SOU Botanical Tour

Southern Oregon University Botanical Tour features 107 trees, pollinator gardens, and the SOU Farm.  Some trees on the tour are older than the school itself.

In 2014, the Arbor Day Foundation accredited SOU with its  Tree Campus  award, and in 2015 the University became the first Bee Campus in the nation by providing pollinator beds and bee habitats throughout the campus.  SOU has pledged with the Friends of the Earth Bee Cause Campaign to stop the use of all neonicotinoids on campus in an effort to help protect pollinators . Neonicotinoids are harmful systemic insecticides.

SOU offers guided tours and self-guided tours. Brochures can be picked up at the SOU Landscape Services located at 351 Walker Avenue.  Tel: 541-552-6117

Landscape Services Mike Oxendine
Mike Oxendine is SOU’s Landscape Services Supervisor

https://landscape.sou.edu/sou-botanical-tour/

 

Ashland Garden Club members on a guided tour with Mike.

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April Gardening Tasks

April 14th is National Garden Day!

  • Use a soil thermometer to help you know when to plant vegetables. Some cool Pansy_Redseason crops (onions, kale, lettuce, and spinach) can be planted when the soil is consistently at or above 40°F.
  • Spread compost over garden and landscape areas.
  • Prune gooseberries and currants; fertilize with manure or a complete fertilizer.
  • Fertilize evergreen shrubs and trees, only if needed. If established and healthy, their nutrient needs should be minimal.
  • If needed, fertilize rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas with acid-type fertilizer. If established and healthy, their nutrient needs should be minimal.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs after blossoms fade. Early-spring bloomers, such as lilac, forsythia, and rhododendron, bear flowers on wood formed the previous year. The best time to prune them is late spring — immediately after they finish blooming. If pruned later in the growing season or during winter, the flower buds will be removed and spring bloom will be decreased.
  • Fertilize cane berries (broadcast or band a complete fertilizer or manure).
  • Remove spent flowers of large-flowered bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, as soon as they fade. This  channels the plants’ energy into forming large bulbs and offsets rather than into setting seeds. Allow foliage of spring-flowering bulbs to brown and die down before removing.  Do not remove bulb foliage while it is green; the green leaves nourish the bulb and next year’s flower buds, which form during summer. Cut or pull off leaves only after they yellow. Do not braid leaves to get them out of the way. Braiding reduces the amount of sunlight the leaves get and hinders growth.  Allow smaller bulbs (like: muscari and puschkinia) to set seed, so they self-sow and form ever-larger drifts.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses to a few inches above the ground, in early spring.
  • Prune and shape or thin spring-blooming shrubs and trees after blossoms fade.
  • Plant gladiolus and hardy transplants of alyssum, phlox, and marigolds, if weather and soil conditions permit.
  • Fertilize Lawns. Apply 1-pound nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Reduce risks of run-off into local waterways by not fertilizing just prior to rain. Also do not over-irrigate and cause water runs off of lawn and onto sidewalk or street.
  • April is a good time to dethatch and renovate lawns. If moss was a problem, scratch surface prior to seeding with perennial ryegrass.
  • If necessary, spray apples and pears when buds appear for scab. And spray stone fruits, such as cherries, plums, peaches, and apricots for brown rot blossom blight.
  • Plant balled-and-burlapped, container, and bare-root fruit trees.
  • Plant container and bare-root roses.
  • Prepare garden soil for spring planting. Incorporate generous amounts of organic materials and other amendments.
  • Divide and replant spring-blooming perennials after bloom.
  • Plant fall-blooming bulbs.

Article by:
Terra Gardens Nursery & Bark
Salem, OR

Madrona Trees

‘Tis tmadrone-drawinghe Season for Madrona

Stand in a clump of Pacific madrone or madrona trees during a winter storm, the trunks wet and luscious, creamy green and burnished red, and feast on the beauty. Children pull off the beckoning curly bark strips and stroke the underlying pale green bark, smooth and soothing. Mature trees can support many bark colors and textures: the older rough brown-gray squares, dark weathered curlicues, strips of fresh reds, and the young green underbark. The Klamath Indians tell a beautiful story about Madrone Girl, who lured her lover the North Wind back from the embraces of another native tree girl, Chinquapin, by scrubbing her skin pure and new in the Klamath River. She sang a love song while standing proud and gorgeous from a mountaintop; North Wind immediately returned. It has since become a tradition, this sloughing off of flecks and puzzle pieces of bark during the summer, decorating the forest floor.

The first Euro-American explorer and naturalist to describe madrone was Dr. Archibald Menzies who explored the Puget Sound with Captain Vancouver in 1792. The scientific name, Arbutus menziesii, commemorates Dr. Menzies.  In his journal he aptly described the species:

“a peculiar ornament to the Forest by its large clusters of whitish flowers & ever green leaves but its peculiar smooth bark of a reddish brown colour will at times attract the Notice of the most superficial observer”.

While a common understory tree in lower-elevation forests in Southwest Oregon, each mardone-berriesmadrone tree sports a different wondrous shape from multi-stem octopus trees that have re-sprouted after a fire to grand “girthy” older beauties.  The leaves are sclerophyllous – thick and sturdy broadleaf leaves that conserve water during hot summers. Second year leaves drop off during the summer, adding yellows to the bark chip forest floor, while younger leaves provide a canopy of green light all year-round. The leaves also provide a holiday-style contrast to the red pitted berries that droop from branches in the fall.

Local indigenous people, like the Takelma, harvest the berries. Band-tailed Pigeons, American Robins, and many other critters eat them, dispersing the seeds to feed future generations. Little kids and crafters make necklaces of dried madrone berries. Like other plants in the heath family, such as manazanita, the sweet urn-shaped flowers bloom in the spring and are visited by bumble bees.

Madrona feeds all of us – poets, dreamers, explorers, birds, and bees.

Author: Kristi Mergenthaller, Stewardship Directory Southern Oregon Land Conservancy
Article from Southern Oregon Land Conservancy Newsletter- Winter 2016

 

Posted by: Carlotta Lucas – Ashland Garden Club

Trees Talk

Suzanne Simard: How trees talk to each other

“A forest is much more than what you see,” says ecologist Suzanne Simard.

“Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery — trees talk, often and over vast distances. Learn more about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare to see the natural world with new eyes.”Ted Talks https://www.ted.com

Filmed June 2016 at TEDsummit