Opinions on which tree to plant...

jdsuownerJuly 5, 2011

Hi guys, so we have a dilemna and were looking for some opinions on which trees to plant in our backyard. We have narrowed it down to either a birch tree, chinese elm, locust, fruitless liquid amber, or willow tree. We have dogs so we cant have any poisonous fruit falling off or leaves. The trees will be about 20 ft from our house. They will get full sun and be sitting in the middle of a lawn that gets watered often. There will be no bare soil around it, just lawn.

Any opinions? Thanks!

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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Chinese Elm and locust can sucker. Willows are subject to some sort of disease that escapes memory at the moment. I think birch trees would be a good choice.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 8:35PM
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Regular liquid ambers destroy sidewalks and just may ruin your foundation.
My neighbors birch tree is always dropping branches and stuff. They just cut the top of it off also which is done quite frequently around here, so its kinda ugly right now.
I'd rather clean up after a crape myrtle...at least they are pretty and have nice looking bark in winter.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 10:22PM
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toyon(USDA 9b/Sunset 14 CA. (Sacram)

It helps to know where you are (what climate) and what you are looking for in a tree. The trees you mentioned aren't a match for all climates and serve entirely different roles in the landscape.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 4:48AM
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Crape Myrtles do drop flower puffs and in the fall they drop all their leaves which turn some brilliant shade of orange or scarlet. Nice thing is what they drop is small enough to be chopped up and thrown in the grass catcher when you mow the lawn.

Crapes require only minimal pruning which mostly consists of removing sprouts from the roots.

One thing you have to watch is do not let a weed whacker anywhere near it -even when it's full-grown. The beautiful bark is thin and easily cut through. The number one cause of Crape mortality in So Cal is weed whackers.

I have six Crapes.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 1:22PM
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Jdsuowner, I believe that a distance of 20 feet is probably far enough away from your foundation that a nonfruiting liquidambar styracaflua (Cherokee has lovely red fall color) would not attack the underpinnings of your house. If this is your first choice, however, by all means check with someone knowledgeable at a good nursery in your area.
The Chinese elm has a couple of significant drawbacks. You should know that many folks are allergic to it. The allergy manifests itself in late summer, early fall, when the little seed pods open. The pollen is exceedingly fine, so families may be obliged to keep windows closed at the hottest time of the year, just to keep the allergens out. They also need frequent pruning. Someone called Chinese elms "the arborists' Full Employment Act."

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 9:20AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I would look for a deep-rooted tree since it will be in a lawn and get constant surface water.

Otherwise you will end up with a lawn full of tree roots running on the surface. Makes for an icky lawn that is hard to mow and promotes suckering of the tree.

What style is your house and landscape? How big is the area? Are you going to have branches hanging over your neighbor's yard or will you shade them out, creating conflicts?

Heavy shade is going to kill off your lawn around the tree. Is that going to work for you? Just something to keep in mind.

A big tree is a nice thing but it creates about as many problems as it solves.

Willows belong by a lake away from all structures and pipes. They are not for small properties. There are trees that look very similar to Willows without their problems.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 2:21PM
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If your yard becomes fully shaded and the dogs play there a lot, you may have difficulty keeping a lawn.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 6:57PM
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The birch is very pretty and well behaved, however it is very short lived here. The folks planted three in the lawn and all three were dead within 20 years. The other trees you mention I don't think I would want in my lawn 20 feet from the house, as they get too big and would eliminate any successful lawn. Al

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 10:53PM
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