The nights are getting shorter and the deciduous trees are preparing themselves for winter.
When the weather cools the trees start their preparation for becoming dormant, the green pigment in their leaves slowly disappears and the other pigments such as the yellows and reds are left behind to give leaves that blaze of colour.
If you want autumn colour and don’t know what to plant, then think about the Chinese pistachio.
The botanical name for this plant is Pistachia chinensis however this tree doesn’t produce nuts. This tree gives dramatic red and yellow colour to the garden.
A native to China, this tree grows reasonably fast and is long lived. It grows in most soil types and is very drought tolerant, but choose your position carefully – it’s a fairly big tree. The root system is deep so there aren’t as many surface roots as you would find on other deciduous trees such as the ash. I would still leave at least five metres between the tree and any structure to be on the safe side.
Instead of nuts, the female trees produce clusters of red berries in the autumn, these berries then become purple/blue in the winter.
Birds love these berries but they will stain if they drop onto paths or patios.
This tree isn’t overly fussy, it’s fine in the cold and fine in the heat and it is relatively pest free. Use the Chinese pistachio where you want a good amount of shade and a blaze of colour in the autumn.
The golden ash, Fraxinus excelsior ‘Aurea’ will give a burst of yellow in the garden and this tree is a magnificent feature plant. However, be warned, this plant needs to be kept well away from any structures because it has fairly extensive surface roots.
The Chinese tallow tree, Sapium sebiferum, is a smallish tree, it grows to about eight metres. Fast growing, this tree provides autumn foliage of yellow, orange and crimson. This is another tree with surface roots. Plant it in an open position away from buildings and pathways.
Seriously think about the final placement of any tree you plant. Planting too close to a building could prove a costly mistake in years to come.
Diary: Saturday, May 20, 9.30am to 12.30pm. Bonsai Beginners workshop at Valibo Bonsai Nursery. Everything included, tree, pot, soil, wire. Learn about the care of bonsai and the basics of design and soil mixing. You get to take home your creation. Other workshops available. Ring 02 6025 1505 to confirm your place and for additional information - a deposit is required. Entrance is from Urana Road (through Valibo Nursery/Barneys Rubble gate).
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