Monday, April 28, 2008

Woody Plant Trial 24 Month Results!

Forested wetland restoration site - central Maryland.
Restored 2005, Picture 4-28-08

Ha! Made ya look! What I've done over the last few years is anything but scientific, and was often based upon opportunity alone, but I wanted to know the answer to a question. Ecologists currently disagree about the importance of plant source (genetically and for individual plant survival), in habitat restoration projects. So, now I, the Swamp Thing, will give you the dirt! Or, the veg. Here are some species I've grown, and watched very carefully over the past few years. Draw your own conclusions about plant sources....and mostly, just try and figure out what works in your area!

Silky Dogwood
1) The Wild: Rescued, bare root, from construction site in central Maryland, 2005
2) The Mild: Purchased, bare root, from a nursery in Missouri, 2005

Survival & Vigor - Wild plant, by a significant margin
Form/Growth - Wild plant, by a small margin
Flowers - Neither plant
Fruit/Seed - Neither plant

Sweet Pepperbush
1) The Wild: Rescued, bare root, from construction site in central Maryland, 2004
2) The Mild: Purchased, containerized, from a nursery in Maryland, 2005

Survival & Vigor - both plants very strong
Form/Growth - nursery plant - the wild plants grow with a "crazy" form
Flowers - nursery plant
Fruit/Seed - NA

Arrowwood Viburnum
1) The Wild: Rescued, bare root, from construction site in Virginia, 2003
2) The Mild: Purchased, containerized from a nursery in Maryland, 2005 (via Home Despot)

Survival & Vigor - nursery plant
Form/Growth - nursery plant, by a mile!
Flowers - nursery plant
Fruit / Seed - both plants pollinated very poorly

American Redbud
1) The Wild: Rescued, bare root, from a garden in western NC, 2005
2) The Mild: Purchased, bare root, from a nursery in Missouri, 2005

Survival & Vigor - wild plant
Form/Growth - wild plant
Flowers - wild for longevity, but nursery plant for density!
Fruit / Seed - both plants flowering for the first time this year

Trumpet Creeper
1) The Wild: Stolen, shoot, from railroad tracks in Baltimore, 2004
2) The Mild: 2-year old bagged live plant from the Home Despot, 2004

Survival & Vigor - nursery plant - the wild plants all died within 1 growing season

Black Elderberry
1) The Wild: Stolen, bare root, from a field in western North Carolina, 2005
2) The Mild: Purchased at the Home Despot (grown in Maryland), containerized, 2005

Survival & Vigor: wild plants, by a mile
Form & Growth: depends on what you like. Wild plants grow like crazy.
Flowers: wild plants
Fruit & Seed: Not sure that the nursery plant is fertile. Blooms but no berries.

Allegheny Blackberry
1) The Wild: Stolen, bare root, from various fields in NC, VA, and MD, 2004-2006
2) The Mild: Purchased in bags at the Home Despot, grown in TX, 2005-2006

Survival & Vigor: nursery plants - seem to be a little more immune to cane borer
Form & Growth: nursery plants again
Flowers: Wild Plants
Fruit & Seed: Wild for quantity, nursery for quality

Shadbush (Serviceberry)
1) The Wild: Rescued from construction site, central Maryland, bare root, 2005
2) The Mild: Purchased from a nursery in Missouri, bare root, 2005

Survival & Vigor: nursery plant
Form & Growth: neither, really
Flowers: none yet
Fruit & Seed: Dare to Dream


MUD said...

We use Missouri Wildflower for our source of a lot of the plants we grow here near Topeka, KS. Our Dogwood just doesn't make it, and yet we have a kind of Paw-Paw that loves it down by the creek. I think it stays cold until it is just the right time to bloom. We are in the transition zone from the Hardwood forest and the Tall Grass Prairie. We have a lot of big ole' trees and a lot of native plants. We have even started some native Big Bluestem. One day we will have all or our property returned to almost nature like it was 200 years ago. The wife does like s few annaul flowers but mostly we are headed for perennials. MUD

Anonymous said...

Paw Paw is such a great plant. Other than vegetables, I've tried to start using annuals that re-seed. I have two coreopsis and one type of sunflower that seem to re-seed themselves every year.

The prairie is a tough ecosystem to restore. Out here on the coast, it used to be all forest, except for areas that were cleared by salt burn (hurricane waves), forest fires, ice fall, etc. Those were our only real open habitats, except for the salt marsh. The Native Americans started clearing forest out here around 800 AD, introducing much more significant habitat for grassland wildlife, and the rest is history.

Anonymous said...

I thought that you and your readers might be interested in Business Volunteers Unlimited Maryland’s Volunteer Central’s "Friends of Baltimore Parks and Middle Branch Shoreline Day" on Saturday, May 3 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

It will kickoff at Middle Branch Park Rowing Club (3301 Waterview Avenue).Volunteers will then roll up their sleeves to garden, water, clean and beautify the shoreline and grounds at Middle Branch, Carroll or Latrobe parks. Participants will also receive lunch and learn how to be “green-at-home” during an afternoon program. Every participant will receive a reusable tote bag as incentive to start living more eco-friendly.

Registration is required. For additional information and to register visit or call 410-366-6030.

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