Ash Leaf Spiraea Still Blooming in Autumn
Ash Leaf Spiraea (Sorbaria sorbifolia) also called Ural False Spiraea, is a North Asian & Japanese woody shrub that grows to a fountaining 8 foot height. The ten-inch conical clusters of white blossoms are extremely interesting. They start out like large cones made up of small snow-white globes, then burst into soft featheriness. These are most plentiful late Spring & throughout the Summer, but the first picture is surprisingly enough an Autumn portrait, when the blossoms are just as beautiful but slightly fewer.
The softly green leaves that resemble Mountain Ash are almost as lovely as the flowers. Young leaves come forth red, which adds a dash of spring's first colors well before they start blooming.
The shape of the shrub itself can be unruly & can demand to be pruned back into some semblance of shape. But ideally the major pruning waits until late winter or very early spring. Its potential for scruffy appearance is keanest in winter when its leaves have gone through an unimpressive death & the remaining twigs & branches with uninteresting bark make it a homely companion amidst trees & shrubs otherwise chosen for not requiring much in the way of pruning & for retaining physical beauty & interest even in winter. A little guiltily I decided to move it to a location where it wouldn't be such a homely distraction in what was otherwise a perfect winter-garden.
Fortunately Sorbaria is not much stressed by being transplanted. I pruned it nearly to the ground, which sounds brutal, but grow-back occurs very early in the new year & it was quickly again beautiful. The second photo was taken the following May after the move.
The move also required that many thick brittle runners, just under the surface of the ground be broken off, which had no ill effect & kept it from taking over too much ground. This shrub can colonize an area by these runners, but if it must be restrained, a shovel can be used to chop into the ground encircling the shrub to stop the runners from reproducing new plants. Or when young Sorbaria shrubs erupt, they can be dug up & potted to be given to friends.
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