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Green Thumb
Posts: 631
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:20 am
Location: Rural Ottawa, ON

Need some suggestions for a new tree.

I've got a nasty ugly buckthorn out my front window that I'd like to replace. I'd like to start something from seed (just for fun) to replace it over the next few years. There is enough light we could start a new tree underneath the buckthorn then cut big guy down in a couple years. The reason I want to do that & the reason I want to replace it:

- we are about 15 feet from a rural highway
- there is a giant window in our living room allowing everyone who drives by to see in
(obviously we have curtains, but my boisterous border collies keep knocking them down!)

So we really need the privacy of the buckthorn until I get something new in there :D.

I don't think an evergreen would be a good idea because I have been told they don't do well in our area (ottawa valley) and although we have a few Norwegian pine on our property they are dropping and we havn't been able to find out why. Cedar is an option, but I'm under the impression they grow quite slowly.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I would like something that grow fairly quickly if possible, but because it is close to the house it shouldn't get too big.

A shrub would also be a good option as long as it will get tall (and we have both a lilac bush and a couple honey suckle that do quite well).

It's a NE exposure so doesn't get very much sun and does get quite a bit of snow & wind. Also it's at the top of the ditch so the water drains off.

We do have some beautiful silver maples I could easily get seeds off & plant, but again I'm worried they would grow too slowly & definitely get too big for the front of the house. There are two maples in front of the dining room that are quite lovely.

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Posts: 29333
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I like plants that do double or triple duty, so I'd say a native shrub or an understory tree that flowers and bears fruit (edible and/or for wildlife).

How ornamental do you want it to be?

For starters:

‣ There are a lot of Viburnums to choose from, some -- e.g. V. trilobum (Highbush Cranberry) and Nannyberries and Blackhaw berries -- with edible berries.
‣ Amelanchier varieties from shrubs to trees and some very good eating berries.
‣ Cercis canadensis -- slow to leaf out in spring but very pretty flowers, then large hart-shaped leaves. Nitrogen fixer (root bacterial symbiosis sequesters nitrogen in soil). Other edible "weed" properties (flowers and seedpods).
- Elderberries -- can get a bit craggy but drop-dead gorgeous umbels of flowers, and you can make flower syrup (Made 2 batches this year -- DD7 LOVED them -- we usually BUY them from IKEA -- DD10 said mine were too "green tasting"), or you can make the wine (haven't tried yet -- all disappeared into syrup :lol: ), and you can make elderberry jelly (didn't make any last year to howls of disappointment -- so I told them we HAD to save some of the flowers so we can get berries this year :wink: )
‣ Native selection persimmon tree that is self fertile (if you only want one) and will remain relatively small at maturity

! oops ! Forgot you said you wanted to grow them from seed -- well I've seen most of these offered as seeds in Prairie Moon Wildflower Seed catalog. I'm sure there are other sources too. Also check with your local native wildflower/plant society. Of the above, I guess persimmon might be out as I believe that is relatively slow growing. I have an approximately 5 year old Viburnum -- not sure of variety -- that started out as a volunteer seedling right next to the front porch. I transplanted it in the backyard garden as a 2 or 3 yr old when it produced lovely, fragrant balls of light pink flowers, and is about 7' tall now. :D The flowers sometimes turn into dark blue/black berries that don NOT taste good to me but birds love them.
Last edited by applestar on Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Green Thumb
Posts: 631
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:20 am
Location: Rural Ottawa, ON

Well something pretty would be ideal, but really anything would be better then the buckthorn! :lol:

I do really like the idea of something to feed the birds. Some very lovely suggestions, which would be the fastest growing if I wanted to grow from seed/small plant?

We overlapped each other :D Viburnum sounds like a good suggestion! If I got a small plant at this point in the season would it survive?

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Green Thumb
Posts: 511
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:38 am
Location: Mass

How about a rhododendron? They don't need much sun. They flower in the spring. They stay green all year long. They grow kind of fast.

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