Laurel Oak or Royal Poinciana for shade in large lot

nessz79_10aJuly 19, 2010

Hi everyone- long-time lurker, but I rarely post. :)

We own a narrow, but very long property- 75' by 660'. In our backyard, we have a good stretch fenced in. It is still relatively immature with little shade as only grass was here when we moved in 5 years ago. We have a couple slash pine trees that are growing, but we have enough space that we'd like a large shade tree there as well. We are thinking either a Laurel Oak (husband's favorite) or a Royal Poinciana (my favorite). I know that Laurel Oaks are slow growing, but pretty and green. Royal Poinciana's are beautiful, fast-growing, but brittle and cold sensitive.

We have the occasional rare freeze here in 10a, though it's never enough to kill our current trees and shrubs. They get burned and come back in a few months.

Which do you think would be better given our situation? Thank you very much for your responses in advance!

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If the main goal is shade, the Laurel Oak will give great shade as opposed to the Royal Poinciana. Actually, Laurel Oaks grow pretty fast compared to Live Oaks. We had one that grew to massive size in 20 year's time. However, the Laurel Oak doesn't have the life span of the Live Oak, about 40 years average. And, they aren't as sturdy in hurricane winds. They do lose a lot of leaves in late winter/early spring and then the spent flowers/pollen make a mess later in the spring. As for Royal Poinciana, they are so beautiful, wish I could have one but it's too cold here. I wouldn't have it for shade purposes, though, you'll be disappointed. Since you have so much property, why don't you plant both, but not up close to the house or the driveway, since the Laurel Oak drops lots of leaves and flowers/pollen, and the Royal Poinciana will drop flowers and that can get messy on cars, sidewalks, etc.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 6:52PM
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babalu_aye(zone 9b - St Pete FL)

I'd go for the Royal Poinciana. Here in zone 9b they were absolutely beautiful this spring, even after the extended cold weather we had last winter.

I've got Laurel Oaks and I don't care for them for a number of reasons: allergy season, they're not elegant like a Live Oak, and just today I had to pay a tree service $300 to remove some large limbs that were growing too low over my roof. That is the 3rd time in 10 years I've had to have those trees trimmed professionally. They do grow fast, and they make a mess each March with the leaves and pollen.



    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 7:59PM
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I vote for the royal poincianna too, it is just too beautiful even when it's not flowering. The leaves blow so gracefully in the breeze. Mine is still in bloom now.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 6:57AM
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Laurel oaks are one of the worst pest trees we have. We've spent thousands having diseased laurel oaks removed. We lose power all the time because laurel oak limbs fall on the lines. The road we live on has been blocked on several occasions because a laurel oak fell across it. After the hurricanes every other house in our neighborhood had a blue tarp on its roof because a laurel oak had landed on it. My neighbor's mother was seriously injured when a laurel oak fell on her. They are invasive, and they quickly become eyesores. The University of Florida used to recommend removing even fairly young laurel oaks from a property before building a house there. You could choose just about any other tree and it would be better than a laurel oak.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 8:09AM
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Although not one of your choices but i'd vote for a Gumbo Limbo, native, fast growing, good in high winds and beautiful with interesting bark.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 8:16AM
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sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)

I had a royal poinciana that I planted last spring. It had started putting out new branches and looked good until the cold snap came. Dropped all it leaves, never did recover, and I had to take it out. You may have better luck.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 8:51AM
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bigpaulie1972(9B Melbourne FL)

I have had good luck with both actually. They are both really fast growing trees. I love my Laurel Oaks and I just make sure they aren't close to the house. But the same goes for the Royal. I have to say the Laurel seems to become a shade provider MUCH faster than the Royal though. The Royal will take some time before it's canopy starts spreading while the Laurel will steadily spread as it grows so you can gauge where to put it in your landscape easier. The Royal will spread kind of haphazardly.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 9:17AM
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eric_9b(z9b Orlando)

Actually I would plant a Tipuana tipu. Its fast growing, makes a nice filtered shade and bears orangish yellow flowers in late spring, early summer. It hass lacy pinnate foliage similar to a RP but a bit larger and is hardy into the low 20sF. Its also very drought tolerant and needs little care once established.

Despite being a FL native, Laurel Oaks are one of the worst trees you can plant.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 2:34PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Hey folks, pictures paint a much better picture...POST your pics!

The Royal Poinciana may or may not give you shade, depends on how you shape it BUT they sure were spectacular this year. Here's a few pictures we took while in the Bahamas, just came back and already regretting it :-) :-(


    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 8:14PM
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