A weed is just a plant in the wrong place.

And the wrong place for your Ground Sand Cherry is the leach field of your septic tank. When I got the Sand Cherry from Fedco, it was not all that impressive. A mere slip of a plant with red, shiny bark, tiny dark green leaves and (eventually) white single-petaled blossoms, it seemed at home in the alpine garden. It is a truly prostrate plant, rising only 2″ or so in sinuous waves and sending out rootlets everywhere it is in contact with the ground. For the first few years the siting seemed very appropriate and it added a needed structure to the clumps of heather and low growing seedum varieties around it.

Ten years later, it is a proper tree 15′ in diameter branch spread with a 4″ caliper to the main branches and a distinct resemblance to a daylight Cuthulu. The above-ground profile of a tree is matched by its root system, so this is not the sort of thing you want atop your leach field.  Yesterday I dug it up and moved it to a sandy hillside where I can stand back and watch what it does for its next trick. Photo below is of the new site:

I’m not even concerned about the broken branches. I covered them with soil, they’ll root, and I’ll just end up with more Sand Cherry. And that’s fine – the bees love the blossoms, it is completely pest free, the deer don’t bother it and the peculiar growth habit is visually interesting all year long. It can grow to be 30′ for all I care. Now that’s it’s not crowding out the septic field. The remaining plants look a little sparse for now, but will fill in this summer.

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