Sadly, I need a new tree...

silverfox0308April 16, 2010

I need some help. We live in Grand Junction (zone 6A) and took a chance last year on a crepe myrtle tree in our front yard. It didn't make it over the winter. So now I am looking for a new tree. Here's what I need...

Tolerates full sun

Drought tolerant/does not need a ton of water (we have xeriscape in our front yard)

Not a white early spring bloomer (we have a snow fountain weeping cherry in the opposite corner of the yard)

It can get tall but not hugely wide (no more than 30 feet or so)

No fruit/berries

Not a maple (they don't survive where I live-weird local stuff that even the nurseries agree with)

SO, I know this is a tall order but does anything come to mind for anyone? I am honestly at a blank wall. I can't come up with anything. HELP ME PLEASE!!!

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How about:

Fraxinus cuspidata, fragrant flowering ash? One site lists it as hardy to zone 5, one lists zone 7. Oy! Plus, white flowers.

Anything else I think of fruits or needs lots of water or is a conifer.

I hope you fine something you like!


    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 8:54AM
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Dan Staley

Not many choices over there:

o x Chitalpa tashkentensis

o Xanthoceras sorbifolium much argy-bargy about minimum tolerance, but we have them at DBG & much colder here. I lost the battle to have one in our landscaping.

o Cotinus coggygria you'll need a berm and to stick a hose on drip out there 3-4x in summer.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 1:29PM
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abq_bob(USDA 5a/SS 2A)

How big does it have to get? I know redbuds grew quite well in Albuquerque without much water. The one in my yard was a volunteer - so there is that aspect that you might get unwanted seedlings from it.

Chitalpa is another good choice since it's a cross between a catalpa and a chilopsis - it doesn't tend drop it's flowers, and never forms seed pods, since it's s sterile cross. This also keeps it in bloom for long time.

New Mexico Locust is another small (but potentially weedy) tree - it gets amazing pink/purple chains of flowers. It also has large thorns, so that may be a plus or a drawback depending on how you site the tree. Probably the most xeric of the group as well.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 2:03PM
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Well, I lost the fight with hubby. I was eyeballing either a chitalpa or a sensation boxelder. He insisted on evergreen so tomorrow I am going to the nursery to pick up an incense cedar. We found it online here...

I'll let everyone know how it goes. Now I am trying to convince hubby we need one of those walking stick trees. I almost bought one today but decided to ask first. He said not right now. I hate waiting!!!!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 7:33PM
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Dan Staley

Harry Lauder's walking stick generally needs water lavished on it to keep it alive, esp over there, and lavished upon it while it sits in a protected location. The wife of a couple who are good friends of mine in almost your same climate still clings to her wanting one, so she has two and spends much time trying to keep them alive. The DH has let it go and releases and transcends, flows like a river...

There are a trillion incense cedars on the west slope of the Sierra, so am interested in them on Colo's west slope; where they grow they get about 20-30" of precip a year, mainly in winter, and are not generally tolerant of wind, so would like to see if/how people keep them alive. Sunset, the bible, sez they need moderate water there, so you are part of an experiment! Good luck. Take your time on the planting hole and baby it well even into 2011. They have this wonderfully distinctive, strong smell in summer and when you smell them you know its hot.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 8:36PM
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The nursery owner says the walking stick needs deep watering once a week max. here. I told her where it would be in my yard (south facing/full sun/no real protection) and she insists it would be fine. Of course, she wants to make a sale but this is a very reputable local nursery. I will probably call around to all the nurseries and see what they say.

The incense cedar was picked as a Colorado Tree Coalition tree of the month and again, the local nursery says it's awesome here. I will be talking with them face to face tomorrow so we'll see what they say. I'll let you know!

What is this bible you speak of?


    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 10:17PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

LOL! Dan'll be back to tell you about The Bible, I'm sure---but take his word for it when he does!


    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 11:02PM
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Dan Staley

Sunset Western Garden Book. The CTC is a partner for us and esp the BH, we have 3-4 of their calendars in the house-garage, we appreciate their efforts, we run into them at functions, and it is great that they are trying to expand the palette. Some palleteal expansion is of necessity experimentation. If it survives and thrives with little water, folks will want to know how you did it.

An additional way to determine whether a plant will make it is to be observant as you travel around. Both plants mentioned above are very distinctive and if you see someone outside with one of these plants, ask them about it. Speaking as a typical avid gardener, most gardeners are more than happy to about a plant in their gardens.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 12:03PM
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