Red Fox Katsura

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This is a selection of the Japanese Katsura tree known as Red Fox, or botanically as Cercidiphyllum japonicum Rot Fuchs, which means red fox in German. The name is pronounced as CAHT-soo -ra, not caht-SOO-ra as most folks say. Just being picky, but why  not get it right and be culturally sensitive all at once? It’s called Red fox because the branches are supposed to look like a red fox tail. Maybe…

I tried to grow this tree a few years ago in a different location but the wind snapped it off at 4′ and ruined it. I would have tried to let it grow but it was rotten inside, which is no doubt why it broke. But it’d been too long from the nursery so we had to eat it and in time we found a new spot for one and a new tree to fill it.

We planted it in the middle of the surrounding shrubs in February of last year, and it surprised me greatly by growing well over a foot and a half. I’d been led to believe it was a slow grower. Not so. It’s growing well again this year so far and I think it’ll do as well or better than last year. That pleases me.

This tree comes on with deep reddish foliage you can perhaps see at the tips of the branches, if you’re lucky. If not just trust me. 🙂 As summer comes on it turns a deep purple blue color that fades to bluish green towards summer’s end. Then it goes wild and turns gold with reddish tints and has a smell of cotton candy. Lovely!

It’s supposed to be a smaller tree than the species, which gets to 60ft all around in gardens and much larger in the wild. It’s an important timber tree in Japan and is logged commercially there for many uses. This tree will only get to 20-40ft tall and 15-20ft wide, so they say. We’ll see how it goes in time.

This is an unusual tree and I’ve frankly never seen a full grown one except in pictures. I put a lot of faith in those pictures and hope it will grow well and proportionately in my garden. I think it will but it will require some pruning at times I’m sure. Still, it’s a lovely tree and I’m so happy we found it. It looks great to me. I hope you agree.

Lovin’ the purple…

Steve

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