Whats up with Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Sullivan'?

shastensisNovember 8, 2011

What's the story on this guy? Apparently, it does EXCELLENT in Chicago, Zone 5 - perfectly conical, no dieback from the cold whatsoever, blue-green foliage, moderate growth rate. Any experience with it in the midwest besides this? Anybody know where it developed or why it is so cold-hardy? Many C.lawsonianas do ok in Zone 5, but none like this? I took cuttings of side shoots last year and got a few to root, not sure if they will grow leaders though. Dax, do you have any experience with this? I know you are Z5.

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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

No experience with this cultivar. 'Pembury Blue' is going to be my next attempt with lawsoniana. I have a small rooted cutting from last winter and I also gave some away to friends. We're going to see if any of us can grow it.

Dax

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 8:22AM
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katsura_grower

I've stopped growing any Chamaecyparis lawsoniana cultivars unless they are grafted due to root disease problems(east coast U.S.). That being said grafting doesn't always mean they will survive. I've never tried 'Sullivan' as no one I know grafts it. I have tried Pembry Blue though. I bought 50 grafts and grew them in containers for a few years with no losses. one year ago i lined about 35 out and so far i've lost about 5 of them. These plants were not irrigated and grown in full sun location. I've also been growing C.l. 'Pygmy Argentea', C.l. 'Silver Queen' and C.l. Imbricata Pendula' with no losses. I have experienced severe losses with C.l. Blue Surprise and C.l. 'Wissel's Saguro'.

C.l. Pembry Blue

john

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 5:41PM
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mrgpag

what's the best root stock for east coast/eastern midwest growing of lawsonianas?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 7:14PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

That pot is way too small.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 8:59PM
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katsura_grower

The angle of the photo makes the 65 gal. pot look smaller than it is.
john

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 8:32AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Marshall,
w/o knowing, I'd place it on Juniperus 'hetzii'.

Dax

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 8:56AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

way back when.. i bought about a dozen different laws for 3 to 5 bucks each .... from stanley ...

hey you know the logic.. i can do it in z5.. regardless of those who know better.. lol .. zone pushing to the max ...

only alumi ... or however you spell it ... prospers ...

as far as i am concerned.. its all about a micro climate [which in my book a metropolitan area is] ... as i have little protection from winter sun and winds on my former pasture ...

no matter what the claimed hardiness.. in z5.. i would always keep in mind.. that sooner or later.. that one severe winter will come along... and you will have a dead plant ...

i have nothing to add about root stocks ...

sooo i know the zone pushing game.. i know i lost.. i wish luck to anyone who thinks they can do better ... carpe lawsoniana ...

ken

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 9:43AM
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shastensis

These cultivars are not planted in a "micro-climate" - at Morton Arboretum, in an open field with no protection. Morton Arboretum is located in Lisle, Illinois, about 23 miles west of Lake Michigan, so any moderating effects that the lake might have on winter temperatures is negligible. These plants have seen sustained lows of -20F.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 6:42PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i am 200 miles on the east side of lake MI .... which i mean to mean.. that my z5 micro is different than mortons z5 micro ...

and i am trying to tell you.. that MOST laws will not take my z5 ...

i am not meaning to denigrate anyone in z5 who succeeds..

i am just trying to express.. rather poorly perhaps.. that they are NOT z5 hardy.. on a consistent basis ...

and for those who are rather 'newbie' to conifer collecting... they should fully understand.. that in z5.. YOU ARE ZONE PUSHING .... and you may or may not win that game ... depending on your micro climate...

do understand.. the micro does not necessary mean tiny ... as your whole yard.. can be a micro of the large area known a z5 ... heck on my 5 acres.. i have multiple micro climates.. which was very surprising when i moved from suburbia ...

being a rather aggressive gardener.. you really dont want to know how much money i have spent/lost... trying to win the zone pushing game... especially on newer varieties ... which claim to be hardy where they shouldnt be ...

in no way do i mean to be addressing those of us who have decades in playing with plants ... heck .. most of us like wasting money.. simply to take up the challenge ...

i just dont want newbies to invest their last cent on something .. that might fail ... based on the 'claim' that it is z5 hardy ... perhaps it is.. maybe it isnt.... let others find out ...

ken

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 8:58AM
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shastensis

A plant that is grown on such a large scale by various nurserymen who're looking for "mutant" seedlings, such as Chamaecyparis lawsoniana or pisifera, or Cryptomeria japonica for that matter, is going to - because it has been grown from seed sooooo many different timesand the "mutants" -or as they are also sometimes called, cultivars - picked out...is going to have a WIDE array of genetic variation. Some "mutants" of Cryptomeria japonica are only z7 hardy, and some others are z5 hardy. Different genes endow an individual plant with different traits, and it so happens that the same gene that normally results in "blue" color on certain conifers sometimes also results in a bit greater of endurance to cold temperatures. "Zone pushing", as you are referring to it, normally results in an unhealthy look - sparse foliage, browning, etc. on a plant if it is not safely hardy in that climate. That is not the case here. These plants look EXCELLENT, repeatedly now, for 10 years in an open, exposed location.

With this specific cultivar of Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, it is safely z5 hardy. Unless you are a meteorologist or climatologist or perhaps even a plant genetecist, I rest my case and see no point in arguing it further unless someone has personal experience with it. I was initially looking for anecdotes, not argument. Thank you for your participation, none the less.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 12:17PM
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wisconsitom

Katsura, I like that that Pembry Blue appears to have a looser, more "normal" form, rather than the exaggerated tightness and conical shape of some other cultivars. Is that in fact the case with this variety, or does it just look that way in the pic?

+oM

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 1:11AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

I'll tell ya one that should be on everyone's list: Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Mr. Green Genes'.

Dax

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 7:34AM
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dragonflyfarms2010

I agree with Katsura most of my plants have been dying here unless they are grafted. Too wet. Even established plants died last year from our soggy year.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 11:59AM
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katsura_grower

Wisconsitom, The habit is as it appears in the photo except that I bought that particular specimen from a propagation nursery and i'm sure it is fatter and shorter than normal due to scion collection. Below is a younger plant in my field that has been lightly sheared.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 2:24PM
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wisconsitom

Thanks Kat. Although probably a bit of foolishness on my part, I would love to have a few "blue" arbor vitae-ish plants up at my land. But that's in N. Wisconsin. Not way up, but still probably best thought of as a zone 4 locale.

Green Giants seem to grow there no prob. Two out of three Metasequioas planted three years ago live on. Just trying to describe the growing situation up there. Also, it would have to be something that will actually become a tree, not a "landscape conifer". So I suspect my options are severely limited.

+oM

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 10:11PM
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