Franklinia alatamaha

lschibleyApril 15, 2010

Just a bunch of sticks in the ground now, but oh my, I just can't wait. I'm sooo excited! From Drop Box

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One of my favorite trees. I actually killed about a half dozen of them (well, maybe 4) before I got the hang of it. Now I have 4 or 5 that are thriving. Around here, they do fine in full sun, presumably because we don't actually get full sun all that often -- or maybe it's the constant breeze and cool nights. Three of mine are in mostly shade, but the one in full sun does best in terms of growth and flowering.

Just love these. Yours is a beauty.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 12:55PM
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Nan - It was seeing yours last year that gave me the bug. So what does it take to 'get the hang of it?' What do you recommend for how much water, fertilizer, et all. This one is in full sun, in very sandy soil, with two bags of good soil mixed in. It had a good sized root ball, but I really want to baby it the first year in hopes that it thrives. Any suggestions will be very welcome.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 1:16PM
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Water! At least, that's probably how I killed my first ones, by never watering them. Of course, I also started with really tiny little ones, maybe 2' tall, and those are much more vulnerable to being lost, especially if they're ignored after planting. Obviously they don't want to be drowned, but I do think I neglected them. Now that I'm more aware of what's going on with things I plant (probably because my kids are grown!) they actually seem quite easy and undemanding.

There's a great quote about them from Dirr, though, something about how they can break your heart by up and leaving without warning. I guess he just means not to take it personally if you lose one (or 4!). Best of luck with yours, I think you'll do fine with it.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 1:36PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Lisa, first you had me drooling over your dogwood and now you planted a Franklinia?!?! Oh I'm soooo jealous!! LOL!! Did you get it from Katsura. His Franklinias were gorgeous. I am so happy for you. You have such a nice selection of trees and shrubs in your yard.

I actually placed an order with Forest Farm this year (I've never ordered from them before but they had some interesting stuff I wanted to try). I called them just today to add something to my order and on a whim I asked them to also add Franklinia. I know I'm pushing my luck with it in Z5, but at least if it dies it will only have been a small one for not too much money! I don't think I'll ever rest if I don't give this beautiful tree a try.

Dtd, that is some great persistence in getting them to grow in your yard. I'm sure they must be incredible.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 8:57PM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

That is a real beauty! I think the advice of consistant watering throughout the season is a good one. This will be the third year for mine which hasn't put on much growth. I can't recall does anyone know if this is a slow grower or is mine just stubbern?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 3:57PM
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I can't remember where I was reading this or heard, but for whatever reason it's in my head: 'Site Franklinia the such way that it will be somewhat shaded in a first few years and then will be in full sun as it got established."

FWIW. I never grew Franklinia myself.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 9:47PM
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Here's the infamous quote from Michael Dirr about Franklinia:
"somewhat akin to a fickle lover and may stay around and tease with its beauty, or simply leave."

And this is from one of many sites that discuss the tree's cultivation:

Franklinia has a well-deserved reputation for being difficult to grow. ItÂs best in full sun in northern areas, but in the South, it should have protection from afternoon sun. ItÂs sensitive to poor drainage and drought, so the soil must be well drained but never allowed to get too dry. It does best with a soil pH between 5.0 and 6.0.

Incorporating large amounts of organic matter helps. After planting, mulch lightly over the entire area and reapply as necessary. Success is best using container grown specimens. Franklinia is hardy from zones 5 to 9 but is easiest to grow in zones 6 and 7.

The bit about container grown specimens is just because these don't transplant well, although 3 of mine have been moved at least once and although it slowed them down a bit they all survived.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 10:25PM
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Oooh lots of great info from everyone thanks so much. I think I am off to a good start. I have very well draining soil, builder's fill basically, but the tree was planted with two bags of good dirt, plus I will be adding home grown compost from my pile each year. I'll make sure to keep it watered. It is in full sun, but I am hoping it doesn't mind that. We'll just have to see. I've never had any troubles with any of my purchases from Katsura. John takes such good care of his trees, and it really did have a big rootball. I've got my fingers crossed for a good result. Thanks everyone. I'll post more pictures as it leaves out.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 7:40AM
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How do I save my franklinia tree?

I transplanted a 15 ft franklina after finding it in the woods on my property with no light and starting to bend. I did this in the fall of 2009. I babied it through last year and it got a few leaves I was excited because i knew it did not transplant well.. This year I am also seeing some leaves, but not on all the branches. it seems that they may have died, but i thought i saw green tips on them. However, leaves have only appeaed on some of the branches. I heard that they should not be planted near azaleas ans Hydrangias. Of course, not knowing this, it sits right in the middle of many hydrangeas and Azaleas. I do not know what to do? Should I transplant it again? I would hate to do that because it is so big, Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 2:03PM
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I've never heard that Franklinia shouldn't be grown among azaleas or hydrangeas - where did you hear that? They like the same conditions, so unless there's some disease that they share, I don't see the problem. Dirr doesn't mention this, and I really do trust him to be complete - including anecdotal information like good neighbors for specific plants.

Personally, I'd leave yours alone, assuming it's not planted too deep or in a swampy or limey area, or anything obvious like that.

If, by the end of May, you identify some branches that are truly dead, you can remove them then. Just keep babying it, with adequate mulch and water (but, of course, not too much!) and see if it springs back. Two years is not such a long time for a 15 foot tree that's been uprooted from the woods.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 4:43PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

arijit De: diggingthedirt has a lot of experience with Franklinias and what she says is very reasonable. I'm curious as to where you live (general location such as state, not street and address) and whether there are other Franklinias in the woods. I thought that the tree is no longer found in the wild and that any that now exist are descendants propagated from the original trees. Was yours perhaps planted by a previous owner of the property?


    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 5:53PM
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Thank you . I feel reassured now. I canmnot remember where i saw the transplant info, but I think it was a 2004 posting on this site.

I believe my tree was planted by the previous owner. I live in Zone 6 B

The base of the tree has vinca growing over it. Sould i remove it? It was on the root ball whemn I transplanted it. However the soil from where i dug it out was much better than where it is now. Should I areate around it? should I add fertilizer?

I am hoping some more leaves show up.. but it does have several branches with them. They are just starting. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 6:16PM
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I do that too, leave groundcovers in place during transplanting, it really seems to help hold the soil together. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who thinks like that!

Personally, I'm not a fan of fertilizing trees or shrubs. Others on this forum would disagree about it, but unless you do a soil test that determines that there's something important missing, I'd stick to mulching (keeping the material well away from the trunk itself) and paying close attention to the water needs of the tree.

Good luck - these trees may be finicky, but they're awfully nice; lovely foliage and flowers just when you really need them.

I'm in the middle of clearing around one of mine - it was being swallowed by a fairy rose, and some noxious sweet autumn clematis had joined the attack. Your post made me remember how much I love these trees.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 10:09AM
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Mine, pictured above, is just barely leafing out now. They are slow to fill in through the spring, so don't worry yet. It might surprise you!


    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 11:16AM
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I keep thinkng I see green shoots. I was really dumb in early spring , when I was so convinced that it had died that i pulled some of the branches lower and snapped the ends to see if theywere crisp!!! Go figure.. I will let you know how it does.

As far as ground covers, I have made the mistake of planting some native sweet woodruff in a perenial bed. It seemed like such a pretty woodland plant, but it is most invasive, despite its pretty white flowers in the spring.. It had me has taken over and there seems to be no way to get rid of that awful unangelic Yellow Archangel or Lambs Ear!!

Is there a good groundcover that dosent take over? It does make mulching a whole lot easier.. but I am really wondering if it is worth it!!


    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 9:35PM
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