Growing Acer And Achillea Successfully

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Acer are hardy deciduous trees, and this family contains many well-known ornamental trees such as the common sycamore and the various maples, including the Japanese kinds with finely divided and brilliantly coloured foliage.

In terms of cultivating these lovely trees the larger maples and sycamore will thrive in any ordinary garden soil and will not require special treatment. Regular pruning is not necessary, but some thinning or regulation of growth may be required in the case of young trees to preserve their symmetry. This is best done in February. The highly coloured and cut-leaved Japanese maples are rather tender and should therefore be given a sunny but sheltered place. Moreover, they do best in a deep, well-worked soil, for preference of a light loamy character, because they do not thrive in wet cold clays. These also need some regulation and thinning of the young growth the more so as they are usually planted as small specimens in prominent positions. Pruning should be as light as possible and is best done in February. All kinds of Acer may be planted at any time from the end of October till early March, but care should be taken to establish the Japanese kinds when the soil is in thoroughly good working condition.

All species can be increased by means of seeds, which should be sown in a sheltered border outdoors or in a cold frame as soon as possible after they are ripe. The "wings" should be broken from the seeds before sowing. Sometimes germination is slow, in which case the seeds should be exposed to frost in their second season to hasten decay of their hard coats. The varieties, however, will not breed true in this way and must be propagated by budding or grafting on to seedlings of the type from which they have originated.

The Achillea are hardy herbaceous perennials and rock plants, and they may be roughly divided into two sections. First the larger species most suitable for planting in the herbaceous border or in a reserved bed for cutting, and secondly the dwarf kinds most at.home in the rock garden or on the dry wall.

Typical examples of the first type are Achillea eupatorium, Achillea millefolium Cerise Queen, and Achillea ptaimica . Good rock achilleas are Achillea. ageratifolia, Achillea tomentosa, and Achillea. clavenns.

The herbaceous achilleas will grow in any ordinary garden soil that has been well dug and do not require special cultural care. Indeed, they are amongst the easiest and hardest of herbaceous perennials. The long white roots of Achillea ptarmica should be spread out flatly when planting and covered with about 2 in. of soil. It is advisable to take the plants up every second or third year and divide them to prevent overcrowding. The rock garden species should all be planted in well-drained and rather sandy soil, as they are inclined to rot off during the winter in rich or heavy ground.

The simplest method of increase is by division at planting time, but there can be little doubt that the best results are obtained by rooting cuttings of young growth in March, April, or May in very sandy soil in a cold frame. Plants grown in this way are more vigorous and healthy than those raised from divisions. Seeds of the species may also be sown during March in light soil in a cold frame.

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Author: Ian SG Smith
Ian is very keen on gardening and writes occasional articles, but thinks you might be interested in his new website www.best-foodprocessor.com and especially " title="http://www.best-foodprocessor.com/viking-food-processor.html>" target="_blank">www.best-foodprocessor.com/viking-food-processor.html>

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