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Healing Garden Design

air date: February 11, 2017

Yes, our gardens are sanctuaries to heal, find peace, and truly get outside ourselves. Landscape Architect Brian Ott illustrates design concepts for our own little havens. At American Botanical Council, discover plants from around the world that heal, taste good, attract pollinators and handle drought! So, how can you help trees heal? Daphne explains how to rescue a trouble sycamore tree. Plant of the Week, coneflower, is well known as a healing plant. It’s also a reliable perennial that offers nectar, pollen and seeds for wildlife that relies on its food. Ever forget the name of a plant or what you planted where? Trisha solves that mystery with cute and stylish plant tags from recycled finds.

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Question of the Week

What can I do about my troubled sycamore tree?

Thanks to Arnulfo Talamantes in San Antonio for this great question!

The crown of one of their sycamores has gone into a decline. Is the tree slowly dying? Would it be a good idea to remove the dead portion to keep it from continuing or is all hope lost?

From the photos, it seems to me as if there is still enough life in this tree to work towards saving it. And yes, I would recommend pruning out all the dead limbs, since not only will they not recover, but they’re also a safety hazard.

There’s a reason that the tree is declining, and we can’t really discern it from just this photo, but it’s most likely all the years of drought that we had, potentially exacerbated by some secondary issues.

And Arnulfo has a second question, regarding the holes in his cedar elm tree. Since the row of holes is in almost perfect alignment, this looked to me like typical sapsucker bird damage, but there is one, outlying hole in the photo, so I consulted AgriLife Extension entomology specialist Wizzie Brown to be sure.

And she confirmed that yes, when holes are in rows, it’s sapsucker damage and not borers.  If the tree is healthy and the damage isn’t too extensive, the holes shouldn’t represent an insurmountable challenge, and the tree should be able to grow through and eventually produce more wood and bark that will close over the open areas.

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Plant of the Week

Coneflower

Coneflower

Echinacea purpurea

Native coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, is an easy-care, herbaceous perennial for sun to part/bright shade. Purple coneflower can reach a height of about 2 feet, and perhaps an additional 12 to 18 inches, including its flower spikes, but each plant stays very compact in width, at only a foot or so. Cluster in groups of 3-5 for the most impact. In the right conditions, coneflower will seed out for even more. It’s easy to move them in early spring. Producing striking individual light pink to purple flowers from spring all the way through fall, Echinacea is very drought tolerant and should be watered sparingly, in only the hottest, driest of times. The flowers are long-lasting and attract lots of pollinators to nectar and pollen, but are pretty unattractive once they fade. You may be tempted to dead-head, but try to resist that urge: the seed heads are a great food source for small birds. There are lots of cultivars out there, and most of them do well in the same planting environment as the native, but may not provide seeds for native birds. The stems of Echinacea remain entirely just below the soil surface, so you’ll need to be extra careful that this beauty doesn’t stay too wet. In droughty years, this won’t be too hard, but in years with lots of winter and spring rain, the plants may rot, especially if you have any amount of clay in your soil. To combat this, loosen the planting area with expanded shale, and even consider planting on berms. And be sure not to overwater.

Backyard Basics

Cute Stylish Plant Tags from Recycles

Ever forget the name of a plant or what you planted where? Trisha solves that mystery with cute and stylish plant tags from recycled finds.

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