[originally posted 10/19/07]
When I moved to my place here in the country, there were precious few trees on the property. Back in the seventies the farmers had determinedly cleared the land for more production. Obscene production I call it, but anyway… I decided first off to plant more trees.
What I didn’t know was how difficult it would be, but now many years down the line I have some that survived and they have changed the landscape here. Different birds, changed light conditions, different garden chores are a few of those changes.
Here are some of the deciduous trees growing within my yard:
Silver Maples: I didn’t plant these, and I don’t like silver maples very much, but they are fast growers and people of the past seem to have loved them, because there are plenty throughout the territory around here. These are the largest and oldest trees on the property. Clear yellow fall color.
Red Maples: I have one large one that was here and planted some on the back part of the property, they are similar to the silvers in some ways, but a little more elegant in growth and with cherry red autumn color. That is their one fine virtue.
Norway Maple: grown in the ash grove. These are graceful, deep green foliaged trees. I wouldn’t put them in a garden area because their greedy roots make life hell for perennials, but they are very nice out in the field or by the street. Gold fall color.
Scarlet Oak: one of the first trees I planted, it is a very slow grower, but I appreciate it because it is an oak, one of my favorite trees. I plant oaks for posterity.
Burr Oak: one small one I planted and one larger one that grew from cast off acorns from the old tree the former owner felled. I don’t get to see my own trees much because they are in out of the way places in the yard, but these are the native trees to this area and they grow into great, craggy, gorgeous trees -eventually. I enjoy viewing the Savannah-like plantations that grow on some of the farms around here. I am saddened when I see how many die and are cut down.
Green Ash: someday down the road the Emerald Ash borer is going to get them, but these are the trees that survived the drought conditions under which I tried to plant many small trees many years ago. They are about fifteen years old and grow in a grove on the back corner of the property. I would be happy about them except for the Damocles sword of those borers… Yellow fall color and fast growers.
Mulberries: again, they were here. They grow just like weeds, seeding themselves everywhere. The most charitable thing I can say is that they attract birds away from the cherries. That is the plan, anyway.
Fruit trees: some of the first I planted, the Sweet cherries have lasted longer than the sour ones. I lost two of those in the past few years, and the peaches have been short lived here. Apples do well, and I have a few antique varieties, and two that grew from seedlings. One lone pear tree which is unhappy since I allowed the grape vines to grow over it.
Red bud trees: these are fairly new plantings, but have done very well and the ones by the evergreens look truly beautiful in spring.
Chinese dogwoods: surviving, but not thriving. these are lovely trees, which are supposed to bloom eventually. They need more acid pH and moisture than they get in my garden. As is true of the regular dogwood I grow. That is suffering, as well, but blooms well. Even if it hadn’t been a hard year for trees these past few seasons, the dogwoods would still struggle without help from ironrite and watering frequently.
Fringe trees:most of these are doing well, but the one exposed to the farmers chemicals looks almost done for. They like my garden and bloom beautifully. Fall color is clear golden yellow with little gray blue olive shaped berries.
Amelanchier: I grow two types, and they bloom well in spring. Some years they have loads of berries, which don’t taste like much to us, but the birds like them. Usually a gorgeous mesh of orangey-red in the fall.
Sycamore: I have one that I planted in the back part of the property. It grew large quite fast and is a very fine rural garden tree. Yellow fall color.
Crabapples: wonderful trees for my garden, even if they suffer a bit from leaf drop in the summer. The flowers in spring, and the good form of the trees make these my favorite ornamental tree. I grow several types, Prairie fire and Snowdrift, weeping Red Jade. Golden fall color, beautiful persistent red fruits.
Contorted filbert: I love these trees, I have two, and they are the best thing for the winter landscape. They do have water sprouts and the new influx of the Japanese beetle plague have skeletonized the leaves, but no matter what, I would grow them. Their green catkins in spring, and their twisted curly twigs make them artistic and attractive.
Weeping willow: I planted these much to the consternation of my neighbor, but I love their sweeping willow withes 🙂 I know they are weak trees, I know they invade drain systems, but I like them. This is a tree I planted only in recent years- the growth was phenomenal. Pale yellow fall color.
|My Sweet Gum Tree
The Emerald Ash borers did indeed decimate my Green Ash trees. They are now slated for next years firewood pile.
I have planted three Liquidambar styraciflua or Sweet Gum trees for their beautiful autumn color. Some people hate their seed balls, and I never knew why until I was cleaning them from my son’s Georgia driveway. They are not a problem in my lawn, but a nuisance on a Southern driveway! I recently saw an ingenious scoop in a garden store and I think that is the answer for that problem.