Saturday, July 24, 2010

Shade trees- such an important choice, such an investment! Here are some important things to look at BEFORE choosing your tree:
1. Location- sun all day, part of the day, not much of the day? How far from any existing structures will it be? This will limit how tall and wide your mature tree can be.
2. Size- as I said, how far it is from your house/ garage/ the street will define how large you can go. But also, how big is your house? It's not a good idea to choose a Scarlet Oak whose mature size is upwards of 60' if you live in a little bungalow on a small lot. Let's be reasonable...
3. Shade- do you want an ornamental tree (smaller, blooming, decorative) or do you need this tree to shade your house?
4. Patience- will you be able to wait a few years (5-10) for this tree to get some size? Or do you need a faster growing tree to satisfy you? Be honest! But also, be reasonable... :)
These are for you to think and talk about. When you come to the nursery, be ready to talk about these things. We can't help you make the right choice unless you can answer these questions.

That being said, here are some great trees that are a good replacement for a fallen walnut tree. I am assuming you have a) lots of space, b) sun and c) you want a shade tree.
(And, FYI, nursery(wo)men look down on walnut trees. Great wood, messy yard trees which exude a root toxin called juglone. They kill out most other plants that you might want to grow underneath.)

1. Have you considered a Linden tree? Beautiful heart-shaped leaves. A perfectly symmetrical shape and wonderful medium size. Here is what JF Schmidt says about them (from whom we buy our Lindens).

2. Oaks- the oak family (Quercus) is large and lovely. Here are a few we recommend.
---The Scarlet Oak (Quercus rubra): A large, round or oval headed, fast growing tree to 80 feet with a 60 to 80 foot spread. Attractive deep green foliage turns a beautiful red-orange in fall. An excellent shade tree or street tree and for large scale effects in institutional planting. *this tree is in my front yard- roughly 60' H. My house is a three storey 1917 "town house". It is amazing!!*

---Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa): Bur oak or mossycup oak is one of the most majestic of the native North American oaks. It is a medium to large sized deciduous oak with a broad-spreading, rounded crown. Acorn cups are covered with a bur near the rim, hence the common names. It is native to a variety of habitats in central and eastern North America. Best growth occurs in bottomland soils. In Missouri, it typically occurs in low woods and stream valleys in the Ozark region.

3. Autumn Purple Ash- seriously. The emerald ash borer is not here yet and these trees have been proving to be resilient to this threat! Don't hassle me about this! This is an amazingly beautiful tree. It is a rapid grower and a seedless variety of the White Ash. It tolerates moist conditions but is drought tolerant after being established. It is an excellent street and lawn tree and has glossy foliage that finishes truly purple in the fall! It will be about 50' H x W at maturity. It needs no pruning as it's lowest branches start far up the trunk.

Thanks for the inquiry! We at FTN love being able to pair the person to the plant, especially trees; such a long-lived investment. Leave comments if you have more questions! (Also, the first picture is a fully mature Red Oak in Belgium, courtesy of Wikimedia. You can see an fascinating chateau on a lake in the background! Amazing)

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