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Zone 4 Woody Ornamental Trials 11 years later-big surprises(pics)

16 years ago

I was walking through the South Dakota arboretum (Z4a) in a area off the trails and I found the trial area. I had my camera for fall pictures.. and I wandered into the old trial grounds. An internet search reveals most of the plants that were trialed. I was shocked to see how well some things were doing, that common knowledge says that they should be dead many times overÂ

So here are the plants that were planted in 1996 for trialsÂ

The most noticeable plant that I saw was this birch, that I later found out to be Betula platyphylla 'Fargo' (trademarked name Dakota Pinnacle)

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"It grows from 12 to 15 meters tall under cultivation, and is known for its almost pure white, exfoliating bark. The accession is a clonal selection having a pyramidal-columnar habit, dense canopy, dark green foliage, and manicured appearance. The clone also is noted for its cold hardiness, drought tolerance, and relatively rapid growth. This accession may be worthwhile to test for birch borer resistance in those areas where borers limit the use of white-barked birches. The species offered has a wide native distribution over China, the Korean peninsula, and Japan."

It was obviously not resistant to borer, however. Of the atleast 3 trees planted, only 1 survived.

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I was then shocked to see a plant that is supposed to only be hardy to zone 6- Chinese wingnut

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There are 3 trees, 20 feet tall, no dieback apparent on the branches. This tree is obviously much more cold hardy than assumed.

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Physocarpus ribesifolius  this is the plant I got most excited about. ItÂs a standout now with interesting seedheads on the branches, and obvious evidence of very profuse blooming this year. [Continued on next post]

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