Try goat’s beard, a bold native plant, plus other tips from Master Gardeners

goat's beard
Goat’s beard is a large native plant with showy flowers. Photo courtesy Lyn Chimera

If you want a large, dramatic plant with showy flowers that also attracts lots of pollinators, go for goat’s beard.

That’s the suggestion from Lyn Chimera in September’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County.

Goat’s beard (Aruncus dioicus), is hardy in zones 6-8, but needs moist shade in zones 7 and 8. It can get seven feet tall and four feet wide, so make sure you have enough room.

Cultivars are available in different sizes in local nurseries, but if you can, get the true native plant rather than a cultivar, Chimera said.

See more about goat’s beard here.

Also in this issue:

Girdling Roots. Carol Ann Harlos tells us that planting a tree incorrectly can cause girdling roots. Girdling roots are usually lateral roots that grow slightly below the surface of the soil and eventually cut into the main trunk. This restricts the movement of water and nutrients in the tree, greatly weakening it and making it susceptible not only to starvation, but also disease.

Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank. Larraine Van Slooten tells us that species of viburnum (a shrub) are being threatened by the viburnum leaf beetle. To make sure we don’t lose these plants completely, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank is collecting seed from five viburnum species in New York State to be conserved in a seed bank.

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