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Hortiscope: Ron Smith

HORTISCOPE: Lots of tree and shrub choices available for windy lot

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news Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Enterprise
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Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Q: I am looking for a purple flowering crabapple tree for a boulevard planting. The more resistant to diseases it is the better.

A: Some selections to consider are the royal raindrop (red foliage and fruit), prairiefire (green foliage and maroon fruit), thunderchild (deep purple foliage with dark red fruit) and velvet pillar (purple foliage with sparse, red fruit). Thanks for the very kind words about the column!

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Q: My husband and I are looking to plant a few deciduous trees in our yard. We live in a rural subdivision that's fairly flat, but we are on a hill, so it's usually windy. I was just wondering if there are some trees that are more resistant to wind. I would prefer a maple species if you think that's a possibility. However, there are so many to choose from. The trees I've been looking at are the sienna, burgundy belle and crimson sentry. I've pretty much concluded that the crimson sentry won't work, but am not sure about the other two. Are there any other suggestions? We have several spruce trees and also lots of lilacs, but would like to add to the mix.

A: The toughest trees for a windy setting are the hybrid poplars. The sienna is the only one with a chance to make it in your area. It is a cross between a silver and red maple. It is hardy down to zone 3, while the other two are not. The old hackberry is crowbar tough as is the new centennial elm.

Q: I have a big box elder tree in my front yard that has a lot of roots sticking out of the ground. What time of the year can I cut these out?

A: Cut out the worst roots, but only as much as you need to keep them from protruding onto the surface. Keep in mind that the roots keep the tree stabilized. Removing too many roots would weaken the tree's stability during a storm. You can do it now or any time you feel so inclined.

Q: I have a dieffenbachia plant that I rescued from a supermarket. It was doing wonderfully for more than a year. However, all the older leaves have turned yellow, so I removed them. But all the new leaves are coming out tightly curled and do not open up. Any suggestions?

A: I would guess that it could stand to be repotted. Get some potting soil and a new well-draining pot at a local garden center. The new pot should be one size larger than the one you have. If the roots are encircling and tight, take a knife and cut into them to encourage movement out of the tight ball and produce new roots in the fresh media.

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