Finally spring is busting out all over, from the chartreuse flowers and redolent stems of spicebush to the ethereally beautiful magnolias, including star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) and the Loebner hybrids such as the aromatic Leonard Messel cultivar. Fungi are awakening as well, including the elongation and gelling of cedar apple rust fungal spore horns on juniper.
First, the magnolias. Star magnolia is a small tree (eventually up to 15-20 feet) with an upright habit that ages into small mounds. It is one of the early-blooming magnolias that bring cheer to the springtime, or in some years, late winter landscapes in Ohio. The open, star-shaped tepals of white to various gradations of pink are past now in southern Ohio, were glorious last week in central Ohio, and are current attractions now in Northeast Ohio.
Star magnolias do well in acid, organic soils, and though sometimes frosted, are worth it for the days they remind us of why spring in Ohio is world class. The species is used for a number of hybrids, including the cross with Magnolia kobus, which gives us the Magnolia xloebneri hybrids.
As to fungi, there is a new Ohio State University-published resource now available, titled Mushrooms and Macrofungi of Ohio and the Midwestern States ($26.25). It is the perfect companion for your next mushroom foray! This full-color, 166-page spiral-bound handbook contains concise descriptions of more than 140 mushrooms divided into 23 color-coded groups. The most current scientific and common names are provided, and vibrant, high-quality images show fine details for easy identification.
Expert authors include Dr. Lanny Rhodes, retired and longtime teacher of the Fleshy Woodland Fungi course at OSU; Dr. Britt Bunyard, the editor of Fungi magazine; Walter Sturgeon, the president of the Ohio Mushroom Society; and Sarah Ellis-Williams of the Ohio State University Department of Plant Pathology.
The fungus amongus really dresses up well. There is even one image in the bulletin from yours truly, the photogenic cracked-cap polypore bracket fungus growing on a downed black locust log.
Arbor Day today!
Although the official Arbor Day for Ohio is the last Friday in April, coming on April 26 this year, there is always some flexibility in when celebrations occur. At the Ohio State University Wooster Campus (the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and its Secrest Arboretum, the Agricultural Technical Institute, and OSU Extension) Arbor Day is today, complete with five planting ceremonies and the confirmation of OSU Wooster as a Tree Campus USA site.
Here is the plan for today, and unless you are a really late sleeper, after you have your first coffee and Beacon Journal reading, stop on down for a Secrest Arboretum walk (http://secrest.osu.edu) and one of these ceremonies:
9 a.m.: Oak planting by Doylestown Brownies in the Secrest Amphitheatre
9:45 a.m.: Oak planting at OSU’s Agricultural Technical Institute with ATI Students
10:30 a.m.: Oak dedication at the Ben Stinner Memorial Garden on the OARDC Campus
11:15 a.m.: Oak planting from the City of Wooster at OARDC
Noon: Oak planting from the College of Wooster at Secrest Arboretum.
You can, of course, take your own landscape and woodland walk at Secrest anytime between dawn and dusk every day of the week, but after the noon planting and some refreshments near the tornado-surviving chinkapin oak and the Jack Miller Pavilion building, join us for a guided 45-minute walk.
We will view the rejuvenated, post-tornado White Pine archway at the Arboretum. We will discuss the “Why Trees Matter” benefits of the chinkapin oak and other trees. For example, at 16 inches in diameter, this one oak alone provides $130 of environmental benefits to the Wooster environment annually (see http://treebenefits.com).
On the walk you can see the wonderful winter-spring features of branch and twig structure and male catkin flowers of river birch overlooking the newly planted western valley of the Arboretum. Check out the emerging rose-colored leaves of the weeping katsuratree trio. Check out the massive stump of the red oak lost to the Sept. 16, 2010, tornado and imagine the thunderous noise as it fell into the valley below.
Note the new dawning features of the Arboretum, including the ever upward spires of the dawnredwood grove just to the south of the tornadic area. Note the change in bark color and health due to sunscald on the stem of a striped maple as it faced greater sun exposure once its overarching, shade-producing white pines got blown away.
Most of all, enjoy the new trees and the old, and also the world premiere of a new ode to oaks, the poem A Tale of Five Oaks, debuting today. Parvis e glandibus quercus. Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 330-466-0270. Please include your phone number if you write.