WOW again (Why oh Why?)

I’m going along with the “dead tree” theme of the week, but doing a little prognosticating at the same time.  Bert and Holly showed you tree demise on site; I’m going to show you tree demise in the making.  We can call this “dead plant walking.”

I’ve done a few WOW postings in the past, often with a focus at what you might find at a nursery or big box store.  Here’s a recent find at an unnamed BBS, in the “topiary” section:

Unless you intend to have a giant stake as part of your topiary statement, this tree (actually a juniper) will morph into a prostrate form before your very eyes. Fortunately, it probably won’t live long once transplanted since it’s so overdue for potting up that the pot has split:

You can just imagine the nest of woody roots fusing into a functionless mass, can’t you?

Run, don’t walk, away from nursery plants like this.  You’ll be glad you did.

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Linda Chalker-Scott

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and a Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing, Inc., and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do from Timber Press (2015). Her latest effort is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest from UW Press (2019). In 2018 Linda was featured in a video series – The Science of Gardening – produced by The Great Courses. She also is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s contribution to gardeners was recognized in 2017 by the Association for Garden Communicators as the first recipient of their Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award. "The Garden Professors" Facebook page - "The Garden Professors" Facebook group - Books:

3 thoughts on “WOW again (Why oh Why?)”

  1. So the root mass may look like the pom pom multi-meatballs on a stick plant this is supposed to be?
    Perhaps one can stick the rootball once sliced and diced into a mound of soil and have the stem rest upon the ground and one can have a few meatballs on a stick planting!

  2. Yikes. Or, plant the whole root mass at an angle so that each of the little pompoms stands vertical — instant tree-on-a-hillside silhouette, and no stake necessary! Poor little tree.

  3. I see far too many topiaries at growers’ nurseries that are last gasp efforts to make a buck out of overgrown junipers. Oh well, it’s probably better for them to die quickly since few topiaries are maintained by the homeowner and most grow out into even more hideous shapes.

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