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Updated 16 November 2007
- THUJA 'GREEN GIANT'March-April 2001 I planted six 'quart size' Thuja "Green Giant" conifers for the southerly segment of my westside noise and privacy screen between my house and a well traveled road, fully exposed to the afternoon sun all year. Partially shaded by morning sun in the summer and much less so from October to April. I purchased them March 5, 2001 from the Botany Shop Garden Center in Joplin, Missouri. Whose site has photos,descriptions and links for more information
- May 7-10, 2001 I put shields, 2 by 2 foot odd pieces of barn metal, on the sun side of the Green Giants, after noticing that those in partial shade do not show dry top growth. Watering has little effect on this drying but shielding from the afternoon sun has brought green top growth back to the four most exposed to the sun. I had similar 'browning' when putting three tiny 'branches' cut from the plants in small pots along a shaded edge of my raised vegetable garden. By May 27th I became convinced that my shading was 'the key' and successful. There were only a few browned tips now. Whether the others turned to fresh green growth, turned black and fell off and were replaced I don't know. By about mid summer as predicted by contributors to the Conifers Forum they were all green and had more than doubled in height. The one in the most shade has done the best. A second planting in partial shade will test that further. I had similar yellowing on the first Green Giants planted in full sun in 2002. As of May 10th I had not resorted to sun shields but subsequently during June I shielded all but those in natural shade.
- DRIP IRRIGATION is essential. I moved the 90 ft line I had for the Austrees to the Green Giants and Arbovitae and used from Spring 2002 planting into the fall of 2002, as we had a long drought from late August to late October.
- March 23, 2002, visited with Mike Shade at Botany Shop in Joplin for over an hour. He showed me how winter browning of green giants'can look scary but clears up by with full greening in the spring. I learned a great deal and am noting same to this page.
- I came home with thirty two more Green Giants in 'peat pot' size. I placed 19 on the south and west between April 8 and 11th, 2002 after heavy rains. April 20th I replaced one I had let dry before planting with a Virescens, fourth from my driveway west fence line, counting the arbovitae. Here they are as of May 6, 2004
- April 27, 2002 I planted 12 more along a staggered second line about 8 feet back from the first row by the chain link front fence. For future identification purposes one Madison is just south of the water meter and one Virescens is the third tree south of the wildflower square in front of the house. As I noticed the usual browning, even 'yellowing' due to sun exposure I made sun shields out of various 'junk' laying around, most effective being wire cones with aluminum screen mesh covering. June 27th I moved those not yet planted from my shed where they had some sun, air and watering to the soaker hose I have set up for the planted evergreens and my vegetable garden. By August 30, 2002 due to a vacation and drought I had 6 left, 3 Virescens and 3 Global Green Giants.
weak looking Virescens right center foreground
southwest, water meter in foreground. Madison right foreground northview from water meter
- Oct 29-31, '02 transplanted two Virescens to north side of my house, between house and driveway and three Global Green Giants into a line with two deciduous trees between my shed and the cattle 'hot wire', north of my barn. They will provide privacy and some blocking of north winds. March 17, '03 moved the last of the 2002 nursery stock to a permanent location between house and drive on the north side. An arbovitae near it did not green up for spring 2004 so I removed it. Spring 2003 I noticed my annual crop of baby rabbits had bitten off the tops of a few of the Green Giants, acts of playfulness like a 'kid' in my opinion since they did not return to nibble as they have with low branches of the Austrees.
- April 24-30, '04. Had been watching for signs of life in the evergreens on the northside of my house and decided six of seven were dead and I removed them. I know the reasons. I was busy enough during a hot drought period keeping south and west side trees watered. I had the drip line extended along the 100 foot stretch of Austree cuttings on the south east side. A 3 foot high arbovitae had dried out the previous summer and fall. Dead from lack of watering as well were one Virescens and four Global Green Giants, two of the later were in rough locations and may not have 'stood much of a chance' anyway. One was a branch cutting I had nursed along. I did retain the Dawn Redwood and Chinese elm on the northside. Early May 2004 I cleared grass and weeds around the base of all evergreens on the north and westside, widening the circle and putting in wood chips.
- November 2004, transplanted a small Green Giant from the west end of my south border which suffered from being jammed between a white pine and an Austree. I moved it to the northwest exposure of my house in nearly the same spot of the 3 foot dried out arbovitae mentioned above. I reshaped the ground for better water retention and it thrived.
- November 1, 2005, five trees took a severe hit from the officially declared drought condition of summer 2005. Three Emerald green arbovitae planted in 2000 as described below took such a severe hit despite my off and on watering one in the middle of my front wild flower patch is fatal, one to the south of that shown in the two following pictures is doubtful while the one at the head of the driveway I expect to recover since it still has a large dark green section. A small always kind of weak looking Virescens in the middle foreground of the left picture is dead. It was in the foreground of the white pine on my south border.
- March 2006 I measured heights of all the above trees, added them up in two categories, the 6 quart size ones planted in 2001 averaged 10" growth per year. The tallest one is 7'3". The 32 peat pot sized ones planted in 2002 average growth is 5" per year. They have been dripline watered, even during the warm but drought winter of 2006 and fed some Miraclegro so I believe my soil is not ideal for 'getting them established'.
- Six Thuja plicata. Virescens or 'Green Sport' another cultivar as with 'Green Giant' of 'Giant (Western) Arbovitae', introduced by Mitch Nursery about 1990-91, per Pg 1015, per Manual of Woody Plants Michael A. Dirr. Reputedly not to suffer any winter browning.
"'Virescens', under observation for 5 years, has a habit similar to the species of Thuja plicata but has bright, glossy green foliage year round. Thuja plicata has a high degree of deer resistance to deer browse, is more shade tolerant, and is more likely to develop a dominant trunk than Thuja occidentalis." Quoted by Dr. Edward Hasselkus at one time on 'weedpatch.com'. It grows more columnar than Green Giant.
- Five THUJA PLICATA 'Madison', cultivar named for or from University of Wisconsin at Madison. Lost one trying to keep it in too large a planter bucket in my shed, planted three more 'threatened by drying' in my vegetable garden on June 27, '02. All 3 failed to survive summer 2002, even though they sat between my tomato plants in a row with five other evergreens under a soaker hose . The Madisons all had 'bunched up' intertwined roots from overgrowing too close when I got them.
- Size and spacing of conifers selected is a major criterion for my 90 foot long west side, road screen since the distance from the house to the fence is 30 feet and there are 3 mature deciduous trees there.
- One DAWN REDWOOD, a deciduous conifer, likes full sun in moist, deep, well-drained, slightly acid soil, fast growth, matures to 70' - 100' height, 25' spread. Transplanted Oct 29, '02 12 feet west of the southeast corner of my barn to provide some shade. Noted during drought that stems fall off before turning brown. It kind of scares you in the spring, looks dried, 'then suddenly', little green leaves appear. It recovers its green leaves quickly with water after a dryout period.
- EASTERN WHITE PINE pinus strobusSpring 1992 purchased 25 Eastern White pine (pinus strobus) seedlings, Keeling Nursery via Missouri Dept of Conservation. 10 cents a piece, 15 have survived, some now 12 feet high. Of the 10 lost, I can recall only two drying out after a few years, both turned out to have been planted in very bad soil. The other 8 were lost to mowing damage or simply didn't take when first planted. All 25 were planted in what had been fescue behind an old run down field fence and for 2 years were nearly invisible in the tall fescue. I planted them with 'minimal hole' preparation.
- In about '94 another fence was erected between the trees and a cattle grazing pasture; leaving a gap of 6-8 feet between the tree trunks and the fence. The old fence was then removed and the area mowed regularly. Thus the trees gained for the first time full exposure to the sun. They have not been watered since the summer of 1996 and never more than a few hand carried buckets during dry spells.
- 1995 bought one more Eastern White pine from a nursery for $10 which died after a year; due I believe to my poor site preparation.
- Lovett Pinetum Charitable Foundation is an excellent resource, located 40 miles east of me in Southwest Missouri.
- Fertilizer: about 1995 I bought a 50 lb bag, 'Peletized homogenized plant food 13-13-13', that is nitrogen, available phosphoric acid and soluble potash. It also has 12% sulfur. Trade name, 'Propell', Farmers Chemical Company, Joplin, MO. This was the only fertilizer I used from 1991 to spring 2003 when I bought a bag of dry Miracle Gro. About 2005 I switched to "fertil - lome', Tree and Shrub Food, nitrogen 19 available phosphate 8 and soluble potash 10"
- In '99 I began digging fescue grass from out around the trunks and putting in wood chips. Fall of 2000 I dug the top sod out for a 3 foot radius around four of the slower growing pines and filled the area with ground wood chips with some dirt. I transplanted to a better location one pine which had not achieved more than about 2 1/2"feet of growth from '92-'99. It is now healthy looking and four foot high and with 6 inches of new growth in Spring 2002.
- PESTS, DISEASES: I had my first bagworm attack, that is one I noticed in June 1999. I sprayed with Dursban and picked off the nests. Since then I have picked off all nests every year and sprayed the trunks. June 1, 2001 I noted some wilting of new growth and after researching 'white pine weevil' and 'pine wilt nemotode' on the net I sprayed all trees with Dursban, the trunks where there has been no wilting and all the tops I could reach of four showing 'wilting'. I looked closely at some drying out, not yet browned, new growth and on some at the tip I could see a white cocoon. I cut off some wilted new growth just below the effected part, leaving in all cases about half the new growth. 12-16 inches new growth this year has been exceptional, better than I can recall. After some rain this 'wilting' has stopped. Turns out I should have left them alone and not used any Dursban either. 'Just let nature' do it's thing is the best advice.
- Platycladus orientalis "Blue Cone Arborvitae", 1998, $40 for eight of them at Wal-Mart. Carthage to form a hedge behind my chain link fence. By May 2002 they were 4 feet high, rich green and healthy. 'Good feed' for bagworms, also I think rabbits munch along their bottoms. Very hardy to winds, freezing rain and prolonged drought.
- Colorado Blue Spruce seedlings from Arbor Day, Spring 1998, 10 that fall as replacements for the five that died, six survived to Spring 2001. I had them in the wrong place and the 'nematode' bug or whatever ate lower branches before I stopped it in the long hot summer of 2000. Oct 2000 I moved five of them into 13 by 13" plastic 'plant' buckets. I transplanted a 2 footer which had been growing in that size bucket, buried in soft dirt and mulch to a full sun exposure spot with 15 feet on either side between white pines. I dug my standard 36 inch across hole but got into rocky muck about a foot down so I dug it out 14 or so inches and replaced the rocky muck with ground wood chips and good soil. May 17-18, 2001 I placed five 6" to 14" high Colorado Blue Spruce in permanent locations since although they survived the winter it was almost impossible to keep them from drying out in their black plastic pots. Upon transplanting them I noted they had good root structure but the soil and mulch mix in the pots had been 'too loose'. By May 2002 three had survived and showed healthy amounts of new growth and still look good on August 30th. I never watered them all summer, only cultivated around them and added wood chips.
- Emerald green arbovitae, thuja occidentalis 'Emerald', I purchased seven in July 2000, regularly the $20 size, about 3 feet high at Wal-Mart for $8 each as 'closeouts'. In October I got them all in the ground in permanent locations on my west side where they get full sun, although three get some shade in the fall for about half the day. They have done well, show some dryness at times which I catch with drip watering.
- Juniperus virginiana eastern red cedar are native here, they 'catch' in spots around my five acres so I have moved six to permanent locations since 1994, one died due to my inexperience with runnoff on a slight grade. Some have thrived in 'planter buckets', others have not. They have been from 6 inches to five feet in height before being moved.
- Another conifer I found here and have not idenfified is 7 feet tall with tiny light gray 'berries'. Per tree identity websites it's an eastern red cedar, but has a more 'juniper' appearance.
- Two over 50 ft hard maples on my west/road side are 6 and 8 feet back from the chainlink fence in front of the house. They are healthy with lowest branches about 12 feet off the ground. One retains it's leaves through most of the winter.
- 1995 6 Dogwoods for $18, one survived. I didn't know rabbits and deer ate them. I put a cage around it and in 2000 dugout the grass around it for a 3 foot wood chips protective area with the cage. It is about 4 1/2 feet high in 6 years.
- 4 hybrid poplars from Arbor Day, 1999. April 2001, one sickly one did not make it through the winter and another had its old growth die and has sprouted new growth near the ground. One is about 9 feet. I cut the dead one's new growth shoots which were near the base putting about five stems in buckets, some 'took'. I think I'll be happier with ones I have grown from cuttings under 1 foot than the 'too tall' hybrids as shipped by Arbor Day. I cut the dead wood off an inch above the most upright stem of new growth, so I have an 'all new hybrid poplar' with an established root system. Every summer little 'speckled' beatles eat holes in the leaves which also brown out in drought. I really don't like these trees.
- 1 red maple, 1999, a 'freebie' from Arbor Day. Doing ok, nothing exciting. By April 2004 had reached about five ft high, and would be getting crowded out by other faster growing trees so I dug it up after one rain and before four inches came down and moved it to the northside where a Virescenes which had looked promising had dried out. None of the new foliage wilted for a few weeks but then it looks like it has died.
- AUSTREE HYBRIDS Thirty 2-3 foot windbreak trees, $7.48 each, excellently packed with impressive roots in a paper cone protector, shipped from Colorado in April 1999 from Rocky Mountain Austrees Austree.Com, I dug out 18 inch by 18 inch holes and where necessary changed the bad soil for good, via wheelbarrow. I added a black mesh mat to keep weeds down and after awhile a drip line which proved invaluable.
Mid June '99 with my hastily erected 'rabbit deterrent' fencing. Early May 2002, a 90 foot screen, 10 to 16 feet high and shielded somewhat from prevailing winds by 7 conifers, 4 to 15 feet high planted on grade slightly higher than the Austrees, the white pine of which shows to the left. I'm 6'2". same view winter of '93-'94, pines barely visible
- Their primary enemy has been rabbits. I strongly suggest an electric wire. I put up half a ton (it seemed) of spare fencing, wire, cattle panels, chicken wire, etc., to slow down the 'rabbit banquet'. In the winter they climbed over barriers on snow and 'chomped away'. The Austrees have taken two summer droughts, obviously the drip line saved them. They hold their leaves late and come out early. They attract some disease which normal spray for bagworms seemed to cure but most important they take 45 plus mph gusts without breaking as long as they are free to bend.
- As of May 2002 the ten Austree cuttings I stuck in the ground in December 2001 had all taken root in cages on my south and west side, they all sprounted at least 10 new branches and by fall four are well over 6 feet tall and all quite healthy. One planted in December 2000 has the most leaves and new branches. It was not more than 1/4 inch thick as a cutting. The thickest one so far is about 1 1/4 of an inch and it has done the best. I suggest you have locations prepared before you take a cutting since you can get more than one cutting to propagate from a 6 foot or taller stem. In April 2003 I dug up four of them and moved them further back on my south side fence line screen. They were too close to little Green Giants and when I dug them out I could see that each had a couple of extensive surface roots which were taking water from the conifers. In May I began putting in cuttings to extend my southside screen 100 ft east. This was completed Sept 3, 2003 with about 10 cuttings, three the furthest east showed new green growth with very little watering through a serious hot/dry spell.
June-July 2004 I cleaned out the black plastic ground cover around my southside Austree planted cuttings and replaced it with 43' of Dupont Commercial Grade Weed Control Fabric from a 4' x 100' roll.
- On March 23, 2002 from the Botany Shop I got one CHINESE or LACEBACK ELM,Ulmus parvifolia, Page 1041 of Manual of Woody Plants by Michael A. Dirr. This is a cultivar of chinese elm resistant to the plights of that species. It is a graceful round-headed tree 40 to 50' tall with an equal spread. Lustrous dark green leaves change to yellow/red purple in the fall. Grows best in moist, well drained fertile soils. Full sun. Considerable resistance to Dutch Elm disease, elm leaf and Japanese Beetle. I transplanted this Oct 6, '02 when rain was possible to a nearly full sun spot, somewhat low in grade where I formerly had a tomato garden. It had roots growing through openings in the bottom of a partially buried black pot between my 6 bell pepper plants where it received 'vegetable' soaker hose watering all summer.
- Seven deciduous trees have sprung up from either neglected areas or roots. All are quite healthy however one 15 footer under my phone line was cut and it's roots and trunk dug out in late October '02 . March 15, 2003 my neighbor used a small chain saw to cut the deep roots and the base well below ground level. Two are SERVICEBERRY, AMELANCHIER (Amelan'chier), came up by themselves, now 15-20 feet high. In June '02 I harvested several bowls full of these berries with the idea of picking out the stems of the ripe ones and making jam but we got too much rain, I started too late in harvesting via a plastic sheet on the ground and processing and dumped the whole lot before doing any 'preserving'. Next year I know I need to start in mid May and preserve small lots as they ripen on the tree.
- Here are my 7 mature deciduous trees.
- HACKBERRY, Celtis occidentalis, quite old, about 50 ft high and 50 ft spread. Southeast of house, about 75 feet. A haven for birds.
- WHITE ASH,Fraximus americana. 40 ft high, 30 ft spread, east of house about 15 ft from low roof kitchen extension. Another about 25 ft southwest of house, 35 ft high with 25 ft spread
- On my south fence line I have two 20 foot trees which appear to have 'caught' in the fence line. The leaves are sharp toothed, 2-3 inches long, dark green on top, much lighter green underneath, very prominent finely veined, oval shaped with one side shorter at the base. I have never noticed any berries or flowers. They are slow growing and the wood is tough.
- SOUTHERN CATALPA, catalpa bignonioides , quite old, bark coming off main trunk, 50 ft high, 20 ft spread, east of house about 20 ft, white flowers in spring, round pods start out green go to a foot in length and brown and fall off. Leaves vary in size from 3 inch long 2 inch wide to 8 inch long, 7 inch wide, light green, whitish underside, knarled limbs, leaves both alternate and 'cluster' on new green stem growth, smooth edges, classic 'heart shape'somewhat similar to eastern cottonwood leaves. I may have it removed for new plantings.
- Spring 1993: 60 foot sugar maple split in a 60 mph ground wind, almost a tornado from an odd direction, fell on house and was removed, cost $500 deductible, got a new roof over the kitchen. Phil Burrow, Reliable Tree Svc removed the whole thing. It had not punctured what was then a flat roof.
- Winter 1994, Spring 1998. A 65 foot, 'twin trunk' sugar maple 200 feet in back of the house in grazing pasture, split and fell, the halves four years apart. My neighbor and I cut off the branches, built a bonfire under the huge trunk and had many nice fires in the winter, some spectacular. (a new roof project at the time provided shingles for 'kindling').
- 1997 Fall: An American Elm had grown adjacent to the barn, threatening it's foundation and another too close to the drive was dying. No one wanted the firewood. $150. Phil again.
- 1999 Fall: an 85 foot chinese elm slightly overhanging the road was dying, was in a tight spot requiring a lot of extra work to get around two full grown maples and a chain link fence. By grinding the stump in place a year later I have a fine pile of wood chips. $450. Phil again. In April 2001 I exposed the remaining stump and roots in order to create a wildflower garden and clear the way for more trees along my west side. The roots produced shrubs as shoots. I tried some stump rot chemical and some charcoal briquets and lighter fluid and stuffed old asphalt shingles under and around the exposed roots. I left them exposed until December and burn them again with a stack of shingles. This time they burned more so I have covered them and seeded the area.
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