November, 2013
Regional Report

Web Finds

Pruning Brambles
Brambles -- meaning berries such as raspberries and blackberries -- can be pruned in late fall (once they go dormant) to remove the older canes that have already fruited. If you are growing a trailing type, you will also want to mulch over the trailing canes on the ground for the winter. Pruning Raspberries, Blackberries, and Gooseberries from the University of Missouri Extension is a succinct yet clear guide to pruning and training these plants. The simple before-and-after illustrations are really helpful.

Favorite or New Plant

European Larch
European larch (Larix decidua) is a conifer in the Pine family, and during the growing season it looks pretty much like any other needled evergreen. But come fall, it colors up in a nice rich yellow and then, since it is deciduous, it drops its needles. Whoa! More than one unsuspecting gardener has been a bit surprised to see this happen. Native to the Alps, it's adapted to zones 2-6 and does well in moist yet well-drained or gravelly soil -- not surprising since that would be akin to an alpine scree. Also not surprising (since it's native to a cold climate), it does not like hot, humid summer weather, making it not very well suited to the southern part of the mid-Atlantic region. It's a better choice for areas with cooler summer area where white birches thrive (in the mountains or north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, as a rule of thumb). Make sure you have adequate space in your landscape for this large tree -- it can surpass 60 feet tall and is typically 25 feet across. Consider too the golden larch (Pseudolarix amabilis), which is similar but more heat tolerant, growing well at least as far south as zone 7 (some references say zone 9).

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Special Report - Garden to Table