Posts tagged lilacs

The deadly juglone of black walnut trees

The following is by Linn County Master Gardener, Claire Smith:

    The seeder wagon is in place.  The lawn mower towed it out of the shed down to the water way and then with two planks and my favorite son’s strong back we pushed and pulled it to the other side of the ditch.  With the addition of an old wire garden gate staked behind a sapling, a hand pump from my parent’s former home and a rock lined pseudo fire pit filled with Petunias that were on the end-of-season sale, the area reflects the peaceful primitive atmosphere I was striving for.  This is the area I mentioned in an earlier blog that became inaccessible to mow due to last year’s flood.  Hosta, native grasses and prairie perennials will grace the space next year.  We continued our zeroscaping to include a part of the road ditch that I learned is also impossible to mow after the mower and I suffered a close encounter with the culvert.  Now that waterway is filled with large rocks and what was a sloping grassy space is mulched. 

            Hosta will ring the two Black Walnut trees in the roadway ditch.  Hosta is a plant of choice there because I have some that need transplanting and they are not sensitive to Juglone, a chemical secretion from Black Walnut Trees. 

             Discovered in the 1880s, Juglone is produced in the fruit, leaves, branches and root system of several trees with Black Walnuts exhibiting the highest concentration.  The greatest intensity in the soil exists within the tree’s drip line, on an average 50 ft. radius from the trunk of a mature tree.  Plants susceptible to Juglone display yellowing leaves, wilting and eventual death.  Plants sensitive to Juglone include Peonies, Hydrangea, Asian Lilies, and Lilacs.  There are multiple choices that will withstand close proximity to Walnut trees such as most grasses, Phlox, Sedum, Daylilies, Iris and Hosta.

            Now my challenge is to determine plants that are not only resistant to Juglone, but also to the deer population in this neighborhood.  Unfortunately, Hosta is one of the critters’ favorite choices.  They have already decimated the Hosta and Bee Balm in the ditch on the other side of the lane.  A great winter  pastime will be comparison shopping perennials and grasses that are both deer and Juglone resistant as well as low maintenance for those landscapes. 

             I actually enjoy mowing.  And I like the challenge of creating and maintaining flower beds, but the  simple clean lines of zeroscaping does appeal to me.  A few plants and shrubs easily embellish the area without overstating the purpose of low maintenance.

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Milk and honey

       The following is from Linn County Master Gardener, Claire Smith:

    

       It’s a sure sign of spring when the scent of a bouquet of lilacs wafts covers every inch of a room.  And then the sweet smell of peonies penetrates throughout the whole house around Memorial Day.  Now it’s summer and Honeysuckle’s  milk and honey permeates my yard.   We take flower filled vases to Great Grandma as often as we can.  She enjoys them so much and we all want them to last as long as possible.

You can create a lovely bouquet by:       

·         Selecting  flowers that are just coming into bloom

·         Cutting  the stems at an angle

·         Choosing a clean vase and clean flowers

·         Using an upside down plastic mesh strawberry basket to hold cut flower arrangements in place.              

·         Keeping the vase filled with fresh water.

·         Not using chemically softened water.

·         Keeping the arrangement out of direct sunlight and heat, i.e., not on the top of the fridge or T.V.

·         Using a floral preservative for a long lasting arrangement.   Floral preservatives supply sugar for survival and disinfectant that will inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi. Create your own preservative:

·         One TBL. of sugar and ¼ tsp. of household bleach is a good source of preservative.

·         Tonic water or lemon-lime soda (not diet) at one part soda or tonic water with two parts water works well. 

·         Citric acid, available at drugstores can be used, too.  Use ¼ tsp. per gallon of water.

  Any combination of color and scent is certain to brighten a day.  Enjoy!

               

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