Replacement trees for z8b Mobile

Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)February 22, 2009

Hi. We are having six big trees taken out from our yard. I want to plant some nice deciduous trees which won't end up creating a hazard with hurricanes. So no pine trees-- we're taking out four monsters, any one of which could destroy the house if it fell. And the water oak with all its seedlings to pull each year, and the rot inside the trunk, it is already down and hauled off to the lumber yard and to friends who want some good firewood. Then the blooming blankedy-blank sweet gum with all its prickly balls and roots destroying the garage, it will be going too.

I know that ghinkgo biloba is a slow growing tree, but I do so want to put one out front. Maybe a couple of cypress which are native to this area, they won't make knees if they are not submerged in water. I'd love to have a good Japanese maple which is always attractive in smaller yards. It won't be out in the open, but standing near the neighbor's oaks which will keep it shaded in the summer heat. A river birch (betula negra) can be messy and have shallow roots, but it grows quickly. Nothing to grow into the power lines, but we are thinking of burying the power and cable pretty soon.

I am looking for some new species of crape myrtle which are NOT supposed to be knuckled and which can grow pretty tall--just look at the ones in the middle of Dauphin St. down by the Springhill Medical Center here in Mobile, they are magnificent.

Redbuds grow fairly fast, but I'm not sure I want one. Then I really want an American holly which will stay green and over by the north side of the yard it won't keep too much of the yard in the shade.

Is anyone else planting trees this year? What are you considering? Any ideas for us? I will be buying soon, and with slowgrowers I want to buy as large a speciman as I can find.Within reason on price, of course. :)

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feathertrader(z8 AL)

We put in Drake Elms two years ago, they were hard to come by then, but noticed the box stores are selling them now. They grow fast, have wonderful wispy smaller leaf (fell in love with them at a park close by)

This year took out a few maples that were to close to the house before they got too big. So this got me thinking of putting in various trees on property.
We picked up two RedBuds and a River Birch. Also in the mood for large shrub/small tree forms. Picked up a Ligustrum and Turkey Fig. And a few smaller shrubs Hyrdrangia, Spirea and Firebush.
Still wanting a floral, fragrant tree to place close to our porch but haven't settled on it.
Since we have many large oaks we were looking for mostly ornamentals or trees that could provide a lower canopy to block undesirable view of one particular neighbor.
I'll be watching post for those with suggestions. Good luck

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 7:21PM
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Feathertrader, the Drake elm is now on my list to check out next time I go nursery shopping. Maybe before all the nurseries down here sequester things for their booths at the Festival of Flowers, I can find a couple and get them in the ground early.

Have you had a river birch before? When I lived on a bayou I planted one within 15 feet of the water. It grew xtremely fast, and it was a lovely shape, tannish peeling bark. The roots which were near the surface did not develop into heavy stumbling blocks like those of the magnolia grandiflora. It was open enough that high wind did not break limbs or tops out of it. In the 10 years after I planted it to the time I sold the house, it grew from about 6-7' to over 30'. The only problem I had with it was the smallish twigs it dropped. Grass grew under it fine, so did flowers, although I'd recommend something which spreads and doesn't need redigging or replanting very often. Something like leriope or bugleweed is perfect.

One of the fragrant trees that I love is a banana shrub. We called them "banana friscatti" and I have two sitting in tubs waiting to go in the ground after these pines are felled. The one which inspired me belongs to a friend who has it near her deck, and it is a good 20' tall, evergreen, hardy down here in Mobile. My young ones got nipped last year by the cold spells but came back out this year. They already have the banana-smelling florets on them (like tiny creamy yellow magnolia blossoms), and seem to be waiting for some heat to turn loose the sweet odor.
I'd look for the oldfashioned variety, since the newer ones may not grow into a small tree. Too bad that camellia
sasanquas don't smell, because they look good all winter long. I'd plant another dogwood, but the blight has made that a difficult choice to depend on.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 11:29AM
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Some nice oaks to consider are Scarlett and Shumard oaks. Red oak (Quercus rubra) is nice too; fairly fast growing, all of them.

Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea) is getting a lot of attention these days as an underused but desirable tree. You might want to look into it.

American holly is great, and I also like the hybrid cultivar called 'Savannah' - it is a hybrid of American holly and Dahoon holly, two native trees. Beautiful berries. Foster's holly #2 is similar.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 10:34PM
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I don't think crape myrtle is a native tree to Alabama. But I planted a Tuscarora Crape Myrtle, Matures to 20 to 30 feet. I planted this tree near my house so when it gets 30 ft tall and wide it will shade some of my front windows from the afternoon sun. I planted it 2 years ago. Got it for $5 (drought price) at Walmart it is 8 ft tall now. The branches don't get big enough to do any damage to the house.

Dogwood and red bud are native and usually don't get very large. BUT they don't usually like full sun and GROOW SLOOW. Also you can find a large variety of Dwarf and semi dwarf trees now. I have a Belle of Georgia Semi dwarf Peach tree that is also 2 years old, it is 10 ft tall already. Mature size is 12 ft x 12ft.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 9:26PM
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Scandia, thanks for your thoughts. I will look into the Tuscarora crape myrtle because the size is right, and I like diciduous trees in general.

Had not thought of fruit trees, since they are generally high maintenance. In Mass., dhubby has a marvelous peach tree developed by U of New Hampshire for cold climates, called 'Reliance' and it makes fantastic peaches, with so heavy a crop it was breaking its limbs.

For sentimental reasons, I will plant two hollies, and look for the hybrid 'Savannah'. Although slow growing, I was impressed by whatever kind of holly they plant in tiny holes along the streets of the French Quarter in New orleans. They have straight trunks, and make no mess at all. After cleaning up all the sweet gum balls, acorns and pine cones from the trees which we took out, that sounds really good--no mess.

But the river birch will probably the quick growing shade tree I plant. I probably won't live long enough to see it become a problem, just long enough to enjoy its dappled shade.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 12:00AM
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My Neighbor has some BEAUTIFUL hollies. Alas she does not know what kind they are. I think they are Christmas has some holly deals..2 plants for $7..
In reference to the Fruit tree. I have Never planted a fruit tree before. I bought it because it was a deal at $10. It is planted in Red clay. I mentioned it because it was so easy for me. I plan on planting another this year. Today mine began to bloom. PRETTY. It has been there for 2 years. I got 3 peaches last year when it was 1 year old. I hope I get more this year. YUM!!! I did drip water the tree for an hour every week the first summer, We had drought up here. And, I did give it a little water every day the first summmer.

You could probably find different colors in Crape Myrtle. Just read the labels for the fully grown size. The Tuscarora is a raspberry color.

Hollies are suppose to be Magical trees. For protection. Ahhh that is according to my neighbor..I do not know about magic.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 10:29PM
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Getting ready to dig up a nice Jap. maple from our lot down by the river. I saw it last night, it is still dormant but won't be for long with this weather. We predug the surface roots last May and wanted to get it sooner, but we would have killed it for sure if one of those big trees fell on it. Now they are gone, time to move it into place.

I've also ordered five Italian cypresses for the north side of the front yard where there are no power lines to complicate things. GREAT property demarcations. Then I can plant my roses in front of those, and the boxwood in front of that. I want this to be more naturalistic than formal, not all in a military row. Except you gotta put those cypresses in a row and then soften the flower bed in front of it. The cypresses are now 2-4' tall. My neighbor had a dream about them the other night, and she saw them planted where I just said. Is she psychic or WHAT! Well, maybe it IS the obvious spot for them, to use those trees to balance the drive way which is on the other side of the property. I'll go with her "vision."

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 2:55PM
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it sounds VERY nice. When you finish, can we see pictures???. Italian Cypress are so........regal looking.

What kind of Roses are you planting?

It sounds like you are very happy to have the blank canvas in your front yard.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 9:58PM
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catbird(z7 AL)

If you're planting any evergreens you might consider wax myrtles. They make a beautiful small tree or large shrub depending on whether you prune them up or not. The birds love the seeds and it's fun to watch the myrtle warblers, chickadees, etc. darting around when they're ripe. They do well in your area.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 5:23PM
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If you want an oak I recommend the Swamp Chestnut Oak, they grow wild over in the Blakely state park in Spanish Fort. They're longer lived than Water oak and they have a nice red color in the fall. The Overcup Oak is also a good oak, it doesn't get as tall as the others.

The Pignut Hickory and the Mockernut Hickory are also excellent trees with vivid yellow fall color. They are slower growing, but strong and long lived. Here's a Mockernut Hickory..

For an elm tree, the native Winged Elm is the best choice. The "Drake" elm is actually a Chinese elm and is becoming a weed in many areas.

For an evergreen tree the Spruce Pine is a good choice, they tend to grow lower and spread out compared to other pines.

Here's one down the street from me.

For some good trees consider going to the plant sale at the Botanical Gardens beginning tomorrow. I avoid the big box garden centers like the plague.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 11:13AM
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I forgot to also mention that the gift shop at Bellingrath Gardens also sells trees, I think they even sell the oaks I mentioned.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 11:19AM
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I spent about 30 minutes writing a reply to several of your posts above, and GW REJECTED my reply TWICE.

What is going on with this? If this gets through, I will try again.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 5:04PM
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Ok, I try again.
Love the mockernut. Don 't love the wax myrtle, much too unruly for a small yard, requires much pruning if left in a bed. Much prefer crape myrtle of the two.

I bought: ginkgo biloba because of yellow leaves and good root system. Swamp cypress just because I love them, and they stand up well to winds. One betula negra, river birch with 3 trunks, as close as we'll ever get to the lovely white birch up north, 5 Italian cypress as punctuation marks for the north property line where nothing is planted but where a polite two-faced landscaped bed is in the process of being dug as we speak. Then somewhere there will be one or two white Natchez crape myrtles, acer palmatum Japanese maple with lacy leaves, and a couple of confederate roses to the south property line. They will grow quickly and screen the sunporch from view by passing traffic.

Meanwhile this summer, I am creating some shade for my plants with a few big umbrellas and a 10x10' gazebo tent which JCPenney's had half price last week. The gazebo is being set up inside my ROOFLESS cement block garage which I fancy looks like an old ruin--which it is actually--but which has potential for containing my potted plants around its cement floor and hanging from its cement block walls. With the oak and sweet gum trees gone, it doesn't fill up with acorns, leaves, and spikey balls. One day, this will become my greenhouse.

I plan to attend the Botan Garden plant sale as early Friday as I can get there. Did not know they started on Thursday. And thanks for the tip about Bellingrath selling trees. It is time for us to visit the gardens again anyway.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 5:19PM
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