Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana)
An evergreen shrub or tree from the Cypress Family (Cupressaceae)
Eastern Redcedar is found throughout the Eastern United States, although in Ohio it predominates in the warmer southwestern quarter of the state where soils are more alkaline (or calcareous). It is the most common evergreen conifer found throughout the entire state, and it is valuable as a large shrub or small tree that will thrive where few other woody plants will grow. It is a pioneer invader of forests that have been clear-cut, fields that have been scraped of topsoil, lands that have been strip-mined, and gorges that have been filled with clay and rocks. It serves as an excellent windbreak and erosion control shrub in nature, and is often seen as one of the large evergreens in old cemeteries.
While also known as Cedar or Redcedar, this species is actually a type of Juniper, reaching a height of 30 feet and width of 15 feet when found in the open, although it is spire-like in youth. Its aromatic heartwood is lavender-red in color, and is prized for making cedar chests, closet wood lining, cedar shavings, small carvings, pencils, and non-rotting fence posts. As a member of the Cypress Family, it is related to Arborvitae and False Cypress, and is representative of the many types of landscape Junipers it is closely related to that are upright shrubs, spreading shrubs, and groundcovers.
Planting Requirements - Eastern Redcedar tolerates just about any type of soil (fertile, sterile, clay, sandy, thin, or rocky) and non-wet moisture condition (very dry, dry, or moist but well-drained), and adapts well to neutral or acidic soils. It thrives and out-competes most other woody plants in rocky, alkaline, dry soils, especially in full sun to partial sun conditions with minimal soil fertility. It thrives on neglect, and is a good "cover crop" for recently cleared ground, helping to minimize long-term erosion on barren hillsides with its quick establishment under harsh conditions. It can also thrive in the smog, reflected light, and intense heat found in large cities. It grows in full sun to partial sun, and is found in zones 4 to 9.
Potential Problems - Eastern Redcedar, as a native tree, tends to be healthier than most of the non-native landscape Junipers, but is occasionally susceptible to mites, midges, redcedar bark beetle, and especially bagworm. Tip dieback will occasionally be seen in severe drought summers, when the entire top may die due to lack of water (most commonly seen near rock outcrops). By far the most common pathogens seen on Redcedar are the rusts, where contorted brown and orange structures emerge from the foliage and may be mistaken for "strange fruits". While harmless to Redcedar, the rust spores that are released will invade hawthorns, quinces, apples, and other Rose Family members, infecting them and often destroying their fruits.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
White Pine (Pinus strobus)
An evergreen tree from the Pine Family (Pinaceae)
White Pine, an evergreen conifer, is today widely distributed throughout eastern North America, including all of Ohio. It was originally confined to Appalachia, New England, and southern Canada at the time of European settlement, and occurred primarily in northeastern Ohio. Today, it is logged for the production of lumber, creosote-soaked telephone poles, and as pulp for the production of paper. White Pine is commonly transplanted today as a landscape evergreen tree, and is also sold as a cut Christmas tree.
Also known as Eastern White Pine, this towering evergreen easily grows to 80 feet tall by 40 feet wide (or larger) under optimum conditions, with a rapid growth rate. Its shape is upright pyramidal when young, but becomes irregular with maturity. The very straight trunk of White Pine is punctuated by a whorl of lateral branches every one to two feet, and from this sequential arrangement, a close approximation of the age of the tree can be determined (simply count the number of whorls from bottom to top). As a member of the Pine Family, it is related to other Pines as well as the Firs, Larches, Spruces, and Hemlocks.
Planting Requirements - White Pine performs best in evenly moist, rich, well-drained, acidic soils in full sun. It is often intolerant of soils that are alkaline in pH and poorly drained; therefore, the heavy clay soils of much of central and western Ohio cause it to struggle in parts of this region, while it often thrives in eastern Ohio. Needle chlorosis (yellowing) and stunted growth are prime symptoms of a soil-related problem. Its rapid growth rate allows for a quick result in terms of a harvestable timber tree, a mature landscape tree, or as a cut Christmas tree. It grows in zones 3 to 8.
Potential Problems - In spite of thriving in many natural settings, White Pine is very susceptible in urban settings to alkaline soil pH (causing chlorosis, resulting in yellowing of the needles and stunting of growth), winter salt spray, air pollution, compacted clay soils, and poor water drainage. Young transplants and saplings are also subject to deer and rabbit browsing in any setting. White Pine suffers from white pine blister rust, a fungus that attacks the inner bark. This primary disease can be controlled by removing all gooseberry and alpine currant shrubs within a quarter mile of the tree, since they serve as alternate hosts. White Pine is also attacked by the white pine weevil, which bores into the terminal shoots and distorts the growth of the upper canopy. This primary pest may severely impact mass plantings, such as those that occur in pure forests stands, nursery plantations, and Christmas tree farms.
The White Pine is among several varieties which will be offered in the 2011 Tree Sale held by the Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District. Also on the sale list are; Sassafras, Kentucky Coffeetree, Eastern Redcedar, Chestnut Oak, Paw Paw, Persimmon, Tuliptree, 2 blueberry varieties, and the Navaho thornless blackberry. For more information and to receive a 2011 Tree Sale order blank, please call 740-432-5624.