Nice small tree for South Louisiana

Joeray(Z9 LA)April 12, 2005

I have an area behind my house where I would like to plant a nice small tree. There are wires overhead so it can't get too tall. I'm thinking something like a dogwood but easier to grow. I've read about Kousa or Japaneses dogwoods but they apparently don't grow this far south. I read about Service Berry trees in Southern Living being nice but I haven't seen any in the area or any at nurseries. Any suggestions.

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lisa455(z9 LA)

There is the old standby crepe myrtle, they have dwarf varieties and smaller growing vsrieties. I bought a dwarf pear tree from a nursery on the Gheens highway of La. 1, that bore pears the first year. I also recently purchased at Home Depot in Houma a chaste tree (vitex), which has a growth habit similar to crepe myrtles with purple flowers in the summer. Loropetalem also can be trained into a small tree (12 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide.) I planted some a few years ago and they are eight feet tall already. I have also considered getting a grancy greybeard which grows well in the south. Also japanese plum (Loquat) trees can make nice evergreen small trees.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 12:14AM
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Mock Orange Jasmine, it can be trained from a bonsi to 10 feet. Many grow it like dogwood. When winter, below 35 degree, throw a towel over it, that is only special care you need; wet or dry are both ok; even grows in clay. Great scent, too.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 1:36AM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

I second the Vitex--beautiful little tree, and there's a variegated-leaf form if you like such things. I love the grancy greybeard, but Bill Fontenot, our native plant expert, says it is really a little far south here for it to be at its best--tends to be quite short-lived. I'd recommend its beautiful Chinese cousin, but I'm not sure you'd call it a 'small' tree. You might consider Halesia, aka Silverbell or Snowdrop tree, and Red Buckeye, Aesculus pavia, a great tree for hummingbirds. Ah, so many possibilities! Try not to get something everyone else grows!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 1:50AM
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tamivileine(z8b OS,MS, US)

I'd think about sweet olive - starts bushy, but in NOLA I've seen it as small trees

Crybaby tree (Erythrina crista-galli) should do well in Z9.

Ginkgo doesn't get THAT large

Eucalyptus is more spreading than tall

Any fruit tree - I have a nice Meiwa kumquat that is rather smallish and doesn't have the nasty thorns of the other kumquats.

What about banana for a tropical effect? Thought about smaller palms such as windmill... palms grow slowly

sea ya

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 10:48AM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

Bananas are a wonderful idea, especially the ornamental ones. Musa ornata, I think, and there are named varieties with different colored flowers and little very seedy ornamental bananas. And banana cousins like the Abysinnia banana, which I think is Ensete maurellii. I haven't looked lately, but I think Stokes' Tropicals on-line catalog would have them and with pictures so you could get an idea.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 3:03AM
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Joeray(Z9 LA)

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll have to check them out. Last year I collected seeds from Vitex trees and plan to attempt to germinate them. Has anyone grown Vitex from seeds?
Also, I love Sweet Olive and have two of them now. I might plant another one in this spot, if my wife will let me. The Mock Orange Jasmine sounds interesting. I have some small Arabian Jasmine plants now but none that get tree size.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2005 at 10:28PM
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Django(z9 LA)

I am a fan of the vitex and have two in my yard. If you plant them in a narrow area you will have to be vigilent in your pruning to maintain the tree form. If left alone they will form a large arching mound. They bloom twice a year down here and attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

One of my vitex was grown from a cutting. I snipped off approximately 8 inches of soft-wood and dipped it in rooting hormone and into a regular potting soil. It sulked for a summer, only maintaining one or two leaves. In the fall, not knowing if it was dying or just going dormant for winter I stuck the little twig in the ground with some milkweed seedings. In mid-summer I noticed several small vitex leaves in the milkweed mix. In summer three it grew to three feet high or so. As we head into summer four it has three main branches that must be 7 feet high or so. It will really take off this summer.
They grow very well once established.

I have never had to weed out a vitex seedling in the yard. I think a soft-wood cutting may be the way to go.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 10:27PM
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Nancy, do you know a good source for Halesia? We're planning some remodeling this year, but once it's done I'll have some landscaping to do and I'm really interested in planting a couple silverbells.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2005 at 1:24PM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

My favorite source is ForestFarm nursery in Oregon. Seems funny to have to go so far away, but they have an amazing selection, and a range of sizes, and everyone I've known to order from them has been very pleased. I think Bill Fontenot had some at the Festival des Fleur now that I get my brain switched on, so he would probably have them at his nursery, or could order them for you. (Always better to get them locally if you can find them, but I can't go hunting like I used to.) That's if you're close to Lafayette. Maybe others have suggestions? I think they're not as easy to find as they should be.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2005 at 12:13AM
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I'm in BR, so a trip to Lafayette is no problem. I bookmarked Forest Farm too, just in case. Thanks!!!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2005 at 11:59AM
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