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This genus of plants includes 4-5 species of shrubs or small deciduous trees, originating in central-northern America. They have an erect stem, densely branched from the base, to form a roundish shrub, up to 3-4 meters high; the bark is smooth, greyish-brown in color, cracked in specimens of many years.
The leaves of Ptelea trifoliata are of medium size, composed, consisting of three small oval or lanceolate, pointed, dark green leaves; they become yellow in the fall, before falling. In late spring this type of shrub produces small corimbose inflorescences, consisting of greenish-white flowers, followed in the summer by green samaras, equipped with papery wings, which allow the dispersion of the seeds exploiting the autumn winds.
These plants are very decorative, suitable for mixed borders when grown as shrubs, but also as simple specimens if grown as saplings and used for ornamental purposes.
The Ptelea trifoliata should be planted in a sunny position, or shaded for a few hours a day. The ptelee are rather rustic plants, they do not fear the cold and can withstand temperatures close to -15 ° C. During particularly cold winters it is advisable to protect the foliage with TNT sheets that will help the plant withstand the icy winds. It can be useful, in case of particularly cold temperatures, to cover the base with leaves, straw or mulch.
The Ptelea trifoliata is a rather rustic plant that adapts to different types of soil but, to have the best development it is necessary to water it regularly, waiting for the soil to dry a little between watering. In the autumn and winter months it is possible to suspend the watering, limiting itself to supply water on the hottest days.
Generally these plants do not tolerate drought, therefore it is advisable to intensify watering in the summer period.
In the spring, bury mature organic fertilizer at the foot of the plant, or a handful of slow-release granular fertilizer.
This variety of rather rustic shrubs can adapt to different types of soil but, for optimal growth, it prefers fresh and light soils, very rich in organic matter, possibly well drained, but which allow the maintenance of the right degree of humidity. The important thing is to avoid the formation of water stagnation that could cause dangerous root rots.
The multiplication of these plants occurs by seed in autumn, or it can proceed by semi-woody cutting during the summer months.
Ptelea trifoliata: Pests and diseases
This type of plant is rather rustic and resistant, but it can still be attacked by pests and diseases. It is important to pay attention to the possible attacks of mites and aphids; when these parasites appear, it is necessary to intervene quickly with the use of specific insecticidal substances that help to solve the problem quickly.
Excessive watering or a poorly drained soil can favor the onset of root rot which is very dangerous for the health of the plant.