Pro Grow News Summer 2023 Digital Edition

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pro grow news

Five Trees to Plant

Summer Conference Preview

The Color Purple

Our Products...Your Designs...Create Beautiful Spaces CONCRETE PAVERS LANDSCAPE WALLS STEPS & ELEMENTS NATURAL STONE IDEAL BLOCK 800-24-IDEAL Waltham and Westford, MA
pro grow news Summer 2023 6 President’s Message 8 Government Relations Committee Report 9 MCH Corner 46 Plant for Success — Calycanthus “Aphrodite’ On the cover — Cornus alternifolia ‘ W. Stackman’ Golden Shadows® Pagoda Dogwood 10 Down to Earth Summer Conference Preview 16 Five Trees to Plant Instead of Bradford Pear 28 Seductive Purple Foliage for Sophisticated Landscapes 34 10 Ways to be Water Wise 40 The Best Recruiters You Have 42 The Unfulfilled Promise of a Street Tree Departments contents Features Summer|2023 3|

board committees


Chris O’Brien, MCH Howard Designs, Inc.

Tel: (617) 244-7269


Kerry Preston, MCH Wisteria & Rose, Inc. (617) 522-3843


David Vetelino, MCH

Vetelino Lanscape Inc.

Tel: (781) 826-0004


Peter Mezitt, MCH Weston Nurseries, Inc.

Tel: (508) 435-3414


Deborah Trickett, MCH The Captured Garden

Steve Davis, MCH Bigelow Nurseries, Inc

Justin Mortensen Farm Credit East

Patrick Parent Mahoney’s Garden Centers

David Anderson Mayer Tree Service


Deborah Trickett, MCH — Board Liaison

The Captured Gardens

(781) 329-9698


Steve Corrigan, MCH — Chair

Mountain View Landscapes & Lawncare, Inc.

Tel: (413) 536-7555

Chuck Baker, MCH — Vice Chair Strictly Pruning

Tel: (508) 429-7189


Peter Mezitt, MCH Weston Nurseries, Inc.

Tel: (508) 435-3414


Philip Boucher, MCH — Chair

Elysian Garden Designs

Tel: (508) 695-9630

Skott Rebello, MCH — Vice Chair

Harborside P.S.

Tel: (508) 994-9208


Justin Mortensen - Chair

Farm Credit East

Tel.: (508) 946-4455


Corinne Jean, MCH — Chair

Wisteria & Rose (617) 522-3843

Advisor: Jack Elicone, MCH John R. Elicone Consulting


David Ahronian, MCH - Chair

Ahronian Landscape & Design, Inc.

(508) 429-3844


Editor in Chief: Rena Sumner

Advisors: Ron Kujawski, Rick Reuland, Trevor Smith, Beverly Sturtevant


Rena M. Sumner

Tel: (413) 369-4731


John V. Fernandes

Attorney at Law

pro grow news

Massachusetts Nursery & Landscape Association P.O. Box 387 Conway, MA 01341

ProGrowNews is published quarterly by the Massachusetts Nursery & Landscape Association (MNLA), P.O. Box 387, Conway, MA 01341, tel. (413) 369-4731. Articles do not necessarily reflect the view or position of MNLA. Editorial coverage or permission to advertise does not constitute endorsement of the company covered or of an advertiser’s products or services, nor does ProGrowNews make any claims or guarantees as to the accuracy or validity of the advertiser’s offer. (c) 2014 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in print or electronically without the express written permission of the MNLA.

pro|grow|news |4 pro grow news Summer 2023
5| Summer|2023
oducts 40 Frankland Road, Hopkinton 3 River Street, Middleborough 160 Pine Hill Road, Chelmsford 1099 Main Street, Hingham (508) 293-8028 (508) 946-1505 (978) 349-0055 (781) 749-3773
The Be


The 2023 landscaping season is off to a strong start. Growers, designers, landscapers, and suppliers generally are fully engaged to capacity. Several I have spoken to are already scheduling work for 2024! Demand for green industry services and products remains strong.

MNLA staff and volunteers also are hard at work representing our members and the industry to enhance their success and profitability. These activities include working on public policy issues (lobbying), workforce education and certification programs, networking opportunities, and more.

In April, MNLA joined with other agricultural industry representatives at Mass Ag Day at the Boston statehouse to meet with state legislators and begin discussing issues affecting the landscape business, including water-use restrictions, pesticides, noise restrictions, and invasive species. Legislative committee meetings are underway to discuss these and other matters. Our legislative agent, John Fernandes, is monitoring bills and providing advice on how to respond to issues affecting our members.

MNLA’s 2023 Down to Earth Summer Conference and Trade Show will be held on July 27th at the Marshfield Massachusetts Fairgrounds. This mid-summer event provides education, exposure to new products and services, networking, and entertainment (more on all that in a moment) thanks again to the diligent work of staff and member volunteers.

Maintaining high levels of programming and services requires active participation by green industry businesses. Your copy of Pro Grow News may have arrived with a notice that this is your last copy unless you renew your member-

ship. Please do it immediately! MNLA needs your support to continue to keep the horticultural industry strong. Renew now to save dollars: Members enjoy discounted rates at MNLA events, including the Summer Conference. If you are a prospective member, join by July 27th and receive 18 months of membership for the cost of 12. You can sign up online at or by calling the MNLA office at 413-3694731.

The Down to Earth Summer Conference and Trade Show is where green industry professionals connect! The day’s events include a trade show, informative education sessions, demonstrations, a plant ID challenge, and food trucks. Returning for a second time is the popular and highly contested Battle of the Container Garden Designers sponsored by Prides Corner Farms. New this year is the Equipment Rodeo for registered attendees. And if you aren’t exhausted by those events, an afterparty will feature music, food, drink, and awards through the afternoon.

The Down to Earth Summer Conference is a great way to take a break from the summer doldrums. Enjoy mingling with your colleagues. Come for the fun and bring your team to make a day of company recognition. You have earned it. For more information, visit: I’m looking forward to seeing you there. pro|grow|news |6
President’s Message
Summer|2023 7| 20-023.328192.V1.04.20 American National is a group of companies writing a broad array of insurance products and services. Products and services may not be available in all states.  Terms, conditions and eligibility requirements will apply. Property and casualty products and services may be underwritten by Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company, Glenmont, New York. American National offers a 5% discount on business owners insurance to MNLA members who are Massachusetts Certified Horticulturists (MCH Designees). To learn more, call 978.225.1511 or email and one of our agents will contact you. GREEN INDUSTRY PROTECTION BUSINESS INSURANCE FOR WHAT YOU GROW Endorsed Insurance Provider of the

Committee Reports

Government Relations Update — Ag Day on the Hill


• Our economics. Economically, the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Industry leads all the New England states with an estimated gross income value of $5.2 billion for the state and represents the largest and fastest-growing agricultural sector in Massachusetts.

• Our diversity. The nursery and landscape industry in Massachusetts is made up of multi-generation family businesses whose hard work in challenging conditions has put environmental horticulture on the map as a major agricultural sector.

• Opportunities. More than 5,130 environmental horticulture firms are engaged in production, retail, and landscape services. More than 49,000 people are employed in this industry. An additional 14,000 are needed to meet our current needs.


Water Resources

Consumers, governments, and businesses need to maximize effective measures to conserve, protect, and properly utilize water resources. This includes urging consumers to install outdoor plants and gardens to positively impact the local environment.

In 2015, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) adopted “suggested” language stating that watering plants and gardens by hand-held hose or drip irrigation are exempt from watering restrictions. This language has not been adopted by all municipalities, and residents have been confused and uncertain whether they are allowed to install plants and maintain gardens during times of drought.

We are seeking a consistent policy through regulation or legislation that will encourage people to plant trees, shrubs, and herbaceous perennial plants at all times in any given year to support efforts to reduce climate change.

Climate Change

Plants provide many benefits to combat climate change and should be considered a solution in initiatives that address this challenging issue and the challenges of water restrictions.

• Plants require far less water after they are established, and their watering requirements diminish after the initial year of planting.

• Established lawns will go dormant, but will not die, if not watered during droughts. Plants, however, will die if not watered.

• Plants, particularly native plants, provide a habitat for all types of wildlife.

• Plants produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.

• A healthy outdoor environment mitigates extreme temperatures. Properly placed trees can provide shade to cool in the summer while allowing the sun to heat your home/business in the winter.

• Gardening is a mentally and physically healthy activity for individuals and families.

Native Plants & Pollinator Health

The horticultural industry has a long history of collaborating with researchers, beekeepers, and others to understand the needs of pollinators and working towards science-based solutions to sustain a healthy pollinator community.

The green industry strives to grow both native and nonnative healthy plants and flowers. These products offer the very thing pollinators need to thrive: diverse and ample sources of forage. Initiatives that encourage these invaluable plantings throughout the Commonwealth (including proper water regulation and native plant initiatives) will improve the sustainability of a healthy pollinator community.

MNLA strongly supports the attention our native plant species are receiving in bills for the Massachusetts legislature in the current session including:

• S452, H869, and S599 call out the role of native plants within urban ecologies as essential to rectifying both compromised urban ecologies and long-standing environmental injustice.

• H3705, H2120, S520, H843, H906, and S457 represent critical efforts to create more resilience in our eco-region and its many local micro-climates as we navigate climate change together. These efforts rely on the local availability of native and other climatetested plant species. We are the growers, installers, and managers of these plants with pride and with our dedicated labor force every day

MNLA is committed to educating citizens to plant native and well-behaved plants that provide pollen or nectar for pollinators. Together, we can restore the health of the pollinator population and reduce climate change. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you on these initiatives.

Down To Earth Summer Conference & Trade Show

We’ve invited legislators to join us on July 27, 2023, at the Down to Earth Summer Conference and Trade Show at Marshfield Fairgrounds. The Government Relations Committee encourages you to reach out to your own local legislators and invite them to participate in an education, connection, and networking day dedicated to the continued education of the green industry professional. pro|grow|news |8

Ag commodities across the Commonwealth participated in Mass AG Day Trees Please on the Hill on April 12, 2023. Held for the first time in three years due to COVID, this annual event is a great opportunity for commodities to showcase their products and share their issues while networking with Legislators and their legislative teams at the State House.

MCH Corner

MCH Credits Coming

Comingsoon is the Down to Earth Summer Conference & Trade Show on July 27th. This is an MCH recertification credit bonanza you will not want to miss. MCHs can expect to earn 2 credits for attendance and an additional 1 credit for passing the Plant I.D. Challenge with a score of 70 or better. Be sure to collect your quiz before the end of the day to earn your credit. It’s a fantastic opportunity to jump ahead on your re-certification.

There are several additional ways to secure credits: send a plant selfie, tell us your favorite plant, and — last but not least — join our MCH team to serve in a volunteer capacity. This could be anything from helping to set up and take down at events to joining committees that highlight your passion for plants or social media. Many options are available. Please reach out to the MNLA office at 413-369-4731 or drop an email to mnlaoffice@

I look forward to seeing you on July 27th!

Please join the MCH board in congratulating MNLA’s newest MCHs of 2023. If you see these folks during the season be sure to applaud their success and recognize their accomplishment!

Madalyn Becker, MCH RP Marzilli & Company Inc.

Isabella Bogdanski, MCH Worcester County Horticultural Society

Catherine Brownlee, MCH Landscape Collaborative

William Craig, MCH Parterre Garden Services

Michael Dattilo, MCH J & J Landscaping & Irrigation

Jessica Dunlop, MCH Parterre Garden

Amanda Fish, MCH Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

Philip Fortier, MCH Andover Landscape

Anne Gilmore, MCH RP Marzilli & Company Inc.

Ann Gwozdz, MCH a Blade of Grass

Sidney Hare, MCH Recover Green Roofs

Kathryn Hilsinger, MCH Parterre Garden Services

Brendan Joseph, MCH Northeastern University

Darin Lang, MCH Nature’s Edge Landscape

Shane Ludden, MCH Anderson Landscape Construction, Inc

William Murray, MCH A.J. Tomasi Nursery

Dan Richardson, MCH Hartney Greymont

Gillian Thomas, MCH Parterre Garden Services

Justin Wiley, MCH Laurel Garden Design

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MNLA Board of Directors member Justin Mortensen and Vice President Kerry Preston networking with attendees in the Great Hall.

Down to Earth 2023 Summer Conference & Trade Show

Chill out with MNLA during the dog days of summer at the annual Down to Earth Summer Conference & Trade Show, scheduled for July 27, 2023 at the Marshfield Fairgrounds. “We had 500 attendees last year and we anticipate that or more this year,” says Rena Sumner, MNLA executive director.

With a schedule packed with education, competitions, and fun, planners anticipate a crowd pleaser. “I think attendees will find something to interest everyone,” says Deborah Trickett, of The Captured Garden, emcee of the container garden design competition and a member of MNLA’s education committee.

The show also offers an opportunity to earn two Massachusetts Certified

Horticulturist (MCH) recertification credits ( while learning, having fun, and exploring what’s new.

Food truck mania is back. Show registration includes a voucher for lunch, as well as unlimited water to keep things cool and more.

The trade show kicks off at 8:00 am with a Plant ID Challenge giving participants the chance to earn one MCH recertification credit. The challenge runs until 10:00 am, followed by Plant ID education with the pros until 2:00 pm.

Head to the trade show and meet new vendors. There will be more than 40 exhibitors, featuring services, plants, and equipment, says Sumner.

At 8:30 am, join Chris Kennedy, MCH, Kennedy Country Gardens, and Jim Connolly, MCH, Weston Nurseries, for Solution Control, a look at the tools, services and products available at the trade show to help you. Or let Heather Poire of Proven Winners teach you about rugged plants that can brave neglect or too much love, as well as a wide range of weather conditions.

Trickett takes the stage at 8:30 am to host the second annual Battle of the Container Garden Designers. Unlike last year’s competition, when contestants could bring their own pots, plants, and other implements, this year everyone will start with a level playing field, using the same pots and plants. They may, however, pro|grow|news |10
MNLA Summer Conference

bring one plant or prop of their own.

There will be three start times. Trickett will discuss container gardening trends and talk with contestants during the competition. “It will be interactive and fun,” she says.

All entries will be featured in a Promenade of Pots, allowing the Down to Earth Summer Conference & Trade Show attendees to vote for their favorites with the votes tallied at 1:30 pm. Cash prizes run from $400 first prize, $300 second, $200 third and $100 fourth prize. Each contestant will receive a swag bag, says Trickett.

How are your equipment skills? From 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, you can test them against your fellow MNLA members with the new Equipment Rodeo in the Rodeo Arena, featuring all the latest and greatest from equipment vendors. Have fun, show off, and win prizes. It’s free to all registered attendees.

The two educational programs set to begin at 10:00 am will stress practicality. Jennifer Forman Orth, an environmental biologist with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and an invasive species ecologist, will moderate a panel of professionals discussing Invasive Plant Management – When is it Time to Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater? Julie Richburg, lead ecologist, Inland Natural Resources at the Trustees of Reservations; Jess Toro, co-

owner, Native Plant Restoration, and Trevor Smith, Regenerative Landscape Designer at Weston Nurseries, will talk about the practical aspects of dealing with planning, identifying, and growing ornamental plants that may become invasive as the climate changes.

“We will be talking about dealing with realworld plants and property,” says Forman Orth. Massachusetts maintains an invasive plant list and, she says, “plants are being added to the prohibited list all the time.” There are some that have not yet demonstrated invasive tendencies but might in the future.

The panelists all have expertise in particular aspects of the issue. Richburg works for the land trust, while Toro concentrates on invasive plant management, and Smith is a landscape architect working in the nursery industry in what Forman Orth describes as an “ecology mindful way. He sees it as a challenge to find substitute species.”

Forman Orth focuses on invasive species, primarily plants, but also focuses on insects, invasive plants and plant pathogens and has worked for the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources for nearly 15 years.

“Everyone in the landscape industry is making beautiful

Summer|2023 11|
“We will be talking about real-world plants and property.”

things and we want to share them,” says Karl Gercens, who will provide Practical Photo Tips for Even Better Images during his 10:00 am presentation. As Longwood Gardens conservatory manager, Gercens is surrounded by color and beauty, but also has traveled to 32 countries, photographing gardens at every stop.

He will look at such important aspects of good photographs as perspective, positioning, backgrounds, composition, dramatic lighting, and the importance of being thoughtful and aware as you set up and take your photographs. You do not need the expensive photographic equipment that used to be necessary, he says. Now, landscape contractors can use smart phones and get good pictures. “You can pull it out of your pocket and get to work,” he says.

Landscape contractors often are in the gardens early in the morning when they can capitalize on early morning light or dew or any of a number of photo enhancing features, says Gercens.

Later, at 1:00 pm, Gercens will share his passion for color in his presentation, Colored Foliage is the Dessert for Today’s Designs. He will focus not on blooms, but on the many trees and bushes that provide multi-season color through their foliage. “So many people want color,” he says. “When you have color as foliage, it provides season long interest. You are not waiting for a plant to bloom.”

Many landscape contractors and designers, as well as their clients, know they want color, but don’t think of trees, annuals, and shrubs as providing it. “They are out there,” Gercen says. “You have to know to ask for them. As horticulturists,

we are meant to plant color.” He is, he says, letting people know what’s out there.

Gercen grew up on a 10,000-acre cotton plantation that his father managed in Mississippi. From an early age he heard discussions of drainage, erosion, and growth.

Color will be C.L. Fornari’s theme, as well. In her presentation, Hydrangea Happiness, Hydrangea Hysteria: How the Best Plants, Pruning and Planning Cultivates

ones are more colorful and compact. My goal is to help the landscape contractors choose the right plant and explain it to their customers.”

Landscape contractors and designers must evaluate the site and water usage, she says. “We have to take the hydra part of the hydrangea name seriously,” Fornari says. There are many new varieties developed to solve some of the growing problems. “We just went through a roller coaster winter, which did in some of the hydrangeas.”

A writer with eight garden and horticulture books to her credit, and a radio host, she transitioned from artist to self-described garden communicator in 1995. She lives on Cape Cod. Her move there was the genesis of the change she made from artist to gardener and, in fact, she has worked for a garden center on the Cape for 30 years, now doing design consulting, writing a blog, and taking photographs.

Other presentations will include T.J. Brown’s Installing Permeable Pavers, which will cover best practices. Brown, of Ideal Block, will include site excavation, installation of base material, and how to select pavers.

Smiling Customers, Fornari, aka The Garden Lady, will focus on one of the most popular plants “everybody asks about,” she says. “There are new hydrangeas being brought to market all the time. The professionals need to know how to pick the right one for their clients. They have to keep their clients happy.”

Hydrangeas are not just blue. “There are many other varieties,” she says. “Some are more cold hardy and some of the new

Geunhwa Jung, an associate professor in the University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, specializing in turfgrass pathology, will take attendees through the most infectious biotic diseases affecting turfgrass, caused by a group of plant pathogenic fungi. Accurate and fast diagnosis is crucial. He cautions that the proper application of fungicides results in the most effective management.

The sounds of live music, beginning around 1:00 pm, will signal the start of the Down to Earth after-party. Admission is free with registration. There will be food, drink, networking, awards, and recognitions going on until 4:00 pm.

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15| Summer|2023

Five Trees to Plant Instead of Bradford Pear

One of the surest signs that spring has arrived each year is the blooming of the Bradford pear trees. Widely planted as a street tree in the parking lots of malls and offices and in home landscapes, they’re impossible to miss: oval-canopied trees with a mantle of white flowers so thick they almost resemble snow. This incredible flower power, coupled with an appealing neat habit, glossy green foliage, handsome fall color, and rugged resistance to all sorts of environmental challenges, has made them one of the most ubiquitous ornamental trees in the US and Canada.

Properly known as a Callery pear — derived from its scientific name, Pyrus calleryana — this plant is commonly known as Bradford pear due to the popularity of the cultivar ‘Bradford’ introduced by the USDA in 1962. Its obvious aesthetic appeal made it an instant success in spite of its notable liabilities. The flowers have a smell that can be charitably described as malodorous (NCSU describes it as “…like a decaying animal”), and their branches occur in tight bunches at extreme angles so they readily break due to wind, snow, ice, and even maturity, obliterating up to half the tree at one go.

The popularity — and shortcomings — of ‘Bradford’ encouraged the introduction of additional cultivars, which

caused an unforeseen liability to develop: invasiveness. The new cultivars cross-pollinated with ‘Bradford’ and with one another, allowing small, corky, rounded pears to develop. Though they aren’t remotely edible to humans, they are relished by birds, which leads to the tree spreading into natural areas. In the wild, especially in warmer climates, they form dense communities that out-compete native vegetation and can even make areas entirely impassible. To date, they are known to be invasive in at least 25 states and are banned from being sold or planted in at least 17 of them. While these bans are good news for nature lovers and conservationists, they pose challenges to garden centers, landscapers, and homeowners, who have been using Bradford pear as a go-to tree for decades.

The good news is that those who need or want an alternative to Bradford pear are spoiled for choice. Many other options are equally, if not more, beautiful, offer benefits that Bradford pears do not, and have none of the baggage. Whether you are looking to plant a new tree or replace an existing Bradford pear, these five options will look great in your yard — and let you sleep well at night. pro|grow|news |16 Trees to Please
Bradford pear trees that spread to a natural area. Photo courtesy of: James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service,

Established in 1910, Cavicchio Greenhouses is a fourth-generation New England farm working more than 250 acres in Sudbury. As a horticultural grower and landscape distributor, we cultivate and supply an extensive variety of annuals and perennials, nursery stock, stone, masonry and landscape materials. With a hard-earned reputation for service, quality, selection and sustainability, we work with professionals and garden centers throughout the area to keep our region beautiful.

110 Codjer Lane, Sudbury, MA 01776 978.443.7177


, Trees to Please

Spring Glory® Serviceberry

Amelanchier canadensis ‘Sprizam’

How Spring Glory® serviceberry is similar to Callery pear:

• Small but abundant white flowers in early-mid spring (flowers have no scent), attractive pyramidal/ oval habit, more loose and natural than the pear

• Stunning fall color

How Spring Glory serviceberry is better than Callery pear:

• Native to North America; noninvasive

• Edible fruits in June are delicious to eat for humans, or if left on the tree, joyfully consumed by birds and other wildlife

• Landscape-friendly size and habit: 12’/3.6m tall x 6-8’/1.8-2.4m tall and wide

• Tolerates light shade (as few as four hours of sun/day)

• Hardier than, and equally heat tolerant, as the pear

Golden Shadows® Dogwood

Cornus alternifolia ‘W. Stackman’

How Golden Shadows dogwood is similar to Callery pear:

• White flower clusters in mid-late spring

• Striking, dramatic habit and shape

How Golden Shadows dogwood is better than Callery pear:

• Species native to North America; non-invasive

• Unique yellow and green variegated foliage

• Hardier than the pear (USDA zone 3), nearly as heat tolerant (through USDA zone 8) pro|grow|news |18
The finest Taxus and Boxwood in the industry and so much more. Spirea Tor Miss Kim Lilac Sugar Maple Purple Passion Rhododendron Cornus Florida 7463 West Ridge Rd. P.O. Box 189 Fairview, PA 16415 800.458.2234 e-mail: See Availability List on our website!

Trees to Please

Crusader® Thornless Hawthorn

Crataegus crus-galli var. inermis ‘Cruzam’

How Crusader hawthorn is similar to Callery pear:

• Covered in white flower clusters in late spring

• Extremely glossy foliage

• Tidy habit, with an upright rounded canopy hovering above a straight trunk

• Extremely durable and tolerant of harsh urban conditions

How Crusader hawthorn is better than Callery pear:

• Native to North America; noninvasive

• Ornamental red fruits in summer and fall

• Hardy to USDA zone 3 (though not quite as heat tolerant as the pear)

• 15’/4.6m tall and wide habit is useful in residential, commercial, and urban plantings

Lollipop® Crabapple

Malus ‘Lollizam’

How Lollipop crabapple is similar to Callery pear:

• Covered in white flowers in midlate spring

• Distinctive, tidy habit is like a lollipop on a smooth, straight trunk

How Lollipop crabapple is better than Callery pear:

• Flowers are delightfully fragrant

• Attractive red fruits

• A bit smaller (8’/2.4m tall and wide vs. 20’+/6m+ tall and wide)

• Non-invasive

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Sweet Sugar Tyme® crabapple

Malus ‘Swesutyzam’

How Sweet Sugar Tyme crabapple is similar to Callery pear:

• Covered in white flowers in mid-late spring

• Distinctive pyramidal/oval habit looks striking and neat

How Sweet Sugar Tyme crabapple is better than Callery pear:

• Flowers are delightfully fragrant\bright red fruits persist through winter for extra color

• A bit smaller (10’/3m tall and wide vs. 20’+/6m+ tall and wide)

• Non-invasive

Ask for these Proven Winners ColorChoice trees at your favorite local garden center. If you don’t have one yet, visit to find Proven Winners plants throughout the US and Canada.

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Exhibitor Information

Don’t miss a terrific opportunity to maximize your exposure after the heat of the season. Meet with hundreds of your current and potential customers at the largest summer trade show in New England!

The Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA) invites you to showcase your products and services at the Down to Earth Summer Conference

Down to Earth combines valuable education, vendor highlights and a don’t want to miss networking opportunity!

Where green industry professionals connect!

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Marshfield Fairgrounds 140 Main Street Marshfield, Massachusetts pro|grow|news |22
SAVE $100 register by June 20, see registration details
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27| Summer|2023 800-634-5557 8 Ashfield Rd./Rt. 116, P.O. Box 540 Conway, MA 01341 Equipment & Tools for Landscape Professionals Sprayers • Rakes • Loppers & Pruners • Saws & Extensions • Ladders • Less time shearing & shaping •More time for other profitable work • Save on labor, debris, & disposal fees •Increase plant vibrancy, density, and fine root growth PLANT GROWTH REGULATOR FOR TREES & SHRUBS MAKE SHORTSTOP 2SC YOUR #1 PICK. PLANT GROWTH REGULATOR FOR TREES AND SHRUBS Download the brochure at SHORTSTOP2SC.COM

The Color Purple

Seductive Purple Foliage for Sophisticated Landscapes

We may love the cool blues or sizzling chartreuses, but what sets off these colors in combinations? Purple. A saturated foil of deep dark wine complements and contrasts with other colors, making them shimmer and pop. From statement trees to seductive shrubs, purple foliage can be found woven through our landscapes. Let’s take a look at some fantastic woody plants for big, bold splashes of rich dark leaves.

Make a Statement with Trees

Specimen trees give us arresting moments in the landscape. These dramatic focal points can literally stop us in our tracks and beckon for close examination. The lacy leaves of a delicate cutleaf Japanese maple can act as a purple curtain over green or gold groundcovers. Your eye may skim over it at first, but its charming cascade of elegant leaves begs to be savored and enjoyed. Often, contrasting plants in blue or lime show off a Japanese maple so it doesn’t disappear into the shade. Site these tender plants carefully in part shade and out of winter winds. Japanese maples tend to be slow growing and come in a bevy of sizes and shapes from mounding shrubs to mid-sized trees. Try silvery spotted dead nettle, miniature blue hosta, or Japanese painted fern as a groundcover to highlight their dusky leaves. It’s an instantly cool combination that adds a serene element to the shade garden.

For a sun-loving purple foliage tree, consider Forest Pansy, Merlot, or Ruby Falls redbuds. Redbud thrives in part shade to full sun and tolerates a wide range of soils as long as they don’t have wet feet. Forest Pansy and Merlot cultivars are 15 to 20 feet and provide a large dollop of purple in the landscape that becomes bronze as temperatures heat up in August. Their thin twigs will be filled with the characteristic pink flowers in April. Ruby Falls is a small weeping specimen redbud that’s easily tucked into a small space. Redbud in full leaf is a coarse texture and tends to appear as a solid wall of leaves. Lighten up their heaviness with the movement of grasses like little bluestem cultivars, Indian Steel switchgrass, and blue fescue. They can also pair beautifully with delicate shrubs like basket willow, stephanandra, and Grefsheim spirea. For a

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Diervilla Nightglow flower Japanese maple

zippy combination, try purple-leaved redbuds with gold falsecypress or yellow juniper. The laciness and bright needles of the evergreens bring a bounce of energy to the vignette.

Make an even bigger statement with a large shade tree like Riversii beech. This medium-sized shade tree offers a huge punch of purple color all season long, deepening to purple-tinged green in August. Plant them thoughtfully as they do best in moist well-drained soils in full sun. Purple beech can also come in pillar forms for smaller spaces. Dawyck Purple and Rohanii are narrow columnar cultivars that provide purple exclamation points in the garden. There are even a few weeping forms, including Purple Fountains that also stays narrow. Because these are big dramatic specimens, underplant with shrubs to create a harmonious composition. Beech leaves have a medium-coarse texture and tend to tremble in any breeze, giving an impression of movement despite their size. Stiff silvery or golden evergreens can be a good foil for their fluttering foliage. To play off that tendency towards movement, try grasses like Japanese silver grass, Blonde Ambition side oats grama, or switch grass.

If your site’s soils won’t support a beech tree, there are also purple-leaved crabapples. These disease resistant selections love full blazing sun and can be surprisingly drought tolerant once established. Look for Profusion, Royal Raindrops, Purple Prince, and Prairifire, among others.

Blending into a Shrub Display

We have purple foliage options for every layer of the garden, but one of the most impactful choices is shrubs. They can provide an intriguing rhythm in a shrub border or highlight a foundation. Dark and mysterious, purple shrubs can be loose and flowing or tightly sheared, depending on the design demands.

29| Summer|2023
Weigela ElectricLove Smokebush flowers

The Color Purple

One of our largest showy purple shrubs is smokebush. Older cultivars can top out around 15 feet, although new shorter varieties allow us to incorporate this tough plant from the front of the border to a featured corner. Smokebush’s fluffy pink flowers that look like puffs of smoke are a charming added bonus. Because smokebush leaves are held on a long stem or petiole, they flutter in the briefest of breezes. This gives a lightness to the plant and allows you to use stiffer shrubs and perennials as a foil to its dancing leaves.

Purple-leaved elderberries offer a full sun alternative to Japanese maples with their lacy fine-cut foliage. You get all the delicate texture with a wet-tolerant, fastgrowing, deep wine-purple color. These elderberries bloom pink in large flat clustered flowers. They usually do not bear fruit, so they can be planted along walks and patios with little fear of messiness. Elderberry is a vigorous grower that may need cutting back every few years to keep it in check. Try it with coarse tall perennials like Rudbeckia maxima, Gateway Joe Pye weed, and queen of the prairie for a dynamic combination that will likely hide the neighbors.

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Ninebark in bloom Purple Fountains beech

For four-season fabulousness, try ninebarks. Their purple foliage is spangled in small clusters of pinkish-white flowers in spring, summer brings non-stop richly hued leaves, then reddish-bronze fall color and shreddy bark for winter interest. Happy in full sun to part shade and drought tolerant once established, ninebarks have fast become popular for residential and commercial sites. There is a range of sizes from Little Devil’s 3 to 4 feet up to Diablo’s 8 to 10 feet. Ninebarks naturally have a fountainy arching shape that pairs beautifully with upright grasses like big bluestem cultivars, switchgrass cultivars, and Karl Foerster feather reed grass. Its soft shape can also be dynamic with long-blooming perennials like echinacea, rudbeckia, and calamint.

An heirloom shrub that has been revitalized with new breeding, weigela offers many purple-leaved cultivars that also feature showy white or deep pink tubular

31| Summer|2023
Redbud Ruby Falls

The Color Purple

flowers in May. The shiny, plasticky texture of weigela leaves can almost shimmer in the purple cultivars. They also take shearing well, making them an interesting boxwood alternative for small hedges. Check out Electric Love™ and Midnight Wine Shine® for a tiny one to two-foot varieties perfect to weave into perennial borders. There are 3 to 4-foot cultivars that make outstanding foundation plants including the classic Wine & Roses. Weigela’s tubular flowers are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds, making them at home in a pollinator garden. Try them with late blooming bulbs and springflowering perennials. They can provide beautiful contrast with dianthus, coral bells, and geums.

For full sun to full shade, Diervilla or bush honeysuckle is a tough, hardy, adaptable shrub that blooms in sulfur yellow clusters in heat of summer. Look for Kodiak® Black for a 3 to 4-foot selection or Firefly™ Nightglow™ for slightly smaller at 2 to 3-feet. These are soft, rounded shrubs whose foliage is most intense in spring before turning deep red in fall. They can be a terrific alternative to burning bush in the shade garden. Pollinators flock to the yellow flowers in July and August. Underplant these with short sedges or weave them through variegated Solomon’s seal with mid-sized ferns for a beautiful, layered effect.

There are many more purple-leaved plants to explore of all shapes and sizes. Readily available from member growers, give some a try this year to add punch and drama to your designs.


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Discover the difference. No other lender works like Farm Credit East.


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Hydration Awareness

10 Ways to Be Water Wise


We all need it — and know we need it — for optimum health and wellness, but a shocking few live daily life in a properly hydrated state — certainly not with appropriate consistency. One doctor-driven report revealed that fully 75 percent, a staggering three-fourths majority, of Americans may suffer from chronic dehydration. It went on to underscore that, “Over time, failure to drink enough water can contribute to a wide array of medical complications, from fatigue, joint pain, and weight gain to headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.” Apparently, this is the tip of the proverbial dehydration-induced illness iceberg.

“During a normal day, we lose about two liters of water just through breathing, sweat, and other bodily functions,” notes board-certified internist Dr. Blanca Lizaola-Mayo. “Even while asleep, we can lose over 2.2 pounds of water weight not just through sweating, but also through respiration. Even air conditioning has drying effects on our bodies.

The health implications of dehydration are vast and can range from mild to severe, including problems with the

heart, blood pressure and breathing, headaches, and cognitive issues like concentration...just to name a few. Those who’ve felt that afternoon slump should know that dehydration is the number one cause of daytime fatigue. It’s also important to understand that when we first start to sense thirst, we are already close to 2 percent dehydrated.”

For all of its importance, proper hydration is a delicate balance to uphold. An Institute of Medicine report cited the fragility of keeping the body duly hydrated, noting, “Over the course of a few hours, body water deficits can occur due to reduced intake or increased water losses from physical activity and environmental (e.g., heat) exposure.” So a perfectly hydrated body can tip the scales into a dehydrated state in a fairly short amount of time, whether actively (as with exercising), or passively (as with breathing).

Understanding that commonplace facets of our collective lifestyles put us at a higher risk of developing mild to severe dehydration, here are some insights and tips from preeminent health experts to help you stay happily hydrated.

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According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Many factors impact how much water you need, including your age, gender, activity level, and overall health. For women, the amount of total water is about 11.5 cups per day; for men, about 15.5 cups. These estimates, however, include fluids consumed from both foods and beverages, including water. You typically get about 20 percent of the water you need from the food you eat. Taking that into account, women need about nine cups of fluid per day and men about 12.5 cups to help replenish the amount of water that is lost.”


According to the Mayo Clinic, “Sometimes dehydration occurs for simple reasons: You don’t drink enough because you’re sick or busy or because you lack access to safe drinking water when you’re traveling, hiking, or camping.” While not all-inclusive, known causes for dehydration can encompass sweating from exercise and playing a sport; air travel; traversing in overly hot, humid, cold, or windy weather conditions; drinking too much coffee and other diuretic beverages; recovering from a hangover plus a litany of other relatively commonplace daily activities.


No. The Cleveland Clinic is very clear with its advisory that “some beverages are better than others at preventing dehydration,” and that “alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, teas, and colas, are not recommended for optimal hydration. These fluids tend to pull water from the body and promote dehydration. Fruit juice and fruit drinks may have too many carbohydrates and too little sodium and may upset the stomach. Adequate hydration will keep your summer activities safer and much more enjoyable.”


While the benefits of a properly hydrated body are copious, the CDC points to a few top-line health advantages, including keeping your temperature normal, lubricating and cushioning joints, protecting your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, and getting rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. Healthline also offers several evidence-based health benefits of drinking plenty of water, including maximizing physical performance, optimizing energy levels and mood, and aiding digestion and elimina-

35| Summer|2023

Hydration Awareness

tion. Be mindful of water intake, however, as Dr. Lizaola-Mayo warns, “Drinking too much water or fluid can lead to hyponatremia, which causes sodium in the cells to become diluted and too low and can be dangerous — and even lifethreatening — if untreated.”


The Rehydration Project non-profit organization says, “The degree of dehydration is graded according to signs and symptoms that reflect the amount of fluid lost. In the early stages of dehydration, there are no signs or symptoms. Early features are difficult to detect but include dryness of mouth and thirst. As dehydration increases, signs and symptoms develop.” According to the organization, symptoms of early or mild dehydration include flushed face; extreme thirst; consuming more than normal or the inability to drink; inability to pass urine or reduced

amounts (dark, yellow); dry mouth or dry tongue with thick saliva; dizziness made worse when standing; weakness or cramping in the arms and legs; crying with few or no tears; sleepiness or irritability; sickness or headaches; and dry, warm skin.


The Rehydration Project also notes that symptoms of moderate to severe dehydration include low blood pressure, fainting, convulsions, a bloated stomach, heart failure, sunken fontanelle (the soft spot on an infant’s head), sunken dry eyes with few or no tears, wrinkled skin with lack of elasticity (when a bit of skin lifted stays folded and takes a long time to go back to its normal position), rapid and deep breathing (faster than normal), a fast weak pulse, and severe muscle contractions in the arms, legs, stomach, and

back. They say, “In severe dehydration, these effects become more pronounced, and the patient may develop evidence of hypovolemic shock, including diminished consciousness, lack of urine output, cool moist extremities, a rapid and feeble pulse, low or undetectable blood pressure, and peripheral cyanosis. Death follows soon if rehydration is not started quickly.”


No one is immune to a dehydrated condition, but certain populations are at greater risk. The Mayo Clinic indicates that these vulnerable groups include infants and children, older adults, those with chronic illnesses, and people who work or exercise outside. Serious complications can ensue, which they point out can include heat injury (ranging in severity from mild cramps to heat exhaustion or potentially life-threatening heatstroke); urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and even kidney failure; seizures due to electrolyte










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imbalance, sometimes with a loss of consciousness; and low blood volume (hypovolemic) shock. They say it’s time to call your doctor if you or a loved one “has had diarrhea for 24 hours or more; is irritable or disoriented and much sleepier or less active than usual; can’t keep down fluids; and/or has bloody or black stool.”


The USDA recommends consumers shop smartly, advising us to “use the Nutrition Facts label to choose beverages at the grocery store.” The food label and ingredients list contains information about added sugars, saturated fat, sodium, and calories to help you make better choices.” There are also highly efficacious and economical dehydration avoidance and treatment innovations that can be integrated into one’s lifestyle and used daily.


Yes, the body intakes hydration not only from water and other liquids but foodstuffs as well — some boasting as much as 90 percent water content. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, those with 90–100 percent water content include fruits like cantaloupe, strawberries, and watermelon, as well as vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, and cooked squash. Options with a 70–89 percent water content include fruits like bananas, grapes, oranges, pears, and pineapples; vegetables such as carrots, cooked broccoli, and avocados; and dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese, and ricotta cheese. For drinks, the good folks at advise we focus on unsweetened beverages, like water, to limit calories from added sugars and use strategies to increase water intake — like adding a flavor enhancer. For this, a fruit-flavored rehydration accelerant can do tasty double duty.


Yes. Why pay extra money for excess sugar when what you need are electrolytes? Dr. Lizaola-Mayo says, “In truth, only a very small amount of sugar is required to help transport electrolytes and water into the cells as part of the sodium-glucose co-transport system. This system is most effective when it utilizes one molecule of sugar and one molecule of sodium in combination, which helps create the fastest and most effective way to transport water into the cells for hydration. Even water rehydration and other drinks that claim to utilize the sodium-glucose co-transport system have been shown to contain excess sugar to enhance taste, apparently discounting the fact that this added sugar commensurately increases calorie count and undermines cellular H2O absorption. Excess sugar in a drink, even one engineered as a rehydration solution, can trigger reverse

Summer|2023 37|

Hydration Awareness

osmosis. This process occurs when there is an incorrect balance of sugar to sodium. Sodium always follows sugar and water follows sodium. In a correctly balanced drink utilizing the sodiumglucose co-transport system, the water and electrolytes optimally flow into the cells. High-sugar rehydration drinks contain too much sugar for the quantity of sodium; thus, sodium and then water is leeched from the cells and passed out of the body as urine. This can cause dehydration — the opposite effect for a rehydration or sports beverage one has spent their hard-earned dollars to purchase.”

So whether indoors or out, active or at rest, suffering illness or perfectly healthy, one thing is clear: Keeping your water sources well at hand and ingesting with regularity and consistency can have a profoundly beneficial effect on your health and well-being. It’s one easy and highly accessible assist for a multitude of maladie s.

Merilee Kern, MBA, is the founder, executive editor, and producer of “The Luxe List” and host of the  “Savvy Living” lifestyle TV show and the “Savvy Ventures” business TV show.


1) https://www.medicaldaily. com/75-americans-may-sufferchronic-dehydration-accordingdoctors-247393

2) chapter/6

3) nutrition/healthy-eating/how-muchwater-do-you-need

4) nutrition/7-health-benefits-of-water

5) index.html#symptoms


7) treatments/9013-dehydration

8) drinking/nutrition/index.html


10) the-untold-truth-of-gatorade/

11) https://www.sciencedirect. com/science/article/pii/ B9780323462150000203

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Why Non-Recruiters Are The Best Recruiters You Have

Not every recruiter can be an engineer, or hair stylist, or accountant. They know how to hire these roles, but not how to become them. On the flip side, it’s not as hard for every employee to act as a recruiter. In fact, recruiting power in each employee is often unrealized because we’re so busy relying on recruiters to be the only one recruiting.

There was an incredible program once developed for a service industry. Every manager in this company went through training to both spot and learn how to engage with potential candidates. A calling card was available to hand out to potential superstars,, and managers could facilitate an introduction to a recruiter. The candidate would always get a call, and the managers received a referral bonus if there was a connection with the candidate — even if they were not hired. The company paid managers for this time, and with a 20% success rate, a fruitful pipeline of high-quality candidates emerged.

They learned that just giving out the cards wasn’t enough — managers needed training to know what to look for! They needed a little of that magical recruiter eye. If a 20% success rate using resources you already have isn’t convincing enough, here are six more reasons why non-recruiters are the best recruiters you have:

1. They far surpass your post and pray method. We know a lot of recruiters do this — get the generic job ad posted everywhere, then wait. You may get hundreds of applications, but most of them are not the right fit or don’t have the right experience. You end up spending heaps of time reading resumes that aren’t the right fit. This is not a strategic or effective approach. You need to do more than passively wait for people to come to you, and investing in your untapped recruiting potential is a fantastic way to build your pipeline of better candidates.

2. Your employees, hiring managers, and top performers have a very clear idea of who they want to work beside and what it takes to be successful at your company. Once they know what roles you’re hiring for, give them tools to help you: Train them on how to be a recruiter so everyone is looking for talent that makes the workday, the product, and the customer experience better. Everyone wins when you do this and you become less fixated on referral rewards and more excited about the benefit of the team. Don’t lose sight of that recognition for their efforts to help with recruiting it is important too. It may not be as motivating to get the right talent if you’re offering a bonus for volume of resumes over spotted potential talent.

3. You can motivate and inspire your own team to help find key talent in personal and visible ways. Who wouldn’t want to be celebrated for their part in building a great workplace for themselves and their peers? One way to do this is to share broadly the talent each employee has brought into the team and thank them for it. Thank them in front of the company and through gestures that don’t come with strings. This means you shouldn’t hold referral bonuses for months on end to see if the new person works out. Their job was to bring someone amazing into the organization and they did that!

4. If you can work fast to meet these candidates the non-recruiters bring you, they will want to do it more and feel more credible

wearing their recruiting hat. You may need to update your processes to be able to move faster to connect with this spotted talent. Don’t make them go through a long process or wonder if you’re going to get back to someone. This will not encourage them to bring you more superstars. Be ready to follow up with every single person the non-recruiters spot and refer!

5. If they have the time, they can be very effective. Think about the value of giving them one hour away from their day job to find two more top performers like them. Giving the non-recruiters time to act as recruiters means paid time, or extra time paid to do this work that is so valuable. Asking people to do work that is not in scope is a terrible experience and does not entice them to say nice things about your brand or the culture. It suggests you don’t value their time! Think about a few hours per week that they can be compensated to call people, go on LinkedIn to ask people if they are interested, or follow up with their professional associations. It will go a long way and help them feel good about helping in this effort.

6. They don’t need a lot to feel appreciated. Make sure you have a planned approach to show them that you value their effort and that you are happy to have them helping bring the best people to join you. Beyond the splashy recognition that you can get into, take notice of the simple things in being thankful for their effort. They are giving their time and expertise to the process and learning how to be a non-recruiter does take a little bit of investment. Spend your money on a solid program that is easy to work with, give time and resources to the training, and help you employees develop the skills to look for what you need. It’s an easy way to show appreciation for the huge scale you can get in your recruiting efforts.

As with all programs, you need every stakeholder to be on board for it to be successful. While you’re investing in great programs and recognition for this stretch role outside of the recruiting team, make sure your recruiters are on board with the plans. They are the best teachers and advocates to help make this a success, but they can also derail your efforts mightily. Don’t let your recruiters get territorial with their efforts. It’s critical that they understand the goal is not to replace them or that their work is not valued. This is a way to scale the recruiting function and have the best people possible helping fill each open role on your team. If everyone can come to work with the mindset that it is part of everyone’s job to attract the best talent — especially in mid and large companies — everyone wins!

About the Author

Jeremy Eskenazi, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CMC, is the founder of Riviera Advisors, a boutique talent acquisition optimization consulting firm. Riviera Advisors does not headhunt; it specializes in recruitment training and strategy consulting, helping global HR leaders transform how they attract top talent. From best practice recruiting, to improving speed to hire, to candidate experience, Riviera Advisors is a go-to place for strategic talent advisors. For more information, visit

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The Unfulfilled Promise of

This article, which was originally published in the Summer 2007 issue of Bark, is a utopian view from a commercial arborist who has not had to deal with bureaucracy, limited budgets, and the pressure of town residents. My intention is not to cast aspersions but rather to share my observations. As much as we have done a better job, too many new trees are still lost.

As spring approaches, municipalities prepare to plant thousands of trees in the hopes of an improved urban forest. With each new year, there are expectations for changes that will increase the success of these newly planted trees. With limited budgets and minimal staff, municipal arborists do their best to diversify the age of their trees. Over the years, there has been a myriad of innovations to improve public plantings. Although there have been improvements, we are still struggling with some bad habits.

The Right Place

Planting a tree is a truly noble endeavor. Unfortunately, we still see trees planted in places or conditions that prohibit their success, resulting in failed planting and wasted funds. Conventional design, varying levels of quality work, and minimal follow-up care lead to a high mortality rate. The cruelest irony is for a newly planted tree to survive against all odds with little care only to be girdled by guy wires.

When communities set out to plant trees, they usually have unrealistic goals. The public loves the idea of planting

new trees, but how do city arborists maintain all these new trees? This is a daunting task while still juggling removals, pruning, and line clearing. Politicians place too much emphasis on planting as if it’s the ultimate solution. Planting trees is always met with so much enthusiasm and fanfare. Don’t get me wrong, that is wonderful, but so is schlepping water out to a remote planting site on a 90-degree July day. It’s just not as glamorous. To ensure better results, planting budgets should be divided into three parts: design, planting, and follow-up care. One answer is to plant fewer trees so we have better quality control, which could improve long-term survival.

Design larger planting pits where possible, which in urban areas is easier said than done. Avoid planting in areas where there is little chance of survival. Use prescription soils to improve drainage and soil nutrients. Use bricks, cobblestones, and pavers instead of tree grates.

The Right People

Hire highly qualified landscapers or arborists to do the work. The right contractor will do a much better job of selecting and installing the trees. This allows the tree warden to concentrate on other matters. A low bid often yields bad results. The more professional the contractor, the better the outcome. Establish two-year maintenance contracts for the company that does the planting to mandate aftercare. These should include four visits per growing season to water, prune dead wood and breaks, and water for overall health. On the final

|42 pro|grow|news Tree

a Street Tree

visit, fertilize the trees with a low-nitrogen organic fertilizer and remove the guy wires.

Individually, these ideas are no revelation. Collectively, they are certain to increase plant life expectancy. Are these recommendations realistic? That remains to be seen. However, if these changes can be implemented consistently, it will increase longevity and bring a better return on our investment.

More Work to Be Done

In the 16 years since this article was first published, there has been a good deal of progress: better plant diversity, improved species, better follow-up care, and a more thoughtful approach. The new urban street tree pits have been more innovative. We have done a better job using tree grates less and utilizing prescription soils. However, there is still work to be done.

You still see a lot of trees planted with no realistic chance of reaching maturity. With our increasingly hot and dry summers, we should extend the after-care contracts to three years. If we can improve the follow-up maintenance, we will have much better results.

Our goals should be to no longer see mulch volcanoes, trunks damaged by lawnmowers, too many trees dead from lack of water, and trees being girdled by guy material. Is it an innovation that Arbortape girdles the trees now rather than wire and hoses? It is so frustrating to still see girdled trees everywhere. Why do we guy-wire trees? How many trees have you seen blown over or grow crooked? Nowhere near as many as you see girdled.

Just as we are only as good as the worst work we do, collectively we are only as good as the worst work our industry does. Let’s try to learn from our past and be more innovative in our approach.

David M. Anderson has over 30 years of experience in horticulture, client service, and public relations. He works for Mayer Tree Service. He is a Massachusetts Certified Arborist, Certified Landscape Professional, and a Certified Tree Care Safety Professional. David was the chairman of the Massachusetts Certified Arborist Board for three years and is currently a board member of the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association. He has authored several articles for trade publications and frequently gives presentations to garden clubs, trade organizations, and students on a variety of topics. In the last several years, he has become more involved in and passionate about employee engagement.

43| Summer|20233
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Hortus humorous —

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My Favorite Plant

Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’

Reasons This Plant Shines

Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ is an aptly named hybrid form of Carolina Sweetshrub and an Asian variety (Calycanthus sinensis x occidentalis). The flowers are lovely and romantic, breathtaking, and fragrant, just as we envision the goddess of love herself. ‘Aphrodite’s’ wine-red tepals are reminiscent of waterlilies and sit atop elongated glossy green foliage, giving the shrub a tropical look.

Its fragrance on a humid August day is alluring; pineapple and cloves. I fell in love with ‘Aphrodite’ the moment I saw it in a woodland setting under a canopy of mature pines and oaks at Heritage Gardens in Sandwich, Massachusetts. Calycanthus floridus, Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’s’ native cousin, is common on Cape Cod and easy to grow. ‘Aphrodite’ has the same qualities but the four- to six-inch-wide blooms are so romantic — a showstopper, re-blooming continuously from mid-summer through early fall. In my opinion, it’s the more favorable option.

Originally hybridized by Dr. Tom Ranney at North Carolina State University, Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’ is now sold under the Proven Winner plant brand. Three of these beauties are now planted along the forest’s edge of my property against a walking path frequented by neighbors. These are perfect companions to the Andromeda and Rhododendron, extending the bloom time under the canopies of oaks into the fall while adding a sweet aroma to passersby on the path.

A beautiful cut flower as well, my favorite neighbors receive stems of the exquisite magenta flowers to spice up bouquets

Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’

Bloom time: April to May

Bloom Color: Pale lemon

Fall Color: Brilliant reds, oranges, purple

Growth Rate: Slow to moderate

Size: 3 to 5 feet high and wide Zone 5–8

of hydrangeas from my yard. The foliage is also spectacular in floral arrangements, extremely long (sometimes measuring 8 inches) oval leaves are glossy green in summer and a pleasing yellow in the fall.

Planted in 2018, the Aphrodite Sweetshrub at Heritage Gardens has reached a mature height within four years. Mine have been in the ground for two years and seem to have the same vigor. Even at an early age, the plant produces an abundance of flowers. I have done no pruning at all to the shrubs. The plants seem to thrive in the humus-rich soil in the woodland setting. I did hand water once a week during our drought in August and September. While the Rhododendron planted adjacent to ‘Aphrodite’ have deer damage, this Calycanthus hybrid claims to be deer resistant, and this has proven to be true thus far in my yard.

Minimal maintenance is the key to this plant’s success in the landscape. This, coupled with the extraordinary flower power of Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’, is the reason this plant shines for me.

Facts and Features

The foliage holds up well through the growing season if the plant isn’t in too much sun; occasional dead heading and deadleafing is helpful. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, the foliage of Aquilegia c. offers more resistance to leaf miner than do other Aquilegia species and hybrids. It spreads well from seed (avoid mulching if re-seeding is desired). pro|grow|news |46
Harvard, MA • Tel: 978.635.0409 • Fax: 978.635.9840 •
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