Plant of the Month
‘Summer Cascade’ Weeping River Birch
Betula nigra ‘Summer Cascade’
Location: Grid R-15 south east corner of the lower pond
This is an unusual weeping form of the River Birch. Somewhat similar to the ‘Youngii’ Weeping European Birch, it will not develop a strong upright leader unless it is trained to do that. The tree in the Arboretum was trained up to about six feet tall, then everything has been allowed to cascade down.
Since it is a River Birch, it is somewhat resistant to Bronze Birch Borers, which have killed most of the European Birches in Moscow. As the name suggests, and like most Birches, it likes a moist location and it will require summer irrigation to thrive in Moscow.
Like many weeping trees, the upper branches develop a dense canopy, shading out the lower branches. Those lower branches die off and should be removed.
October has continued our amazing Fall weather, there have been a couple of nights down in the 20’s and a little bit of rain and wind; but overall it has been a beautiful Fall.
Along with the gorgeous weather I have had the luxury of more help than I have had in years with one full time crew member, one working half time, and two students helping out with a few hours mowing between classes.
That has allowed us to tackle some long- neglected chores, including grinding and removing 15 stumps (of course now I am continuing to find more that need to be done…) and removing dead Pine trees on the west slope. We continue to lose Western White Pines, probably to a soil borne fungus attacking the roots, likely worse because the trees are stressed from drought and unusually hot summer temperatures. This makes five that have been removed this year.
On a happier note, we have also been busy planting. Hopefully, the most noticeable effort will be the 850 bulbs that have gone in the last couple of weeks. We are trying a pretty extensive grouping of Narcissus or Daffodils on the steep, un-mowed slope below the golf course in the European section. We planted 3 different varieties, all of which are supposed to be good naturalizers; so hopefully they will continue to spread and add some color.
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