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Article: Don't Get Burned by "Burning Bush": All invasives must go!

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Forum: Article: Don't Get Burned by "Burning Bush"Replies: 13, Views: 36
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RosemaryK

RosemaryK
Lexington, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 22, 2013
3:54 PM

Post #9458398

Thanks for your article, Carrie. I think you set the right tone on the subject. My New England yard was full of all the invasive plants--tons of burning bush, Norway Maples, Oriental honeysuckle, Oriental bittersweet, privet...the list goes on. I have to say the burning bush is still among the toughest to get rid of. After lots of digging trimming and burning, they still show up--yes, in the middle of the privet that isn't all out yet. But they also show up along fences, among rhododendron, in vacant lots across the street...it's endless. I hope the western states can learn from mistakes that were made out east and save themselves the trouble.

The problem of how to replace them is very interesting. Many replacements are a bit fussier, but they are worth learning about. Although at first I planted some azaleas, they haven't seemed all that wonderful. Instead I think blueberries, shade tolerant viburnums, chokeberries, snowberries, ilex verticillata, and others just seem to be more natural. The transformation continues over many years. I hope to go back to the species that used to grow here while leaving some room for the well-behaved visitors from other continents.

carrielamont

carrielamont
Euless, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 22, 2013
4:21 PM

Post #9458420

Thank you for your reading, Rosemary. Your project sounds ambitious, but oh, so worthwhile. In my Milton yard, we were perennially besieged by Norway maple, E. anonymous and other garbage...literally. We were at the bottom of a area that had been sold off and developed in the 1940s-60s. Our house is an ugly little 1950 squat thing with landscaping hard up against it on all sides; we heard that the guy who built it had no heirs and wanted to see it "filled out" during the next four years.

Maybe it looked ok for a few years, but by the time I bought it in 1994, ALL the original landscaping had totally overgrown the house and outgrown their spots. I have a few nice specimens, like Syringia reticulata, for instance, which isn't nasty but quite lovely and smells great in June. For my part, I can't decide whether to sell and retire in Saint Croix, or to tear down the house (and landscaping) and start over with something decent (with space for grandchildren).

Do report back if you find wonderful replacement for E. alata, though!

RosemaryK

RosemaryK
Lexington, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 22, 2013
7:17 PM

Post #9458579

Carrie,Your land in Milton sounds like it's had a similar history. Many years ago our place was part of an apple orchard but only one apple tree remains. We bought in '89. We're located on the side of a hill, though. The last owner, since late 1940's liked the idea of letting everything grow where it wanted. We have also dodged red mulberries. Originally the lilac bushes were a big asset, but the neighbors let their Norway Maples overcome everything in their path so I have since replanted away from the property boundary. I think there are many wonderful replacements, each providing different interest!

carrielamont

carrielamont
Euless, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 23, 2013
7:32 PM

Post #9459613

It's not exactly "land" in Milton, Rosemary, it's a small house on a small plot.

RosemaryK

RosemaryK
Lexington, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 24, 2013
7:05 AM

Post #9459908

Gosh, Carrie. I bet you have a llittle piece of paradise.

Where I had two E. alatas while kids were smalll and I was too tired to hack away, I now have two doublefile viburnums started. I wanted something that would still contribute a horizontal sweep on our slope and be a blooming fool. 'Shasta' is doing quite well. 'Pink Beauty' is currently buried under the snow, so I can't say. These selections don't offer berries, so I am making berries and more truly native a requirement for understory trees and shrubs in a different area. Because what people call builder's sand gets mined around here, it is very discouraging to keep encountering the yellow ochre sand dunes just under a thin layer of leaf mulch. That is if I don't encounter granite ledge first. Makes my work to select more native trees and shrubs very interesting :) Since some of the mulberries are so short lived, they are finally dying, it is a project to replace them with something interestly craggy. I'm rejecting JMs for the "natural" area. The list of possibilities for understory so far includes Stewartia ovata, Halesia tetrapera, Cercis canadensis, Cornus florida, Carpinas caroliniana, v. prunifolium and Oxydendrum arboreum--sourwood. Wish there could be space to plant them all!

I enjoy reading your articles Carrie! Good luck deciding where to live. This winter has made the Northeast pretty challenging.

RosemaryK

RosemaryK
Lexington, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 24, 2013
7:32 AM

Post #9459924

Here's one of my replacements for Burning Bush. Witch hazel 'Rubin' still becomes red--red blossoms in February or March when I most need it.

Thumbnail by RosemaryK
Click the image for an enlarged view.

carrielamont

carrielamont
Euless, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 24, 2013
9:36 AM

Post #9460086

Great suggestion! (I wonder did I mention witch hazel? Can't remember.)

RosemaryK

RosemaryK
Lexington, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 24, 2013
12:37 PM

Post #9460289

Well, other selections have more red leaf color in fall. I am thinking about Oxydendrum arboreum or Sourwood for the bright red leaf color. It eventually becomes a small tree. For a larger tree I want to grow a scarlet oak.

carrielamont

carrielamont
Euless, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 24, 2013
1:40 PM

Post #9460346

I got a Sugar Maple at a Round Up once, in exchange for laminum I think. I lost track of it, but isn't it amazing how the tiniest little leaflet knows to turn BRIGHT RED????

And never forget, 2013's small tree is 2023's huge eyesore, can't build the porch or extend the driveway. I'm not saying anything in particular, just that the guy who built my house with his Korean War payout thought "for $1 it looks good next year and for $2 it looks good this year. I've got $3, so I can buy one that will look good last year!" Grrrr.

Sorry, Rosemary, I don't mean to be such a witch... I hope you guys get warm weather (only rain at night) soon!

RosemaryK

RosemaryK
Lexington, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 24, 2013
3:09 PM

Post #9460439

I know what you mean because I'm living with someone else's bright ideas. (You could see all the euonomous ground cover in my pic) It's funny how Berberis has bright red leaves, but they're a no no too. Still, as long as we live here we can burn our mistakes in our ecologically responsible wood burning stove. The E. alata was OK to burn I thought.

I'm looking for understory trees mainly so they don't keep growing, and there will be three of them to replace three mulberry trees that are dying. So, this is a good time to think about what might have been natural once. The scarlet oak will have lots of room to get tall when it's companion mulberry ages. I'm told scarlet oak hosts over 200 animal species, so that's a good reason so start one.

I'm thinking of spending more time with the NE wildflower society because they think a lot about what supports wildlife, and sell things in their plant sales.

carrielamont

carrielamont
Euless, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 24, 2013
3:28 PM

Post #9460454

And Lexington is metrowest and so is Framingham!

Eventually (maybe it should be NEXT) I'm going to write about the East Asia-East Coast doohingey. Completely the wrong word and I don't know the actual facts yet (so if anyone's reading, this is pre-research).

But they kept discovering case after case where there was a species in, say, New England and Japan and nowhere else in the world. Like Euonymous or Azalea or I can't think of any others but there are lots. Maybe Syringia? And there were no related plants in the west parts, west Europe or western North America. Many of *our* invasive species are perfectly kept in check in their homelands, of course. I dunno the details, but there are Azalea-type plants all around Japan and the east coast of China and then not at all for thousands of miles in either direction. Why not? I believe this led to the theory of Pan-Gea and continental drift.

RosemaryK

RosemaryK
Lexington, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 24, 2013
3:51 PM

Post #9460474

Carrie, I for one want to know more about this phenomenom. But then I'm a sucker for things like realizing that Nova Scotia is really a geological part of continental Africa. You wouldn't know it from what grows there. Still, it would also be useful to get lists of what the colonists brought over with them. NE is also a former center for camellias, which I find fascinating, but of course they're not too likely to become invasive :)

carrielamont

carrielamont
Euless, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 24, 2013
7:38 PM

Post #9460730

I find all such questions EXTREMELY interesting and thought-provoking. Isn't plate tectonics really cool (once someone explains it)? I need to go to bed (and so do you) but hasta manana!

RosemaryK

RosemaryK
Lexington, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 27, 2013
4:12 PM

Post #9464231

Carrie,

It would be interesting to research the Franklin Tree. By now someone ought to have started looking at its genetics. So fascinating that this white flowering tree is considered to be native. I keep thinking it ought to be from Asia.

On the list of bright red fall color: enkianthus campanulatus--even though European I'm told it behaves. Also on the subject of witch hazels, 'Jelena' is suppoed to be one with bright red fall foliage. I have to say my color on the other cultivars I planted is not inspiring, but they are growing in a lot of shade

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Other Article: Don't Get Burned by "Burning Bush" Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Should be outlawed in the whole US JuneyBug 9 Mar 8, 2011 9:01 AM
Had no idea! Sundownr 17 Mar 7, 2011 2:00 PM
It should burn in h... quiltjean 1 Mar 7, 2011 8:21 AM
Invasive species Notill 9 Mar 11, 2011 11:40 AM
Dwarf Burning Bushes from Stark Bro's Th d94114 3 Mar 18, 2011 1:56 PM


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