A small native tree that few people recognize: George’s Plant Pick of the Week – pennlive.com


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A red buckeye tree is in full bloom in early May in this photo.Here’s PennLive garden writer George Weigel’s Plant Pick of the Week for this week: Common name: Red buckeyeBotanical name: Aesculus paviaWhat it is: Although red buckeye is a Pennsylvania native tree, few people know it or plant it. It’s a small, under-story tree in nature that’s most striking when its rosy-red flower clusters are in full bloom for about two weeks in early May.Because of the flowers’ color and elongated form, the tree is sometimes nicknamed the “firecracker plant.”Size: Grows 18 to 20 feet tall and wide in about 25 years.Where to use: Best sited in shade or at least out of direct afternoon sun. Prefers damp soil and can even tolerate periods of wet soil but isn’t a fan of drought. Usually used as a stand-alone specimen tree.Important: nut-like seed capsules are poisonous, so you might want to avoid red buckeye if you have young children or eat-anything pets.Care: Improve planting bed with compost to aid drainage and create a more loose, rich, “woodsy” soil. Keep young trees well watered, and fertilize each spring with a balanced, granular, organic fertilizer.Prune out competing trunks and crossing branches to train when young, then remove lower limbs as tree grows.Great partner: Crested iris and columbine are native perennials that also prefer shade and damp soil and bloom around the same time. Yellow-blooming varieties of barrenwort color-coordinate and also prefer shade. Native pachysandra is a good groundcover choice.Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission.
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