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View Full Version : Need a small, Clean Ornamental Tree


White Gardens
10-25-2008, 06:58 PM
So I just finished the major part of this install. I feel I need some height in the backyard and I want to use an ornamental tree of some sort. I originally was thinking of a mimosa, but realized it would get just a bit too big and potentially weedy.

I also have been thinking of a "White" red bud tree as they are a bit smaller than regular red buds, but do they become weedy like red buds. I'm drawing a blank.

The flagstone path is going to be lined with small "blueish" perennials to help define the path, and there will also be a couple of prickly pear cactus and two Ruby Ribbons switch grasses.

Any thoughts.

123656

White Gardens
10-25-2008, 07:03 PM
Also, I want to not use a Japenese Maple.

Kate Butler
10-25-2008, 07:40 PM
Do you mean (that with all that stone) you want something that does not shed it's leaves (a conifer of some sort)?

White Gardens
10-25-2008, 09:11 PM
Decidous would be fine. The owners have a leaf blower to keep the leaves away. If they didn't then a conifer would have worked.

I was originally going for a Southwest type theme and I thought the Mimosa would look good with the grasses and cactus, but I'm finding out the the Mimosa seeds itself prolifically, the flowers are sticky, and it looks to be a bigger tree then I expected. The rock color didn't quit turn out "terracotta" like I had hoped too.

I'm just looking for something not too trashy, with a maintainable shape in a small area. I feel a woody tree of some sort would help give me some height and fill in the area better.

Also, I'm trying to make it a unique space and not use some of the more common trees you see everywhere, including red-buds, but the white variety to me would work.

I've also thought about a rose of sharon, but It wouldn't get quite as high as I would like.

Oh, and I'm also in zone 5. I might be able to use a warmer zone tree as it seems to have a micro-climate going on.

Kate Butler
10-26-2008, 08:36 AM
Rose of Sharon are crazy-prolific seeders, although easy to pull out until their second year.

'Canada Red' chokecherry will make a nice smallish tree and has red leaves. It can be a single trunk or multiple - depending on what your wholesaler can acquire for you.

White Gardens
10-26-2008, 10:37 AM
My supplier was telling me that there is a sterile variety of Rose of Sharon, but I don't know if I believe him or not.

The chokecherry is a perfect shape and size, but I'm trying to stay away from the purple foliage on this one, only because of all the purples and browns going on in the back yard. I'm afraid it will "wash out" in all the color.

I never thought a green tree would be my first choice.

Thanks for all your help Kate, I'm sure your shaking your head by now. I keep hitting my head on the desk every 20 minutes or so. :hammerhead:

I'm half tempted to go with a wind-mill palm and try to get about 10-15 years out of it before it would get too big.

Tom B.
10-26-2008, 02:39 PM
Will any of these work ?

Golden raintree
Paperbark maple
Tatarian maple
Amur maple
Serviceberry
Hawthorn
Crabapple

Kate Butler
10-26-2008, 06:35 PM
Will any of these work ?

Golden raintree
Paperbark maple
Tatarian maple
Amur maple
Serviceberry
Hawthorn
Crabapple

I had thought about recommending hawthorn (Crataegus), but many folks are really resistant with the thorny aspect. Serviceberry (Amelanchier) would be my next suggestion. Crabapples are wonderful provided you get a variety that your local birds like (small fruited variety) - otherwise, they can be messy.

Tom B.
10-26-2008, 06:46 PM
I had thought about recommending hawthorn (Crataegus), but many folks are really resistant with the thorny aspect. Serviceberry (Amelanchier) would be my next suggestion. Crabapples are wonderful provided you get a variety that your local birds like (small fruited variety) - otherwise, they can be messy.

There are thornless varieties of Hawthorns and I believe the Spring Snow Crabapple is pretty much fruitless.

JNyz
10-26-2008, 09:34 PM
Syrax Japonic [japanese snowbell] would be my choice, a very under used tree.

White Gardens
10-26-2008, 10:39 PM
Fruit trees have been a thorn in my side the last couple of years. Crab apples especially. Fruitless would be great, but what has been happening is that the Japanese beetles have been such a destroyer of fruit trees the last 5 years. I'm so anti-chemical when it comes to flowering trees only because I don't like killing off pollinators. Seven works good after the blooming period, but to get the best affect, imidicloprid (SP?), or Merit has worked to keep trees from being de-foliated, but, since it's systemic, does it work it's way into the bloom and kill pollinators.

It so aggravating, and I'm sure all you guys think I'm an idiot and can't choose a tree that will work. I'm just picky, even if my client isn't

I do like the idea of a Hawthorn though, I like the shape and size, and just might work in this situation.

Thanks for all your help to everyone that has posted, definitively helps to get the opinions of others who like to be unique and creative.

lot0210
10-27-2008, 12:55 AM
Dog wood would look nice in that area.

LawnTamer
10-27-2008, 01:07 AM
What about a flowering pear? Not a lot of mess, beautiful blossoms, nice smell, and they are about bullet proof, Japanese beetles here don't touch them.

Smallaxe
10-27-2008, 03:48 AM
Wiegelias are my favorite and one day I will learn to spell it.

PHS
10-27-2008, 06:14 PM
Syrax Japonic [japanese snowbell] would be my choice, a very under used tree.

Styrax, that's what I was thinking too but I don't know what grows well in that area. Agree that it's under used and great small tree.

Plant Buyer 83
10-27-2008, 06:35 PM
I really like Tom's suggestion of Paperbark Mape (Acer griseum) great choice for small area and has one of the best peeling barks out there. You may consider the Samaras to be messy though.

JNyz
10-27-2008, 07:01 PM
Styrax, that's what I was thinking too but I don't know what grows well in that area. Agree that it's under used and great small tree.


It would do great in IL. I never put one in where the client did not like it. Once I use it I usually get a referal out of it. People are tired of the same old trees.

SimonCX
10-27-2008, 09:45 PM
How about a weeping cherry or upright cherry, there easy to take care of and can be prunned every 2-3 years to keep it the size you want for a while.

White Gardens
10-27-2008, 09:56 PM
Paper Bark Maples that I have seen get up to 50- 100 feet. Would be way to big for that area. U Of I spent 40,000 on transplanting a paper-bark maple that was in the way of construction. Supposedly it is one of the oldest and largest paper-bark maples in the US.

http://www.life.uiuc.edu/plantbio/digitalflowers/Aceraceae/20.htm

The Styrax looks to get up to 40 feet also, judging by some of the info I've seen on-line. Looks to be an awesome tree, and I plan on using it somewhere else in the future. I never even knew it existed.

I think I'm now going with a Autumn Brilliance Service-Berry. I think the size and shape is exactly what I'm looking for, and it is an under-used tree in this area and it will get me the results I want.

Thanks again, this thread turned out to be good education on ornamental trees.

44DCNF
10-27-2008, 11:12 PM
How about a gingko?

Swampy
10-28-2008, 01:09 AM
How about a gingko?

thinking the same thing but either a male or a fruit less variety

JNyz
10-28-2008, 08:26 AM
Paper Bark Maples that I have seen get up to 50- 100 feet. Would be way to big for that area. U Of I spent 40,000 on transplanting a paper-bark maple that was in the way of construction. Supposedly it is one of the oldest and largest paper-bark maples in the US.

http://www.life.uiuc.edu/plantbio/digitalflowers/Aceraceae/20.htm

The Styrax looks to get up to 40 feet also, judging by some of the info I've seen on-line. Looks to be an awesome tree, and I plan on using it somewhere else in the future. I never even knew it existed.

I think I'm now going with a Autumn Brilliance Service-Berry. I think the size and shape is exactly what I'm looking for, and it is an under-used tree in this area and it will get me the results I want.



Thanks again, this thread turned out to be good education on ornamental trees.

I have never seen one 30 feet let alone 40. I purchased one 5 foot strax for an install in 1992 and today it is only 14 feet. It is one of the slowest growing trees. By the time it gets 30 feet the client and I will be long gone.

Landscapes are very hard to plan for over 12 years. We are already replacing trees at commercial sites that we planted 10 years ago.

Tom B.
10-29-2008, 11:26 PM
I'm not too familiar with Paperbark Maples much over 30' either. Great choice on the 'Autumn Brilliance' Serviceberry. They are one of my favorites. Are clumps available in your area?

White Gardens
10-30-2008, 12:47 AM
Yes, we have some clumping varieties, or hedge/shrub like varieties in our area too. I'm looking towards a tree form for this area in the landscaping. I think I'll be able to come back in every year to achieve the shape I'm looking for.

Marcos
10-30-2008, 01:34 AM
Alot of your options are nice especially redbud & serviceberry.
But I think you shouldn't be too quick to dismiss the 1st one you brought up, the mimosa.
They're not as "weedy" as you'd expect... this far north!

Man! And you talk about a magnet for hummingbirds :clapping: when they start to bloom!!

I've had numerous specimens in our own landscape for several years now. Not ONCE have I had to pull invading suckers or saplings away from ajacent areas!
Believe it or not...we have one mimosa that grows 2' away from our Bryant heat pump /AC, and serves as a extremely efficient "cooling umbrella" to keep the sun off the unit during the HOT summer afternoons!
It just takes careful foresight in pruning to make this kind of effort pay off! :)

If you're concered about the height of Albizia julibrissin, just make sure it's pruned correctly going-in, and show the customer "the basics" if you're not intending to service this tree as far as maintanance.

The fallen leaves are no big deal. They mulch or filter into the grass well.

mdmowerman
11-04-2008, 07:31 PM
Crepe Myrtle??? many different colors/sizes

Whitey4
11-04-2008, 11:33 PM
I think a mimosa is a bit too dirty for a rock bed install. They seed like crazy, and they drop 3 times a year. I have one on my own property... they spring up like weeds.... this one is in back of the house, and I get seedlings in the front!

I like the idea of a weeping cherry.... and if you can do apps, most fruit trees can bring you yearly income with a fruit inhibitor spraying every year.

White Gardens
11-04-2008, 11:51 PM
So, you guys will like this one.

My customer went to the nursery to scope out some trees.

I didn't go with the service berry, the nurseryman showed me the Autumn Brilliance growing over a patio, and I seen how bad the berries were, and we also deduced that it shouldn't be planted in as much sun as it would have received in the rock bed.

What was picked out, a Red-Jewel Crab apple. (I think it was a red jewel). It has a smaller cherry like fruit that is extremely hard and stays on the tree for most of the winter.

I really didn't want a crab, (way too common around here) but the customer trumped me, I was running out of options unless I special ordered something.

I will say, it's a good shape, fruits aren't messy in any way, and by god, if I get any Japanese Beetles on it, I'm ripping it out and throwing it through the door of my supplier. (he assured me, this variety doesn't attract them)

White Gardens
11-04-2008, 11:51 PM
Crepe Myrtle??? many different colors/sizes

Unfortunately, not hardy around here.

Marcos
11-05-2008, 10:55 AM
What was picked out, a Red-Jewel Crab apple. (I think it was a red jewel). It has a smaller cherry like fruit that is extremely hard and stays on the tree for most of the winter.

I really didn't want a crab, (way too common around here) but the customer trumped me, I was running out of options unless I special ordered something.

I will say, it's a good shape, fruits aren't messy in any way, and by god, if I get any Japanese Beetles on it, I'm ripping it out and throwing it through the door of my supplier. (he assured me, this variety doesn't attract them)

Not surprised at all...especially if the tree was in full fruit.
Homeowners are suckers for that.

Be sure to teach the homeowner how to prune it properly as to help reduce the likelyhood of future powdery mildew problems; as this can become a serious problem sometimes with Red Jewells, particularly in somewhat poorly ventilated "boxed-in" conditions like it looks like you have in your photo.

Marcos
11-05-2008, 11:09 AM
I think a mimosa is a bit too dirty for a rock bed install. They seed like crazy, and they drop 3 times a year. I have one on my own property... they spring up like weeds.... this one is in back of the house, and I get seedlings in the front!





For SOME reason...we just don't have the same issues with mimosas in S. Ohio, Whitey! :waving:

Maybe it's because of the (generally) colder winters of the Midwest, and/or the somewhat shorter growing season?
I don't know!

I just know that in addition to our OWN back yard, I have at least half a dozen clients around here with fully mature mimosas, with seemingly next to no problem with seeing any mimosa seedlings emerge in adjacent areas of their landscape.

White Gardens
11-05-2008, 11:28 AM
Not surprised at all...especially if the tree was in full fruit.
Homeowners are suckers for that.

Be sure to teach the homeowner how to prune it properly as to help reduce the likelyhood of future powdery mildew problems; as this can become a serious problem sometimes with Red Jewells, particularly in somewhat poorly ventilated "boxed-in" conditions like it looks like you have in your photo.


Thanks for the heads up, I'll get the proper pruning techniques for this specific variety. I told her I'll come back and do it next season.

We generally have a fair amount of wind movement in this smaller town, and a good breeze gets in that back yard. but I agree, there will be some humid, hot, still nights in the summer and I"ll have to watch out for mildew.

jaybird24
11-09-2008, 11:01 AM
If she's sold on a crabapple, look at the 'Molten Lava' variety. I prefer the form over the 'Red Jewel' around a patio. Both hold their berries through winter, so birds will get them before they hit the ground. It is more disease resistant also, the leaves keep a nice green till the fall.

jaybird24
11-09-2008, 11:14 AM
Sorry I was thinking 'Red Jade', a horizontal branching tree. I still think if you prune the Molten lava up it will be nicer, but for an upright try 'Sugartyme' very disease resistant. I still like the 'Autumn Brilliance' too, what about a Red Buckeye, or 'Pagoda Dogwood'. I know your customer picked one out already, I've just seen that variety drop it's leaves by midsummer, and rarely does it not get some sort of leaf problem.

White Gardens
11-09-2008, 01:11 PM
Ya, project has been done for a week now.

I wanted to get some pics of the area, but everything has been frosted good so it doesn't look the greatest. I was going to wait till next season to do pics there and on two other properties I installed earlier this season.

Thanks for the post jaybird, I like how this thread has turned into a great discussion on trees for small areas.