deCordova Fringe Tree

The Fringe Tree, one of the few plants from the olive family that is native to North America, gets its name from the fragrant, wispy white flowers that droop down in long clusters in late spring and early summer, when most trees have already bloomed.

Unfortunately, this specimen is in bad shape. Notice how its branches are stretching as far as they can, looking for light. Under the tree, the soil is swept clean, so it lacks protection for its roots and the nourishment that the natural accumulation of leaves should provide. Also, the stress to this Fringe Tree could be aggravated by allelopathy — Walnut and Hickory trees produce substances detrimental to Fringe Trees, and an allée of Hickories stands right up the hill.

When planting a tree, consider soil composition, sunlight availability, wind exposure, ground inclination, water access, proximity to buildings and other plants, and drainage. Size, shape, hardiness, growth speed, susceptibility to local pests, as well as water and light needs are a few items to check that will help you decide what to plant.