• 68°

Blackwelder column: What are those plants?

SALISBURY — With the change in temperature, homeowners have a natural tendency to migrate outside and contemplate maintenance chores. Pruning is always an issue with changes in the weather, whether it’s fall or spring. Many have called about pruning and other plant identification. Below are just a few.
Q: My mother planted azaleas that are too tall, approaching 5 feet. Can I prune them now and not kill them?
A: Pruning azaleas now may be a problem if the weather becomes unseasonably warm during the winter followed by very cold weather. This often happens, and when it does, it kills some plants back from new growth and completely kills others. The best time to prune azaleas is right after they bloom to the end of June.
Q: There is a big tree on the edge of our property with huge lime-green fruit the size of softballs. What kind of tree is this? Are these fruits edible?
A: The tree is an osage orange, which is more commonly found in the midwestern states. The large fruit has a lemon scent and ones have been known to crack a car windshield. Squirrels enjoy the seeds. Another distinguishing characteristic about osage orange trees is the plethora of sharp thorns. Before the invention of barbed wire, miles of hedge were constructed by planting young osage orange trees closely together in a line to keep cattle at bay.
Q: There is a dogwood tree and an azalea blooming in the front of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Salisbury. Is this a fall blooming dogwood?
A: No, that is a kousa dogwood and a coral gumpo azalea blooming out of season. Stress is usually the culprit causing plants to bloom out of season. Hot weather, followed by cool weather or rainy weather often confuses the biological clock of some plant species (flowering hormones, etc.). The plants will bloom again in the spring; however, it depends how much of the plants’ stored energy was consumed in determining to what degree.
Q: What is that holly that has a very fragrant bloom in the fall? My neighbor has one and I can smell it from my house.
A: The plant is not really a holly but fragrant Osmanthus (Osmanthus fragrans), which is entirely different from a true holly. The leaves of a holly (Ilex sp.) alternate on the stem while Osmanthus leaves are opposite of each other. The shrub is used as a hedge, border or screen. More information can be found at http://www.ces. ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/shrubs/osmanthus_fragrans.html
Darrell Blackwelder is the County Extension Director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Learn more about Cooperative Extension events and activities by checking Facebook, going online at www.rowanextension.com or calling 704-216-8970.
 
 
 

Comments

Comments closed.

China Grove

Reaper’s Realm owners promise beefed-up security after weekend shooting

Business

Contractor expands local footprint, takes on county’s coronavirus projects

News

Home Improvement: Holiday gifts to spark home improvement ideas

Elections

Political Notebook: Local parties will host watch parties for presidential debate

Crime

China Grove man cited for driving through school field

BREAKING NEWS

October closure hearings set for Faith, Enochville elementary schools

Crime

Police say man gave false name after high speed chase, crashing into lumber truck

Coronavirus

Nearly 400 cases considered currently active in the county

Education

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College creates free course to help parents tackle virtual learning

Business

New unemployment claims down in August, could indicate positive trend for businesses

Crime

Salisbury man faces drug possession charges after overdose call

Crime

Police: Man charged after children call 911 from neighbor’s house

Ask Us

Ask Us: Who are people behind sign at City Park playground?

Coronavirus

Prison in Salisbury latest site of COVID-19 outbreak

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury Man charged with felony assault by strangulation

Nation/World

Trump vows quick Supreme Court vote, Biden urges delay for Nov. 3

Nation/World

New rule may strip pollution protections from popular lakes

East Spencer

East Spencer draws crowd for annual community day

Elections

In Rowan’s legislative races, Howard, Warren get off to strongest start in fundraising

Business

From Navy SEAL to Medicare agent, Trent Waller looks to continue serving his community

Elections

In 13th Congressional District race, Budd, Huffman differ on government’s role in COVID-19 help

Local

Rowan County Telecommunications joins new state digital 911 system

Education

School board will consider scheduling public hearings for Faith, Enochville closures

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion makes donation to support racial equality and justice