Another one bites the dust...what to do!

funnthsun z7A - Southern VAMarch 18, 2014

Well, we just had an ice storm last night and look what we woke up to:

This is one of my hosta beds! Half of my tree that shades it is a goner! Some of you may remember that I was planning to replace this tree over the next couple of years by planting a new one in it's place and slowly trimming back the old one (bradford pear that previous owner planted), then finally taking it down. Well, I just bought the replacement even, as you can see. A texas white redbud. I'm going to plant it right where you see it sitting.

What do I do, though, now that half my shade for my hostas is gone? This is in the very front of my house, so I can't very well erect a shelter or sunshade or anything like that. Can't grow anything that fast.

I will take a minute to say thank the Lord that it didn't do any damage whatsoever. Barely touching the gutter, missed the car and even my garden art! Nice work! I had just extended this bed for more hosta!

Looks like half of the tree is still there. If you look straight out my window, east is towards the blue van that is the farthest away. The half that is broken off is pointing north. The half that is still there may shade still somewhat from afternoon sun, which is good. I'm just not sure what to do further, though, if there is even anything that I can do! Any suggestions???? Help!

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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

I would cut off the damaged limbs to the trunk,and try to save the Bradford Pear tree. They make terrific come backs. Even around here they are notorious for being a weak tree,due to many trunks,and are always being torn up by high winds. We have thousands of these in our area,and they are beautiful when they bloom in the spring,but always are a weak tree. I've seen these pruned back to ridiculous looking ,almost stumps,and they leaf out so you can hardly tell they were ever trimmed. Of course,it is your tree,and you can always do whatever you want to it. Phil

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:45AM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

Thanks, Phil. I do want it to go eventually, but not until the redbud can take over the shading! I think that is my plan, to trim off the break and leave the rest--we'll see how it does. If it falls at some point, there is nothing for it to damage, so I'm not losing anything by trying. After the redbud gets some size, I'll take out the pear. I'll trim the remaining back a bit to help with weight while it's healing. I'd love to just take the pear out, but can't leave my hostas to fend for themselves!

Even taking this route, my hostas are exposed to way more sun than they were. I need to take a pic from outside so you guys can see how much of the tree top is left. I'm not sure if it is adequate coverage on it's own, now. I knew exactly how the shade moved before---now---, well, there is only half of the shade! It SEEMS to me like afternoon sun will be shaded, morning sun will be let through--it's the noon sun that I am worried about right now. A lot of the bed won't be blocked until afternoon. I'm gonna have to watch the shadows Thurs-Fri when we are supposed to be clear and 65-70 degrees. Of course, it will be different in July. Good grief...

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:01AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

try to save the Bradford Pear tree.

==>>>> ARE YOUR READY>>????

phil??? .... what are you adding to your morning coffee .. crikey.. and blimey.. all ROLLED into a ...WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ... its a pear tree that is famous for doing this .... and a carp tree...


you knew it was a problem... now its more of a problem... and you got ... really .. REALLY lucky ... there was no damage ....

there is no upside to 'saving' it.. nor 'working' with it .. GET RID OF IT ...

in the mean time.. dig out all the hosta.. and pot them.. and find some other plants for your new shade-less spot ...

i dont understand all your sun alignment words.. other than the van is east ... and i dont know how hot the sun is during the day ... but maybe you can move the pots in and out of the spot ...

you could also probably put another redbud in there.. [i dont understand why an eastcoaster is planting a TX redbud???? whats that all about????]

just GET RID OF IT .. its way past time...


ps: note the phrase capiltolized three time .. in case you missed it:

===>>>> GET RID OF IT PPS: do you know how to plant trees... see link ... ... no amending... get rid of the potting media to some extent .. untwine roots .. water deeply.. and infrequently.. letting it nearly dry in between ... etc ... and.. INSURE the rootflare is at soil level.. and i dont care if the dude who put it in the pot did otherwise ...

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 11:05AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

If the van is to the east, it seems that you lost the north side of the tree. Plenty left on the south side to shade your bed.

Why not plant two or three trees instead of just one?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 11:08AM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

Harry - That is actually what I was thinking about/asking opinions about, too. Planting more than one tree or just sticking with the redbud. It's hard to get all of the options/ideas in one or two posts, but I'm pondering all of the possibilities right now. I did lose the north side of the tree, that is correct.

Ken - Are you crazy, LOL! I am defin not turning this into a full sun bed, no way no how! I know you don't know the background and all of the rest of my .5 acre lot, but that is 75% of what I have now - full sun! Don't need anymore of that, need some shade and need to keep the shade that I have. The other shade that I do have is under Maples - aka no good for hosta growing OR there is already hosta beds in the existing areas. Not my choices on the maples, but the previous owners and not able to change that, at least not at this point in the game. If it was JUST a hosta bed, I might consider digging them up, but I have a lot of other shade plants in there too that don't want to be in pots--ferns, heucheras, tricyrtis, etc. Also, the tree shades the house, so going to full sun would not only be a very large pain in the #$$, but it would suck the life out of my energy efficiency. I really need to just recreate some shade here.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 12:29PM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

Oh, by the way, the Texas redbud actually does a bit better here with our heat/humidity than the Eastern Redbud (not to say the Eastern doesn't do well, but it does get a little limp/pitiful looking in the july/august heat, whereas the Texas redbud tends to stand up better to the onslaught, fyi). Did my research BEFORE the purchase, of course!

This post was edited by funnthsun on Tue, Mar 18, 14 at 12:35

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 12:33PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

I'm from Texas and we don't plant Texas Redbud, at least not here in North Texas. We plant Oklahoma Redbud. Are you sure that's a good plant for your area?

Unlike Ken, I think I would try to keep the tree for it's shade value until I could get something else going. (Those Bradfords turn to carp after about 15 - 20 years) If you find you don't have enough shade for the hosta, then follow Ken's plan about pots and such.

I don't know about your area, but I've heard lots of recommendations for Little Gem Magnolia.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 1:13PM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

LOL, Texas Redbud in NC, Oklahoma Redbud in Texas--I'll bet they have Eastern Redbuds out in the west! We always want what we don't have...

Yep, I'm sure they do well here.

There are several references to it doing well here on the NC State Ag website, which is what we rely on around here for local info. Not to mention several other sources, if one were to google Texas redbud in the southeast.

I did find this link about Oklahoma vs. Texas redbuds from the Univ. of Texas that I thought was interesting:

Here is a link that might be useful: Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center Oklahoma vs. Texas, is there even a difference?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 3:06PM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

I know that Bradford Pears are weak,Ken,but around here they trim them back,almost brutally,and they come back really leafed out in no time. Yes,I know they are a bad tree,but any other tree would take forever to grow back there. Anyhow,they grow well in NC,and there are a lot of them here,just starting to bud out for the spring flowers. Just telling what I know about 'em! Funnthsun will do what she,or he wants! Phil

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:15PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

I stand corrected. The Texas Redbud, 'Oklahoma' is a pink variation of Texas Redbud, per Texas A&M horticulture site. There is also a purple variety and and a white one.


This post was edited by bkay2000 on Tue, Mar 18, 14 at 23:26

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:29PM
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zkathy(7a NC)

Funn, you could bite the bullet and buy a bigger redbud. Then plant both of them. Leave the pear tree as long as it gives some shade and take it out when the two redbuds take over.

Stupid ice storm dropped a pine on our power line. I'm always thankful for the rural electrification program.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 11:25PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

I agree with Kathy. Redesign the bed. Dig the Hosta's put them in pots underneath your Maples out back to get them out of the way. Put the tree at the Southern point of that bed and then put back those Hosta that you can plant in the shade you have created. You could put them all back, but be prepared for burning especially in the first year they are exposed to the change in sunlight. They will get used to being in more sun, but some may still burn.

This is what I did with one of my beds. Granted it was in the back of my property. But I spend $500 on a good sized Magnolia Leonard Messel, and had it planted by a reputable nursery. It took 3 years, but it's over 20 feet tall now and gives enough shade. The pic below is when it was first installed. This is the Southern point of this bed.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 8:05AM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

Steve, I can't believe it grew that much in just 3 years!!! Got an "after" pic?

I think it's going to be OK, now that I have watched the new shade line move throughout the day. This isn't the peak of summer, but I think there is enough to still shade the bed once the tree leafs out. I'm going to stick with the original plan of planting the Texas redbud and then in a couple of years, taking out the pear completely. Whew, that was a near miss!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 7:56PM
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Three years? Holy smoke, that's so fast! Good choice, Steve.

Don B.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 9:06PM
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Unless you go big or do something else, it will take several years before there is shade.

I did some research on SHADE SAILS, which are professionally installed sculpted high-tension UV durable fabric covers that come with nice variety of poles or ground supports. It could even solve a shade problem as part of your driveway, and allow you to ACTUALLY GROW HOSTA ON YOUR DRIVEWAY. (I throw that in to pacify KEN)..... INstead of that, I've accumulated several patio umbrellas, which are moveable and fit with my pots.

In your case, I think the real McCoy is required. It will not be cheap to get a top-notch one, but it can be taken down in offseason, although I cannot say what it requires to do that.

Just look it up. You might be very pleased to use this as your redbuds etc grow to full glory.

There are several similar products to the one listed below, which is the original top of the line product I think coming from Australia where they are dealing with a rip in the ozone layer, so compare to this product and go from there. They are really beautiful things.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 3:16PM
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