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Janet Macunovich

Member Since 02 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Sep 04 2016 01:24 PM

Topics I've Started

Shade trees small and large

04 September 2016 - 11:31 AM

From our email, for your additional suggestions, please!


You spent the day with our garden group (New Neighbors Garden Club in Dayton) this summer and I thoroughly enjoyed the knowledge and tips you shared with us.

I’m writing to you to see if you could help my son choose the proper trees to plant in his yard.  He has some particular wants and I don’t know enough to advise him.

He lost a Bradford Pear in his front yard about a year ago.  He had it removed and the stump ground and now wants to replace it with these stipulations.  Be prepared to laugh because he is picky!  LOL!  He does realize, however, that all of these “wants” may not be possible.

Here is his criteria:

Tree for front yard:

·       Roots that do not surface

·       Doesn’t drop seeds in spring

·       Stronger than Bradford Pear

·       Doesn’t hold leaves unusually long in fall (Like Bradford Pear).  He would like to be finished mowing the yard by Thanksgiving and that means the leaves have to be down.

·       Great shade but appropriate size for small front yard (It’s about 21”x 27”)

·       Have a higher canopy or can be trimmed so it’s easy to mow under it without getting hit in the head (Our family is meticulous about mowing their yards.  Can you tell?)

·       Fall color would be nice

·       The front of the house faces east


Tree for backyard:

·       Roots that do not surface

·       Doesn’t drop seeds in spring

·       Stronger than Bradford Pear

·       Doesn’t hold leaves unusually long in fall (Like Bradford Pear).  He would like to be finished mowing the yard by Thanksgiving and that means the leaves have to be down.

·       Great shade but appropriate size for larger yard.  This area is quite spacious and he’s wanting shade for his patio.  This tree can be larger than front yard tree.

·       Have a higher canopy or can be trimmed so it’s easy to mow under it without getting hit in the head

·       Fall color would be nice

·       The back of the house faces west.

He is willing to pay some money to get a more mature tree but wants to be sure to choose the right one.  He would like to get it planted this fall. (Assuming that is the best time to do so.)

We would appreciate any and all suggestions you might have.  He lives here in the Dayton area.

Thanks so much for your time and assistance. - D.H.-

Redbud pruning

03 September 2016 - 11:11 AM

From direct email:


I have been a big fan of yours for about 20 years. Your advice is always helpful and I enjoy your articles in the "MI Gardener.” I have taken your written advice and been to several lectures at Meadow Brook Garden Club. You are a wonderful, enlightening and interesting lecturer. I also love your amusing asides about gardening.

I attended your lecture about the correct way to prune last spring at the Meadow Brook Garden Club. I have a Redbud my son raised from seed at his nursery in Wisconsin and gave to me as a sapling. It was 3 years in the ground and was looking pretty pathetic with my skewed pruning jobs. At that lecture I asked you when and how to prune a Redbud and you advised me “Now and do it drastically.” I went home and the next day I pruned it exactly how you told me to. I pruned it down to about 40 inches with just a few big branches. It was a little better than a stick. I fertilized it and mulched it. I made sure it had enough water. Then I waited and I waited. For about a month it didn’t do much but bloom on the stems, then slowly it started to leaf out. About mid-June it went nuts and became the tree I wanted. As the summer has progressed it tripled in size and is now about 15 feet tall with lush and balanced growth. A happy second beginning for this tree. The main branches are all at least 3 to 4 feet long, well leafed out but not branching. Should I wait until next year to prune for branching or will it branch out by itself? How do I progress from here? I hope you can help.

You may never get feedback from the people you advise on tree pruning but I, the big doubter, wanted you to know that your pruning method for this Redbud really worked. I learned a lot the day of your lecture and have used your methods of pruning on other trees since. So, I say a big “Thank you.” This believer is grateful for your pruning guidance.

Best regards, B.Z.

Two mystery perennials

19 June 2016 - 12:30 AM

From our email... If anyone has care suggestions or other I.D., please comment!


Could you help me identify the following plants?

Another one is now blooming a pretty light lavender flower that seems to be liked by butterflies and bees alike.


Thank you so very much for your help. I would truly appreciate knowing about each plant and the proper way to care for it. I believe both are perennials.


Attached File  PlantID1.jpeg   67.58K   52 downloads

Attached File  PlantID2.jpeg   81.56K   51 downloads


The first image (#1) may be a daisy (Leucanthemum variety); I'm afraid it's hard to tell by this photo. If it is, it'll be blooming any day now. Cut the flowering stalk down to the ground after the flower fades, and every spring reduce the always- enlarging clump by using a spade to cut out what parts you do not need.


The second image is Stokesia laevis, Stokes aster. Blooms blue-violet (usually in July in our gardens; perhaps you're ina w armer zone? Or the plant is new and ahead of the usual season this year only, because the nursery started it early in a greenhouse?). Remove the flowers (cut the stalk down to the base) after the flower fades; repeat bloom may occur. Usually needs no special care, and does not become overlarge in a garden so can be left in place for many years if it's healthy. If you wish tto make more of it, it can be dug up, soil shaken off, and divided into pieces. Use a sharp knife and slice between clusters of leaves at the base of the plant -- best done in early spring/april but can be done any time.

Full sun for both plants. Both are perennial in most of North America. The stokes aster wants especially good drainage whereas the daisy is not so particular.

Yellow flower mystery

19 June 2016 - 12:00 AM

From our email, this note, photo and our reply. If any of you have contrary advice for M.E. or more about how to most easily and effectively get rid of this, please say so here!


I have yet ANOTHER unidentified plant in my garden.  The petals are shiny and waxy looking and a pretty bright yellow.  The leaves look a bit like geranium leaves.  It is spreading quite vigorously. What is it and do I want it, or should I pull it out? See picture below. - M.E. -


.Attached File  YellowFlowerPlantIDs.jpg   311.83K   58 downloads



That's creeping buttercup, Ranunculus repens. If you can get rid of it, do it. If it's well established, getting rid of it is a tall order, involving digging and revisiting the spot regularly to catch the come-back plants.

Persimmon hybrids

17 June 2016 - 10:09 PM

We've been asked:


Are persimmons related to any other fruit tree they will cross pollinate with?
Thanks, Larry



We know there is an Asian counterpart to Diospyros virginiana, (D. Kaki, aka D. chinensis, Japanese date plum) and since various catalogs list a hybrid available, North America's persimmon must be able to cross with Asian persimmon, anyway. There's a tropical Diospyros, too... But most of tthe rest of the clan (200, 700 species, depending on who you read) are ornamentals, not grown for fruit.



Sorry, I don't know if there are any tricky points to making the cross happen -- some of the hybrids available to us, ornamental, agricultural, annual and perennial of all types, involve things like storing pollen until the seed parent flowers, backcrossing, treating seedlings with growth regulators...


Add to that, that the whole Diospyros genus is essentially dioecious (separate male and female plants) and a cross to produce a fruit-bearer might be quite the endeavor.


Crossing with other fruits such as apple or peach, that's way beyond my ken. Intergeneric crosses exist -- like orange with tangerine to net tangelo, or foxglove/Digitalis with Isoplexis to net x Digiplexis, i.e., two species within the same genus. But interfamilial crosses, probably not.


Anyone have more info?