Home > The Plant Man Article Archive > These trees add color and class to your landscape! 08-01-04

These trees add color and class to your landscape! 08-01-04

Sometimes, we take trees for granted because... well, they're just "there." But I think that trees are some of Nature's most beautiful creations, and today I'd like to share some of my favorites with you. Perhaps my thoughts will inspire you to add some of them to your own landscape!

Kiku-Shidare Cherry. Also known as Weeping Cherry because its long, delicate branches hang elegantly toward to the ground, swaying in the breeze, particularly when laden with a profusion of double-pink flowers.

The Shidare Cherry (sometimes called Cheal's Weeping Cherry) is ideal for small spaces as it is fairly compact and very dramatic, particularly when in full bloom! The dense double flowers are often over an inch in diameter with 50 or more pointed petals.

Red Bud Lavender Twist. Here's another "weeper." But this one is quite unusual as it's a weeping Red Bud. Although something of a rarity, it is quite easy to grow. Again, an ideal tree for smaller spaces as it will not grow to a great height even at maturity. The branches start growing out horizontally then begin to droop at the tip, taking on their "weeping" characteristic. The lavender-pink flowers burst out in the spring, and the blue-green foliage turns to yellow and bronze as summer gives way to fall. Frequently, the stems take on a twisted, almost contorted appearance, providing a real point of interest in your landscape.

Red Baron Willow Tree. Unlike the first two trees on my list, this one can grow to a considerable height. It's not unusual for this fast-growing shade tree to be more than 20' tall and 15' wide within three years, and reach a height of 70' or more at maturity! If you're looking for trees to line a road or a driveway, this Willow hybrid could be a very impressive way to welcome visitors to your home. The Red Baron gets its name from its reddish-tinged branches that add color to the landscape from late fall, through winter and into spring.

Gobbler Sawtooth Oak. If there was a prize for a tree with the weirdest name, this would have to be a contender! For no other reason than that, it's close to my heart, but it does have a very practical use. Also known as Quercus acutissima gobbler, this variety produces comparatively small acorns which are a highly desirable food source for wild turkeys... hence the name, in case you hadn't guessed! Obviously, this tree is highly prized by wild turkey and wild game enthusiasts.

River Birch. If your landscape consists of wide open spaces, the River Birch could be an excellent choice. In fact, professional landscapers often select this tree for parks, golf courses and large estates as it seems particularly at home on large lawns or rolling countryside. I really like the light reddish-brown cinnamon bark that peels and flakes as it matures. You can plant River Birch as a specimen or put in a row of them as a windbreak, about 20' apart.

Those are five of my favorite trees. As we get closer to the fall planting season, I'll give you some descriptions of more of my favorites, some familiar and some just a little off the beaten path!

Just room for one e-mail from a reader...

QUESTION: "I have three questions for you: 1. How can I get rid of "Yellow Flies" (Deer flies)? I am extremely allergic to their bite and cannot tend to my garden because they immediately attack.

2. Can Oleander bushes be trimmed back? and if so, will they still produce flowers?

3. I have another pest..."June" Bugs. They attacked all my rose bushes. I bought the "June Bug Bags", but they did not help much." - Norma Pagan

ANSWER: I am going to give you two links to sites that might help on the deer fly thing: http://www.pestproducts.com/deerfly.htm http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Entomology/entfacts/livestc/ef511.htm

The oleander plants can be trimmed back like azaleas right after they bloom. This way they will have a chance to produce new blooms for the next season.

As far as the June bugs, you might try an old remedy that I have used in the past: Sugar water! Put about a half cup of sugar into a gallon of water and make sure it is stirred or shaken until dissolved. (Unlike James Bond's Martini, it doesn't much matter how you get it mixed.) Then spray your plants with this mixture. It would seem to attract insects but once they eat the sugar their systems cannot digest sugar in this form so they die.

The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to [email protected] and for resources and additional information, including archived columns, visit www.landsteward.org

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