Trees

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

RickR wrote:

Paulownia tomentosa is only root hardy here most years, and the few "established" ones that I've seen grow 10-12ft each year with multiple stems.

Paulownia tomentosa presents a paradox, a tree of great beauty in flower, and with a wide following because of its rapid growth rate (up to 18' a year) making it a valuable resource for rapid reforestation in its native China, the timber known for "rot resistance and a very high ignition point ensures the timber's popularity in the world market". The wood has some special properties (such as warp-resistant) that make it popular for making musical instruments, chests, surf-boards, mostly in certain geographical areas such as in Japan and Australia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulownia

If you google it in the context of Eastern United States, you'll find it is considered an invasive species.  In spring if I drive through States such as New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, it becomes obvious just how aggressively this tree has spread, miles upon endless miles of the highway periphery this tree is full glorious bloom, but that's worrisome.

In Massachusetts, it is hardy but seldom seen, in fact, I only know one place where it grows, at Mount Auburn Cemetery, a magnificent arboretum and cemetery very close to Boston, the first of its type in the United States.  Here are two photos showing a mature specimen in spring, just as a lilac tinge reveals the expanding buds high up in the canopy.  The second photo shows the bark on this impressive specimen.  This is growing in USDA Zone 5.

 

Some additional links:

Invasive status:
http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/pato1.htm
http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/tree/pautom/all.html

States where reported invasive (map):
http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/map/pato1.htm

images of seeds and flowers (scroll down):
http://arbordayforum.com/showthread.php?8906-I-love-this-tree-but-don%92...

flowers:
http://www.plants.com.pk/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/paulownia-elongata1.png
http://worldtreetech.com/images/misc/product2.jpg

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Quite unusual for such a fast growing tree to have such admirable wood qualities. 
In general, I think most of us think that fast growing trees tend to be junk.

For those who might be interested, I added some better pics of my conifer foliage bouquet in that post above.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Although Paulownia is hardy to Z5 it does need a hot summer to get maximum cold tolerance. Most summers are too cold here.

Rick, your bouquet has a touch of Chinese (or do I mean Japanese) look ;)

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

RickR wrote:

Quite unusual for such a fast growing tree to have such admirable wood qualities.  
In general, I think most of us think that fast growing trees tend to be junk.

For those who might be interested, I added some better pics of my conifer foliage bouquet in that post above.

It is indeed a surprising tree in many respects, I suppose that is what makes it so interesting.  I find it fascinating that it can grow so darn quick initially, but once it reaches a certain size (whatever that size threshold is), it returns to growing and developing in more normal fashion.

Trond, it does seem a common thread, that certain plants actually need that summer heat and then proper hardening off periods of cold, to prove winter hardy. This fact became very clear the 4 years I lived near Seattle Washington, easily 3 zones more mild than where I lived in New England, but I had trouble overwintering a number of plants that easily sailed through New England winters without a blink of the eye.

Rick, I have said it before but I'll say it again, you have a real special knack for artistic arragements. :)

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

McDonough wrote:

Trond, it does seem a common thread, that certain plants actually need that summer heat and then proper hardening off periods of cold, to prove winter hardy. This fact became very clear the 4 years I lived near Seattle Washington, easily 3 zones more mild than where I lived in New England, but I had trouble overwintering a number of plants that easily sailed through New England winters without a blink of the eye.

Mark, I know! I have a hard time trying to grow eastern American plants in particular :-\

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Thanks, Mark.  Today I went to our local Lily Society education meeting, and since it was only a week later, I kept the arrangement in the garage in the meantime, for "show and tell" there, too.  It was cooler in the garage than I thought, and the water froze.  It turned out to be the best happenstance, because I could be very rough transporting it around, yet everything stayed firmly in place.....way better than an oasis cube. ;D  Got lotsa kudos at that meeting, too.  Lilium hybridizer Brian Bergman, from Ontario, spoke.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Tingley
Title: Member
Joined: 2013-01-07

Just thought I'd give you an update on Paulownia tomentosa. Although our tree hasn't bloomed yet, we were able to collect a few seed pods from a mature one (naturally decided to do this after we had had more than a few nights of -20 F or lower). I wasn't sure if the seeds would still be viable, but gave it a shot. Here are the results

Southwest Nova Scotia, zone 6b or thereabouts

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Freezing seeds doesn't necessarily affect their viability -it's whether the seedling and plant can survive the climate.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

In fact it is the way to store seeds for a long time:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svalbard_Global_Seed_Vault

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Trond, that is so cool!  Thanks for making us aware of that.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

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