EVERGREENS SUCH AS A PINE OR A SPRUCE often seem to be the perfect plant for the urban garden. Unfortunately, most evergreens grow so large and are planted so close to driveways and structures that they can become a problem instead of an asset in your landscape after years of growth.
THE SMALLER AND VERY BEAUTIFUL BOSNIAN PINE, Pinus heldreichii, may not be the easiest to find but it is definitely one worth planting when you find it. Slow growing throughout its life, it matures in a landscape environment at 20 to 30 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide. It is much smaller than the common white pine, which grows on average 75 feet tall and 30 to 45 feet wide.
IT TENDS TO BE PYRAMIDAL WHEN YOUNG, then becomes a little wider when mature, but it is beautiful at any age. Dark green needles are 2-4 inches long and stiff with a sharp tip. Needles persist five to six years, which is why it has such a lush, dense winter habit compared to other pines. This also makes it an attractive cover for birds in winter.
THE BOSNIAN PINE TOLERATES POOR SOILS and drought, but it needs to be watered after planting until established, which can take two to three years, especially in extreme heat. It can be planted singly or in a grouping and is known to be disease- and deer-resistant.
OFTEN TRAINED AS A BONSAI, it is appropriate for spacious or formal gardens, particularly when planted in a grouping of three or more. It is also an excellent choice for the smaller urban garden setting.
ASK THE GARDENER
by Angie McManus
Q Can we bring our ferns in for the winter to care for them until spring?
A Tropical ferns can be brought indoors to survive the winter months. Like other tropicals we over-winter inside, it is best to place them in a brightly lit room, preferably in a south-facing window. Even shade-loving ferns will benefit from as much light as possible during this time. The light levels are so much lower that we do not have to worry about too much light during the winter months.
Adjust your watering schedule since they will not require as much moisture as they did outside. It will vary with your home’s temperature and humidity, but typically water every seven to 10 days. Avoid fertilizing this time of year as well.
The downfall to over-wintering ferns indoors is that they are notorious for dropping fronds. It can become a maintenance issue and they may not look very nice as we hit the middle of winter, so another option is to cut back the foliage before you bring ferns inside, then put them in the basement.
Next spring after your area’s frost-free date passes, put them back outdoors, fertilize, and gradually move them into a sunnier location if they are Kimberly Queen ferns. Otherwise, leave them in the shade and they will begin to put on new growth.
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