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Kalopanax pictus
( Castor aralia )

Kalopanax pictus is a large deciduous tree, usually growing 40-60 feet tall under cultivation. As a young tree, it is upright, with an ungainly appearance, in age it rounds out, gains mass, and is quite impressive and almost tropical in appearance. The bark on the stems is armed with large prickles, mature bark is almost black, with deep furrows. Foliage is similar to Liquidambar styraciflua in shape, dark green leaves above, lighter on undersides. Fall color is usually yellow, occasionally red, but not brilliant. Flowers are white, summer blooming, multitudinous, clustered into large flat umbel-panicles of 12-24 inches, highly attractive to bees. In fall a tiny black drupe appear, devoured by birds. It is an excellent shade tree in large areas, quite hardy and trouble free. Native to Japan, parts of Russia, Korea, China.
Important Info : Large tree, may reach 90 feet tall.


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Characteristics
Cultivar: n/a  
Family: Araliaceae  
Size: Height: 40 ft. to 90 ft.
Width: 0 ft. to 20 ft.  
Plant Category: trees,  
Plant Characteristics:  
Foliage Characteristics: deciduous,  
Foliage Color: dark green, green, red to burgundy,  
Flower Characteristics: showy, unusual,  
Flower Color: whites,  
Tolerances: deer, rabbits,  
Requirements
Bloomtime Range: Early Summer to Late Summer  
USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 to 7  
AHS Heat Zone: Not defined for this plant  
Light Range: Sun to Full Sun  
pH Range: 5.5 to 8.5  
Soil Range: Sandy Loam to Some Clay  
Water Range: Normal to Moist  

Plant Care



Fertilizing
How-to : Fertilization for Young Plants

Young plants need extra phosphorus to encourage good root development. Look for a fertilizer that has phosphorus, P, in it(the second number on the bag.) Apply recommended amount for plant per label directions in the soil at time of planting or at least during the first growing season.

Light
Conditions : Full Sun

Full Sun is defined as exposure to more than 6 hours of continuous, direct sun per day.

Watering
Conditions : Regular Moisture for Outdoor Plants

Water when normal rainfall does not provide the preferred 1 inch of moisture most plants prefer. Average water is needed during the growing season, but take care not to overwater. The first two years after a plant is installed, regular watering is important. The first year is critical. It is better to water once a week and water deeply, than to water frequently for a few minutes.

Planting
How-to : Planting a Tree

Dig out an area for the tree that is about 3 or 4 times the diameter of the container or rootball and the same depth as the container or rootball. Use a pitchfork or shovel to scarify the sides of the hole.

If container-grown, lay the tree on its side and remove the container. Loosen the roots around the edges without breaking up the root ball too much. Position tree in center of hole so that the best side faces forward. You are ready to begin filling in with soil.

If planting a balled and burlaped tree, position it in hole so that the best side faces forward. Untie or remove nails from burlap at top of ball and pull burlap back, so it does not stick out of hole when soil is replaced. Synthetic burlap should be removed as it will not decompose like natural burlap. Larger trees often come in wire baskets. Plant as you would a b&b plant, but cut as much of the wire away as possible without actually removing the basket. Chances are, you would do more damage to the rootball by removing the basket. Simply cut away wires to leave several large openings for roots.

Fill both holes with soil the same way. Never amend with less than half original soil. Recent studies show that if your soil is loose enough, you are better off adding little or no soil amendments.

Create a water ring around the outer edge of the hole. Not only will this conseve water, but will direct moisture to perimeter roots, encouraging outer growth. Once tree is established, water ring may be leveled. Studies show that mulched trees grow faster than those unmulched, so add a 3"" layer of pinestraw, compost, or pulverized bark over backfilled area. Remove any damaged limbs.

Problems
Miscellaneous
Glossary : Backdrop

Backdrop is the term used to describe a plant or architectural element that is relatively neutral in appearance, that serves as a background for other plants. Backdrop plants are often taller, have dark or medium green leaves, and often of medium texture. However, this is not always the case. For a tropical effect, or to make a space more intimate, use a backdrop with coarse textured foliage. To make a space appear larger, use a small to medium textured leaf plant that is dark green.

Glossary : Bird Attracting

The term bird attracting applies to any plant that has flowers, fruit, nuts, or structure that attracts birds. Most plants on ""bird attracting"" lists have favorable fruits or flowers that serve as food, but the trunks, limbs and foliage cover that trees and shrubs provide should not be overlooked as they add shelter for raising young and protection from foul weather.

Glossary : Low Maintenance

Low maintenance does not mean no maintenance. It does mean that once a plant is established, very little needs to be done in the way of water, fertilizing, pruning, or treatment in order for the plant to remain healthy and attractive. A well-designed garden, which takes your lifestyle into consideration, can greatly reduce maintenance.

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