Two large buttonbushes (Cephalanthus occidentalis, below) were long overdue to be cut back, but both are situated in swampy ground and more or less out of sight, so there was no rush. I could get around to a project such as this sometime in the next decade, but beavers beat me to it over the winter. Of course, beavers prune with the delicate touch of a lumberjack, so all that remained was the roughly hewn stump.
I expected the shrubs would grow back from the woody trunk, but I’ve figured incorrectly with other shrubs, so just in case, I planted two more buttonbushes in a slightly more visible, but still swampy area. Only slightly surprisingly, all are growing, with the two beaver pruned buttonbushes now back to half size. Perhaps this is a bit smaller than I would have chopped them, but now there are four, which is about all that any garden can stand. No thanks to resident deer, the damp ground tolerant chokeberries (Aronia) and a Sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) have been slow to fill this spring saturated area, so perhaps the buttonbushes will help, with no thanks to the beavers.
I can’t quite figure why there are fewer seedlings from the accursed Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata, below) this year and last, and certainly I’m not complaining. My experience is that the germination rate of seeds from the tree must be hundred percent, and over half the garden I must pull every single seedling. I can’t imagine how seeds are dispersed so far. Not my favorite task. The tree is ruggedly handsome, though prone to dead wood that crushes any shrub beneath it, but had I known years ago that it would be this much trouble, I’d have bought a herd of beavers to take care of it long before now.
And, why there are fewer seedlings, I haven’t a clue. Certainly, there’s not much difference in the amount of shade, but I’m not arguing, so whoever or whatever is mercifully limiting the abundance of seedlings to hundreds rather than thousands, I thank you.