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More dogwood (with clementine aside)

  • Subject: [cg] More dogwood (with clementine aside)
  • From: Don Boekelheide dboekelheide@yahoo.com
  • Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2002 17:36:50 -0800 (PST)

Hi, all,

On dogwoods, I think Jack is right. A developer in my
neighborhood, after clearcutting trees he was supposed
to leave in place, came back and created a 'natural'
woodland. They got it mostly right in terms of
species, but put in Kousas (Cornus kousa) instead of
American dogwood (Cornus florida). It just looks
wrong. The trees bloom at different times, the blooms
look different, so do the leaves... I think a first
choice for healthy dogwoods is good soil prep with
good compost, and if you could find it, a native
cultivar bred for resistance.

Here in Charlotte, we're looking at the possibility of
garden-based enterprise projects built around growing
native plants that work in landscapes(like dogwood,
but the list is much longer) to replace invasive
exotics like privet (Ligustrum spp.) and autumn olive
(Eleagnus spp.) for hedges and in commercial, public,
school and church landscaping. As was pointed out,
natives like dogwood are much richer sources of
calories for birds and other wildlife than many of the
troublesome exotics.

As for eating Kousa berries, well, I'm not crazy about
them, pretty uninspiring. There is a variety I've
seen, 'big apple', that's supposed to be better. The
best known edible fruit Cornus is probably Cornus mas,
the 'Cornelian Cherry'. They grow from Zone 4 south to
Zone 8, but need the colder weather for good flowering
and fruit set. The taste is bitter, but it makes good
jam and birds like them.

If you are into edible landscaping and fruit trees in
your community gardens, there are lots of choices. One
American classic is the blueberry (Vaccinium spp.),
which would make a nice hedge along fence lines (just
remember, blueberries need acid soil). Edible dogwood?
Why not? Great source of info on small scale orchard
stuff is North American Fruit Explorers,

About clementines (oh my darlin'...), they do grow in
the citrus belt of the USA. You _might_ even be able
to grow one in a container as an 'indoor/outdoor'
plant, though it takes sun to ripen the fruit. But,
heck, you don't get that cool free box without buying
the fruit.

Meanwhile, it's sleeting down here. Hope I don't lose
any big limbs if the freezing rain is as bad as they

btw, how many community gardens grow fall/winter
crops? Do any of you use row covers (agribon, reemay,
etc, on 'hoops' or laid directly on the plants)? Any
suggestions on doing that (or not)?

Don Boekelheide
Charlotte NC
> I just heard a different point of view on this
> discussion.  A fellow from
> one of the big tree care companies, speaking at the
> Connecticut Urban Forest
> Council annual conference, suggested we shouldn't
> give up so easily.  He
> said we should plant the natives anyway, realizing
> that they have a pretty
> fair chance of picking up the disease.  Then we
> should take care of them and
> deal with the disease when it appears.  As a guy
> with a large afflicted
> dogwood in his back yard (it's about 14-16" dbh), I
> wouldn't give it up for
> anything, even though I have to keep removing dead
> limbs.  There isn't any
> substitute for that wonderful white cloud.
> JH
> Jack N. Hale
> Executive Director
> Knox Parks Foundation
> 75 Laurel Street
> Hartford, CT 06106
> 860/951-7694
> f860/951-7244

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