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Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Can Spring be far away? Ooooh that looks cold!

Posted Sunday, February 16, 2014, at 3:31 AM
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  • According to "Smarty Plants", I had to laugh at the experts title lol, Hackberry trees, are known to inhibit the growth of competing plants through allelopathic processes.

    The mechanism used by hackberries involves the release of a witch's brew of chemicals known as phenolic phytotoxins leaching from fallen, decaying leaves. The leachates from rotting hackberry leaves have been shown to inhibit the germination of seeds and the development of seedlings. So yes, hackberry can do harm to nearby plants, though it is unclear if it has any effect at all on established plants such as trees, shrubs or even mature perennials.

    I would eliminate any new sprouts, which seem to constantly pop up around any mature hackberries, but definitely keep the dead leaves far outta the way of a garden spot, If you have a few hanging directly over your garden, you may want to consider trimming them back.

    This is the first time I have actually heard of sugarberry....what I have read though, they are very hard to tell apart from hackberries...I know most fence rows surrounding farmland have a large population of them. I have always recognized them from the nubby bark...As a kid I climbed quite a few that lined the fence rows around the old Gunter property, most the cows in those fields loved them for a good scratch.

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Sun, Feb 16, 2014, at 10:57 AM
  • I had not thought of that excellent use for hackberry bark. Smart cows.

    Comparing the picture above to today's weather is phenomenal. And to think, these are only a few days apart!

    This is actually the "winter" to which I am accustomed, alternating warm and cold snaps, but this year has had so many back to back cold snaps that I was really down.

    Jumped out there today and soaked up some vitamin D until the Lady Bugs bugged me to put my shirt back on. I needed that.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Feb 16, 2014, at 12:21 PM
  • Even though I an lucky enough to have 4 Pecan trees, most of the other trees on my property are walnuts and sugar berries. The sugar berries have shallow roots that prevent digging into the soil in the yard. The area in the photo is where I had a huge sugarberry tree taken down the year after I moved in because it kept dropping huge branches. Though that was over three years ago the roots are still sending up new saplings everywhere.....Managing to grow up into the tomato pots through the few drainage holes I made. The walnuts planted into each pot by the squirrels and the sugar berries growing up through the holes make even container gardening a challenge. I must really like tomatoes.....Or maybe the challenge.....

    The good news........All the tomato seeds are planted....Can't wait.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Sun, Feb 16, 2014, at 8:03 PM
  • We have a friend who loves tomatoes like that. She lives in Wartrace as well so maybe it is a local phenomena. :-)

    Every shopping day, tomatoes are a MUST.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Feb 17, 2014, at 6:00 AM
  • I was aware of the allelopathic effect of Black Walnut; but I had never heard or read that about Hackberry?

    -- Posted by mg.mark on Tue, Feb 18, 2014, at 10:17 AM
  • I know I could never seem to grow roses around a hackberry. The roses eventually died and coincidentally so did the hackberry. Maybe that is a way to get rid of a hackberry?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Feb 18, 2014, at 10:32 AM
  • I came across the disturbing information regarding Sugarberry while investigating causes for the demise of a huge Holly sharing space with the roots and trunk of the aforementioned tree.

    Now that I put into context my four years of gardening in this yard the scenario is making sense. Only the seedlings planted in the large pots manage to cling to life.......That is if I drag them around to discourage roaming roots and keep a sharp eye out for squirrel activity.

    The raised beds I put in do not offer the same amount of isolation from roots that plantings in the summer garden need. Perhaps I should remove the beds and give up the struggle.

    Or perhaps I should take a look at Realtor.com............

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Tue, Feb 18, 2014, at 11:53 AM
  • Watch out, just the mention of realtor.com could start a deluge. I casually mention to someone in Bell Buckle one time that we might have too much to take care of here and I had a realtor calling to make an appointment. Yikes!

    I forgot if you put any landscape fabric at the bottom of those raised beds. If not, that might buy you a couple years of protection.

    Or, you could become a bit eccentric and start collecting bathtubs like me. The backyard looks closed in so neighbors should not object. No one comes up here and my wife is a trooper.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Feb 18, 2014, at 2:15 PM
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