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Ashland - Local Town Pages

Ashland Gardeners Ramp Up for a New Growing Season

Nick Novick and Cathy Rooney, who are professional landscapers and garden designers, volunteer to save the dogwood tree by pruning its roots. Ashland Garden Club members look on. (Photos/Florence Seidell)

By Cynthia Whitty
April Program for Garden Growers, April 10
The Ashland Garden Club (AGC) and Ashland Community Gardens (ACG) at Stone Park will hold a free virtual program at 10 a.m., Saturday, April 10. The public is invited to attend. The program, followed by Q&A, will include information on each organization. Chris Gatti, an AGC member and recently elected president of the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association, will speak about the association and its training program. To attend, send your name to [email protected] You will be sent login information close to the date of the program.
Save the Date: Annual Plant Sale, May 8
AGC’s annual plant sale is set for Saturday, May 8 at Montenegro Square. At the time of this writing, AGC is seeking clearance from the town’s Covid team. The sale will include perennials for both sun and shade from members’ own gardens. A Master Gardener and other knowledgeable garden club members will be on hand to help with questions about plant selection and layout design. For more information, visit, or contact the AGC president, Gretchen Bravacos, at [email protected]
The Library’s Dogwood Tree: Learning to Prune Tree Roots
Members of ACG took advantage of a warm day last December to learn about tree root pruning. The pink dogwood tree that was planted in the fall on the front lawn of the Ashland Public Library in memory of Lois Bennett, former AGC president, was put into the ground about six inches too deep. Local landscaper Nick Novick, owner of Small Planet Landscaping, pointed out to AGC members that it is common for tree nursery personnel to plant too deeply.
To correct the problem, and most likely save the tree, Novick and garden designer Cathy Rooney of Designer of Greens pruned the roots, as AGC members looked on, preparing the tree for lifting six inches higher in the spring. 
"Take a look at trees growing naturally and you’ll see that the trunk of the tree flares out [widens] just above the ground,” Novick explained. “This is where the trunk transitions to the larger buttress roots that will anchor the tree to the ground. It’s called the basal root flare. Most trees in any patch of undisturbed woodland have this flare.” Trees planted too deeply are susceptible to truck rot and primary root suffocation.
The public is invited to attend the replanting of the library’s pink dogwood, which is scheduled for 10 a.m., Sunday, April 18, with a rain date of April 25. Pandemic protocols (wearing masks, social distancing) will be observed.
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