What pecan and English nut trees do well here, where can I get them, and how do I plant and care for them? How and when do I propogate crape myrtle? Does pompas grass do well here? What are some edible greens for this area, and when do I plant?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Ethel: Here in Kentucky we can grow many nut trees such as hazelnuts, hickory, black walnuts, and Chinese chestnuts, just to name a few. As for pecans, we are limited to the Northern varieties because of the length of our growing season. Kentucky, Pawnee, and Yates are all good cultivars. For other cultivar suggestions and more information on other nut trees we can grow, visit www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id77/id77.pdf
. This publication also has planting and care information on growing nut trees. Check with your local garden centers to see what they carry. Nolin River Nut Tree Nursery is a reputable source to purchase from here in Kentucky. Visit their Web site at www.nolinnursery.com
Crape myrtles can be propagated by seed but they are typically propagated by cuttings, both hardwood and softwood. Hardwood cuttings are taken from older woodier growth, usually during the late fall through winter when the plant is not actively growing. Softwood cuttings are taken from new growth, during the spring and summer months while the plant is putting on new growth. At this point you could take a softwood cutting if you did it soon or wait until the crape myrtle has dropped its foliage and then take a hardwood cutting. Either way, make your cuttings between 4-6 inches long. Make sure your pruners are clean and sharp. Dip the end of the cutting in a rooting hormone that you should be able to find at your local garden center, and then plant about 1 inch deep into a small container no bigger than 4 inches. Make sure the container has plenty of drainage holes. It is best to use a mixture of half-sand and half-peat or perlite. Ideally you want to have your containers prepped before taking your cuttings because you do not want them to dry out. After they are potted up, water them well and cover them with a clear plastic bag to create a mini greenhouse. Use a bamboo stake or a stick to make sure the bag does not touch the cutting. Place in an area with filtered light, avoiding direct sun. Do not let the soil completely dry out but you never want it sopping wet either. If there is condensation on the bag you will not need to water. The cutting should root within three to four weeks. For more detailed information on propagation, visit www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ho/ho67/ho67.pdf
Cortaderia selloana, commonly known as pampas grass, is native to South America. It is hardy to zone 7. I believe you are gardening in zone 6 so, it would be considered marginal and likely not survive the winter temperatures where you live. There are, however, many ornamental grasses that you can grow and will give you the same look as the pampas grass. Miscanthus grass, commonly known as maiden grass, and Calamagrostis, commonly referred to as feather reed grass, are both great options.
Edible greens are cool-season crops for us in Kentucky. This means that we can enjoy them in our garden during the spring and the fall when the temperatures are cooler. Lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, and chard, just to name a few, can all be planted by seed or starter plants. Always follow the planting guidelines on the seed packet. Now is a great time to add greens to the fall garden.