Plants of the Week: August 1
Ulmus americana, commonly known as the American elm, is a large deciduous tree, native throughout the eastern half of North America. The tree used in the picture is the class tree of 1875, making this a relatively old tree. The American elm used to be one of the more widespread trees in forests of its native zone, but Dutch elm disease, which is spread by the elm bark beetle, killed off many elms in the early 1900s. All the elms on campus are injected with a fungicide to prevent it from getting Dutch elm disease. The American elm is a large shade tree, growing to heights over 100 feet and a wide spread.
photo credit: J. Coceano Location: Behind Wister Center
Lagerstroemia ‘Tuskegee’, commonly known as the Tuskegee crepe myrtle, is a beautiful and popular shrub or small tree. The Tuskegee crepe myrtle often takes the form of a small tree, and only grows to about 20 feet with an equal spread, making it a great option for small yards and under powerlines. It also thrives in urban environments. This tree provides beauty throughout the seasons, with red foliage turning dark green in the summer and with large pinkish-red flower panicles in the summer. The foliage turns an attractive red in the fall, and the mottled tan bark gives significant winter interest. The Tuskegee crepe myrtle is low maintenance, and has a life expectancy of 50 years; it requires full sun and must have acidic soil.
photo credit: M. Schneider Location: Summer Border
Eupatorium purpureum ssp. maculatum ‘Gateway’, commonly known as Joe Pye weed, is a lovely perennial cultivar. It is a great pollinator, attracting butterflies and bees. The species is native to North America, where it thrives in meadows. Due to the nature of this plant, soil conditions must be rich and moist in order for it to thrive. The large flower clusters are an attractive powdery-pink blooming in the summer. ‘Gateway’ is a slightly smaller cultivar than the species, growing 4-5 feet in height with a wide spreading multi-stem habit. The look of this plant makes it great for natural or meadow gardens.
photo credit: M. Schneider Photo Location: John W. Nason Garden