Month: December 2021

Holly Plant: A Holiday Favorite that Shines in Winter

Holly is commonly seen during the holiday season. Even carols tell us to ‘Deck the halls with boughs of holly.’ The plant’s green leaves and red berries (though some cultivars do have berries with other colors) are a festive pop of color in interior décor. In the outdoor landscape, they are a bright and welcome sight on cold and gray winter days.

american holly

There are around 400 species in the holly (Ilex) genus including trees, shrubs and climbers. American holly is the one we most often associate with the holidays. While holly are generally slow-growing, some species are capable of obtaining heights of 80 feet or more!

Holly Characteristics

All parts of the plant, including the berries, are toxic to humans if consumed. However, they are an important food source for birds. The dense foliage is also a great hiding place from predators! In native areas, birds help the plant survive by dispersing seeds. Unfortunately, this can be a problem in non-native geographies. For example, along the west coast of North America, from California to British Columbia, holly has been spreading rapidly and crowding out forest species.

Holly plants are separately male and female. Males produce flowers, but no fruit. The familiar red fruits are on female plants. For the female to bear fruit, a male must be planted nearby. The fruits ripen in winter. They provide a nice color contrast to the glossy evergreen leaves.

Holly often grows as a shrub or in hedges. In open conditions, it can also form a small tree after growing for many years.

Growing and Caring for Holly

These plants thrive in full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil.

Hollies are susceptible to various leaf spot diseases. Infection results in leaf discoloration and eventual defoliation. Management of these disease is achievable as long as they are identified and treated in a timely manner. Root rot is another disease issue that is common. The best course of action is to maintain healthy soil conditions so that roots can continue to grow and thrive.

Some insect pests attack holly. A Certified Arborist can identify and treat infestations of aphids, scale, mites or holly leaf miner.

Overall, this is a great plant in its native range that brings color and beauty to a winter landscape.

The post Holly Plant: A Holiday Favorite that Shines in Winter first appeared on Tree Topics.

This post first appeared on https://www.bartlett.com/

Watch Out for Winter Tree & Shrub Problems

Imagine staying outside all of the time, even during winter. Exposed to severe weather, you’d face many problems. Even though trees live and grow outside, that doesn’t mean that the challenges of winter aren’t stressful for them too! Low temperatures, heavy snow, ice storms and other extremes cause a variety of winter injuries on landscape plants. It’s important to know what type of problems to look for during winter.

snowy branches

Low Temperature Injuries

Root damage can happen during prolonged cold spells, especially on shallow-rooted plants, container plantings and non-native plants. When roots die during this weather, the symptoms won’t appear until late winter or spring. At that point, foliage turns brown, buds die and the entire crown may wilt and die suddenly.

Low temperatures can also kill above-ground portions of plants. Again, non-native plants are most susceptible.  

Winter Drying   

Winter drying generally affects evergreens, particularly mountain laurel, rhododendron, azalea and holly. Plants continue to transpire water during winter. When the soil is frozen, that water cannot be replaced and the foliage dries out. As with injury from low temperatures, in late winter or spring, foliage will turn brown and buds will die.

Stem Splitting or “Frost Cracks”

Frost cracks generally occur on young, thin-barked trees like maple, sycamore or linden. The sudden drop in temperature from sunny, daytime highs to the very lows of nighttime causes stem tissues to shrink and wood to crack.

In severe instances, cracks can extend well into the heartwood, but usually, it is restricted to the outer few inches of wood. Frost cracks can be an entry point for decay on certain species.

Breakage from Snow and Ice Accumulation

The added weight of ice and snow can break branches. Heavy or long limbs, branches showing signs of decay, or those with a weak branch attachment are more vulnerable. This can also be an issue for evergreens, which have a large surface area to “hold” snow.

Deicing Salt Injuries

The salt (sodium chloride) commonly used as a deicing agent can splash onto plants or seep into soil. Salt spray dries out foliage and buds. In the soil, high levels of salt dries out, and can kill, plant roots.

Damage from Animals

Some animal activity during winter is harmful to trees and shrubs. Deer are one example. As other food sources become unavailable, deer turn to twigs and buds for sustenance. Further, deer injure trees by scraping their antlers against the trunk. This is called “buck rub.”

Small rodents and rabbits can also be problematic. These animals eat bark tissue around the lower stem and root collar during winter. This can result in tree death when feeding leads to girdling, where the bark is completely stripped from the tree.

The post Watch Out for Winter Tree & Shrub Problems first appeared on Tree Topics.

This post first appeared on https://www.bartlett.com/

5 Shrub Species for Your Alpharetta Georgia Garden

Sculpted shrubbery for your alpharetta georgia garden

Prevent your garden from looking neglected and ugly. Knowing which shrubs to plant in and around your garden will help protect it from severe weather and keep it looking sharp.

72tree.com gathered the following list of 5 ideal and hardy shrub species for your Alpharetta, Ga garden.

Alpharetta Georgia Gardens

Alpharetta, Georgia, gets approximately 53 inches of rain per year. That’s 15 inches more than the US average at 38 inches per year. This rainfall helps prevent drought and supports plant species growth throughout the year.

On average, Alpharetta sees about 220 sunny days per year. This promotes a healthy environment with ample opportunity for plants, shrubs, and trees to photosynthesize.

Alpharetta is entirely situated in USDA hardiness zone 7b. When selecting plant species for your Alpharetta garden, they should be cold-hardy for zone 7b for maximum growth and health potential.

The following are 5 shrub species selected specifically for Alpharetta, Ga:

1. Ixora Maui red (Ixora coccinea)

Ixora coccinea species for your alpharetta georgia garden

Ixora Maui Red grows as a dwarf, evergreen shrub thriving on heat and humidity. A shrubby, sprawling plant with many clusters of tubular, bright orange flowers displayed on the foliage in shades of bronze to incredible glistening dark shades of green.

While this species is hardy to zones 9 through 11, they can survive zone 7b winter temperatures if sheltered during the cold season.

2. Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

Hydrangea macrophylla species for your alpharetta georgia garden

Hydrangeas include over 75 species in their genus and surpass 600 named cultivars native to multiple climates, regions, and countries. Another common name for hydrangea is hortensia. Hydrangeas can grow as climbing vines and trees but are most commonly found growing as a shrub. The plants can reach heights ranging from 1 foot to nearly 100 feet as a vine!

The showy flowers produced by this plant species are what make it so popular. Most put on a blooming display from early spring all the way into fall. The large flowers can come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Hydrangea blooms can be pink, blue, red, white, purple, and green (depending on the mineral content of the soil).

This flowering shrub can grow in partial shade to full sun and will thrive in hardiness zones 3 through 7.

3. Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

Pimpinella anisum species for your alpharetta georgia garden

Star anise is a quickly growing, evergreen shrub Capable of thriving in hardiness zones 7 through 10. Star anise shrubs can be grown as dense hedges or windbreaks, and they can also be pruned as a border plant. If allowed to, star anise will grow to a height of more than 15 feet and a width of over 10 feet. It tolerates both sun and shade but will grow significantly thinner in the shade.

In culinary terms, anise is used as a flavoring agent. It possesses a sweet, aromatic taste that highly resembles the taste of black licorice.

4. Arborvitae (Thuja)

Thuja species for your alpharetta georgia garden

With glistening emerald evergreen foliage and a classic narrow, pyramidal form, the arborvitae is a popular selection for gardeners looking to make a statement in all seasons.

The slow-growing arborvitae is an excellent selection for a specimen or accent tree. It serves well as a hedge tree, has the height to serve as efficient privacy screens, and makes a good foundation plant.

Hardy to zones 3 through 7, this species will add class and a sharpened look to your yard and garden.

5. Boxwood (Buxus)

Buxus species for your alpharetta georgia garden

Boxwood plants are dense, evergreen shrubs frequently planted in elegant and formal landscapes. This species is also popularly utilized in topiary. Boxwoods are grown for their foliage as their flowers lack any significance. Growing a boxwood shrub on your landscape allows you to create a topiary, a formal hedge, a matching border, or a pair of boxwood shrubs to balance out an entryway.

Boxwood is cold hardy to zones 5 through 9 and thrives in the Alpharetta, Ga area with little effort.

Growing Shrubs in Hardiness Zone 7b

In this article, you discovered 5 shrub species that grow well in the city of Alpharetta, Georgia, which is situated in hardiness zone 7b.

Knowing which shrub species to plant in your Alpharetta garden and landscape will help you maintain a sharp-looking and healthy ecosystem thriving year-round.

Haphazardly planting inappropriate species for Alpharetta’s cold hardiness can result in stunted growth, plant failure, disease, and insect infestations exploding over your landscape.

Sources:
extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=B625&title=Landscape%20Plants%20for%20Georgia
gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/ornamentals/ixora.html
gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/trees-and-shrubs/shrubs/star-anise-shrubs.html
arborday.org/trees/treeguide/treedetail.cfm?itemID=777
plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/buxus/

This article was first published on: http://www.72tree.com/5-shrub-species-for-your-alpharetta-georgia-garden/

How To Determine If A Tree Is Salvageable After A Bad Storm

Tree DamageTrees are beautiful additions to landscape designs, but when heavy storms come barreling through, damaged trees can actually become quite a nuisance and safety hazard. After a bad storm, you should take the time to inspect the tree for damage and determine if it’s salvageable or not.

Broken branches can be pulled away and usually have not affected the tree’s stability. But upon further inspection, you might become aware that there are actual structural damages that pose a threat to safety and landscape appeal.

Even though trees have the ability to recover from heavy winds and rain, you shouldn’t assume the tree is okay. Here are some tips to follow in order to determine if a tree is salvageable after a storm.

A tree can remain if the following is still apparent:

1. There are little to no missing or hanging branches. A tip: the larger the broken limb or the higher the number of missing limbs, the less likely the tree will be able to grow it back.

2. The tree’s leader is still intact. A missing leader can leave a tree looking deformed. (The leader is the main upward-trending branch on most trees.)

3. At least 50% of the tree’s branches and leaves are still attached A tree needs to produce enough foliage in order to properly nourish and survive.

4. There are no or a minimal number of large holes left behind from broken limbs or missing chunks of bark. Large holes can lead to pest invasion.

5. If there are any remaining branches, they can re-grow new branch structures overtime.

6. Where the tree is located is a safe distance and height from power lines.

If your area has been severely affected by a storm, you can assess your trees yourself, but it might be wiser to let a professional. A professional tree service like ours has the necessary tree knowledge in order to look over the factors that determine a tree’s strength. For more information, contact Big Foot Tree Service today.

 

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