The Q&A Archives: Korean Stewartia Location

Question: I live on a hill that gets a lot of wind, and in the winter it is cold.

I need to know if the Korean Stewartia should be placed in a semi-protected location, or if it will do well in the open.

Since it is such an interesting tree, I would like to place it in the corner of our front lawn. This means it will be out in an open area. I know it is cold hardy, but I am concerned about the winter/spring thaw that could cause frost cracks. Is this speciman susceptible to these cracks?

Also, can you suggest a location for a Nootka Cypress?
I placed one in a semi-protected area, but the area still gets a lot of wind. Needless to say, it died. I have another but I don't know what the heck to do with it. I only have one totally protected side of the house, and it happens to be an area that won't contain a speciman of this size.

Your input on both issues would be greatly appreciated.

Arlene Dzura

Answer: Most plants resent a truly windy location, and many will not thrive at all in a windy location. This is why farmers and gardeners long ago realized the importance of wind breaks.

In my experience, stewartias do best in a sheltered location where the soil is humusy, rich, evenly moist and acidic. It may need to be watered in August if the summer is a dry one. A little shade at midday in midsummer can also be helpful, in part because this will help maintain soil moisture and reduce heat stress. It might help to think of this as an "edge of the woods" tree with an eastern exposure being preferred. This tree is so special that it deserves a location where it can be enjoyed up close, such as near a patio as a specimen, and its attributes are a bit lost when used as a lawn tree.

The Nootka Falsecypress (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis)is native to areas with cool summer temperatures. It prefers a humid climate and ample soil moisture. Placing it in an exposed location with excessive summer heat and/or drying wind can cause it to suffer as well. I'm sorry I can't be more encouraging.

You might want to carefully evaluate the growing conditions you have to offer and then identify plants that can thrive in your location prior to purchasing. Your county extension and local nurseries might be able to help you identify plants that appeal to you and are well suited to your microclimate.

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