April 7, 2007

Forest Pansy, Silver Cloud Good Choices for Patio Shade

Q:WE had to remove a dying almond tree from our patio. We

are looking to replace it with a new tree that has beautiful foliage, and that fully flowers in the spring and will not grow too big, but will give a little shade over our patio table. Do you have any suggestions?

A: My personal choice would be Forest Pansy or Silver Cloud Redbud, Cercis canadensis.

Forest Pansy Redbud likes full sun and is a moderate growing tree to 20 feet tall with a 15-foot spread, but pruning can control the size.

Forest Pansy has large circular leaves that are a brilliant scarlet-purple colored in new foliage, maturing to maroon, but the leaf color does fade as the summer wears on.

Silver Cloud Redbud is a smaller tree, growing to 12 feet with an equal spread.

They both have rosy pink flowers, which are a nice contrast against the ash gray bark as the leaves emerge after flowering. Its leaves are light green marbled with white.

Silver Cloud will burn in full sun so I wouldn't be inclined to plant it in warmer inland areas.

Another tree to consider for the leaf color is Acer nugendo Flamingo, the Flamingo ash-leafed maple.

Its leaves are variegated medium green with pink to cream turning to yellow in the fall.

It is a taller tree, reaching a height of 35 feet and as wide, but, again, you can control the size with pruning.

You can also consider fruitless flowering plums and pears.

You might ask the nursery professional at your favorite garden for a second opinion.

Note: You'll find more information and images at http:// www.azdomino.monrovia.com. You need to click on the "About Our Plant" tab and then on the "Plant Library Search." You'll see a search box in the next screen.

Q: I'm having a problem with the wild privet seedlings growing along the fence. They are from my neighbor's tree. I've been paying to have the trees pruned every year as they can't afford to help with the expense. It seems like a losing battle as I constantly fight the unwanted seedlings. What else can be done?

A: Pruning the tree should do a good job in limiting the problem as long as you focus on the timing. The source of the seedlings are the blue/black berries that form after the white flowers fall off.

You can cut the berry clusters off or trim the entire plant by shearing it with a pair of hedge shears. No fancy pruning is necessary with privet.

This should take care of the majority of the problem. Not all privets have several flushes of blossoms per year.

You can remove them by pruning or spray them with Monterey Florel.

Florel is applied to prevent the formation of undesirable or messy fruits such as olives, crabapples, spiny balls on Liquidambar trees and others.

It is applied when the blossom first opens up to abort or prevent the formation of the seeds/berries.

Buzz Bertolero is Executive Vice President of Navlet's Garden Centers and a California Certified Nursery Professional. His web address is http://www.dirtgardener.com and you can send questions by e-mail at [email protected] or to 360 Civic Drive Ste. D., Pleasant Hill, Calif. 94523

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