Gardening March 2022

From Mélie’s Garden

When March rolls around on the calendar it is time to get out your pruning shears! On warm days it is nice to start a spring clean up.

Make sure your saw or loppers are clean and sharp to prevent disease.

First cut off any damaged wood on trees and shrubs. Then step back to see what it looks like and if you need to cut other branches to improve the shape. This will be much easier without leaves that will appear in April and May.

After you are pleased with your pruning, sprinkle 10 -10 -10 fertilizer at the base of the trunk, which will seep into the ground during spring rains. Then spread mulch on top to keep nutrient stealing weeds and grass away.

For many years I have I have sent a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation and have received small tree cuttings and shrubs to plant that are good for the environment. Most of them have done very well and are now growing into nice little specimens.

I recently received from my garden club in Bedford, NY, a list of the best trees “To Plant for The Planet”.  The little ones from the Arbor Day Foundation and the trees Penni Sharp and I had planted in the three Fishers Island Cemeteries are all on the list below, which I was pleased to see.

The Best Trees for the Planet
A few examples; click any tree for a larger image.

Click any tree for a larger image.
White Oak
(Quercus alba)
50-80 feet, easy care, deep roots, high wildlife value
Willow Leaf Oak
(Quercus phellos)
40-75 feet, willow shaped leaves
Tulip – Yellow Poplar
(Liriodendron tulipifera)
60-90’ large shade tree
Red Maple
(Acer Rubrum)
40 to70 feet – specimen lawn tree with great red fall color (Please choose straight species only)
American Holly
(Ilex Opaca)
15 -30 feet, fantastic tree for bird life and offering food in the winter. Must have a male and female to get berries.
Eastern Red Cedar
(Juniperis Virginiana)
30 – 60 feet, great winter protection for birds and color.
Eastern White Pine
(Pinus Strobus)
150 – 200 feet, high wildlife value, but apt to drop branches in storms.
Other Interesting Trees
American Linden or
American Basswood
(Tilia Americana)
50 – 80 feet – easy to grow in sun and part shade, average soil, no serious disease problems, high bee pollinator value.
River Birch
(Betula Nigra)
40 to 70 feet – vigorous, fast growing, most disease free of birches, happiest in wet soils along rivers and ponds, high wild life value.
American Hornbeam
(Carpinus Caroliniana )
20 -35 feet – Low maintenance in part shade to full sun.
Flowering Trees
Sargent Crabapple
(Malus Sargenti)
6 – 8 feet – there are many native crabapples from which to choose.
Eastern Redbud
(Cercis Candensis)
20 -35 feet – like crabapples, there are many natives from which to choose.
Flowering Dogwood
(Cornus Florida)
15 – 30 feet – wonderful – fall  berries for birds. Kousa dogwood is not on the list.
Also Good Choices
Black Cherry
(Prunus Serotina)
60 – 80 feet – larval host to many native bees, butterflies and birds.
Black Gum – Tupelo
(Nyssa Sylvatica)
30 – 100 feet – special value to honey bees and birds.
100 – 150 ft. – large low maintenance & wildlife friendly.
Hickory (Shagbark & Bitternut)
60 – 80 ft. loved by moths and butterflies.

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