The golden chain tree, also known as laburnum, is a sight to behold for gardeners who aim for large, prominent foliage in their backyard. Their bright green leaves are split into three leaflets each. This tree prefers climates that aren’t either too warm or too cold. With clusters in a drooping texture stretching up to 24 inches in length, they maintain luscious yellow flowers packed in attention-seeking bunches.
Such gardening wonders flourish in springtime and radiate a golden hue that will visually seduce onlookers. With a maximum height of around 25 feet and a width of 18 feet, a golden chain tree is a unique option when accounting for the 24-inch long clusters of flowers.
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The yellowish-golden flowers will begin protruding in late spring and begin to emit an unavoidable fragrance. This fragrance may take time to get used to. Rest assured, you’ll be adorning your garden!
In this article, we will study how to grow and care for a golden chain tree.
How To Grow A Golden Chain Tree?
A moderate level of difficulty will help cultivate these trees that are native to Southern Europe. Though the better part of this tree is poisonous, the aesthetic elements it fuses into your garden make it all worth it.
Note: Avoid planting this tree if you have children or pets using the garden often.
ts regarding the size, lighting, watering, humidity, temperature, soil, and potting techniques for the golden chain tree.
The height of these golden chain trees can fluctuate between 15 to 25 feet, and the width is usually 2/3rd the height. Since they are capable of achieving such sizes in quick durations, expect the tree to grow by an additional 2 to 3 feet every season.
For DIY gardeners who have knowledge of controlling the foliage spread of their plant, consider maintaining it as a shrub. It will take up the form of a smaller tree, and stems will extend around the base of the shrub. If your backyard houses more low-height plants than giant trees, a shrub will suit the landscape better.
his tree grows best when exposed to partial to full sunlight. Try and choose a location where sunlight varies from half to full exposure during two different times of the day. This allows the tree to process its nutrients, feed on sunlight, and get enough rest as well.
Additionally, the time in partial sunlight will restrict excessive exposure to the sun. If not, the strong sunlight can char the tree’s branches, and harsh winters can freeze sections of the branches. These scalding marks can seem like a nice natural touch initially but be warned; it will make your tree weaker and reduce its lifespan.
Keep in mind, since golden chain trees fall victim to the above-mentioned process called sunscald, consider taking precautions. Just like excessive sunlight is bad, harsh winters are equally damaging. Purchase trunk-wrapping tree wraps and cover these branches during rough winters.
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The laburnum doesn’t crave water in large amounts. Once watered well enough, the hefty root system will preserve moisture and release it slowly. This release is in response to the tree’s desire to feed on nutrients, especially after the part of the day it was exposed to sunlight.
Most often, abiding by an average watering cycle does the job. But, in case it’s summer season, and the weather is dry, with the discomfort of droughts or damaging heat waves, make sure to provide extra water and equip the tree for harsher moments.
Mindful watering cycles will guarantee perfectly golden and yellow blossoms, which is the most attractive feature of this tree.
Note: Busy gardeners could benefit from the required weekly watering cycle of the golden chain tree. Just ensure you don’t create a puddle-like situation near the roots.
#4. Humidity and Temperature
The most convenient location to grow the golden chain tree in abundance is Bar Harbor, Maine, in the United States. Since this region is in the North Atlantic territory, the cool summer season makes the difference. Until today, these trees decorate vast stretches along the roads in this region.
If you live in the narrow range of USDA planting zones and not any more than USDA zone 7, the temperature and humidity requirements automatically fit well. More specifically, zones 5 to 7 are the perfect option.
Keep in mind; high humidity territories need to be avoided as much as you can since it significantly disturbs the tree’s absorption properties. Any temperature above 30 degrees Celsius proves as too hot and kills the pace of its growth. Thus, choose more temperate climates for the best results. For example, if the backyard is situated near the shores of the Mediterranean sea, expect interrupted growth.
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Choose chalky, calcareous soil that is enriched with diversified, high-strength organic fertilizers containing compost or humus. Also, the soil must have a porous behavior to advocate the nutrient distribution processes.
Remember, provided the soil is well-drained and alkaline in nature, without any waterlogged environment, the tree will grow as needed.
#6. Potting & Repotting
Gardeners should feel free to grow laburnums in containers, pots, or in their backyard soil. Thus, they can be used as patio shrubs, backyard trees, or well-maintained indoor beauties.
Potting is generally not required. But if you decide to propagate these trees through seeds, make sure to use a potting process to initiate the germination phase. Once properly germinated and signs of blooming life are on the rise, you can move it outdoors.
The following methods are used to propagate the golden chain tree:
⦁ Using small, fresh roots to extract root cutting
⦁ Using leaf-bud cuttings that are generated through seasonal growth (contain a leaf and bud)
⦁ Using whip-grafting that includes merging a freshly chopped laburnum stalk with an already grown rootstalk.
For gardening enthusiasts who want to follow the traditional seed propagation methods, don’t forget to soak the seeds for 24 hours in water prior to planting. This softens the hard coating and makes it easy for the sprouting to begin. Once soaked, pick the seeds that bloated and became larger than the remaining seeds. Odds are the large ones will germinate and grow to be healthy.
Embed a few of these large seeds in a pot and combine them with a nutritious potting soil mix and organic manure. Finally, maintain cool temperatures and only begin watering cycles when the mixture seems dry. Within 2 to 4 weeks, seedlings will become evident.
Note: The non-invasive root system makes the golden chain tree a hassle-free container plant. Yet, refrain from planting it beside a pond or an edible garden since the toxic roots can easily discard toxins into the surrounding soil and water. Above that, only choose a tree-relevant potting mix.
Additional Tips for Propagating The Golden Chain Tree
These tips will come in handy for beginner gardeners who’ve decided to take the leap by growing this tree:
- A temperature of 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit must be used when starting germination indoors.
- The seeds may take 30 to 60 days to germinate. Stay patient and obey the watering cycles in the meanwhile.
- When propagating through stem cuttings, pick out a stem part with a node and leaf attached.
- Choose healthy roots situated close to the root crown.
- To stimulate root growth during propagation, use a rooting hormone product with the cutting.
- In order to store moisture, cover this with clear plastic.
- For root cutting propagation, begin the process in the dormant season.
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Pests and Diseases
Common pests and diseases that attack the golden chain tree include stem cankers, dieback, foliage-feeding caterpillars, and mealybugs.
#1. Foliage-feeding Caterpillars
Caterpillars will munch on the tree barks and leaves. The barks are usually left unharmed, but the pace at which such insects consume the leaves is dangerous. Try and look for excrement spots, holes indicating feeding, rolled leaves, webs, and tiny eggs. Any part that seems attacked or infested must be pruned away instantly.
Also, don’t simply throw the caterpillars from the tree onto the ground. They’ll obviously get back up before you know it! Rather, put them in soapy water.
#2. Stem Cankers
Stem cankers are infections that start from the lowermost portion of a stem and happen because of freezing climates. Though a range of fungi types can initiate this infection, the process of eliminating them is standard. Moreover, stem cankers develop purple borders around leaves that should otherwise be green. Even worse, elliptical fruiting bacteria builds on the cankered region and a peach coloration forms.
If not planted yet, consider planting these trees in sheltered areas since this strategy can block the cold to some extent. But if the cankering has begun, prune away the sections beneath the discolored markings. Measure at least 4 to 5 inches below the markings and start cutting.
Note: To prevent disease spread, soak the pruning equipment in a mixture of 70% alcohol and 30% water.
Dieback is an infection caused due to insects that live on the stem and roots of the plant. Any root paving, cold season damage, or moisture deficiency can also lead to dieback. This condition attacks shrubs and trees from the leaf tips or roots and builds backward. For gardeners who cannot deal with dieback episodes, simply prune off the infected branches or roots. Most importantly, prune these branches deep into the dormant season.
Any branch withering, infected leaf margin, or dry patches of inflorescences should be considered symptoms of dieback.
As compared to miniature sap-sucking aphids, mealybugs are easily be mistaken for dirt. But as soon as your plant is covered in a sheet of fluff and begins to pale, be warned of a severe mealybug infection. Their characteristic color is usually white, but there’s a chance for a light pink or vibrant yellow-green shade too. Even more evident is the formation of chunks of white eggs that will look precisely like cotton.
Horticultural soaps will disorient these pests and reduce the stickiness they exhibit. For better results, top the soap application with horticultural oil. Be informed, using these products at a temperature above 32 degrees Celsius will burn the leaves.
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How To Prune The Golden Chain Tree?
Conducting regular yearly pruning cycles post the blooming phase is sufficient to maintain the tree’s standard shape and size attributes.
Caution: Put on protective gloves since the tree sap is capable of causing extreme skin irritation, especially in the case of golden chain trees.
Here are some pruning suggestions for amateur and experienced gardeners:
- Never leave dead or infected branches on the tree. While infected branches will spread the disease, dead branches will be a wastage of nutrients that manage to reach them.
- Any group of branches that grow in a criss-cross manner, rub against each other, or protrude from strange angles should be cut.
- Remove seed pods from the base once they form.
Frequently Asked Questions
Read through these frequently asked questions regarding the golden chain tree.
Ans. Golden chain trees are toxic because of the presence of quinolizidine alkaloid cytisine. Their toxicity will induce instances of diarrhea, convulsions, and vomiting in both humans and animals. In case of severe exposure through their consumption, there is a high chance of death as well. Thus, since pets are used to chewing seeds, roots, leaves, or branches fallen in the garden, take extra precautions.
The golden chain tree begins to bloom in late spring. Although, the onset of cooler climatic conditions or sudden warmth in spring can trouble the blooming phase and delay the flowering. Ideally, the bloom phase exists for 2 to 3 weeks, only if the weather is moderate.
Ans. Golden chain trees are not difficult to grow due to their adjustability in matters related to temperature, soil, and watering.
To conclude this guide on growing and caring for the golden chain tree, we’d like to drop an added suggestion. Use the summer season to plant the seeds. Start by placing them in boiling water for 2 to 4 seconds and then store them in room temperature water for 24 hours. Further on, plant two seeds and water plentifully. You’ll be rewarded with seedlings in less than a week!
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