Q: This pretty tree is in Fort Ransom State Park (in southeastern North Dakota). Can you identify it? — Faye Waloch and Shelli Colemer.
A: Thanks for sending the great photo. It’s a cultivar of Tatarian maple, very likely the one named Hot Wings. The bright scarlet wing-like structures are the seed pods, called samaras, of the maple, and provide great color for about a month before being shed. The colorful samaras almost give the impression the tree is blooming.
Hot Wings, and other Tatarian maples, are well-adapted to alkaline soils of the Red River Valley and westward, unlike many other maples. They are also winter-hardy in our zones 3 and 4. Hot Wings is considered a small tree, growing to about 20 feet high, and is a perfect accent in home landscapes where a feature or low-headed screening tree is wanted.
Tatarian maple and its cultivars develop brilliant autumn color in shades of scarlet, gold and orange. Hot Wings was discovered in Colorado in 1993 as a chance seedling growing in a large group of run-of-the-mill Tatarian maples. It shows the importance of keeping our eyes open for the next horticultural treasure.
Q: How far down should I snip rose blossoms when deadheading? — Catherin McMullen, Fargo.
A: Deadheading is the removal of faded flowers before they can form a seedpod, which drains energy. Rose leaves are compound leaves, composed of leaflets. The entire leaf of a rose can have three, five or occasionally seven leaflets. The leaf immediately below the "spent" blossoms often have only three leaflets.
If you go further down on the stem, locate a leaf that has five leaflets, and prune the spent flower stalk just above a five-leaflet leaf. By doing so, you are more assured of getting rebloom from that branch. Cutting above a three-leaflet leaf will sometimes end in "blind" shoots that don’t flower.
Q: Please tell us your favorite rose bushes for our hardiness zone. I remember you mentioning Canadian roses. — Joanne Dick, Bismarck.
A: I’m especially fond of the roses bred in Canada. There is an entire group that are remarkable in beauty and reliably winter-hardy without additional protection in zones 3 and 4. The biggest problem is deciding which to plant, unless you have room for more than 35 different roses.
Campfire rose has become a personal favorite, a relatively new cultivar, well-named with each flower having a blend of colors including red, rose, pink, yellow, apricot and white, which change as the flowers open and mature. Never Alone is a nice combination of deep red and white. Hope for Humanity is a popular red. The Morden series includes Blush, Centennial, and my favorite, Morden Sunrise, which is a fluorescent blend of apricot, orange and yellow. Canada Blooms is a wonderful pink rose. Others on the long list include Emily Carr, Felix Lecler, Bill Reid, Champlain, Henry Kelsey, William Baffin and Winnipeg Parks.
The best source for locating these Canadian roses is locally owned garden centers, which have purposely stocked these top-notch types. National chains often offer rose types that are better suited for other regions. The Canadian roses welcome drastic spring pruning. Rabbits have girdled the canes of our roses during winter, necessitating pruning back to a few inches above ground level, and the roses have burst forth better than ever.
If you have a gardening or lawn care question, email Don Kinzler, NDSU Extension-Cass County, at email@example.com or call 701-241-5707. Questions with broad appeal may be published, so please include your name, city and state for appropriate advice.