For Bon -- Chaste Tree

Lisa_H OK(7)October 6, 2012

I trim this tree every year...this looks like a pre-trim pic!

I need to work on some better photos of this tree! It is beautiful in bloom. It will bloom in the spring and fall. It is a butterfly magnet! The monarchs really seem to love it.

It is a soft wood tree, similar to a crepe myrtle. It can be cut back periodically and regrown from the ground. I don't do that, I let it stay as a tree.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vitex

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I read about all the wonderful medicinal purposes from this bush as well. I'm just beside myself. We have a lot of monarchs in this area. I cannot wait to see them flourish now!

I've plotted all the sites for everything and have started digging, aerating the soil. Today I will dig more and add amendments. I've decided to do mini hugelkulture beneath all of them to assist their establishment and avoid the clash of my clay soils.

Thank you so much for the tips! It was so awesome to meet you! It was so cool to have someone readily identify my existing bushes.

Lisa, my husband JUST told me it is supposed to get down to 30 degrees tonight. What do I do? Do I bring them inside? I bet it'll kinda warm up again while I'm readying their plots. Oh boy. This is precarious lol

I do have a lot of pots - even big ones. I could keep them on pots lined up along the front porch where they'll get morning sun but pulling them back closer to the wall at night.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 11:04AM
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Well, I suppose it's only going to be freezing tonight and I'll get them in the ground tomorrow. It is suppose to warm up again. :)

I think I'm going to dig my best soil out of that corner planter which has good leaf mold and stuff, add a touch of potting soil if need and some worm compost along the outer edges as fertilizer for the heavy feeders and mulch them severely.

Then, I'll fashion some covers for when it freezes? They won't make the winter without help, I think?

Thanks lol

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 11:13AM
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I planted two of these in the spring of last year, and I love them! They have tolerated the heat and drought of the last two summers better than most of my other shrubs and trees (the only ones that looked better were probably the forsythia). I can't wait until they reach the size of yours, Lisa!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 11:57AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

We planted a chaste tree here around 2001 or 2002 and it has survived every kind of crazy weather Oklahoma can throw at it. It anchors the butterfly garden that I planted outside my kitchen window.

Bon, The chaste tree is very cold-hardy in general. Mine has survived temperatures down to 0 or 1 degree with no cold damage. Mine grows in unimproved clay. These are tough trees. In Texas they've been used for decades as highway median trees that get no irrigation or care.

You shouldn't have to cover the plants themselves in winter, but I'd mulch the ground and also make sure to keep the soil around the roots moist but not sopping wet this winter. Since they are new transplants, their roots are smaller than they'd be if you'd planted them last winter or spring so you'll need to be sure they don't get too dry in winter. Overall, they tolerate drought well, but probably not so well just after being planted.

Sometimes the foliage on mine wilts a little in very hot and very dry weather---more so last summer than this summer, and I rarely water it. Obviously I had to water it last summer about twice a month, but this summer I only watered it a couple of times.

I don't cut mine back either unless it grows out far enough to block a nearby path. If I cut it back very hard when it does that, then I don't have to cut it back again for a couple of years. It is a butterfly magnet for sure.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 2:01PM
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Fabulous! Thanks for that.

You know, after I weeded and stirred the Hugelkulture planter I've decided to do a mini Hugelkulture right underneath all that Lisa brought over to help keep em warmer and moist.

When I cracked the bottom of the planter where I plan to put some of them I got a burst of deep earthy smell and noticed rich rich soil and the wood was nice and moldy. It smelled exactly like the floor of a healthy wooden forest. It was even moist in spite of the drought. Amazing stuff.

Anybody have a backhoe I can borrow for the garden area? Just kidding.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 2:51PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

I wished I had thought to dig up some lemon have plenty of room for it :) Serenity would love it too. Maybe in the spring I can run out some more plants for you. I though of several I wished I had brought!!!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 11:27PM
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I didn't get to plant my seeds, for this tree, in the spring. But I intend to plant a far number of them real soon. Am very excited about this as a honey crop!

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:32AM
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For those who might be interested, the state sell vitex for less than a dollar a plant. The only problem is you have to buy 25 at a time. Maybe if you don't have much room you could share some with friends. I made a hedge out of them once and discovered that they are incredably drought tolerant once established Incidentally, the state sends nice size plants not just small sticks.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 2:34PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

That is a fantastic deal. I paid at least 25.00 for that tree, and this year I paid, very reluctantly, almost double that for another tree. I kicked myself when I found the one I really wanted at Home Depot for 18.00. If I had a place for 25 of them, that is the best deal ever!!

George, if you need more seeds, or if anyone does, I can strip some off my tree.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 3:09PM
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Lemon balm! Yes.. out by the clothes line. Yup. I have lots of room.

Bill was very excited about the passion vine being invasive for privacy. :)

Serenity can't keep her hands off the sedum blossom.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 3:08AM
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