Gardeners and landscapers are some of the most ingenious and creative
people you will ever meet. Just when I think I've heard it all, I hear
about another novel approach to a garden problem.
Today, I'll try to help a reader whose birch tree might be poisoned by
the remaining roots of an old walnut tree, but first, here's a tale of
homemade ingenuity from a reader:
"Steve, I have friends who grew up in the New York City area and I
have heard the story of grandpa winterizing his fig tree many times.
"Their Italian grandfather had a fig tree and it was lovingly known as
the linoleum tree. He would mulch the base of the tree, tie the
branches facing upward with jute rope to hold them, then pack it with
newspaper to insulate it and then wrap the whole tree with a sheet of
linoleum and more rope to hold it together. Of course, it was the old
kind with tar paper insulation. To top it off he would put a bucket on
top to hold the linoleum in place. He watered the tree during the
winter. It always made it through the winter just fine!
"We thought a thick strong tarp would work in place of the linoleum
since some states get some 60 degree days during the winter and it
would get too hot in the linoleum." - Helen Paterson
Thank you, Helen, for sharing that story! Do any other readers have
any unusual but effective ideas that we can share in this column? Let
me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's a reader who seems to be having problems with a tree that isn't
even there anymore...
QUESTION: "I had a black walnut removed nearly three years ago and
since then I have planted three new trees about ten feet from where
the walnut had been. The first two trees, both maples, died. This year
we planted a Whitespire birch and in spite of good growing conditions
and good watering, it is dropping leaves very fast now and it appears
that the lower branches are dead.
"I have three questions: 1. Could the juglone from the remaining roots
of the black walnut that was cut down three years ago be killing my
birch tree? 2. If I remove the birch now and re-plant it in a better
location, will it survive? 3. What can I do to lessen the trauma of
removing and re-planting the birch?" - Katie Beery
ANSWER: I'll answer your questions one at a time. 1. Yes, that's a
possibility as there is a residual effect that last for quite a long
time. 2. It's quite possible the birch can survive after replanting as
long as the juglone has not penetrated too much of the roots.
And now to answer part 3 of your question. First of all, dig the hole
in the new location where you are planning to replant it. Then return
to the "old" location and dig up as much as you can around the root
ball of the tree so as to disturb the roots as little as possible.
After transplanting, water every day for five days with a sprinkler so
as to wet the foliage. Do this early in the morning for about three
hours, then at night for a couple of hours. After five days, cut back
to normal watering. I hope your birch revives in its new location.
If you want to know more on this subject, there is an excellent fact
sheer available free online from the University of Ohio Extension
Service. You can read it at http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1148.html
or find this column at my Web site www.landsteward.org and click on a
link that will take you there directly.
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs
and landscaping to email@example.com and for resources and
additional information, or to subscribe to Steve's free e-mailed
newsletter, visit www.landsteward.org