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Monday, January 12, 2015

A Tree to Make the Top of Your Planting List

Bee in A Cosmos Moment
Sweet as hint for today's specimen tree.

Here’s something not to shelf in the dead of winter. It’s time to think trees and what to plant and where. Here’s one tree you may not think about too often when it comes to planting or nursery shopping but it’s a specimen tree we love. And it has a good hardiness zone – 4 to 9. 

A few more hints – although it does have a variety of names, if you’re a Van Morrison fan think of one of his sultry songs and add some honey. This tree has beautiful fall foliage and also a great native. And to my knowledge, it’s not host to the problematic Asian Longhorned Beetle. 

Okay, do you give? One or two more hints. It’s slow growing and it makes an excellent shade tree. But don’t plant it in alkaline soils. Its fruits are a favorite of birds and squirrels so it performs as a natural bird feeder, something we encourage folks to do. That’s a wrap – now here’s the tree. But here’s one more hint. On Martha’s Vineyard, this species is called ‘beetlebung', (also its old colonial name) because the wood was used to make the plug/bung for old wooden casks. 

By now you may be giving up so just for those that made it to the end, it’s a Nyssa sylvatica. Black Tupelo, Black Gum or Sour Gum – those are its other common names. If you want an excellent specimen, add this tree to the top of your planting list. 

Remember, winter is the time to plan.  This tree is an ‘angel of the first degree.’ And just in case you want the real deal, here’s a Youtube clip of Van and Tupelo Honey.  Enjoy this January 12th day. And wow, did my New England Patriots make my weekend - sweet as Tupelo honey! 

© All Images – Property of Bilowz Associates Inc. 

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)