React to (global) warming w/ new plants?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Marcos, Aug 30, 2007.

  1. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    Hey, I'm not sure I buy the global warming thing. Stephanie Abrams on TWC talks about it constantly, as does just about every other media outlet out there bombards us with it until it's ingrained into our brains that it must be true! Personally, I think we're just going through a couple decades of warm cycle.
    However, I have had a fondness through the years for some subtropical species that traditionally do not fare well in southern Ohio (or grow here just well enough to die during that -20 degree winter with no snow cover). Specifically, Pampas grass, Southern Magnolia and Mimosas. I actually brought back a mimosa from Hilton Head to Cincinnati this spring, and it's doing great in a very protected corner in a SE exposure. Hopefully the roots grow real deep! Normally, you wouldn't see many of them north of TN.
    Has anyone changed their planting habits at all in response to the (perceived) warming? Have your customers asked for more exotic plantings?
     
  2. PEVO

    PEVO LawnSite Member
    Posts: 211

    MMMMMmmmmmm.....Stephanie Abrams!!!!!
     
  3. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    Hmmm. Maybe next time I should just send pictures!
     
  4. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,952

    There was an article in the paper a few months ago about how the USDA planting zones are shifting, with plants being hardy farther north than they used to. It's like anything else; if you understand microclimates, you can definitely cheat a few zones. No lie, when I lived in Hamilton, Ohio, there was a guy in town with a palm tree in his front yard. Never figured that one out, but it was cool.
     
  5. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    PaperCutter, you're probably talking about Jungle Jim, the fellow with the famous market on Rt. 4 in Fairfield. You might remenber he used to plant FULL GROWN PALM TREES along the road EVERY SPRING in S. Ohio! What a marketing genius he is! He doesn't do that anymore. Now he has suspended a monorail train near the road these days to catch the eyes on Rt. 4. It's cheaper to maintain I'm sure.
     
  6. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,952

    That's awesome! Even when I lived in SoCal, I missed Jungle Jim's. Come to think of it, I still do. Thanks for reopening an old wound!

    This guy I'm thinking of was actually in downtown Hamilton. No clue where at this point, but I'm guessing the other side of the river from the courthouse. What struck me about it was it was mid-November the first time I saw it, and it appeared to be alive. Crazy.
     
  7. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    Well, if you think that's nuts, I've leaned how to grow banana trees up here in my landscape all summer long! They don't get fruit, but the leaves get to be a good 3 to 4 feet long, and really impress the neighbors. After a couple of years of trying, I succeeded in making a formula of 1 part horticultural oil and 9 parts water that I use as an anti-dessicant when I move them inside at frost time and GRADUALLY turn them into HOUSEPLANTS!
     
  8. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,952

    That's pretty wild! At some point I'd love to do something like that. For right now, I'm lucky if my grass gets cut every few weeks. Have you tried growing citrus?
     
  9. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,720

    No. The bananas are ornamentals here only for the look of the long leaves. They're not hardy here to be left outside. I gave one to an arboretum though, and they grew bananas in their greenhouse! My dad grew peaches here in Cincy when I was a kid in the 70's, but all I remember was lots of frustration; late frosts, and borers. Maybe we had 1 or 2 decent years of peaches all told. Back to the topic...in Va..have your customers asked for more exotic stuff in light of 'global warming' (if that exists)? Have you responded?
     
  10. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,952

    You know, not really, but then most of our clients don't geek out on the plants- they're more than happy to let us do the plant selection and they might change a plant or two at the end.

    I'm reluctant to spec too many oddball plants because often the only way I can be sure they'll get the care they need to overwinter (excess mulch over perennials, etc) is to do it myself, and I'm not in that business. We're really lucky in northern VA because there aren't a lot of plants that I find myself wishing I could use. When there are, I just live through the contractors out west that I do design work for. I like that about my business- I can be designing for a Boston winter today, and specifying cacti for a home in Arizona tomorrow.
     

Share This Page