This page is Sponsored by:
Sometimes plants are still shaggy in spring with last year's
Sometimes this is
Sometimes that plant needs help.
In spring, it pays to know which plants you see that are shaggy
with last year's leaves are okay, and which may need your help.
We're okay, we meant to
hold our leaves!
Some plants have a perfectly natural habit of holding onto
leaves through winter, not dropping them until new growth begins in
spring: Oak, beech (below), Golden Vicary privet and spring
witchhazels, for example.
Below: We like the warm creamy salmon of the beech's
marcescent foliage so much we took leaves to the paint store to
have the color mixed for our bedroom.
Often, this marcescent foliage (persistent
over winter) foliage occurs on juvenile growth -- branches that
were not yet of age or condition to produce blooms that year.
The juvenile foliage of the oak (below, left) is
concentrated in the interior of the canopy and highlighted in
winter by its persistent leaves. The Parrotia tree
(below, center) follows suit.
Spring witchhazels (Hamamelis x mollis and H.
vernalis) often hold onto leaves (below, right),
a habit that does not improve the looks of the plant in bloom.
Fortunately, the tendency often disappears as the shrubs
Help! These leaves should have
Sometimes plants hang onto leaves because even if they do not
normally tend toward marcescence. That can mean there is a problem.
Some process such as leaf drop or hardening-off was not completed
and the leaves either died or were killed while still on the
This smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria) caught our
attention by holding its foliage this winter.
Parrotia (P. persica, featured at the top of this page)
is a small tree in the witchhazel family, often grown specifically
for its beautiful orange fall foliage. We haven't seen them hold
leaves through winter before this year; perhaps it's a family
tendency we've overlooked but it could mean there's a problem. At
any rate, we won't begrudge some extra attention to such a
beautiful little tree.
Many kousa dogwoods (Cornus kousa, also called Chinese
dogwood) held their leaves. We think they will need help this year
-- we have also seen that they are probably not going to bloom well,
if at all.
If you notice one of your trees or shrubs broke from
norm and hung onto leaves, or retained more leaves
than its usual it will probably be a good move to tend
that plant with extra water and fertilizer this
(We investiaged one of these plants in deatil, in
Oak leaves hang on.)
This page is Sponsored by:
For more Sponsor-recommended
Sponsor Us and tell us the topic you
are interested in.
We have posted a great deal of our library
already but have much still to post.
It helps to have Sponsors directing the sequence.