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Search Results for ' Ornamental conifers'

PAL Questions: 3 - Garden Tools:

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Keywords: Prunus padus, Styrax, Laburnum, Davidia, Ornamental conifers, Ribes, Larix, Chamaecyparis, Picea, Tsuga, Cedrus, Fagus, Betula, Flowering trees, Pinus, Ericaceae (Heath family)

PAL Question:

Are there any lists of shrubs/small trees that are best viewed from below, such as Styrax or Halesia?

View Answer:

While there are no lists of shrubs/small trees best viewed from below, there is a list of trees with weeping habits in The Pacific Northwest Gardener's Book of Lists (Ray and Jan McNeilan, 1997). Many genera of conifers - Cedrus (cedar), Chamaecyparis (cypress), Larix (larch), Picea (spruce), Pinus (pine), and Tsuga (hemlock) - have weeping forms, often indicated by a variety name 'Pendula' or 'Pendulum'. There are weeping birches (Betula), beeches (Fagus), and cherries (Prunus), too.

You are correct about Styrax and Halesia. Additionally, I ran across a few individual species that may be of interest to you as I researched this question:
--Davidia involucrata
--Laburnum anagyroides
--flowering currants, Ribes spp.
--flowering cherry trees, particularly Prunus padus
--various plants in the Ericaceae family have bell-shaped flowers that hang on the underside of the stem.

I would add that any tree which has a naturally graceful branching pattern and/or delicately shaped foliage (such as Japanese maples) would be pleasant to view from below, as well as from other angles.

Season All Season
Date 2007-05-21
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Keywords: Ornamental conifers, Cupressus, Tree planting, Transplanting, Soil amendments

PAL Question:

I am going to take my 6-foot tall Wilma Goldcrest out of the giant pot it is currently in, and plant it in the ground. I am seeking some sort of consensus on how to prepare the hole into which the tree is going. Someone said that I should not put compost in the hole because that will encourage the roots to just stay in the area of the hole. If that's the case, then shouldn't the "no compost" rule apply to all new plantings (which, of course, it does not)? Also, when should I fertilize the tree and what kind of fertilizer should I use? I always use organic fertilizers. What about putting some bone meal in the planting hole to feed new root growth?

View Answer:

I refer you to the following information from Washington State University Extension horticulturist, Professor Linda Chalker-Scott, who discusses planting procedures in her book, The Informed Gardener (University of Washington Press, 2008). She says that the planting hole need only be the depth of the root system, but should be twice the width. She advises against amending the planting hole in any way: Backfill the hole with native soil, not a soil amendment. The idea is not to 'spoil' the plant by putting rich compost just in the hole, which will deter the roots from spreading out into the surrounding area.

Her debunked gardening myths may also be found online. These two address soil amendments and planting. She also addresses the use of bone meal as a planting amendment.

'Wilma Goldcrest' is a cultivar of Cupressus macrocarpa, or Monterey cypress. The University of California's Garden Information publication on "Pines and Other Conifers"(including Monterey cypress)says:
"Pines and conifers require less fertilizer than most other trees and shrubs. Heavy fertilizing can promote rank, unsightly growth, destroying their natural, symmetrical, picturesque form." If you do wish to use fertilizer, a dilution of something like seaweed or fish fertilizer would probably not be harmful.

Here is more about fertilizing conifers from University of Minnesota Extension Horticulture.
Excerpt:
"Why Fertilize?
The plant itself will often indicate when it needs fertilizer. If growth rate and needle color are normal for a particular variety, fertilization is not necessary. If new growth is sparse or slow, or the needles are not a healthy color, or are shorter than normal, you should probably fertilize. Keep in mind, however, it is not unusual or abnormal for newly transplanted evergreens to exhibit slow growth until they're re-established.
Regular fertilization may be recommended if you are trying to grow evergreens in a less than ideal site, such as very sandy or heavy clay soil, or if the plant has suffered damage from insects or disease. You might also wish to fertilize to encourage more rapid growth in relatively young evergreens."

Local garden writer Ann Lovejoy says the following in her book, The Handbook of Northwest Gardening (Sasquatch Books, 2007): "I rarely feed plants directly, preferring to feed the soil with what are called 'feeding mulches,' made of materials such as compost, seed meals, kelp, and fish meals."

Season All Season
Date 2009-05-23
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Keywords: Ornamental conifers, Thujopsis, Pruning trees

PAL Question:

I'm looking for resources on proper pruning or rejuvenation for Thujopsis. We have a 50-60 year old specimen.

View Answer:

According to Michael Dirr (in Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia), Thujopsis dolabrata is "too beautiful to mutilate with pruning shears." This website of a Seattle-area gardener suggests that you may be able to prune it lightly by candling the leader.

According to George Brown's The Pruning of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers (Timber Press, 2004), specimens of this tree vary widely in habit. Some form a definite leader, while others are "untidy, spreading shrubs. Of those which grow out of this shrubby habit, a number produce rival leaders and the result is a small tree made up of slender upright trunks with their supporting branches." If your tree has multiple leaders, it is probably too late to prune them--this kind of pruning would be done on a younger tree.

I spoke with a docent at Seattle's Japanese Garden, which has Thujopsis, and she said that they are not pruned, except to remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches. You may find this general information on pruning conifers from Brooklyn Botanic Garden useful.
Excerpt:
"As with any plant, dead or diseased conifer branches should be removed immediately, regardless of the time of year. Any other pruning should be done when the plant is dormant. Unlike many deciduous shrubs, most conifers can't re-sprout from older wood (yew, arborvitae and podocarpus are exceptions), and so a good rule of thumb is never to remove more than one-third of the total growth at a time. If you prune too drastically, the plant may never fully recover. Many of the dwarf varieties never need to be pruned, but do appreciate some thinning to allow air and sunlight to penetrate to the interior of the plant.
The most common method of pruning evergreens is known as 'cutting' or 'heading' back. Only part of the branch is pruned; the terminal or tip growth is trimmed to side or lateral buds or branches. This promotes thicker, more compact foliage and a smaller overall plant."

It sounds as if you should do the bare minimum in terms of pruning. If you really need to reduce the tree's size, it would be wise to consult a certified arborist.

Season All Season
Date 2010-03-11
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December 12 2014 11:33:49