What Is Tree Collard?
Tree collard is a long-lived, tall, lovely, wholesome, and delectable perennial vegetable that tastes more like kale or cabbage. It is commonly found in the southern states of the USA or around the shores of the Mediterranean. This Green leafy plant possesses blue-green or purple leaves, which become sweeter during the cooler months of the year. Today, many cultivated forms of tree collard have been developed in various countries throughout human agricultural history.
Botanical name: In 1753, Carl Linnaeus described “tree collard” as Brassica oleracea. Brassica is Latin for cabbage which is in the mustard family. Tree collard is also classified in the cultivar group of Acephela’ (without a head).
Common names: Tree kale, walking stick kale.
What Is The Origin Of Tree Collard?
The exact origin of tree collards is unknown, but it is believed that the treasure came from Africa and has been propagated and passed on within African American communities from gardener to gardener for at least 200 years.
What Are The Necessary Soil Conditions To Grow A Tree Collard?
Tree Collard can grow in a wide range of soil conditions. But they thrive best if cultivated in;
- Moist soil
- Rich soil
- Soil having a pH of about 6.5
What Environment Does Tree Collard Require?
These greens grow best when they are provided the same environment as preferred by any other Brassica. For example:
Tree collard is usually preferred to grow in Full sun. However, this does not mean it cannot survive in the shade. Tree collards can tolerate some shade and are able to survive there.
For growing a tree collard, a position with poor airflow is avoided because mildew is more likely to grow on the leaves of a Tree Collard.
Tree collard needs moderate to low water.
How To Maintain A Tree Collard?
Tree collards don’t stay upright if left to their own devices; instead, they topple over and turn into a tangle of arching stems. As a result, the majority of gardeners decide to train them up a stake, which promotes a precise crown of foliage at the top, like a rose standard.
By choosing the specific height and maintaining a tree collard each year, one can also give this ordinarily gangly plant the respect it deserves to occupy a prominent place in the environment.
For this purpose, plant root cuttings of tree collards are kept 18 inches apart and trimmed to a height of 12 inches twice a year. This produces a short, robust trunk that can hold the weight of the leaves.
Wild Life Value
Tree collards do not possess a high wildlife value because they rarely flower. However, they attract specific wildlife such as aphids, whitefly, and white cabbage butterflies and their progeny, which may lower human food value. On the other hand, growing an extra large crop can help feed wildlife and people.
Are Tree Collards Edible?
Tree collards are edible. Their leaves are used in cooking and are mostly consumed in;
- Sandwiches or in wraps.
- braised, boiled, or sautéed
- in soups and casseroles
People also like to add collards to their favorite smoothies as they provide extra nutrients without changing the flavor significantly.
Some Useful Information About Tree Collards!
- Hardiness: Tree collards have been grown successfully in Las Vegas in temperatures of 115+ Degrees, and they are typically hardy down to about -6°C, so they require great protection during winters. For this purpose, they are planted in containers and carried indoors.
- Height: Tree collard is usually 6 – 8ft or 1.80 – 2.4m.
- Spacing: The spacing between tree collard must be 1 – 2 ft (30 – 60cm).
- Average life span: A perennial leafy vegetable called tree collard live an average of eight years.
Benefits Of Tree Collards
Tree collards contain a wide range of ingredients that are beneficial for health in several ways. Some of them are as under;
- Fiber and water: Collards are rich in fiber and water, which aids in regular bowel movements and digestive system health.
- Choline: Collard greens contain choline, which helps with mood, sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory functions.
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A levels are high in collard, which keeps hair hydrated.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C in tree collard enables the body to build and maintain collagen that provides structure to skin and hair.
- Vitamin K: Vitamin K obtained from tree collard improves calcium absorption and reduces urinary excretion of calcium.
In 2010, the purple tree collard became the ‘official green’ of the City of Richmond in California. The council members also regarded the purple-green collard as the reason the citizens were healthy and energetic.
People who use blood thinners like warfarin or Coumadin should not abruptly increase or decrease their intake of foods containing this vitamin K.
Pest And Disease
Tree Collards are, unfortunately, not pest resistant. They are mostly destroyed by pests afflicting cabbage and other Brassica, such as cabbage worms and slugs.
The following measures are considered very useful for protecting the tree collard from pests and diseases;
- Using Sluggo Plus to get rid of garden slugs.
- Applying BT (bacillus thuringiensis) or dipel to protect tree collard against cabbage worms.
- Using Thiram, capsaicin, and other odor-based repellents to get rid of voles and moles.
- Using Bird and insect netting to protect tree collard from various insects and flies.
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Tree collards are a bit difficult to grow as they require proper care and attention. However, they have a lot of benefits that cannot be underestimated. They are no less than a treasure for human health. So, people should add tree collards to their lunch tables and use them in the form of salads due to their variety of benefits. But, they also need to consult the doctor to ensure that tree collard will not cause any harm to them in case they are having any serious health issues or they take any kind of heavy dosage.
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