|Red maple and river birch the day after the storm|
Tammy at Casa Mariposa asked me which plants in my garden did well and survived the recent October snow catastrophe.
The ones that came through unscathed were the slowest growers.
Slow growers have strong wood. Stiff branches, small leaves and dense wood helped them shrug off tons of heavy snow that crippled, bent or snapped other trees and shrubs.
Here are some of my young trees that survived the storm well:
Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) is a lovely forest tree that grows very slowly, driving me crazy as I wait for mine to gain any size as shade trees. They have very stiff branches. Very stiff --- I have tried to turn a small branch upward to train it into a different position and you can't do it. The branches are completely unbendable.
Black gums have small leaves, so the wet heavy snow did not have as much surface to weigh down, and the stiff branches held. I had no damage on any of the three small Nyssa sylvaticas in my garden.
|I took this picture of the larger of my black gums on 10/25, just 4 days before a freak snowstorm dumped 18 inches of cement on everything. It looked just as good, well shaped, and intact after the storm.|
Blackhaw viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium) is another modest grower that also has rigid branches and small leaves, and mine had no breakage. I like this plant --- it's more of a small tree than other viburnums, but its twigginess is dense and confused looking and I do wish it was a little more elegant. But that stiff twigginess served it well under the snow load. Strong bones.
|A chaotic, twiggy little tree, the Blackhaw Viburnum lost no branches and looked fine after the snow melted|
The spruces did well, again because they have stiff structure and narrow leaves (needles). Oaks, known for their strong wood, also did okay, even my very small pin oak saplings. Spruces and oaks are known for being slow growers.
Both of my small stewartias (Stewartia pseudocamellia and Stewartia monadelpha) were untouched by the snow. Again, they gain height slowly, and they have small leaves.
|After the storm the Stewartia showed no ill effects a week later, and even managed to color up like it is supposed to, snow be damned.|
Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum) is a rigid little tree. It did lose a major branch, which was upsetting because it is such an extremely slow grower it only puts on one small branch a year. But overall it came through fine. If only it would get bigger than 5 foot 4. I want to sit under trees that are taller than I am.
The real disasters during the storm were the trees that shoot up rapidly, with weak, brittle wood. The worst: the Bradford pears, which I wrote about already, and almost everyone's ornamental cherries broke apart. My redbuds went completely kaput and snapped off. Poplars, including a big thriving tuliptree that fell over, were weak performers.
The slow growers were the survivors. There's a metaphor for life here, I think, but it's so obvious I'm not going to pursue it. They're just trees, you know.