can you recommend an ornamental tree

flora43October 11, 2008

I am in need of an ornamental tree to go near my new patio. It would be to "anchor" the corner of the gargage (so it would have to stay under the roofline) and the patio. I am not looking for something so small-like a potted patio tree for decoration. I am also thinking a little bigger than the hydrangea trees that I have been seing around the neighborhood. It will be planted in the ground and will get afternoon sun (west-northwest exposure. I don't really think I want a crabapple there. I have heard that serviceberry might be nice from many people, but someone recently told me they think that tree always looks stressed. I am open to other suggestions too. Oh, and most importantly I want something that those pesky japanese beetles won't devour. They just devoured my linden and left my maple alone.

I am thinking of buying them from Twin City Nursery. They have big trees (like 12-18') for $139. The only bad news is that they will only guarantee them through next July since they are discounted. Has anyone ever boght from them before?

Thanks in advance.

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It depends on what your roof line is, is it a second story or first story? How do you define ornamental? Do you want spring flowers, fall foliage? Evergreens are also nice to take care of that pesky winter blandness...

As to the 'sale' at TCN...Through July you will at least know if it survived the winter, any lingering problems may not be identifiable for years, so probably still a good bet.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 11:02PM
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You're right. I need to supply more info. To me, ornamental means smaller, more decorative and not a shade tree. Like anyone, I want it all-flowers, color, etc etc. Okay, but to get back to reality, either one or the other would be fine. Fall is my favorite time of year though so some color would be nice, but not a must have.

The roofline that it needs to fit under is for the first story-no gable end just straight across.

I guess I didn't consider an evergreen there, but I appreciate the suggestion as I will be able to see it in winter from my kitchen. I'll have to research that a little more.

In the meantime, here is a list of trees that caught my eye when I went to the nursery today. I have to research some more, but would truly value any opinions.

Twisty Baby Locust
Viburnum Mohican Tree form
Does this have berries and flowers? I didn't even
know viburnums came as trees too. I don't know
anything about them, so I didn't even know what to
ask the guy when I was there. If berries, are they
poisonous? I have a baby now so that is something to
I know I said I wanted something bigger than a hydrangea tree, but they are so, so beautiful. I already have some hydrangeas in the yard, so I wanted something different, but I may just have to reconsider.

The guy also mentioned a dwarf lilac tree. I have a lilac bush in the yard already, but again I'm willing to reconsider. I just feel like the lilac tree and the hydrangea tree are the "safe" choice as they are very popular, but maybe that's for a reason :)

Dwarf Burning Bush Tree form

I really liked the color of the Korean Sun Pear tree, but I think it may grow too big for the area. Could I just prune it?

On another note, we need to buy some shade trees for the back yard too. We have a linden back there already. We live in a new neighborhood and the houses are very close together, so we actually need them for some screening. The houses behind us are on a hill. Some trees that caught our eye today were:

Burgundy Belle Maple (although its not super tall)
Red Sunset Maple
Northwoods Maple
Autumn Blaze Maple (neighbor has one already really close to our property line, so we will benefit from that in the future).

Any thoughts on these or other suggestions?

Oh, and do all maples have those "helicopters?"

See, I really am over my head here! At least I am willing to learn! The first time I ever planted anything was 3 years ago and I often get compliments on my perennials. Now if I could just figure out these trees!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 6:35PM
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First of all I applaud your tree planting, trees absolutely make a neighborhood... and a house look like a home. The tree forms of the viburnums are actually viburnum shrubs that have been grafted into a tree form. This means that they will not exceed your height requirements. The tops will grow and spread, but they will not get really tall. This makes them a good option for you. In order to get an idea of what they will look like, research the shrub and picture it 'on a stick' so to speak. The Dwarf lilacs are lovely, I have three, the hydrangeas too (but I do like variation in the landscape so I get that you might like something different). I have seen Diablo ninebark like this and that is cool because they have great purple foliage. The viburnums do have flowers, although they are not really showy like a crabapple or anything, and berries, but I would not worry about the toxicity of the berries because (having 2 boys, now 18 and 20) kids really do not run around just eating every little thing...the berries are not all that alluring and I imagine the birds will find them first. Not all maples have seeds, the helicopters hold the seeds of the tree. There are seedless varieties of maple trees, many named varieties are seedless, but that is a question you can certainly ask at the nursery. You may want to try another type of tree since you already have maples in the area. I always suggest a variety of trees in the landscape to prevent a monoculture of trees. I would suggest staying away from ash trees right now with emerald ash borer on our doorstep. I would not put a tree in an area with the understanding that it would need to be pruned to maintain its size, not good planning. When you consider shade trees, do not forget about evergreen trees, this gives you screening all year long, there are many things to think about. The U of M website is very helpful in choosing trees for our area, I have included a link that might help. Good luck, keep asking questions! Helen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Info on trees

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 11:18PM
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zenpotter(z4 MN)

We have a Meteor Cherry Tree it is lovely. It blooms heavily in the spring. Has a wonderful crop of bright red cherries. You can make pie or leave them for the birds. I pick enough for a pie or two and leave the rest. I have never had to clean up any cherries. The squirrels and chipmunks do that for me.

It doesn't have much fall color right now it is still green. At 7 years it is about 12' and probably as big as it will get. They don't mind trimming although I have only done a little bit of that and not to the height.

I have included a link to the UofM's SULIS program it is very handy for looking up plants, shurbs and trees.

Here is a link that might be useful: SULIS

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 8:13AM
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Tiger Eyes Sumac. It is sort of a bush, but mine has become more tree like after I cut it back hard two years ago. It is now about 8ft tall. Great form, yellow foliage in the summer that turns orange in the fall. One of my favorites.

As for the shade tree, if the neighbor's Autumn Blaze is going to be part of the screening you want, I would pick something to it's contrast the red fall color. Take a cue from nature and her palate of fall colors to create a nice mix. Sugar maple, honeylocust, ginkgo, larch come to mind.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 8:19PM
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peggy_hosta(z4 neSD)

One caution about the evergreens. They are great for catching that dirty four letter word -snow- so don't plant it nw of the driveway. I learned the hard way and dh complained after every blizzard. I have syringa lilac 'Tinkerbelle' for 3 years now on the west side of the house with lots of shredded tree mulch and it blossoms in June and stays a nice green all summer. The little wrens love to nest in it

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 11:59AM
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Emperor 1 Japanese maple: I planted one in 2003 and it is just now about 10 ft tall. Perfect specimen tree.

Redbud Minnesota (or Northand) Strain. I planted one in 2003 and is just now 8 feet, nicely spreading.

Both good for Twin Cities area.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 10:59PM
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Can you tell a little more about your Japanese Maple. Is it protected over the winter? Has it been cold hardy (I realize it is 5 years old but has there been any die back?) I have always run under the assumption that JM's were not hardy here, but maybe this strain is pretty hardy.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 8:14AM
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This Japanese maple is commonly available in the Twin Cities. I have never covered it in the winter, but I have covered it in early May (it was small then) when there was a hard frost but it had fully leafed-out. I believe that this is the only hardiness issue with this tree.

Here is a link that might be useful: small trees

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 7:42PM
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Tom, Redbud looks much like yours, so that is doing well. I think I might take a chance on that little Maple, I have always loved them.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 9:40PM
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The Emperor1 is in my yard to. I planted it 4 years ago and even dug it up and moved it once. I love this tree! It is a wonderful tree, but then again Japanese maples are my passion! I have 12 of the little wonders in my yard, and many more in pots that i overwinter in my porch! I just LOVE them!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 2:54PM
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