Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Plant of the Week: Sourwood Tree (Oxydendrum arboreum)


Wow is a word that describes the scarlet fall color of the sourwood tree.  Better than the best maple tree by far.  Scarlet and I mean scarlet red.  This widely under-utilized tree in the landscape has tons of appeal. It is quite showy and in the spring the leaves come out with bronze tips, summer is complete with sprays of white flowers dripping downward in contrast to the bright green leaves, and in fall they turn spectacular color with the grayish seed pods providing contrast.  They are a small tree and to get a good growth form in the garden, only purchase a container product, not balled.  Their maximum height reaches about 30' and they can be rather slow growing in the landscape.  They need well-drained acidic soil high in organic matter and they don't like competition. They do not like high pH soils or heavy clay soils and can't tolerate much pollution. So mulch them in well with pine straw and keep the base free from competing plants.  They should be planted in part-shade and during extended drought periods watering is a necessity.  When considering where to place this small tree, think about someplace where it will have maximum visual impact in the fall. One of the best attributes of the species is that they honey made from the flowers is supposedly the best you can get.  Many folks don't appreciate it for a landscape plant because it usually has a crooked stem, but I think it just makes this tree all the more appealing.

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