How do you feel about the Goldenrain Tree?

peachymomo(Ca 8)May 2, 2011

I'm thinking of planting a Goldenrain Tree in my front yard and I was wondering if anyone had opinions/advice about them. I haven't noticed any around town but I saw one when I was in Japan and I thought it was beautiful, and then I saw that it was on the Master Gardner's list of top plants for Sonoma County so I figure it should do well here. I want a smallish tree that won't cast very dense shade and has a nice display, I think the Goldenrain Tree fits that description pretty well.

Thoughts, anyone?

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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

The germane question is: how do you feel about pulling hundreds of seedlings, and having your neighbors complain about it too?


    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 3:01PM
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Dick_Sonia(Sunset 17)

One of the problems with common names is that they may be shared by more than one species. Koelreuteria paniculata is often called "goldenrain tree" and so is Koelreuteria bipinnata. The former is more problematic than the latter with regard to seedlings, though both can be invasive. Koelreuteria paniculata is hardier, though, so your exact climate might be limiting. Koelreuteria paniculata also has two clones, 'Rose Lantern' and 'September' that are minor improvements over the type. To make things even more confusing, Laburnum anagyroides and its hybrids are called "goldenchain trees" and these two common names are often muddled. Best to use the botanical names so you know exactly what it is you are considering.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 3:13PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

A Master Gardener's site in CA most likely has the most...erm...common common name, and Sonoma is no exception. Nonetheless I agree with botanical names. They're nice looking for a while but messy and you'll likely have an extra chore.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 3:54PM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

Hmm... seems like the seedlings coming up everywhere complaint is pretty common with flowering trees, I known I've seen that said about mimosa trees and redbud trees, and I have personal experience with acacia tree seedlings. Is there a small, blooming tree that doesn't have that problem? Maybe prunus, malus, or pyrus trees?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 4:58PM
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I have a Koelreuteria bipinnata and it has yet to produce any seedlings.

If you want a flowering tree with no chance of seedlings, then you might want to consider Chitalpa tashkentensis. It is a sterile hybrid between Catalpa bignonioides and Chilopsis linearis.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 6:45PM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

I'm thinking that since most of the trees I like the looks of appear to produce seedlings I might just go ahead and choose to deal with the seedlings. I'm not too worried about angering my neighbors with flowering tree seedlings because they are all allowing their blackberries to invade my backyard - I've got them coming from all directions but the road. An eye for an eye, a seedling for a runner? ;oP

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 11:43AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

There are seedlings and then there are seedlings. A Modesto Ash in Simi Valley can produce HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IF NOT MILLIONS of seedlinge EVERY YEAR. Whew. I'm all tuckered out from yelling that.

I would not plant anything like that. The seeds get into mature shrubs and hedges and you don't notice a tree growing until they are too big to remove without trashing the hedge. I also have a black locust that gets seeds, but the dozen or so seedlings that germinate each year are no problem at all to pull up.

My next door neighbor has two of the bipinnata and they have not reseeded.

What are the other trees that you like the looks of?


    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 10:24PM
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Perhaps Cassia leptophylla instead?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 11:59PM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

Cassia leptophylla looks beautiful, but I'm in Sunset zone 14 and they say '15, 16, 20-25, 27, H1, H2' so I think it's a little too cold here for it.

Other trees that I've been thinking of are the Western Redbud (I asked about those tree/shrubs a while ago and didn't get any positive feedback about them.) Smoke Tree (Cotinus spp,) Washington Thorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum,) Olive (Olea spp,) Carolina Laurel (Prunus caroliniana,) and Chitalpa (Chitalpa tashkentensis.)

I have room for two or three small trees in a line, I was originally planning on having three of the same but now I'm thinking it might be better to mix it up. I have room for one of the larger trees (25-40') so if I have one of them it will have to be mixed with one or two smaller trees. There is a good tree nursery very close to my house so I plan on going there to get the trees and I will ask for their advice before buying, but I wanted to get input from people who won't be getting any of my money first. : )

Thank you!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 11:59AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I saw smoke trees the other day at Descanso Gardens. They are beautiful.
Have you considered Chinese Fringe Tree? I just LOVE mine. It is a slowish grower, not too dense, medium sized, gorgeous white flowers in spring. It's my favorite tree. Here is mine last year, a few years old:


    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 2:09PM
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What's wrong with Western Redbuds?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 8:46PM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

I didn't get any positive responses about them, but I haven't given up the idea of planting one. There is a good nursery just down the street that specializes in trees and they have large redbuds already trained into a standard form. They aren't cheap but I think it would be worth the cost to have a nice specimen right away.

However I did decide that I would rather have a mix of trees instead of three of the same, so now I'm trying to decide which trees to mix.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 9:31AM
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