WHN in the Landscape; 9 Dec 2019


These spring-dug WHN Betula nigra (river birch) and Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum) found their way onto a job in September. Their viability and exceptional aesthetics several months after being dug this past spring and then stored above ground is a testament to their durability due to the quality of our digging process with the right size root ball..



At the Nursery; Fall Digging 2019, Part 2

Second of two posts highlighting our fall digging season which occured in late October/early November.

At the Nursery; Fall Digging 2019, Part 1

First of two posts highlighting our fall digging season which began 24 October.   Look for more photos in November!

Featured Native: Black Gum/Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)

Nyssa sylvatica, spring.

One of the most up-and-coming native trees over the past twenty years is black gum or tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica).  Native to the United States east of the Mississippi River as well as the Ozark Plateau and from the southern Great Lakes and southern New England to central Florida, Nyssa sylvatica is a versatile larger tree that thrives in a broad range of conditions.  Typically growing 75 to 100 ft tall in its native environment with a straight central leader and a narrow crown of right-angled branches broadening with age, tupelo generally exhibits a more moderate height of 40-50 ft in the cultivated landscape, making an excellent specimen or focal point.  In the wild, it can be found on dry upland slopes and even more frequently in moist valleys and riverbottoms.  In fact, the common name ‘tupelo’ is a corruption of the Muscogee/Creek Native American phrase ito ‘tree’ and opilwa ‘swamp’ or swamp-tree.  In mixed-tree settings, it favors the forest edge, so it likewise prefers full sun to light partial shade in the landscape setting.  Tupelo also has the

Nyssa sylvatica, summer.

distinction of being the longest-lived non-clonal woody plant in eastern North American, with some specimens documented at more than 650 years of age.

Nyssa sylvatica starts the spring with rusty-backed, bright greenish-yellow new growth that matures to very glossy, 2”-5” long dark-green leaves.  The foliage is clean and free of most pests and diseases.  It is typically one of the first trees to show color at the end of the season, with the first tinges often appearing by late August.  Fall foliage is a kaleidoscope of colors, from brilliant gold and fiery orange to pure scarlet and purple.  In winter, the deep-grey to black bark, finely plated like alligator skin, provides a striking contrast on snowy mornings.  Flowers are a inconspicuous greenish-yellow, but are nectar-rich and loved by bees; they make an excellent honey.  The flowers are followed by small, blue-skinned stone fruits, usually in groups of 1-3, which are beloved by many songbirds, especially the American Robin (Turdus migratorius).  Tupelo develops a strong central taproot, so plants for landscape planting are best secured from container culture or B&B nurseries that do regular root pruning, such as WHN.

As a lumber tree, the wood of Nyssa sylvatica is hard, heavy, and very durable; its cross-grain structure makes it very resistant to splitting, especially when cured.  These properties made it a favored wood for early turning parts, such as pulleys, rollers, wheel hubs and weaving shuttles as well as mauls, mallets, yokes and tool handles.  In fact,

Nyssa sylvatica, autumn. Just a sampling of the incredible color display!

its usefulness as a striking tool lead to the local common name in southeast New England of ‘beetlebung’; beetle being an old word for a mallet used to hammer home bungs or plugs for barrels of beer or liquor.  Its resistance to wear and acid made it a popular flooring material for factories.   Today, it is still a favored material for wood-carvers due its tight grain and resistance to splintering.

Nyssa sylvatica, winter, showing the excellent regular branch structure.

White House Natives supplies Nyssa sylvatica in a range of sizes including 1½”, 2”, 2½” and 3” caliper.  It is a beautiful, clean, and disease-free tree that makes a statement in any larger landscape.







At the Nursery, 6 Oct 2019

A look at the nursery as we move into early autumn.  All photos taken Sunday 6 October 2019.

Arlington County Tree Stewards; 14 August 2019

Arlington Couty Tree Stewards

On the morning of 14 August 2019, WHN hosted four representatives from Arlington County Tree Stewards and Davey Tree. Together, they tagged about 90 trees in the 2” caliper range for a fall installation. Species tagged include Quercus bicolor, Quercus palustris, Betula nigra, Celtis occidentalis, Platanus occidentalis, and Ilex opaca.  Together with our sister company South Riding Nurseries, WHN is happy to be a partner in Arlington County planting projects for several years.



In the Field, August 2019, pt 3

Now it’s September and our latest batch of liners is planted.  These photos are from another liner grower we toured in the second week of August.

Here the supplier finishes the liners out in #3 containers which produces a great root system to start the plants off right in our fields.

WHN in the Landscape; 2 Sept 2019


This new pool and clubhouse for Van Metre homes in the South Riding area was landscaped with a variety of plant material (trees, shrubs and perennials) and not just natives. The natives that were utilized help compliment the rest of the landscape while being integrated in with non-native plants. WHN supplied several Q. bicolor for this job; a species which has become quite popular and has tremendous durability and habitat value. We have an excellent availability of 2 and 2½” Quercus bicolor ready for fall 2019 and spring 2020.



At the Nursery, 2 Aug 2019, pt 2 of 2

More photos of our healthy, vigorous stock.  All photos taken Friday 2 August 2019.