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New This Week

June 14, 2022

Tree & Shrub of the Week

This week we are focusing on small trees that can also be considered large shrubs!

Both of our highlighted plants can grow on a a single trunk or multiple stems. Both are deciduous, moderately deer resistant, have palmate leaves, and attractive flowers that bring butterflies!

Painted Buckeye - Aesculus sylvatica

zones 5-8

Available in 2 gallon pots for $20.00

Painted Buckeye is native to the rich bottomland forests of Virginia and south down to Georgia. It prefers average to moist soil conditions, and benefits from afternoon shade in the hot summer months. It's often seen growing along streams and on open forest slopes of the piedmont or foothills of NC. "Painted" describes the appearance of the upright clusters of blooms resembling a paint brush. The flowers are a soft-yellow to cream color and (some with shades with pink) and are a nectar source for hummingbirds and butterflies such as the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Painted Buckeye is one of the first shrubs to leaf out in March and is also one of the first to shed its leaves by September. This shrub grows to a size of 12' tall and 6' wide. Buckeyes are known for their toxicity (be cautious with pets and children), this fact prevents deer and other animal browsing the leaves and nuts. Painted Buckeye would make a great addition to an upland garden near a stream or woodland edge!

Lilac Chaste Tree - Vitex agnus-castus

zones 6-8

Available in 3 gallon pots for $25.00 - and just starting to bloom!

Most often grown as a small tree, it can reach up to 20 feet tall and wide, but is often seen growing as a large shrub if it's allowed to grow several trunks. Native to the Mediterranean region, it prefers full sun and can tolerate dry, hot conditions, which makes Vitex a great addition to a xeric garden. Upright clusters of fragrant, lavender blooms in mid-summer attract butterflies. It was first introduced to the South in the late 1600s as an alternative to lilacs, which prefer cooler weather. The leaves are grayish-green and aromatic, which deters deer browsing. Another common name is "Hemp Tree '' due to the similar shaped palmate leaves. Vitex is a fast growing tree and can put on 24" of growth in one growing season. Don't be alarmed if it leafs out later than all your other shrubs and trees - it is one of the last trees to do so. Herbal and medicinal uses pertaining to the male and female reproductive system have been reported in the leaves, seeds, and berries of the tree.

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