful: Golden Full Moon Maple


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RE: I dream of Trees...

Prariemoon2

Your PBS show, "The Man Who Planted Trees", is available on youtube.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Man Who Planted Trees


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RE: I dream of Trees...

Rouge21, Very pretty! Is that photo your tree? What a perfectly balanced branch structure it has and the evergreen near it will be a great background for it. Good luck with it.

aardvark411, thanks very much, I didn't realize it was on YouTube, or that it was actually an Academy Award winner. Great, I'll have to watch it again. :-)


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RE: I dream of Trees...

No that isnt our tree PM2. It is what I am hoping that ours will become.


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RE: I dream of Trees...

To have my dream I would have to first figure out how to live 200 more years

"marquest", this clip of yours reminded me of a couple of apropos proverbs:

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

and

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.

This post was edited by rouge21 on Sun, Nov 17, 13 at 12:13


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RE: I dream of Trees...

rouge21 Nice proverbs but as below I am selfish. I want to see it mature in my lifetime.

christinmk, I know the purple one would not survive my zone because I have not had the green one survive long. But the pictures i have seen are beautiful.

I have to many tropical plants I am dragging in every summer and do not want to add to my load.

prairiemoon2,
I am thinking selfish.....If those young wiper snappers want a tree they are going to have to plant it. lol

I had never saw a tulip tree. The flowers were as big as my hands and the tree was loaded. The sad part was she has a very small yard and it was the only thing that she could have in the yard because it covered her entire back yard.


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This did make me smile:


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LOL rouge21, that is a great saying. I hadn't heard that one. It does put things in perspective. :-) And makes you think about how odd we can be with our priorities and how something so clear and simple can get so muddy to us at times.


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The American landscape is complex. Trees are not always the answer, we need the open spaces too, they are being lost at an alarming rate.


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I guess trees may not be the only answer but nine times out of ten they are much more than just an acceptable answer.

To overly simplify things the choices aren't very often trees versus open unspoiled "space" but rather trees versus concrete and blacktop. Seems pretty clear cut ;) to me.

(Maybe you can better explain the point of your photos. It looks like to me that some trees could be a welcome addition to this bare space; to serve as a wind break, thereby preventing excessive soil erosion. But maybe I am missing something).


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These are cedars taking over an area of grassland where they are anything but welcome and the photos show how quickly it happens. The deciduous trees will follow and the soil will be forever changed and lost and cannot be brought back to its original grassland state. Habitat and wildlife is destroyed as open spaces fill in. Fires become a daily danger in summertime because the cedars explode like matches on sticks throwing flames across a dry hot landscape that is supposed to be a natural grassland that had existed for centuries. Fire is a natural phenomena of the grasslands. Its a serious and very costly problem in the midwest. The loss of acreage is calculated on a daily basis now and is overwhelming resources to deal with the problem. The same thing is happening in Australia. Its bad land management because there are places where trees do not belong.

The cities and towns out here are not close together like in the east. Trees in a city is an entirely different situation but they escape into the surrounding land compounding the problem along with fence lines, roads and settlements. The grasslands took millions of years to develop but can be lost forever in just a few decades. There used to be a literal ocean of grassland, it was a natural wonder that was lost and it continues to disappear.

I'm not so sure about the 9 times out of 10 remark. Invasive species are another problem. Its much more complex than the simple much advertised "Plant a tree" solution. I think we have all heard that very public message many times over by now. Other problems get much less attention so that now when someone says something like we need to thin trees in certain areas, people react in a knee jerk way.

This post was edited by GreatPlains1 on Wed, Jan 1, 14 at 18:21


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Its bad land management because there are places where trees do not belong.

Assuming we are not talking of an invasive species, what you describe above must be so rare, so unique, that one can ignore such an extreme.

Oh I get it...you are doing the "devil's advocate" thing...trees laying waste to the environment....wow.

Beyond someone's personal property ("...that tree is too large for that front yard") I would like to see some examples of widescale plantings which have been devastating to the location in question. This can't be common...much less common than the removal of trees on a massive scale causing havoc; such examples are to be found trivially.

This post was edited by rouge21 on Wed, Jan 1, 14 at 18:29


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Your sensitivity to and understanding of other parts of America's landscape is quite remarkable. Maybe you should travel out west sometime then perhaps you will get it a little bit better.

20% of the earth is grassland, hardly trivial, do some people really think it should all be planted in trees?

Here is a link that might be useful: http://prairieecologist.com/2010/10/02/why-is-it-so-hard-to-keep-trees-out-of-prairies-and-why-is-it-getting-harder/

This post was edited by GreatPlains1 on Wed, Jan 1, 14 at 19:50


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I would also love to have a Vitex. They had one at a local plant sale, but I passed it up. There are mixed reviews about it in my zone. Some say it stays quite small, but I wasn't quite sure I wanted to risk it. That would be just the time it decided it was quite happy here and grew too big, lol.
CMK


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CMK, my BIL on LI has a Vitex...cutleaf even. It's gorgeous! Seems like the perfect environment for them. It is about 15' or so. What he and I didn't know is how much the birds enjoy the seeds. This year he had a dozen pairs of cardinals swarm the tree!


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christinmk, you can trim them to keep the size down. I think its hardy in your zone. We see them a lot around here and lately the city has been planting them by the droves in street medians and along highways because they are so indestructible and drought tolerant. Its quite a sight in summer. They can get very large for sure and will completely dominate an area if left to grow untrimmed.


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-Susan, is LI considered a z5, or higher? It sounds incredible.

There was a GW member in z5 that posted a pic of her glorious Vitex. I seem to recall she said it died back to the ground each year and then got around six feet by the time it bloomed.

I regret not looking for one at the sale, although there really isn't any space for it (not that that has ever stopped me from buying a plant before mind you, LOL!)
CMK


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