Don’t look for the whole crew and I on August 14th – 16th. We will be in Philly for the Northeast regional meeting of the American Conifer Society. The Society’s purpose is “…to promote the use of conifers in the garden and landscape and to educate the public about their care and preservation.” If you have met me, you know I spread the gospel of conifers everywhere I go. Much like Johnny Appleseed spread apples, I can’t plant a job without adding some conifers and I can wax poetic about my favorite specimens like old friends.
Over the 17 years that I have been a member, I have visited countless gardens all over the US and in England that use conifers, but also showcase great garden design and other plants. Think of what you collect – pottery, art, salt/pepper shakers, pens, etc. I happen to collect conifers and other plants. And this plant society gives me entry into some of the best venues to see other people’s collections- many privately owned gardens. Seeing plants all over the country and talking to other confirmed plant fanatics is a great way to spend a weekend. And I bring home a couple new plants each time!
Check out www.conifersociety.org. There is still room for the Northeast meeting in Philly!
Conifer with normal yellow inner needles
Conifer after plant grooming
We delight in fall’s multicolored leaves and perennials that color like chameleons. Northeastern states are famous for their fall foliage … on deciduous plants. But we gardeners are not so happy about all plant coloring. Yes, there is that ominous side of Autumn: alarming yellow inner needles on conifers.
Take a walk in the woods this fall and you will be treading on a carpet of pine needles. But few of us realize that this natural shedding of inner needles is normal and to be expected on our garden conifers too. This is what happens: we walk outside and see bright yellow cloaking the interior of our favorite Pine or Hinoki Cypress and we lose our minds. Panic sets in and we start to water copiously, thinking it is a drought consequence. We forget to make the connection between walking in the woods and our garden conifers.
Evergreens have a fall season too. They shed their older inner needles annually, keeping the newer outer needles. The key differential diagnosis here is whether the plant is turning yellow in its interior- normal– or at the tip of the branch- a problem.
THE SOLUTION: The solution is plant grooming using your finger tips. Starting at the top of the plant, lightly brush the yellow foliage out of the plant, working your way down to the ground. Needles will fall easily and the fronds on a Hinoki Cypress may take a bit more direct jiggling. You can then remove the yellow foliage or leave it as mulch.
Christie Dustman & Company – here to help demystify the antics of plants.
Garden with fallen pine needles