Tuesday, March 8, 2011
We are starting to see green, and its not just Saint Patrick's Day, I think spring is here to stay! Spring always gets me excited, like the rest of us, so what a wonderful thing it is that they provided me with this space to ramble about my love for trees and plants!
Spring is the time trees get their long overdue credit. Everyone loves the flowers of the Crabapples, the breaking of the Cherry blossoms, and the Redbud and Forsythia flowers side-by-side are a sight to behold. It seems like the most popular plants are also the ones with the most problems. So if I could, I would like to take this opportunity to tell the tale of a very unpopular tree, though why it is unpopular is beyond me.
The American Fringtree, also known as Chionanthus virginicus, is a Missouri native that is very under-utilized. In the right conditions this tree is beautiful year round, and has very few disease problems. Also, if by chance you can catch it during its short blooming period, it is one of the most interesting and beautiful flowering trees around.
Fringe-like flowers close up
Chionanthus virginicus prefers plenty of moisture, and in my experience likes very fertile soil. So rocky clay locations aren't ideal for this tree. With adequate moisture it will tolerate sun very well, but also performs well in the shade. It flowers in late spring, and birds love to hide in this small tree. Annual pruning can keep this tree shaped. If left on its own it gets kinda leggy, so an annual pruning is advised. This tree has very few insect and disease issues, and is okay to plant under power lines and in locations where a large shade tree won't have room to grow. If you can find this specimen, it will repay you as a beautiful addition to your yard! See you outside!
Posted by Dan Porter at 11:15 AM