Plant a shade tree. With the temperatures climbing, a little shade sounds really good. A well placed deciduous (one that drops its leaves in winter) tree can supply that shade, reduce heating and cooling costs, screen an unwanted view and break the drying winds all while providing spring flowers and fall color. When choosing a tree decide what it is you want to obtain from it. A deciduous tree planted on the south, east or west side of your house will provide shade in the summer but allow the winter sun to warm you. Plant one near a patio to create a cool spot for entertaining. Think about what size you would like the mature tree to be and plant accordingly. Keep in mind that the absorbing roots will extend out to the dripline of the tree. You will want to plant it far enough away from walls, houses, sidewalks and sewer lines that those roots will not cause problems in the future. We have a large selection of shade trees that do well in our area and you will receive a detailed planting guide to get your tree off to a good start.
Plant a shrub for the birds. If you are an avid birder or just want to attract a few feathered friends to your yard we stock several shrubs that will "fit the bill". We have grown a Proven Winners shrub called 'Amethyst' Coral Berry (Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii 'Kordes'). It is deciduous and will grow to a mature size of 3-5' tall and wide. The small white mid-summer flowers will produce vivid deep magenta-pink berries that last into winter and these branches can be used in dries arrangements. This shrub has a neat branching habit which creates a shelter that birds find inviting. Another shrub that is new to us is 'Viking' Chokeberry (Aronis melanocarpa). It has early white spring flowers, attractive dark green leaves, brilliant red fall color and large black fruit that persists until spring if they don't get consumed by your birds. It will also grow to 3-5 feet tall and wide. Both of these shrubs are very cold hardy to USDA zone 3 and would be attractive planted in mass, as a specimen or foundation plant and they control erosion. Many species of Cotoneasters are also good bird plants. They produce berries, the two species we carry, glaucophyllus and parneyi, are evergreen and cold hardy. All of these bird-loving plants are deer resistant! Birds need water, shelter and food...plant some of these shrubs and just add water.
Prune spring flowering shrubs. Forsythia, Lilac (Syringa), Spiraea , Pyracantha, Red Twigged Dogwood (Cornus) and other spring flowering shrubs will benefit from pruning now. First remove anything diseased, damaged or dead. Also prune out any crossing or rubbing branches. Forsythia, Lilacs and Red Twigged Dogwood all bloom on new wood. They should be encouraged to sprout new growth from their base by pruning 1/3 of the oldest, woodiest growth all the way to the ground. 'Snowmound' and other spring flowering Spiraea should have the branches that flowered removed and the new growth will then bloom next year. Most other shrubs can be pruned to a desired shape. If you have specific questions about how or when to prune one of your landscape plants, leave a comment here, email us or stop by the nursery and we will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
PLANT OF THE MONTH:
Spiraea. This group of deciduous shrubs are easy to grow in any kind of soil. One of our favorites is 'Snowmound' (Spiraea nipponica). It will bloom profusely in spring with small, white, slightly fragrant flowers. The leaves are rounded, dark green and it grows into a fountain shape up to 6' tall. This makes a good screen around a patio or as a specimen in a perennial bed. Two smaller versions are 'Anthony Waterer' and 'Neon Flash' both of which are Spiraea japonica. Anthony Waterer forms a mound 3' tall with pink flowers in June. 'Neon Flash' is s also 3' tall and blooms in the summer with rose-red flowers. Both of these smaller Spiraeas do well in the ground or in pots and all are deer resistant. They are cold hardy to 30 degrees below zero and are moderate water users.