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Grancy Greybeard is in the Garden

When considering trees to be included in a landscape design to provide visual interest, the most often overlooked tree is the Fringe Tree. With three species conducive to the climate and soil conditions of Florida, one can choose the Chionanthus virginicus, Chionanthus pygmeus, or the non-native Chinese variety – Chionanthus retusus. Often referred to as the Old Man’s Beard or Grancy Greybeard, the Fringe tree’s botanical name literally means “snow flower”.

Thought to have been used by many native Americans for medicinal purposes, namely the reduction of skin inflammation and wound care, the Fringe tree is a small deciduous species that blooms in the spring producing an abundance of flowers that appear as slim ribbon-like petals as white as snow. Belonging to the Oleaceae (Olive) family, the female Fringe tree fruits in late summer and early fall producing drupes or dark, olive like fruits. Although these should not be consumed by humans, they are attractive to birds and bats.

A slow growing tree, the Fringe extends 6 to 10 inches annually until reaching its full height up to 20 feet with a 10 foot spread. It prefers full sun with some exposure to afternoon shade, and as a drought tolerant species it is conducive to moist, acidic soil. It is necessary to ensure that wherever the Fringe tree calls home in the landscape that it is shielded from winds. Requiring very little human intervention to thrive, the Fringe tree, like all landscape materials, is susceptible to pests and diseases that should be monitored and controlled. Common to the Fringe tree are the scales, mites, leaf spot, powdery mildews, and stem cankers.

When thinking about what materials can be introduced into your property’s landscape to introduce visual interest, why not contact LMP and ask one of our highly qualified professionals to help you create your vision? Call us today at (877) LMP-PRO1 for a greener tomorrow.

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