Laburnum - Golden-Chain Tree, Laburnum
DESCRIPTION: These gorgeous, deciduous trees are natives of Europe, Greece and Asia Minor. Laburnums are not susceptible to serious damage by pests or disease. The very hard and dark colored heartwood is brown or almost black and when polished, resembles ebony. It is sometimes used in cabinetwork. Laburnums, though beautiful, are very poisonous and great care should be taken if they are grown around young children. Laburnums, also known as Golden-Chain Trees, grow 20 to 25 feet in height. These single- or multi-trunked trees have a vase-like or rounded shape. The leaves consist of three, 1- to 2-inch leaflets, which have fuzzy undersides when young. In mid-spring, Golden-Chain Trees produce pendant clusters of 1-inch, brilliant yellow blossoms. These clusters can grow up to 20 inches long depending on the variety.
POTTING: Golden-Chain Trees should be grown in sheltered locations that are provided with light shade, especially during the hottest part of the day. In the spring, they should be planted in moist, but well-drained, soil that is deep enough to accommodate their long roots. Trees, 8 feet high or smaller, should be bought bare-rooted; those that are taller should be bought balled and burlapped. The lower portion of the trunk should be protected from rabbits by wrapping it in hardware cloth (a type of wire mesh). Laburnums should be pruned after they've bloomed to encourage the production of flowering branches for the next year. Pruning consists of cutting out any weak or dead branches as well as the seed pods. On old trees, however, it isn't smart to cut off large branches because they do not heal very well.
PROPAGATION: The wild types may be increased by sowing seeds. Named varieties are propagated by grafting on stocks of the common kinds.
VARIETIES: L. anagyroides (Common Laburnum); L. alpinum (Scotch or Alpine Laburnum) & var. pendulum; L. caramanicum; L. watererii (Waterer Laburnum); L. Parksii; L. Vossii.
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