ATJaguarX
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American Beech Tree and other trees I'm interested in

I recently purchased a home and plan on making a few tree purchases. My yard is a good size (15,000 sqft).

After some research, I found to stay away from the following trees (that I originally liked):

1. Royal Empress
2. Cleveland Pear
3. Crimson King Maple

Other trees I'm interested in are:

1. Prairie Fire Crabapple
2. White flowering Dogwood
3. Autumn Blaze Maple
4. October Glory Maple
5. American Beech
6. Autumn Purple Ash
7. Yellow Poplar

In our parkway, they put in an Autumn Blaze Maple. I plan on putting 4 more of these in the back yard (2 on each side to line the lot line) to provide shade. I would also like to put in a White Flowering Dogwood (not sure where yet) and a Prarie Fire Crabapple.

I would like to put the crabapple in the front corner of the house, perhaps 6-7 feet away from the front corner of the foundation. Would this be too close?

I was also interested in putting in an American Beech Tree, but these seem to get rather large. Are they too big to put into a residential yard?

Any thoughts on the other trees I've listed. My yard isn't large enough for all of these, but I would like to put up a total of 9-10 trees.

Any trees that I haven't listed?

Thanks for all of your help!

TheLorax
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Fagus grandifolia is an excellent tree. Great choice and if you were planning to put in 4 'Autumn Blaze' maples, you'd certainly have space for this species.

Cornus florida is an excellent dogwood to companion plant in the shade of an American Beech or in the shade of any large shade species.

I'm the last person in the world to be answering how close is too close to plant anything because I violate those rules all the time but 6-7' away is supposedly too close. We're supposed to be more like 10-12' away from the corner of our homes with that species. Where is mine planted... about 8' away from a corner. I knew I was a bad girl when I did that and did it anyway.

Regarding the 'Autumn Blaze' Maple, it's actually an excellent choice too however you might be at risk of ending up with lots of whirlies if you plant 4 in your backyard for shade. It's anything but sterile in the presence of other maples. You could end up chasing helicopter whirlies for ever but I do personally love Acer rubrum and A. saccharum. Particularly rubrum. If it's shade you are longing for, you might want to consider a mixed shade planting back there more so because if you plant four of the same species and one gets nailed by a pest or pathogen they're all at risk. It's tough to lose all four of something at the same time and tends to leave an area nekkid. Several species that might be of interest to you would be-
Cladrastis kentuckea (American Yellowwood)
Ulmus 'Valley Forge' ('Valley Forge' Elm)
Gymnocladus dioicus (Kentucky Coffeetree)
Quercus imbricaria (?)
Quercus muehlenbergii (Chinkapin Oak)
Castanea x dentata hybrid ECOS ('Timburr' Chestnut)
Oxydendrum arboreum (Sourwood)
Carpinus caroliniana (American Hornbeam)
Carya ovata (Shagbark Hickory)
and possibly a Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud). They're small, toss in a few ;)

All of the above play nicely together and reduce your risk of disease spreading from one to the next.

Another reason to consider a mixed planting of shade trees other than maples would be because they are surface feeders. Their roots are always very close to the surface and it can be challenging getting anything else to grow underneath them once they are established. There's another thread here somewhere discussing Maple roots. You'd have to try the search engine to find it but it was this year if that helps.

Congratulations on your new home!

ATJaguarX
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Location: Yorkville, IL

Any thoughts on a smaller ornamental tree that I can put that close to the house? We had a landscaper come out and he wanted to put in a Cleveland Pear.

TheLorax
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Unfortunately, the Cleveland Pear is a Calleryana Pear which is probably going to be banned in the state of Illinois here real soon. There seem to be a lot of fire sales on this tree and all the other Calleryana Pears such as Aristocrat, Bradford, Redspire, etc as nurseries begin trying to unload them quick while the lists of plants that are going to be illegal to sell or plant in this state are still in draft form. Lots of firesales on burning bushes and barberries right about now too. These types of plants are big money makers for people pushing them right now as prices drop and discounting gets deeper as wholesalers and nurseries try to eliminate them from inventories... probably not great for us homeowners though.

Aside from being an invasive species like a Norway Maple, Gobbler Oak, or a Siberian Elm; they're an extremely fast growing species. Generally speaking, fast growing isn't in our best interests as they can be short lived and weak. Check out all the sites out there on the web discussing Bradford Pears alone and how they have weak crotches that do a lot of damage to property.

Interestingly enough, it's my understanding one of the concerns taken into consideration as to why the Calleryana Pear ended up on the banned list was because of the high winds in the Midwest and the millions and millions of dollars insurance companies have to pay out when these trees split and fall on our homes and garages. They are a beautiful tree but should be planted far far away from anyone's home and also from utility lines. Should also mention they stink when in bloom. I know this because our builder planted one on our property as a specimen tree- gee thanks. We took it down and replaced it with a Kentucky Coffeetree which is actually far more beautiful in our opinion and should have a life span at least 4x that of a Calleryana Pear. Check this out and see what you think about the springtime blossoms on Kentucky Coffeetree-
https://www.cnr.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=158
Same deal with the American Yellowwood-
https://www.hort.uconn.edu/plants/c/claken/claken93.jpg
https://www.atlas-roslin.pl/foto/jmak/jmak-Gymnocladus-dioicus7.1is.jpg

I planted three American yellowwoods here because their spring blooms are unmatched in curb stopping appeal.

As far as a small ornamental tree close to the house, I like your idea of the Malus ioensis. The Redbud would work well too and its blooms are extremely attractive. Check out the 'Forest Pansy' cultivar of Cercis canadensis. I think you'll really like it.

Hope this helps. Lots of tough decisions out there to be made.

TheLorax
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Oops, I missed that you edited your first post.

Check out the list I gave you. See what you think after doing image searches of those species.

Also too, don't plant anything now. Wait until fall when they are dormant or better yet... wait until next spring before they break dormancy.

As far as planting any type of an Ash... don't do it right now. You're going to be struggling with new home ownership bills out the wazoo as it is and Emerald Ash Borer is documented as being in this state. You could end up having to pay big bucks annually treating an Ash tree to keep it borer free via injection. Arborists would love you at a couple hundred dollars an hour per visit. Maples, I've already mentioned the issues with them but I have every intention of planting several more Acer rubrums this next spring as I have species of plants that should fair nicely under them and I can get them hundreds of feet away from my home- I can't help it... I love the fall color of Acer rubrum and there are some nice grasses and sedges that should do fine underneath them. Seriously, quite challenging to keep anything alive under maples once they are established and you're considering planting those in a yard. The Yellow Poplar is Liriodendron tulipifera. Excellent choice. I've got a brand new baby of that here. I know this will shock you but I planted it way too close to my home.

MaineDesigner
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A few questions for starters:
1) What is your soil like?
2) Would you give me dimensions from the closest wall of your house to the lot line in each direction?
3) When you say close to the house how close is close?
4) How long to expect to live in this house?
If you can post photos that would be a huge help.

The Lorax gave you good advice, much better than that of the landscaper who suggested the Cleveland pear, but I have few difference of opinion. I'm not keen on Fagus grandifolia as a shade tree unless you have a very large property (acre plus). Beech, like maples, has a greedy root system and as the tree matures it will produce shade so dense that virtually nothing grows well beneath it.

Pending more information my list for your property would include:
Cladrastis kentuckea
Nyssa sylvatica
Carpinus caroliniana (these are difficult to transplant but lovely trees)
Stewartia pseudocamellia or S. koreana
and a bit further down the list
Acer triflorum
Amelanchier x grandifolia a fine tree in Minnesota and Wisconsin but not such a good choice in New England
I love almost all oaks Quercus sp. but I find them a tough sell with my clients who seem to think they are too messy and too slow growing (not necessarily true).
Carya ovata, shagbark hickory, is another great tree but almost impossible to transplant. If you're a patient person plant a seed.
I just don't have enough experience with the disease resistant elm and chestnut to feel comfortable recommending them.

I can refine the list with more information.

ATJaguarX
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MaineDesigner wrote:A few questions for starters:
1) What is your soil like?
2) Would you give me dimensions from the closest wall of your house to the lot line in each direction?
3) When you say close to the house how close is close?
4) How long to expect to live in this house?
If you can post photos that would be a huge help.
1) I'm not sure how to test it, but the builder and contractors have told me that it drains very well because it is sandy
2) I would say my lot line is probably within 8 feet on each side of the house
3) I measured last night, the tree I would put in the front corner would be 10 feet from trunk to house.
4) I plan to live my next 50 years in this house. I've moved way too many times and I do not want to move again. That being said, I have 3 children (ages 7,5 and 1) and I'm sure it's too late to have a tree in the yard that they'll be able to enjoy as children (to climb etc...)

I will attach an image of a top down view of my house.

TheLorax
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MaineDesigner is a professional designer. He's considerably more familiar with how to pull a workable design together than me. If I needed to figure out where to put something, I'd run to him for direction.

I suspect few of the trees I suggested will be appropriate for this size lot and certainly not the American Beech with what I'm reading (rats, I love the bark on that tree and everything about it) but that doesn't mean you can't have some really awesome shade trees. Really sorry, I was thinking you had more space than what you actually have when you mentioned planting 4 bigguns with maples in the lineup of possibilities.

I'm probably going to do an about face here suggesting other trees given you garden a little bit south and west of Chicago and given I'm familiar with your soil. Would you be able to share how deep your lot is and where your home is situated on the lot. Also too, is your home a ranch or a two story/tri-level and do you have an attached garage or a detached garage.

For what it's worth, I'm not all that far away from you and I do have some spare Carya ovata here. I propagated them from seed this past fall. Mature shagbarks are around 75' high with a spread of only 30' so that may very well still be a contender for your back yard. This particular Hickory is one of the faster growing hickories but its growth rate is no where near that of an oak. I don't know why so many people think oaks ar slow growers. I could give you a few so you wouldn't have to buy them and they're a local genotype so my babies would have a considerably better chance of survival compared to a Shagbark you would pay money for at a nursery. Just something to keep in the back of your mind as a possibility as I don't believe anyone has lost any of the hickories I've propagated that were then planted on their properties.

MaineDesigner
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ATJaguarX, here 's the situation: I think I'm very good at what I do but I'm not local to you and familiarity with local conditions matters substantially. The Lorax is familiar with conditions in northern Illinois so I'd pay close attention to what she says.

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.
[url]https://www.hort.uconn.edu/Plants/v/vibpru/vibpru1.html[/url]
(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.

The Lorax's suggestion of Gymnocladus dioicus should do well on your property but they tend to drop branches and unless you get one of the fruitless male cultivars like 'Espresso' or 'J. C. McDaniel' they also drop seed pods. Liriodendron tulipfera shares this tendency to drop branches and becomes immense.

Ditto on the Lorax's comments about ash (Fraxinus sp.). Very nice trees which would otherwise be great for your property but the Emerald Ash Borer kicks these out of the running.

Carya ovata is another wonderful and very rarely planted tree. A seedling only 9" to 1' tall may have a 2' tap root coiled in the bottom of the pot. Getting that tap root into the ground intact and pointed straight down is a large part of successful planting. Larger specimens might move with big tree spade but B&B trees have lost their taproot and almost always die.

Ginkos (Ginko biloba) eventually turn into quite nice trees and would probably do well on your property but they have a long rather awkward looking adolescence. If you're patient consider the cultivar 'Autumn Gold' which is one of the best selections.

Cladrastis kentukea Yellowwood remains a good choice. They are slightly prone to drop branches but less so than the species mentioned above and it is a smaller tree.

Ostrya virginiana, Hophornbeam, is a nice smaller tree that should be a good choice.

There are a number of conifers that should do well but I take it you have limited enthusiasm for evergreens.

I have much more qualified enthusiasm for them but Tree Lilacs, Hawthorns, Acer campestre (I anticipate a quick thumbs down from The Lorax), and Acer saccharum might be other options. There are a few others too but I'm out of time for now.

TheLorax
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I think he's in Kendall or maybe Grundy County-
https://www.sws.uiuc.edu/data/altcrops/gisoils.asp
Best guess is there is sand in his soil improving drainage but he doesn't have sandy soil per se more so silt loam.
I think I'm very good at what I do
Understatement if one could see even one of his completed projects.


I'm good at propagating just about anything and getting it to live by meeting a plants cultural requirements and companion planting properly but admittedly am a stick gardener in that I stick things anywhere I feel they will grow best. I also tend to cram plants in together which is a big no no. I'm trying to be a good gardener and I'm trying my best to factor in things like height and spread but it's soooo hard when I get hung up on aesthetics of an actual plant and begin to revert to my old bad habits of sticking things anywhere.

I'll stand by my recommendation of the disease resistant Elm and Chestnut above based on my personal experiences but not for this yard.

Way too much spread for almost every tree I suggested. You'd end up looking like you lived in a dense forest in no time flat. Yards with kids need to be able to be used.

I've got one left over Q. macrocarpa I could share with you but... that's one huge tree with a spread of over 70'. Same deal with the Q. alba as the spread on that one can be up to 90'. These are massive oaks. I've got them here and they need space. If an Oak is the way you want to go, the spread on the Quercus imbricaria is only 40 - 50' but the Quercus muehlenbergii I suggested would not be a decent choice because its spread is somewhat between the imbricaria (Shingle Oak) and the other oaks at around 60'. I'm partial to oaks myself and another that comes to mind that could work very well for you would be the Q. ellipsoidalis (Northern Pin Oak) with a spread of only around 40'. Bummer, I had one left over and my mailman took it home.

I think the route you might want to consider for the back yard would be one tree with somewhat generous proportions with a spread of around 30-40' with one or two that have spreads of 25' or under. That round robins to that Ostrya virginiana (Hophornbeam), Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud), Prairie Crab (Malus ioensis), and Cornus florida (Pagoda Dogwood)- all would be decent choices. You can fill in with shrubs in other areas to add some interest. I really like the idea of the Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw Viburnum) but don't forget to add at least one other viburnum to your property to be able to get those beautiful fall berries. The prunifolium requires cross pollination. I happen to love viburnums and they come in many shapes and sizes so adding a smaller variety to compliment the prunifolium would be no big deal.

Cratageous mollis (Downy Hawthorn) is an excellent suggestion for a small tree. This little tree has one of the most beautiful shapes to it. Spread is around 25' and this is a nice ornamental. Word of caution, it has thorns. Don't think you'd want a mature specimen in your yard for the next 5 years with a 1 year old running around but a sapling should be fine until the kids get control of their bodies and aren't running into things... like trees.

(sigh) I have one Ginkgo here that is about 5 years old. I think it will be a great tree some day... unfortunately, it is rather gangly looking. They definitely have a good case of the uglies that lasts quite a while until they start filling out and maturing. Same deal with the Gymnocladus dioicus which I call the self destructing tree. Sometime in fall the Kentucky Coffeetree sapling drops its leaves then proceeds to drop all of its branches for the first 4-5 years of its life. It has no winter interest in its early years unless you like looking at the equivalent of a tall skinny pole in the ground.

Tee he, Acer campestre (blech) Nice looking tree but they're just beginning to become a cause for concern.

Conifers would be naturals with Hamamelis virginiana (Witchhazel) and I could certainly see a nice raised berm with a Kalmia growing in that area in the front of any home. I like Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel) and there are so many wonderful cultivars available these days it is hard to choose. Conifers open up entirely different options and we have some incredibly nice cold hardy azaleas (Northern Hi-Lights) that work well with the above.

MaineDesigner
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I would urge you to get some soil tests done asap. Illinois probably offers them for a nominal fee but the caveat is that state soil tests are often rather cursory. Here in Maine they tell you what minerals are present but you don't get a very good idea of biological availability. If the State of Illinois tests aren't comprehensive try here:
[url]https://www.agrienergy.net/[/url]
Reliable soils information would be a good guide to optimum plant choices although certainly not the only factor.

The sizes The Lorax has provided for Quercus macrocarpa and Q. alba are their potential maximum sizes. It wouldn't occur in your lifespan or that of your children. If you do have silty soils as The Lorax suggests may be the case the oak of choice could be Quercus rubra. These are widely available in the trade and relatively easy to move. I find them to be a much better landscape tree than Q. pallustris or Q. ellipsoidalis (the landscape trade doesn't generally distinguish between these).

TheLorax
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The sizes The Lorax has provided for Quercus macrocarpa and Q. alba are their potential maximum sizes. It wouldn't occur in your lifespan or that of your children.
Very true. But, I know I'd probably rise up from my grave to slap the hands of any of my children or grandchildren who tried to cut down an oak just because it got too big ;)

One thing about any oak in the red oak family, probably not a good idea to plant more than one within range of another in this area. I've been spacing mine out beyond 60' in an attempt to avoid vascular diseases such as oak wilt which is present in this area.

https://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/fidls/oakdecline/oakdecline.htm

MaineDesigner
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Good advice from The Lorax, you do want to avoid root grafts in adjacent oaks. If you have oaks* that are close together you can try to sever possible root connections but this is a very risky strategy as oaks hate root disturbance of any kind .The red oak group seems much more susceptible to oak wilt and can die in a single season if they contract it. White oaks are not immune but they sometimes seem to be able to fight it off and if they do die it is a multi-year process. In my experience it is not a common disorder but pay attention not to prune oaks between late March and early November where the disease is present (we don't seem to have it in New England but we have every other disease and pest under the sun).

* On this particular property I was thinking just one big oak.

TheLorax
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I know you're right about just one big specimen but unfortunately I'm one of those gardeners who likes to stick 'em where I can and pack 'em in close as they would be in a woodland setting. You'd cringe if I owned his property and planted what I'd lust to plant. I exercised restraint and was a good girl and took spread into account because he's got three kids. Plenty of time to pack 'em in once the kids have little or no desire to play in a back yard and are in their rooms cranking up the tunes, playing online, and chatting with peers on cell phones. Man oh man do they grow up fast and they multi-task like I've never seen the likes of before in my life. I did begrudgingly move that Quercus velutina you told me to move. I knew I needed to move it even before you commented but a part of me really wanted to keep it where it was being as how it's planted by a one-story roof line of a screened in porch to our home. I gave it away (wiped a tear from my eye) as I've run out of places to stick oaks.

ATJaguarX
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Thank you

Again... I thank the both of your for your help. I am on tree overload right now. Unfortunately, this is why I decided to get a landscaper. I liked his design, but didn't care for the trees/shrubs that he picked out. Now I have an Excel spreadsheet with 40+ trees I like with only room for 7 or so.

ATJaguarX
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TheLorax wrote:Would you be able to share how deep your lot is and where your home is situated on the lot. Also too, is your home a ranch or a two story/tri-level and do you have an attached garage or a detached garage.
1) My lot is 180 feet deep by 81 feet wide
2) House is about 10 feet on each side from property line, 30 feet from front side walk and 115 feet from back property line
3) 2 story, 3 car attached garage

ATJaguarX
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Prunus virginiana 'Shubert Select'

For the "tree" close to the house (10 feet off of corner), what about a Prunus virginiana (Shubert Select)?

ATJaguarX
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Another note about the 4 trees that I want to line the property in the back yard...

Since I have kids running around playing baseball, volleyball and any other sport that involves a ball, I would prefer a tree that isn't low branching.

So far, in my list of 44 trees, I have come up with the following that I like the best:

Prairie Fire Crabapple
White Flowering Dogwood
Tulip Poplar
Catalpa
Eastern Redbud
Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry
Fringe
Sawtooth Oak (seems it might have too low of a canopy though)
Sugar Maple
Japanese Zelkova

I really want one one good maple, one good oak and various others.

MaineDesigner
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You can always limb up almost any tree but you don't want to rush to do as it will adversely affect trunk development. Dogwoods, crabs, serviceberry, redbuds and fringe tree are all naturally low branching. In the case of the redbud and fringe tree especially a limbed up example is likely to be brutally ugly.

Tulip poplar become huge (over 100' tall eventually) and drop branches. Nice trees but I wouldn't put one any closer than 50' to a structure. IMO this is a tree exclusively for acre plus properties.

Zelkova has been promoted as an elm substitute by it is a sorry substitute. It rivals maples for bad crotch angles and congested growth. There is also some evidence that it is less disease and insect pest resistant than it was originally thought to be. I would take chance on one of the Dutch Elm Disease resistant elms long before I'd plant one of these.

Sugar maples are nice trees but finicky about growing conditions. The Lorax will frown but I think you ought to consider maples of a more manageable size like Acer triflorum or Acer pseudosieboldianum. The former I know to have zero chance of becoming invasive as seed viability is in the low single digit percent range.

I've never worked with Quercus acutissima. I have to refer you to The Lorax who doubtless knows more about this tree than I do but I've rarely met a bad oak (although I'm not overly fond of Quercus pallustris)

Praire Fire is a good crab apple cultivar but a little too visually noisy for my tastes.

What is it that attracts you to Catalpa speciosa over Gymnocladus dioicus?

TheLorax
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Quercus acutissima (Sawtooth Oak) is going to be banned in this state because it has become a cause for concern. I do have personal experience with this species. Many personal experiences with it actually. Could not suggest it.

I've not known Acer triflorum to be invasive however it is susceptible to verticillium wilt but even then I haven't seen much of that around here. Can't say as I've ever even seen an Acer pseudosieboldianum anywhere out in natural areas but I know like zip nadda nothing about the tree as I've not even tried to propagate this one. Should I try to propagate one for sport with a single digit germination rate? Got seed? That might be one to play with. I so love to bang my head against the wall every once in a while.

Chionanthus virginicus (White Fringetree) would be an excellent choice.

I personally like Prunus virginiana. Not all that familiar with the 'Shubert Select' but presume it's a chip off the old block and will sucker. Which isn't a problem in the right location. You could end up with five plants for the price of one.

I personally love the White Flowered Dogwood... Cornus alternifolia. The shapes of those are marvelous.

Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry is nothing more than a fancy Amelanchier arborea x A. laevis. Nice enough. I'd try one here.

I always love an Eastern Redbud! Get two! No get three ;)

The thing I don't particularly care for with many crabapples is those fruits that don't seem to be desirable to critters until everything palatable is stripped from other trees and shrubs. Those things are like stepping on marbles. Ouch. Barring that, 'Praire Fire' is a very loud tree color wise. It can be somewhat overpowering but I know people who love it!

I'll still stand behind a DED resistant Elm. Love em love em love em! Want more more more!

ATJaguarX
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Thanks for the tips! I'm going to have to look up all these scientific names. :wink:

TheLorax
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Well then, we're even. I'm always stuck looking up the common names. There are so darn many different common names I get confused and frustrated. Figure if I always use both I will lessen somebody else's stress level.

Tip- cut and paste the scientific name into some search engine and then click on images and see if you even like the looks of the suggested plant before you start getting into more technical information. Everybody has different tastes and some trees may make you want to stick your finger down your throat so no point in wasting any more time on the ones that make you scratch your head wondering why it was even suggested.

MaineDesigner
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Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

I'm a complete dunce when it comes to common names. Early in my career it was drummed into me that we never use common names and occasionally I find myself scratching my head trying to figure out what plant the client is referring to. White Flowered Dogwood was completely new to me, I've always heard them called Pagoda Dogwoods when common names are used.

Many understory trees are relatively short lived. This would include Cornus alternifolia (wonderful tree but it really hates dry conditions), Cercis canadensis (ditto) and to a a slightly lesser extent Amelanchiers and Chionanthus. I very rarely see a Redbud or a Pagoda Dogwood much more than 20 to 30 years old. Under ideal circumstances they can get much older but the really old specimens are more the exception than the rule. Amelanchiers usually did very well in Minnesota and Wisconsin but here in Northern New England where they are much more common in the wild they suffer severely from foliage diseases and borers. 'Autumn Brilliance' is a very nice selection if your local disease and insect pressures are low. If you are really concerned about low branching get a single trunked specimen rather than a clump. That would go for all the trees although I've never seen Chionanthus in anything other than clump/multi-trunked form.

ATJaguarX
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MaineDesigner wrote:Many understory trees are relatively short lived.
What... do they just die and you have dig them up and start over?
MaineDesigner wrote:That would go for all the trees although I've never seen Chionanthus in anything other than clump/multi-trunked form.
I went to see what this tree looked like. Isn't this a single trunk?

[url]https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/100658/[/url]
TheLorax wrote:Tip- cut and paste the scientific name into some search engine and then click on images
You've read my mind... this is what I've been doing since I do not know the scientific names of any of the trees that have been discussed.

MaineDesigner
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Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

Yes, many understory trees subscribe to the "live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse" model. Canker is one common cause of death but not the only one.

The tree you linked to, Chionanthus retusus, is the Asian species which is only fully hardy into Zone 6. The Lorax and I were referring to the native North American Fringe Tree, Chionanthus virginicus, which is hardy into Zone 4, possibly even Zone 3. The photos on your link posted by "ViburnumValley" are closer to the form I usually see.

TheLorax
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This is what mine look like-
https://www.ag.auburn.edu/hort/landscape/dbpages/images/309a.jpg

The American Fringetree can withstand our zone easily. The Asian can't.

Both use the common name fringe tree which is very confusing since they sell the Asian one around here far more than they sell the American one, why I don't know but they do. Have a mild winter with lots of snow cover and the Asian plant will make it. Have one normal winter and they're toast and people do ultimately end up watching them die before removing them. I've seen parts of the Asian fringe trees bloom with over half that never leafs out. Some people do get them to live if they're in Southern Illinois or if they have a microclimate on their property but you don't have a microclimate on your property.

Native Fringe Tree- Chionanthus virginicus
Asian Fringe Tree- Chionanthus retusus
South American Fringe Tree- Chionanthus pubescens (makes a great patio plant during the summer but you have to bring it in or it's deader than a doornail after one frost.

And to add insult to injury:
Another Asian Fringe Tree that isn't hardy in this area- Chionanthus pygmaeus

The common name of all of these different plants is... Fringetree.

And they sell all kinds of very attractive cultivars at nurseries around us and they frequently don't add in the full scientific name when selling the trees so you see a lot of tags like this that are nothing more than the Asian Fringe Tree "in cognito"-
'Serrulatus' Fringe Tree
Taiwan Fringe Tree
'China Snow' Fringe Tree or Chionanthus 'China Snow'
White Lace Fringe Tree or Chionanthus 'White Lace'

I wish we had some truth in selling laws on the books regarding plants but seems as if every time some public interest group raises the issue the nursery industry shoots it down faster than you can sing the ABC's.

If you are going to be plant shopping in the near future, take the scientific names of the plants you want to buy with you so that you don't end up being separated from your money by accident. If in doubt, ask them what it is exactly that they are selling you. That generally flushes out the ones that will die on you. If they don't know what they're selling you or claim to not know, don't buy it or ask them to order the one you want.

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

This is a great thread and worth bumping in any case. I was referring to it to get some ideas about planting distances. But I'm still a little confused.:?

I have a volunteer Acer rubrum that grew up next to a tiny bog swale I made this year -- actually this seedling was there already and I had to accommodate it or the swale would've been a bit bigger. Anyway, it's a very healthy looking whip, about 3 ft tall. But it was about 6' from the house so I decided to dig it up after a good soaking rain we had yesterday. I stuck it in a big wide/shallow black tub that a Kalmia came in -- the root ball was surprisingly shallow... I hope I didn't cut off too much roots if it was growing wider -- dug about a 15" circle.

I want to plant it in the front yard downslope from where I planted some apples for espalier 7" inside of the fence so there will be moisture even during the drought. And I'll dig a swale for it upslope of where I'll plant. So my question is, how much distance away from the fence should I give it? It's so hard to judge when the Maple is just a little ol' whip, but I don't want it to shade or root-compete with the apples.
I also plan to plant a Paw Paw tree on the Front yard side of the fence, although the Paw Paw can stand light shade. So I guess the proper question is how far from the Paw Paw?

Today, I'd positioned it about 14' away (this is why I put it in a tub -- so I can move it around while I try to figure out where to put it) but that doesn't seem enough after reading this:
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.
[url]https://www.hort.uconn.edu/Plants/v/vibpru/vibpru1.html[/url]
(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.
Where it is positioned now, it's about 1/3 of the distance from the fence to the sidewalk (I think the fence is about 42' from the sidewalk). I don't want it close enough to the sidewalk for the roots to affect it, but otherwise, I think I have enough room. I just didn't want to put it too far away or the water from the Apple tree watering won't reach it. Hm. I'd better make sure it's at least 40' from the NEIGHBOR's house. Any other thoughts? :?:

Ed: Forgot to mention the location for the Acer is directly NORTH of the fence.

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