Yard makeover? Consider the Ohio buckeye
LAST year, I discussed the widespread problems afflicting small trees in southern Manitoba. With ornamental crab apple and mountain ash trees, the main culprit is fire blight disease. Very early stages of this disease can be treated if caught in time. The other small tree that has been devastated by black knot disease virtually everywhere it has been planted is the Schubert chokecherry. Treatment for black knot disease in nearly all of these trees has become a waste of time. My recommendation for badly infected trees of all kinds is to have them removed. There is of course no perfect tree. Every living thing has its issues whether it is a human being, a house pet, or trees and other plants in your garden. There is one hardy tree that has done fairly well both on city boulevards, parks and in private yards. The tree I want to bring to your attention is the Ohio buckeye. This is a relatively small-growing tree in southern Manitoba that rarely grows taller than six metres (20 feet). Botanically this tree is called Aesculus glabra. Ohio buckeye is naturally found growing in eastern and central states, and it has been thriving quite well when planted in southern Manitoba. Its name is derived from the nut that it produces. The non-edible nut is produced inside a spiny husk that cracks open later in the growing season. The nut is shiny reddish brown with a prominent creamy circular patch that gives the appearance of an eye of a deer. The beauty of this small tree is in its flowers. The flowers are stalked and upright with a yellowish colour that usually shows small patches of red. It reminds me of a rough-looking orchid, but the flowers are still very colourful. The unique feature of this tree is its leaves. They are palm-shaped like a human hand with five leaflets to each leaf. The leaves are attached to stout twigs that are unique in our part of the world. If you acquire this tree, be sure to plant it in full sunlight. It does not grow well in shade. Follow the supplier’s directions when planting it. You can contact me if you need more information especially about fertilizing.
The Ohio buckeye is a relatively small-growing tree that rarely grows taller than six metres.