After five weeks of mild and wonderful temperatures, delightful to all except for swimming pool owners and grass mowing contractors who mow as needed, finally real summer returns.
Not quite to the tune of the American West, but you would not know it from the Southwest Garden and its Texas Red yuccas at the Secrest Arboretum of the OSU Wooster campus. There, this red-flowered true yucca relative with its attractive woody fruit capsules have bloomed on long stalks, along with the narrow leaves and their wispy fibrous threads, holding court for several months now.
The end of summer and then autumn is on its way, as evidenced by Joe-Pye weed and ironweed in bloom, and with silky dogwood fruits turning electric blue. Not to mention ever more varied fruit harvests. As I write this, my wife, Laura, reading an email, learns from her favorite local orchard that red raspberries are now open for U-Pick. Wow. This comes following her morning of making Dolgo crab apple butter and Viking black chokeberry jam. Therein lies our first story of this week’s Almanac.
The ArborEatUm Edible Landscape Workshop: The date is changed to Oct. 9 (5-8 p.m.) at Secrest Arboretum. From file gumbo with its ground-up young sassafras leaves, to chef Paul Snyder’s renowned Malus Mo Mas Magnifico Meatball Munchies, this event will be a true celebration of hort cuisine. It is for everyone who loves landscape plants and good eats, it will include walks and talks, and there will be few rules other than table manners.
Did you actually grow the landscape plants used in the dish you bring? Is the plant common or just occasional in Ohio landscapes? No horticultural or food police will be on hand, though there will be a judging of sorts. That is because the cost of the program will be on a sliding scale: $25 if you just attend, $20 if you bring an edible landscaping recipe, $15 if you bring the actual dish to share of that recipe, and $10 if your recipe is selected for the ArborEatUm Cookbook fundraiser for Secrest Arboretum during Plant Discovery Day next May 10.
So try your hand at blueberry buckle (blueberries grow well in acid soils in Northeast Ohio and have great fall color), corneliancherry dogwood jelly or cider, serviceberry pie from berries frozen earlier this summer (are you listening, Bill Hahn, city of Akron arborist?) or wherever your imagination lands.
One recipe to share now: Mike Lee’s Nearly World Famous Dolgo Crab Apple Butter. Start with 8 pounds of crab apples. Wash in a large kettle and cover with water. Heat to a boil. Simmer until fruit softens. Drain, then process through a mill. To the sauce add 3 pounds of sugar, 2 quarts of cider, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of cloves. Simmer on low heat or use a large crock pot for 2-4 hours. Stir occasionally. As Mike notes, the house will smell great. Pour hot butter into jars. Process in a hot water bath or freeze. Man, oh man!
Check out registration details at http://go.osu.edu/chatfield.
Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea): Though not an edible landscape plant, this medium-sized (30-50- foot) native shade tree is a lovely ornamental with smooth gray beech-like bark and wonderfully aromatic pendulous white flower panicles of late spring, though flowers are somewhat inconstant, often numerous only every 2-3 years. The leaves are compound and pinnate, and each leaf may be up to 10 inches long with 5-11 leaflets.
Yellowwood, also known as virgilia in the South, is in the Fabaceae (bean) family with its tell-tale fruit pods. It has a broad, rounded habit that sometimes spreads out a bit much with age, and is subject over time to damage from high winds. Fall color is yellow to orange. It’s adaptable to various soils, and tolerates both alkaline and acid conditions. Its eponymous yellow heartwood is prized and used for specialized furniture, for gunstocks and by woodturners.
Check out large specimens at arboreta from Cincinnati to Cleveland and plant yellowwood in your woodscapes.
Invasive species continue their march: This was brought home in an unusual way during a Plant Diagnostic Workshop our OSU Extension team held last week (next one for Northeast Ohio is Sept. 4 in Wooster; check out http://go.osu.edu/chatfield).
The problem was a native plant disease, bacterial crown gall, which causes abnormal warty growths on the roots, crowns and stems of hundreds of different plants, most notably roses, stone fruits and euonymus. Bacterial DNA causes the plant cells to become too large and proliferate in too great a number, interfering with the movement of food, minerals and water in the plant’s vascular (conducting) system.
The unusual aspect in this case was that numerous crown gall growths were growing on a European euonymus vine which was climbing up weeping willow trees on a garden estate. The European euonymus is considered an invasive species by many natural plant biologists because this plant has escaped from garden cultivation and is now moving into woodland and other natural areas.
In this case, these euonymus vines growing up the willow trees were also a great threat to formal rose gardens at the estate, since crown gall bacteria are easily spread with splashing water and wind. This is a case of an invasive species harboring plant pathogens damaging to other, more desired plants.
The other invasive species issue this week is one alluded to in an Almanac two weeks ago. In that item, we discussed the potential problems with thousand canker disease of black walnut, which had not yet been confirmed in Ohio. Well, as of last week, the confirmation arrived, as noted in the OSU Extension’s Buckeye Yard and Garden Line (more on this from the Aug. 15 edition at http://bygl.osu.edu).
The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced that thousand cankers disease (TCD) of black walnut has been confirmed in Butler County. The disease is caused by a fungus carried from tree to tree by the walnut twig beetle.
The beetle was confirmed in Ohio in late 2012 in Butler County, and scientists from the Ohio Plant Diagnostic Network, recently isolated the TCD fungus from walnut branch samples from the Butler County area, marking the first time TCD has been confirmed in Ohio.
Jim Chatfield is a horticultural educator with Ohio State University Extension. If you have questions about caring for your garden, write: Jim Chatfield, Plant Lovers’ Almanac, Ohio State University Extension, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691. Send email to email@example.com or call 330-466-0270. Please include your phone number if you write.