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Florida lilac blooms

June 29, 2018
By H.I. JEAN SHIELDS - Garden Club Cape Coral (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Yes lilac blooms! Look around right now in the Cape and you will see many trees along the roadway mediums blooming with white, pink and raspberry blooms, as well as the blue lilac blue color.

The trees are mature and tall up to 30 feet, or just a nice sized, medium trunked 10-foot tree. They may have one slender trunk or showing off with several trunks branching out from the main trunk.

These trees have a nice moderate green canopy form. The symmetrical canopy of each one will be bearing many 6 to 12-inch flower bunches peeking straight out through the greenery or maybe dangling down from a delicate branch.

They do have that lilac cluster look. The blooms also last for weeks.

The multiple trunks are the usual form for these trees but can be also trained into one main trunk.

They are perfect for small enclosed spaces, a specimen tree in soil or a container tree.

You will need to pay attention when buying this tree to make sure which tree you are getting. Check for a hybrid tree, with a name and the color of the flower bloom you prefer.

The hybrid Natchez will be 30 feet tall at maturity, with white blooms and is resistant to aphids or mildew - the only two problems these trees may have a problem with. Sooty mold on the trunk will let you know if there is a problem. These two pesky problems are not a usual event but are possible.

A tree in a pot on a lanai may not have enough air space. A 30-foot tree will certainly have a lot space and air around it. So not to worry about this, just know it can happen.

The hybrid Muskogee is 24 feet tall with light lavender blooms.

Tuscaropa is 16 feet tall and has coral pink blooms.

The tree is actually a deciduous evergreen type of tree, tolerates soil of sand, clay and alkaline soil. It's not really salt resistant, and tolerates drought and full sun.

The roots are never an above ground nuisance. Their green canopy will turn a fall color in the fall. The growth rate is about 12 to 16 inches per year.

In fact, as the tree matures, the trunk will actually begin to peel off its light gray bark and underneath a reddish toned bark will appear.

Do not panic when your tree starts peeling. Do not panic if for some reason you do not have flowers the second year, that is probably your fault because you forgot that the blooms come on new wood and you just trimmed it and cut off the new wood. Trim in fall or very early spring before new growth. No special date because if you have lived around here for a few years, you must have noticed that the calendar and Mother Nature are not always on the same timetable.

No special planting instructions or fertilizer.

To keep a single trunk, trim off any bottom-of-the-tree suckers that will show up and do not top your tree. Not good - just trim weak branches and enough to keep canopy nice and compact.

These trees are at the big box stores and your favorite garden center.

There is also dwarf, or shrub types, in same colors and same care, just now a shrub; or may be marketed differently as the crape myrtlettes and grow up to 3 or 4 feet high.

New trees are always being introduced, so ask if there are any new trees now on the market.

A tree labeled crape myrtle is the same thing. This is not a native tree, it comes to us from Southeast Asia.

A wonderful place in Cape to see a massive line of these huge trees is driving along Chiquita Boulevard, south of Cape Coral Parkway. You cannot miss this line of over 30 trees, in bloom.

You can continue on Chiquita, past the restaurants to the roundabout at the very end, and travel back to the parkway with another grand view of the massive tree trunks.

While you are out there, stop and have a snack or walk along the long boardwalk on one side, where boats are docked and do the other side along a long cement walkway to view the working boat lock where local boaters come and go out to the river. I think a lot of people miss that area of shops and boats, water and restaurants.

One safety reminder while driving around the Cape enjoying the flora and fauna -make sure you have a seat-mate with you. You need them to keep an eye on the local traffic critters. Take turns driving.

Watch out for falling birds next week as our local farmers and friends will be busy in their futile attempts to clear their gardens of those pesky black birds on the 4th of July.

Til we meet again.

H.I. Jean Shields is Past President of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.

 
 
 

 

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