Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Little King River Birch
Several years ago I planted a Japanese maple in the bed along the walk to the front door. The tree was selected to mark the first anniversary of my quitting smoking--after 30 years. It seemed to thrive in the spot and after a couple of years It was large enough for christmas lights and eventually reached a height of about 12 feet and then branches started to die. Within two years it was dead. I took branches to local nurserymen to identify the cause. They tended to think that it was drowning. I think they were right since there is a lot of roof runoff into this "U" shaped bed. The question in my mind was why after ten years did this become a problem. Well following Hurricane Isabelle I had to remove a large damaged river birch in the front yard which as it turns out was keeping this bed dry. Without the river birch sucking up the excess moisture the Japanese maple drowned. When I was looking for a replacement I selected a Little King River Birch since they thrive in wet areas. This was a multi-branched specimen that for the first year I gradually removed 5 branches and began limbing it up. I continued limbing it for the next 2 years and last year was the first year I let its canopy begin to spread. I hope I can keep its canopy scaled to the site.