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Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 11:17 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Uh oh! Tree too big?

I just bought this house, and it came with two young trees. I think I'm in trouble! Can anyone tell me if I've incorrectly ID'd these trees? If so, they are way too big and need to be moved ASAP! (I think the first one is a Big Leaf Maple, located 10 feet from my house, and the second is a Weeping Ulmus Americana in a 4' plot between my driveway and the sidewalk.)



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Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2006 8:15 am
Location: Virginia, zone 7

I don't know if you've IDed them correctly or not, but if they turn out to be too tall, there are options besides cutting them down or moving them. Just keep pruning the tops off like you would a bonsai tree and that should keep them short.

Light pruning should be okay anytime but for any heavy pruning, wait until the tree is dormant (Fall or early Spring).

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Posts: 6
Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 11:17 pm
Location: Seattle, WA


Hmmmm... Sounds good. I like them both and would like to keep them. But what about the roots? Will that contain them as well? The maple has a terrible reputation for rearranging hardscape! Thanks so much for your help!

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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

To me the first one looks like sweet gum. Are there any dried up pointy balls lying around?

Also, there was some advice about how far from the house to plant a tree posted by a professional landscape designer last year.... Ah! Found it! MY EMPHASIS. The rest about soil conditions and tree selection references may not apply to you, obviously.
About half way down in this thread:
MaineDesigner wrote:10' from the house is awfully close for most trees, even small ones. I think if you were my client and you really wanted a tree in that location I'd be trying to steer you towards Viburnum prunifolium in a single trunk, tree form (normally it is a big, multi-trunked shrub but single trunk specimens usually aren't hard to find). This makes a really lovely small (15' tall by 8' to 12' wide) tree.
(click on the thumbnails on the left and they enlarge on the main screen - the initial photos when the page opens are just placeholders, not the Viburnum)

Given your sandy soils (I'm trusting the builder/contractor - often a mistake) I would really encourage you to plant an oak if you want big shade tree, but give it room. For most oaks (and large shade trees in general) I like the tree to be planted a minimum of 40' from the house and 50' - 70' from most other trees. Ideally, I'd love to see you plant Quercus macrocarpa or Quercus alba (personal favorites and well suited to your sandy soils) but these trees are difficult to move successfully in larger sizes.

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Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:31 pm
Location: Shenandoah Valley

At First glance

At first Glance the first does resembl a sweet Gum, but if you look closely, I think your maple assesment is apt.

Yes I agree... 10 feet is too close to your house.... the 40 foot figure is a good one.

The weeper may very well be an elm, I can't see the leaves close enough to be sure. A 4 foot wide planting strip is a bit tight for a full fledged tree. The problem is roots, not top. They may well rearrange your pavements. I'm not sure what the expected mature size of the elm is, but its will surely go beneath the pavement. I would move it and come up with a smaller scale alternative myself.
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