Return to the Georgia Gardener Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

Posted by mk87 7b/8a (My Page) on
Tue, May 20, 08 at 7:46

We are building a patio in our backyard and want to leave some areas without pavers in order to plant small trees IN the patio. I had always thought we'd use crape myrtles for this, but now I am not sure. I did some work around one of our Natchez crapes out front earlier this month, and noticed that its roots were pretty close to the surface. Would that spell disaster for my patio (ie: making the pavers heave)? What other suggestions do y'all have for small trees in this type of planting? I could just stick to pots, but I thought it would be nice to have both.

The trees need to be able to take full sun.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

How large of an area do you plan on leaving open? Nachez should be okay I would think. I mean I assuming you will leave a circle open of about 36" for whatever you plant. Remember if anything happens to the tree you don't want to have to dig up your patio to replace it.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

  • Posted by mk87 7b/8a (My Page) on
    Tue, May 20, 08 at 11:29

Yes, we definitely will give it plenty of room, but what I'm wondering is, will the Natchez root system "uproot" my patio?


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

Remember that you can also consider large shrubs as substitutes for small trees. I don't know if crepe myrtles have root issues, but if you decide to reconsider, considering large shrubs would broaden your choices. A viburnum might be a nice plant there.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

One concern would be the mitigation of moisture to the roots of your trees with something covering them. It's a great idea, but can you pull it off?

We have friends who have a tree in their deck. It's gorgeous, but they have deck slats that allow water to the root of the tree.

GGG


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

  • Posted by mk87 7b/8a (My Page) on
    Tue, May 20, 08 at 14:39

GGG - Good point. I guess I was thinking it would work based on seeing them at shopping centers and etc. They typically have a circular (but could be square space of course) grate around them, so that the water gets in. I was thinking that the 3ft square opening, mulched, would do the trick getting the water in. I wasn't thinking about how far the roots would spread. Wonder if evergreens would be better, due to the fact that some of them have more of a deep root system than a spreading one?


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

just tossing a suggestion out there - it is non-native and exceptionally toxic if ingested, but we have one that has done really well in a 16"x16" square, 2' tall terra cotta pot on our 2nd story deck - and that is an Oleander.

it's evergreen, non-invasive, drought-resistant, flowers beautifully for months on end (starting right in May, lasting till it freezes if they're happy), and it really handles pruning well - I have mine shaped out like a tree.

can take pics if you want to see it. one flower cluster is present right now, and it has just started blooming.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

OK, I think you could do it if you take care to plant it well and you get something that doesn't make knobby roots. My friend had a camellia coming out of the middle of her cement patio (she didn't plant it there). How about a nice grancy greybeard, a lovely vitex trimmed into a tree, (they bloom different times) and a crepe myrtle. They'd all bloom at different times.

GGG


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

  • Posted by mk87 7b/8a (My Page) on
    Wed, May 21, 08 at 8:05

satellitehead -- Sure! Pix are great!

GGG -- Good point about planting some things that bloom at different times. (I am still not good at that yet...even with perennials, I haven't quite gotten the hang of that. So many of the ones I like bloom at the same time!) We are so excited about the patio...it's expensive, but we are thinking of how much yard will be taken up by it, by the path to GET to it, and by the beds surrounding it and the path. Less yard = less water and more year-round use!


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

This sounds like a great project! I was wondering if you had looked into any kind of permeable pavers to help keep whatever you choose to plant watered and happy? I did a google image search and saw a wide variety of looks. Don't know about cost. Hope it goes well.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

  • Posted by mk87 7b/8a (My Page) on
    Wed, May 21, 08 at 10:25

groundcover -- Funny you should mention that. We probably can only afford the most generic pavers, found at local home improvement stores. But, we did look into a product sold here in GA (that we saw at a garden show), that is made from recycled plastic. It's a 12" x 12", interlocking 'grate' sort of thing. You put down sand, then the product, then you pour river pebble on top and sweep it down into the patterned 'grate.' Of course, that would be perfect for making sure water gets through.

They are not cheap. 900 sq ft was going to end up costing around $4K, I think. But, it was a very cool idea. That is the problem with a lot of great eco-options. They are so expensive at the outset that it makes them out of range for the average homeowner.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

i wouldn't spend that much. have you looked into porous pavers, such as these? if i had a chance to redo anything at our house, this would probably be something we would do rather than using impermeable concrete.

as for the pics of that oleander, will try to snap a couple when i get home. i'll also shoot some photos of my grancy graybeard (GGG mentioned), witch hazel, ninebark, and anything else I can think of that may be of interest in that area.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

  • Posted by mk87 7b/8a (My Page) on
    Wed, May 21, 08 at 13:25

satellite -- I think they are a great idea, but actually, they appear to cost about the same as the recycled plastic option I mentioned earlier. I found a .ppt presentation online, about the product you mentioned and it was $9/sq ft installed. If you figure about 1/2 of that is probably materials (couldn't find it broken out), that's still $4.50/sq ft and that'd still be around $4K. You would think it would be less expensive, since you are reducing solid material to the grid-shape with spaces, but I think it's the preparation and underlayment products required that must drive the cost up. This is a good topic to explore though...I do wish that Georgia would consider a state tax break of some kind (credit or whatever) for homeowners purchasing water retention products (rain barrels, etc) or water conservation products (such as permeable pavers).


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree - Confession

  • Posted by mk87 7b/8a (My Page) on
    Wed, May 21, 08 at 13:35

satellite -- I have to make a confession. And, esh, kathy, GGG, anyone else that I need to confess to...here goes:

I cut down a full-grown grancy graybeard when we moved into our first house several years ago because I didn't like it.

(Head hanging low...)
:(

Sorry... (shuffling feet)... :(

First of all, I didn't know any better then...AND I did plant SEVERAL other trees to replace it, oxygen-wise. But, the dang thing was smack dab in the MIDDLE of the backyard. The very center. Nothing around it but grass.

Anyhow since then I have been properly chastised by many and I just felt I had to make full disclosure here.

:)

Forgive me? I was young and stupid. LOL


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

mk, we can only hope that it was a chinese one ....! We all have to learn. My old yard had a bunch of Black Cohosh in the woods. I was convinced it was a weed, there was so much of it. I might have sprayed some .... Another lady in my neighborhood pointed out a robust clump of trillium and complained that she had not been able to get rid of this stuff!

I'm sure you have redeemed yourself since then.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

  • Posted by mk87 7b/8a (My Page) on
    Wed, May 21, 08 at 14:27

LOL esh -- I hope so...at least I am trying!


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

some think chinese fringetree (chionanthus retusus) is more showy than american fringetree in all aspects when you consider that the flowers appear to be whiter(no fragrance, though), the foliage is smaller and glossy and the bark has an attractive, flaky nature. i like them both but am partial to our native one. :-)
normally i would not choose a japanese maple for a full-sun site but 'glowing embers'(don't personally grow this cultivar) is rated as one of the best for the south with very good heat and sun tolerance if you like these trees.
some others you might consider are aesculus pavia (red buckeye), pistacea chinense (chinese pistache tree), styrax japonica (japanese snowbell; the pink-flowered one is especially pretty) and the vitex that ggg suggested would be able to take the heat and sun well while giving you some blueish/purple flowers in early summer.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

on the note of trilliums (sorry to hijack), but are all natives? i like them, after looking them up. open to suggestions in the interim.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

There are many native trilliums, but I am sure there are non-native ones as well. They are considered spring ephemerals (coming up in the spring, blooming and then going dormant in the hot summer), so they are best used in deciduous woods and as companions to longer lived plants (so you don't have a bare spot). Like any bulbs that disappear, it is a good idea to mark the area so you don't accidentally dig them up during the dormant phase. Just like mayapples, really.

They are beautiful and special plants, certainly something to seek out if you can.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

Ok, here are pics, took me forever to get around to this tonight.

Sorry, I'm a "shaky-cam" kinda guy sometimes, but you'll get the idea. I didn't bother with the grancy photos b/c you already removed one :)

Here are some other thoughts that crossed my mind:

Ninebark - this is "coppertina", 14 month old planting from 3gal pot, we also have two "summer wine" varieties, they have insignificant flowering, great bark, good colors, deciduous, though. I hear you can trim into better forms, we chose to let it shrub and act as a backdrop.

Witchhazel - this was a GNPS rescue specimen. Yellow flowers in winter (two years ago in early winter, this year in early spring). deciduous, interesting leaf shape, flowers are bright yellow, similar shape/size to what you see on lorepetalum.

One nobody has really mentioned yet....Paper bush. prunes well into a tree shape. flowers in late winter/early spring, most fragrant flowers you've ever smelled (beautiful, I think). I find the leaves terribly interesting, along with the trunk. Has a tendency to sucker a LOT. Some leaves managed to carry over for us this winter, but but definitely lost most of them - i.e. definitely not evergreen - the form and bark is (I think) enough to provide interest, even in a porch setting and the flowers and scent make it worthwhile to me.

Next, our oleander on the deck. This plant is roughly 2-3 years old. I have trimmed back heavily from last year, nearly down to a third of the size this past summer, and it sprung back very well, and continued to flower through all of the pruning until nearly winter. Picture of a flower cluster is attached with one flower. You can shape accordingly, but like the paper bush, it will sucker a lot, so you need to keep up with it. Evergreen for us, and we keep it out all year on the 2nd story deck. I've heard from some that they don't handle cold - maybe we just got lucky?

And finally, some gratuitous photos of my oakleaf hydrangeas just because they're looking stupidly gorgeous right now and I feel like I should share :)


 o
ah, yes ....

btw - more information on the paper bush from Cobb County extension service. http://county.ces.uga.edu/cobb/Horticulture/Factsheets/Paperbush/Edgeworthia.htm

i know this is not a native plant, and neither is oleander....i really truly am a fan of natives, and over half of what i grow is native to our country, lots of rescued stuff to boot. the only time i'll grow non-natives is if they aren't invasive or if my DW makes me keep it :)

i only recommend these couple of items because i personally think they fall within the guidelines of what you're wanting, they are currently growing in my yard in very shady spots (well, oleander gets some good afternoond sun), and quite clearly, they're doing very well.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

  • Posted by mk87 7b/8a (My Page) on
    Thu, May 22, 08 at 6:46

I like the oleander a lot, actually. And, GGG mentioned vitex earlier and I never thought about that before. Those two, and/or a crape myrtle I think would be good.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

i like butterfly bushes (vitex) as well, they really do attract tons of butterflies, we planted on in my neighbor's yard, it's amazing. i don't recall if anyone mentioned this, but butterfly bushes will grow to 20' tall and wide unless you prune them. they bloom on new wood, so you can really trim the hell out of the old wood each spring to keep the size in check.

buddleia is another option if you like vitex a lot, again - same deal as vitex, you will need to prune it heavily. buddleia can be pruned into tree form which may be appealing to you.

oh and, uh, i just realized i must have been really tired last night, i'd advertised that my oleander and paper bushes were in shady spots, which is only half true :)

oleander is in full sun, and for the paper bushes (i have three), one gets at least ~4-6 hours afternoon sun, the other two are shaded; the one that gets all of the afternoon sun (pictured between the autumn ferns above) has grown much more. Urban Gardener had a big, beautiful paper bush in the trunk area of the VW Karman Ghia which got full sun and it was at least 6' tall. they really want full sun, so they would work well in your space.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

Satellitehead, your 'Coppertina' may not get as much sun as it wants. Mine is a deep red now and yours looks distinctly greenish. You might want to move it to a spot that gets more sun. 'Center Glow' is another beautiful one that I'd get if I ever wanted another (I also have the species).

You also said i like butterfly bushes (vitex) as well, but the common name for Vitex is "Chaste Tree", not butterfly bush (that is Buddleia).

Your hydrangea quercifolia is certainly beautiful right now. Is that the species? I have reasonably good luck with cuttings on that if you take semi-hardwood cuttings about this time of year.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

thanks for the correction, esh! my apologies on the confusion w/ vitex and buddleia, huge mistake on my part! i get tangled up with scientific names vs. common names. (thank goodness this is the internet, lest i'd dread trying to pronounce 'quercifolia'!)

my 'coppertina' probably doesn't get enough sun, in fact, i don't think it gets more than an hour or two of filtered evening sun, if that. i must say, though, i noticed while taking the photos that the colors really didn't come through (lighting, flash, etc.) it's definitely got a distinctively copper/bronze color towards the peripheral, with more of a green/copper variance near the core. note the single flower shoot near the bottom of the photo - amplify the coloring there 3x or 4x; that is the approximate color right now. the 'summer wine' is definitely a deep burgundy reminiscent of purple shiso (which is popping up everywhere in my beds) or petra basil right now as well. they are just starting to bud and flower. and i'm hoping the colors will be much more pronounced in a few weeks, since most of this is new growth for the year. i remember when we picked up the plants last season, the 'coppertina' literally looked so deep in color that i thought it was fake/spraypainted. :)

oh, and those are hydrangea quercifolia - they were also picked up from GNPS swap, along with some foam flower (which i would love to find more of right now). the hydrangeas were marked 'snow queen' when we got them, i have seen a couple of varieties, so i guess it would be important to give this info.

i've never grown from cuttings, but i probably should give that a shot this year. of the three hydrangeas i have on that side of the house, an entire half of one died (i posted a thread about it here recently), and in the photo with the coppertina above, you'll if you look at the hydrangea bloom to the left, you should notice that it's the only one that hasn't really been opening up, and all of the leaves around it are wilted; this is what happened with the last one - that half of the hydrangea is dying, and the other half (same root ball) is doing superb. i don't get it...it's almost like something attacked that particular stem, it goes limp, it goes firm, it goes limp, and sometimes it eventually dies. i suspected heat, but it did this through winter also. i suspected root rot, but this area gets watered all the same (infrequently) and holds moisture well...very strange.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

If they were marked as 'snow queen' then it means that someone propagated them from cuttings. I take about 4-6 inch cuttings, ensuring that some of the old growth wood included. Dip the ends in rooting hormone and plant in seed starting mix since it is sterile (I use one gallon containers, but they could be a bit smaller). Water lightly and cover the whole pot with a single plastic bag secured with a rubber band or string to keep it tight (or slip the pot into a large ziplock bag). This allows you to create a mini greenhouse. Keep them in a cool area with only filtered sun, especially the first 4 weeks or so. By fall they should be well rooted although I would not plant them in the garden until spring.

You have to time it carefully when taking cuttings - wait too late and the growth hormones are not as strong and they don't root as well. Now is a good time. Do enough of them to have some success - perhaps about 10 of them.

These days, tiarella is very popular in mainstream nurseries. You can probably find tiarella cultivars at Pike's. Ladyslipper Nursery is also a good source.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

thanks for the tips! will give this a shot with one or two.

re: "snow queen" - i've learned not to trust the label on anything, and only one of the three containers was labelled.

on that same topic, i recently went to a store to look at heirlooms and picked up four of them - before i reached the counter, i realized that one had two different labels in the single pot, so i took it back. then, after planting the other three, i realized that one of them with a a wooden popsicle marker in the pot said "zebra" on one side and "tigerella" on the other. which is it? i guess i won't know which it is until it ripens :) it's like ... mystery gardening!! heh. there might be a market in that!


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

Oh dear. I've just added Physocarpus and Paperbush to my already long shopping list :)

Satellitehead, do you like your Coppertina better than the Summer Wines? Are the flowers bigger on one or the other?

I bought some oak-leaf Tiarella at Pike a few weeks ago. I think they had a few other types as well. Its flowering beautifully in very deep shade (except my 2-yr old thinks that the flowers are "bubbles", her name for dandelion seed-heads, and she keeps pulling them off and trying to blow at them).

Esh, thank you for the tips on hydrangea cuttings. I tried some hardwood ones when I was impatient in the winter. I got 2 of about 20 to root and put out new leaves, one died after planting out, the other looked like it would make it but then my 4-yr old trod on it and uprooted it, and I think its dead too. The joy of gardening with small helpers. I'm going to try some softwood cuttings soon (he can help me!).

I bought an oak-leaf hydrangea from Growers Outlet this spring (3-gal) and it has no flowers so far. Yours are beautiful, Satellitehead. Emory campus has masses of them flowering at the moment, they are just stunning.

I just read on the Perennials forum that Bluestone Perennials has 50% off everything this w/end. They are a DG Watchdog top 30 company. I don't usually mail-order, but I don't think I can resist -- they have (small) Physocarpus summer wine, also Vitex.


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

TBH, i would need to go downstairs and really give a good look at the coppertina and summerwine to tell you which has better flowers - to me, in comparison to everything else we have flowering in our yard, the ninebark varieties we have have such insignificant flowers, but, as esh pointed out earlier, they're really not in a sunny location and this could have a lot to do with their not having the brilliance of color and brilliance of flowers you may find in pictures online (the flower clusters look like cherry/pear or other berry blossoms online). again, i can take some pictures of the flowers tomorrow or over the weekend if you want to see them, or see more of the plant as a whole.

i personally like the foliage of coppertina more than summer wine, solely because there are a gaggle of purple plants out there ripe for the picking, but how many stark yellow or truly copper plants are there available? this was our main motivation behind choosing the coppertina (we couldn't find ninebark "nugget" anywhere). after seeing the flower clusters of ninebark "diablo"/"diabolo", which was (i believe) one of the two crossed to make "summer wine", i was sold on it, but had to get a coppertina because the foliage was gorgeous.

thanks for the compliments on the hydrangeas, wish i could say i did something special to make that happen. i'm just happy to see them happy, and happier still that things are really starting to fill in enough that we can see where gaps are and start thinking about planting different things to pop up and fill in the gaps throughout the year!

(i never ends!)


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

Hi Satellitehead, No need to go out and take pics, i just wondered whether there were striking differences in the flowers, but sounds like they are fairly similar in that regard. The foliage sounds great on the Coppertina, definitely true that coppery foliage is harder to find than purplish. I just ordered (lots of plants) from Bluestone, including a Summer Wine (must be tiny, it was $4).

I'll keep the Coppertina on my wish-list in case I see one locally. I think I have a good spot for them that we will be clearing of ivy in the fall (Goal is to be ivy-free by the end of 08!).

I'm going to work on "gap filling" next year. This year I've been putting in the shrub backbone (which is not complete yet). This fall/next spring I'll start adding smaller shrubs/perennials to fill in (although, I did just order quite a few perennials!).

Mk87 - i got a Vitex from the Bluestone sale too. I think its in a 4" pot, I hope it grows quickly! Have you found any locally? Will you post some pics when you have planted? All the photos on here are so helpful :)


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

  • Posted by mk87 7b/8a (My Page) on
    Fri, May 23, 08 at 12:28

mayland -- Just try and stop me! :) I will be so proud of that patio when we are done, I'll be about to burst, I'm sure. But, it will be awhile...we are just now getting the brick work (steps and retaining wall) quoted. Then, the pavers (and MAYBE a pergola over part of them, if we can find the $$$), then trees. I've been lurking a little and reading the posts about coppertina (had never heard of it before), etc. :)


 o
RE: Suggestions for Good Patio Tree

I know it's late ... but some other thoughts, if you want to do natives: 'red' or 'painted' buckeye. silverbell. redbud.

of course, I'd do a little research to decide growth rate, size, etc. but these should all be small trees < 20ft tall/wide and all flower as well, with different times of year for payout.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Georgia Gardener Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here