Fall garden care tip: Leave the leaves! Did you know that many butterflies and other beneficial insects overwinter in leaves? They provide critical food for year-round birds or emerge in spring when the weather warms. Leaves also provide the perfect soil enrichment under the trees in which they fall. Pine needles provide the specific enrichment for pine trees, and oak leaves provide the proper balance under oak trees. Consider leaving some leaves under your trees to honor nature's elegant design, keep your trees healthy and support the broader ecosystem. More info in this Penn State Extension article on fall garden care for pollinators.
Deciduous trees contribute greatly to the character of Penn Valley and provide tremendous ecological services including absorbing stormwater runoff and providing food sources for birds, butterflies and other pollinators.
Native street tree considerations for our area:
Amalenchier canadensis (Shadblow serviceberry) - 20-30 ft, salt tolerant, drought sensitive, small multi-stemmed landscape tree, nice fall color, part-sun
Betula nigra (Riverbirch) - 50-75 ft, salt + pollution + drought tolerant, full sun
Betula populifolia (Gray birch) - 35-50ft, salt + drought + compaction tolerant, beautiful white bark with age, part to full sun
Celtis occidentalis (Hackberry) - 75+ft, salt + drought + compaction tolerant, full sun
Cercis canadensis (Redbud) - 25 ft, salt sensitive but drought tolerant, purple blooms in spring, small landscape/understory tree, can grow in part sun
Chionanthus virginiacus (American fringe tree) - 25ft, intolerant of salt spray but tolerant of salt in the soil, drought tolerant, small landscape tree, white blooms in spring, part sun
Cratagus viridis (Winter King Green Hawthorn) - 30ft, very high drought tolerance, intermediate salt tolerance, red berries in winter, full sun
Nyssa sylvatica (Blackgum) - 75ft, salt tolerant + drought resistant, beautiful red fall foliage, full sun
Quercus bicolor (Swamp white oak) - salt tolerant + drought resistant, excellent ecological value, full sun
Quercus phelos (Willow oak) - 40-75ft, salt tolerant + drought resistant, full sun
See a more complete list of recommended trees for the mid-Atlantic area here. See the images below for ideas on protecting new trees from deer damage.
Local sources for containerized native trees:
Redbud Native Plant Nursery, 904 N. Providence Rd, Media, PA 19063
Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery, 2415 Route 100, Orefield, PA 18069
Interested in the bird-friendly ecological value of native plants? Learn more about native plants for your area here.
Have trouble with deer? See the images below for ideas on how to protect young tree plantings.
Simple metal garden stakes and galvanized wire will protect young trees while they get established. Once a tree is over 5' tall, the deer will not be able to reach the higher foliage for grazing. Black wire or plastic mesh often blends well with surroundings.
Deer bucks will rub trunks killing young trees or causing bark wounds that are difficult for the tree to heal. Wooden tree stakes will protect this sapling until it gets larger.
3-4 stakes of metal rebar placed around this tree are barely visible and will keep the deer at bay while it matures. Consider leaving protection around the tree until the trunk is 6-8" in diameter. Rebar can be reused with future plantings.
Do you have a tree covered in vines like this? English ivy is often the culprit. It damages tree bark, blocks light, weakens limbs and can make trees more susceptible to pests and disease. Help steward our trees by simply severing vines from their roots. If vines are quite large, remove a 6-8" section with a saw. Do not cut into the tree bark or attempt to remove upper vines if it damages the bark. Without roots, the vines will eventually die. Note: If vines are brown and hairy, do not touch them as they are likely poison ivy.