News and Events

Botanical Buzz - Giving Support to Pink Silk Flowers and Lantern Seeds

Friday, June 19, 2015

I was told it would happen.  Just a matter of time and our Pink Silk trees before they attracted too much attention from fluttering moths laying eggs.  They burrow into the trunk leaving a tell-tale cocoon of chewed wood called frass.  Usually evident in the trunk fork of our innocent, didn’t deserve it, and otherwise outstanding park trees.

The Pink Silk tree (Albizia julibrissin) was the second choice by our Japanese landscape gardeners, coming after their first choice of Japanese maple.  We voiced our concern about the choice of the Japanese maple as the aspect was full afternoon sun.  While a beautiful tree the Japanese maple is susceptible to sun burn, especially with the heat of our summers.  Fortunately they listened and allowed the Pink Silk tree to take its place beside the waterfall.

What a to-do we had with three metre bamboo poles positioned at 45 degree angles to mark out where the new Silk trees would arch over the base of the waterfall.  Finally, with a lot of effort we finally got the angles right and received the thumbs up from our friendly Japanese gardeners.

When it came time to plant we had regular hardwood stakes to hold the plants just so.  In Japanese such support would be called “sasae”, or “tsae de Karada o sasaeru” meaning to support the tree with a cane.  Don’t worry; our Japanese gardeners will soon set me right with our maintenance program, even though I can imagine them shrugging their shoulders at my inadequate Japanese language skills.

The Pink Silk tree is otherwise well suited to Dubbo.  Coming from Persia, China and Japan the Albizia is a quick growing, 6 metres deciduous shade tree with finely divided Jacaranda-like leaves.

Now what shall we do about those annoying borers?  Simply extract the little bleeders with a length of wire, then fertilise and water in spring and summer.  Otherwise our trees are simply “in-the-pink” for summer flowers and tan-coloured seed pods in autumn, looking like thin Japanese lanterns.