American Yellowwood

September 17th, 2020

Cladrastis kentukea

This small to medium-sized tree is a member of the pea (or Fabaceae) family. It has a rather restricted geolocation, including the area bounded by North Carolina, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Mississippi; it does well in hardiness zones 4 through 8. This might be an excellent shade tree for small to medium yards and gardens.

physical description

The American yellowwood tree can achieve a height of 40 to 60 feet tall, an equal diameter, and a rounded appearance. It has vibrant yellow foliage in the autumn, with hanging clusters of white flowers that bloom in May and that are fragrant during the day. The flowers of this tree only appear every other or every third year, rather than annually.

habitat

While this tree is tolerant to a wide assortment of pH, soil type, moisture and drought conditions, it does best in well-drained, deep soil that is moist and fertile, i.e., has an almost compost-like content.

images

uses

Because of its striking flowers in the spring and its eye-catching foliage in the autumn, American yellowwood is a good selection for a specimen tree to add interest to any garden.

interesting information

The interior wood of this species is a remarkable yellow color.

The branches from this tree tend to break quite frequently.

The American yellowwood tree is susceptible to canker, mildew, root rot and verticillium problems.

Low forking branches should be pruned in the early life of the tree to reduce the breaking and splitting of the tree.  In addition, a 3-inch thick mulch layer from the stem to the drip line should be applied to the ground to ensure a moist root system.

The American yellowwood is grown and available in the arboretum of the Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center.

About the Author

Charlie Belin is a retired professor and biological oceanographer. He taught five courses in the University of Georgia system for many years from his home base in Savannah, Georgia.

Charlie loves hiking at Reflection Riding, teaching children about the ecology of the area, and interacting with the Reflection Riding staff. They are GREAT!

shop for native plants!

Our nursery is open for in-person shopping! Come by Tuesday-Friday 9:30-4:00 and Saturday 8:00-1:00. Your purchase supports our mission to reconnect people with nature. Members save 10% on all plant sales.

Planting native helps restore the natural habitat required for beautiful birds, butterflies and other insects to thrive. Plus, native plants are supposed to be here, so they're often more tolerant of neglect, poor soil, and draught.

Posted by Charlie Belin  | Category: native plants

Allegheny Stonecrop

September 8th, 2020

Hylotelephium telephioides

This perennial herb is a member of the Crassulaceae (stonecrop) family and is native from Illinois eastward to Connecticut and southward to North Carolina westward to Louisiana. Those plants found outside of the southern and central Appalachian Mountains have been transported from that, native region.

physical description

While this plant is not considered a succulent, it looks very much like one. It grows to a maximum height of 18 inches and does best in hardiness zones 6 and 7. Since Chattanooga is located in zone 7, the Allegheny stonecrop will do well here. The Allegheny stonecrop has many petals and stamens (in multiples of 5 – therefore a dicot) thus contributing to its “fuzzy” or “wooly” appearance.

habitat

The Allegheny stonecrop grows best in dry conditions with full to partial sun in poor to stony soils. It blooms with pink and, occasionally white, star-shaped flowers from August through September.

images

uses

The Allegheny stonecrop can be used as an accent plant in the garden and also located in a rock garden.

interesting information

This plant attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Most plants have leaves that are either opposite one another or are alternate in their orientation with their stem. The Allegheny stonecrop can have either alternate or opposite leaf position.

Handling this plant can cause mild skin irritation. Gloves should be used for anyone who is susceptible to skin problems or who has eczema.

The Allegheny stonecrop does well in poor soils and can handle drought conditions.

The Allegheny stonecrop is grown and available in the arboretum of the Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center.

About the Author

Charlie Belin is a retired professor and biological oceanographer. He taught five courses in the University of Georgia system for many years from his home base in Savannah, Georgia.

Charlie loves hiking at Reflection Riding, teaching children about the ecology of the area, and interacting with the Reflection Riding staff. They are GREAT!

shop for native plants!

Our nursery is open for in-person shopping! Come by Tuesday-Friday 9:30-4:00 and Saturday 8:00-1:00. Your purchase supports our mission to reconnect people with nature. Members save 10% on all plant sales.

Planting native helps restore the natural habitat required for beautiful birds, butterflies and other insects to thrive. Plus, native plants are supposed to be here, so they're often more tolerant of neglect, poor soil, and draught.

Posted by Charlie Belin  | Category: native plants

Red Buckeye

September 1st, 2020

Aesculus pavia

The red buckeye is a small ornamental tree or shrub that is found in the eastern United States, from Illinois to Virginia in the north of its range, and from Texas to Florida in its southern range. It is in the Sapindaceae, or Buckeye, family.

physical description

This tree grows to about 10 to 20 feet tall and 10 to 20 feet in diameter at maturity. The red flowers produced from April through May give any yard a visual accent, making a wonderful specimen tree.

habitat

This species is found in hardiness zones 6 through 9. It grows best in full sun, though it can grow in partial shade. When exposed to partial shad the plant will become rather spindly, and will not show the full extent of its genes. It does well in slightly alkaline to acidic soils that are well-drained and moist. If grown in full sun, red buckeye should be heavily mulched and watered to protect the roots.

images

uses

The red buckeye serves well as a hedge when the multiple stems are retained, but it can also serve as a flowering tree accent point in a garden or as a focal point in a rain garden.

interesting information

Apparently, the term “buckeye” comes from the white streak found on each of the seeds, which is reminiscent of the eye of a male deer.

The seeds from this tree are toxic to humans.

The flowers of red buckeye are highly attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies.

While this species has bright red flowers that are present in April and May each year, a new variety (cultivar) has been developed that has bright yellow flowers.  This is the flavescens variety.

The red buckeye is grown and available in the arboretum of the Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center.

About the Author

Charlie Belin is a retired professor and biological oceanographer. He taught five courses in the University of Georgia system for many years from his home base in Savannah, Georgia.

Charlie loves hiking at Reflection Riding, teaching children about the ecology of the area, and interacting with the Reflection Riding staff. They are GREAT!

shop for native plants!

Our nursery is open for in-person shopping! Come by Tuesday-Friday 9:30-4:00 and Saturday 8:00-1:00. Your purchase supports our mission to reconnect people with nature. Members save 10% on all plant sales.

Planting native helps restore the natural habitat required for beautiful birds, butterflies and other insects to thrive. Plus, native plants are supposed to be here, so they're often more tolerant of neglect, poor soil, and draught.

Posted by Charlie Belin  | Category: native plants

Share this page