Posted by: Highland landscaping | June 1, 2018

June 2018

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June 2018                                       EDITION 112

817-488-2718  Phone | http://www.highlandlandscapingLLC.com

HEDGES, MODERN AND ANCIENT

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This month we discuss hedges in their modern form and also the history  that brought us to  where we are today.  The common denominator is that hedges have historically been created from living plant material.  Today, we have the luxury of purchasing living plants from our local nursery or garden shop. Four thousand-plus years ago, that was not possible.  The earliest recorded information on hedges was during the Neolithic Age when farmers enclosed their land.  The common crop at that time was a cereal or grain; and the land parcels were relatively small, 12-25 acres.  Cultivation was done by hand.  The hedges were made by hand using branches from existing plants, bending and intermingling (or weaving) the branches to create a dense barrier.  This not only marked one person’s land from another’s, but protected the crops from hard winds and soil erosion.  The enclosures were also used to pen livestock.

During the medieval period,  thorned plants were employed in hedging  to keep enemies at bay.  Today, hedgerows from that era may still be found in the UK, Ireland and the Low Countries.  Some are estimated to be more than 700 years old.  The ancient tradition of bending and weaving branches to create the desired barrier is called “hedge laying”.    In the United States, hedging in the form of windbreaks (shelterbelts) appeared in the 1930’s.  A severe drought across the Southern Plains (from Nebraska to Texas) caused crops to dry-up.  Huge wind storms followed, which swept dead crops and topsoil, and killed many people and livestock.  After a particularly bad storm, Black Sunday, in 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to authorize projects and agencies to help people in the region.  One of the measures employed involved planting 200 million trees to break the wind, hold water in the soil, and hold soil in place.

Today, farmers know that hedges created as shelterbelts can also create a microclimate around their crops that reduces moisture evaporation, increases warmth at night, and helps stabilize soil from erosion and the leaching of minerals and nutrients.  Properly placed plants can slow wind by 50-60%. The trees and plants provide a habitat for wildlife, some of which are pollinators;  and, create a safety barrier between animals and roadways.

Centuries ago, Europe set the standard for lush green hedges to enhance residential landscapes.  Here, as there, hedges may have functional applications as well as aesthetic enhancements.  In North Texas, there are numerous plant choices that thrive in our climate. Evergreen shrubs are available in numerous options with regard to color, texture, seasonal interest and growth rate.  The formal clipped Boxwood adapts well to trimming, and thrives in part sun to partial shade. The neat and tidy Yew thrives in sun or shade, and is a slow-growing conifer that can be trimmed to virtually any shape.   Where additional security may be desired, Holly bushes or Pyracantha may make an intruder think twice.  Holly bushes offer glossy green leaves and display red berries in the winter.  Pyracantha bear white flowers in early summer and bright yellow, orange or red berries in the fall and winter.  Red-tipped Photinia is a sun-loving evergreen that produces fragrant white blossoms.  Glossy Abelia, with its colorful foliage in the fall and winter, and fragrant flowers 6-8 months of the year, is another option.  Evergreen hedges have value as:  a windbreak, a privacy screen, a noise filter, and absorb pollutants that are carried in the wind.  All provide shelter for wildlife, and some attract pollinators.

On larger properties, trees, such as;   Oak, Red Cedar, Lombardy Poplars, Junipers, Ligustrum, Wax Myrtles, or Yaupons. may be more desirable options.  Two or three staggered rows of deciduous trees can offer many of the same benefits as an evergreen hedge.  Where  a functional screen or windbreak is needed, the “lay of the land” and usual wind direction need to be considered for proper placement.  The benefits to the soil are comparable to an evergreen hedge.

The investment in living plants to create the frame around the picture of one’s home, and to produce a natural, healthy respite that reflects the taste of the homeowner is always a sound one.

“Worry is like a rocking chair; 

it keeps you moving

but

doesn’t get you anywhere.”

                   – Corrie ten Boom

            (1892-1983)

 

Plant trivia

What is the common name of the cleome plant? (look for the answer at the end of our blog)

Featured project

 

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Highland Landscaping completed a stunning commercial new construction project . The Southlake Tennis Center is now overflowing  with striking bright colors and native plants. The front island bed is lined with a row of exquisite seasonal color and Mexican feather grasses to keep a low but effective look that will catch anyone’s eye. The additions of Salvia Greggii, Texas sage, Blackfoot daisies, and the many other native plants created a low maintenance and hardy landscape for this property.

So grab your racquet and come check out this beautiful tennis center!

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 Seasonal color this month…

Abelia, Cape Plumbago,  Cleome,Crape Myrtle, Duranta, Evergreen Wisteria, Flowering Tobacco, Hardy Hibiscus, Lythrum, Passion Flower, Rudbeckia, Shrimp Plant, Smoke Tree, Trumpet Vine, Vinca, Vitex

June landscape Tasks:

  • Plant summer annuals and perennials
  • Plant trees and shrubs
  • Thin banana trees and cannas
  • Fertilize landscape beds
  • Mulch landscape beds to 3”
  • Feed lawn
  • Run-through sprinkler system
  • Increase irrigation run times for warm  weather
  • Inspect crape myrtles for bark scale and aphids

Award:

We are excited to announce that Highland Landscaping was awarded “Best Landscape Design Company”!

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Trivia Answer

Spider flower

Featured plant— TREE CHOLLA

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Tree cholla (Cylindropontia imbricata), also known as  “walking stick cholla”, “cane cholla” and “cholla”, is a long-lived perennial cactus.  Cylindropontia means “cylindrical Opuntia” referring to the appearance of the cholla’s stems. Though it was recently separated into its own genus (Cylindropontia), the scientific name “Opuntia imbricata” is still used at times.  “Imbricata”  refers to the overlapping appearance of the surface of the stem. “Opuntia” is a name given after a Greek city.

Tree cholla is one of the most widely seen and known cacti.  In the United States, it is found primarily in the Southwestern states of Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada.  The upright candalabra-like branches sprout from a short, woody tree-like trunk.  Rounded growths, or tubercles, compose the outer flesh of the plant.  From the joints of these tubercles grow barbed spines up to 1 1/4” in length.  At the end of stems, 3—4” wide flowers of magenta or purple sprout from March to August.   Green fruit grow where the flowers drop off , which mature to rose and bright yellow.  The fruit add color interest through the winter. Picture7

In its natural habitat, new plants generate from fallen joints that form roots.  In a landscape design, tree cholla may be used ornamentally as a sculptural focal point.  Its small surface hugging root system allow tree cholla to absorb significant amounts of rainwater, thus making it highly sustainable in xeric and native landscapes.

Generally found at heights of 3-8’, tree cholla thrives in full to partial sun.

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The interesting lattice-shaped wood skeleton of the stems have traditionally been used as walking sticks, or other decorative creations by artisans.  The spines have been used as sewing needles or creating tattoo art.  The fruit (sometimes referred to as “tuna”) is used in making dye, and may be eaten raw or stewed.  Tree cholla is a valuable plant for native bees.

 

 

 

 

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