Balsam of Gilead Tree is a deciduous tree that matures at up to 100 feet tall and grows quickly. Cottonwood and poplar trees were crossed to produce this hybrid tree.
These trees have oval, pointed leaves with a dark green upper surface and a whitish-green underside. The veins of the leaves frequently have an orange hue, giving them a rusty look. A delightful turpentine scent emanates from the resin-coated leaf buds, especially when they unfold. As a result, the buds are frequently harvested and utilized to make herbal remedies or scents. This tree’s blossoms are not particularly showy. They do, however, produce seeds, which are affixed to white, fluffy fibers and float in the air, just like other poplar trees. Due to the mess created by dispersing seeds, some individuals choose not to grow these trees, while others like the flurry of these seeds.
Care of Balsam of Gilead Tree
Hardy and easy to grow, Balsam of Gilead is a deciduous tree. Balsam of Gilead enjoys moist, cool soil in an area close to water supplies and is a member of the Salicaceae family, like its cousin, the willow tree. This hybrid species should be planted away from structures due to the tree’s rapid development and enormous size.
Other than watering, these trees don’t need any maintenance. They may struggle with bacterial canker and poplar or willow borers, but they are mostly trouble-free.
Although it may tolerate some shade, this tree enjoys full sun. It cannot stand dark surroundings, though.
Balsam of Gilead prefers soil that is rich, moist, cool, and circumneutral in pH, or between 6.5 and 7.5. It flourishes close to sources of freshwater.
Balsam of Gilead prefers moist soil, such as that found close to lakes, rivers, or other sources of cool water. Make sure to water this tree frequently to keep the soil moist if you are growing it away from an easy source of water. It’s important to keep the soil moist between the waterings.
Humidity and temperature
Warmer climates are not ideal for this tree’s growth. It thrives in the highest reaches of North America and can endure frigid temperatures with ease.
Balsam of Gilead shouldn’t require much fertilizer because it grows quickly on its own. Before planting, add a significant amount of compost to the soil. Apply compost or a well-balanced fertilizer each spring to promote healthy development if the soil is unhealthy or the tree’s vitality appears to be lacking.
Balsam of Gilead Tree Propagation
Cuttings or suckers can be used to propagate Balm of Gilead trees. Make sure to use the growth from the current year when taking cuttings. It is better to harvest suckers in the spring. Sharp garden snips, moist soil that drains well, and a tiny pot, if desired, are all necessary for propagating cuttings. Using cuttings to reproduce is explained here:
- Remove a cutting that is 7 to 12 inches long using tidy, precise snips.
- Eliminate any lower leaves.
- Put the cutting in a wet, drained bed of soil. You can either plant the cutting in the tree’s regular landscaping site or use a pot placed in a protected area.
- If the tree was begun in a pot, keep the soil moist and provide it protection until the roots appear. Plant the tree in its final position after this has happened.
You will need a small shovel, cutting garden shears, and moist, permeable soil to proliferate through suckers. Then adhere to the following guidelines:
- Gently loosen the soil surrounding the sucker with the little shovel.
- Use the shovel or garden snips to cut the sucker and its root system free from the mother tree once the root system has been made visible.
- The sucker should be planted in moist, well-draining soil, where it will remain.
- As the tree grows, keep the soil damp.
How to Plant Balsam of Gilead From Seeds
It’s quite simple to grow Balsam of Gilead from seed. However, as this tree is a hybrid, sources won’t result in a specimen that is an identical duplicate of the parent tree. Follow these guidelines to plant a new tree from seed:
Gather the seeds as soon as they become ready in the spring. Plant them right away.
Sow the seeds in fertile, wet soil that drains properly. Put them in a cold frame with a light covering in a protected space.
Maintain soil moisture.
Plant each seedling in a separate pot once they have sprouted and are several inches tall.
Plant the seedlings in the ground if they are sturdy by the summer. If not, keep growing them until the following spring in a sheltered spot. Then plant them where they will remain as permanent landscaping.
Balm of Gilead trees do not need particular care to survive the cold temperatures because they naturally grow in regions with icy winters. Simply add an additional layer of mulch around the tree’s base if you want to help the root system stay warm.
Typical Issues With Balsam of Gilead Tree
Trees of the Balsam of Gilead don’t frequently have problems. They are, however, prone to bacterial canker, which results in lesions on the branches or trunk.
Lesions On The Branches Or Trunk
Cankers are bacterial diseases that can result in sunken, wet lesions on the tree’s limbs or trunk. The areas above this infection may occasionally stop expanding. The leaves could curl and turn yellow.
This issue can arise if a wound or cut on the tree allows the canker-causing bacteria to enter. Remove the contaminated areas, if you can, to treat this. To verify that all of the bacteria have been eliminated, prune away several inches from the canker. To close any open tree cuts, always use a tree pruning sealant. Furthermore, it’s crucial to clean any trimming tools both before and after a pruning session.
Conclusion On Balsam of Gilead Tree
Balsam of Gilead is renowned for its characteristic sticky buds, which can be used to make a variety of tinctures, infusions, salves, and balms (as the name suggests). Balm of Gilead is applied to the skin to heal a variety of cuts and wounds as well as to soothe burns, sunburn, and frostbite. It is said to have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal effects. It has a long history of use for pain treatment and respiratory disorders to relieve congestion, just like other members of the Willow family.