Shade Tree Planting

Saturday, November 6th, 2010 by Jenny Watts
    • Holland flower bulbs are now available for fall planting. These lovely gems will bloom for you next spring.
    • Lettuce can be planted from starts for a quick fall crop
    • Garlic cloves can be planted now. Keep them watered and weeded through the winter and you will harvest healthy large bulbs next June.
    • Clove-scented stock is a bedding flower that likes cool weather. Plant them now to enjoy their pink, white and lavender blooms.
    • Fall is for planting! Make the most of the nice fall weather and plant shade trees, roses and spring-flowering bulbs this weekend.

Enhance your Living Environment with Shade Trees

Planting trees around your house creates a pleasant environment that invites you to spend more time outdoors, especially during the hot weather days of summer and fall. If you plant a tree where it will shade your home as it grows, you can greatly reduce the heat both inside and around the building. For a small investment, you can greatly increase the value of your property.

Trees planted on the south side of the house should grow tall enough to shade the roof. Summer sun is at a high angle and heats the roof much more than the south wall of the house. Sycamores and maples both grow large enough to do the job. On the south side, be sure to plant deciduous trees which will let the sun shine through in the winter.

Shading on the west side of the house can be very effective. Even if trees do not grow up and over the house, shading the western wall through the long hot afternoons will greatly improve the comfort indoors. Any medium-sized tree can do this job nicely.

Fruitless mulberry is a fast-growing shade tree, to 35 feet tall and wide. It can reach 20 feet by 20 feet in five years. Its large leaves offer considerable shade.

Purple Robe locust is a very showy tree in the spring when its purplish-pink flowers hang in long clusters like wisteria. It is fast-growing to 40 feet tall and well adapted to hot, dry areas.

Chinese pistache is one of the best trees for filtered shade. It grows 30 to 40 feet tall with a round crown. The leaves turn brilliant orange and red in the fall. It takes heat, tolerates most soils, and can be grown as a lawn tree or where it gets little summer water.

Autumn Fantasy maple is a beautiful, fast-growing tree to 50 feet tall and 40 feet wide. The large leaves consistently show very good fall color, turning a bright red as the weather cools.

Other large maples include October Glory, which has beautiful reddish-purple fall color, and Sun Valley, with reliable bright red fall leaves.

Sycamores are hard to beat when it comes to shade. These giant trees grow 40 to 80 feet tall. They can take harsh conditions, drought and tough soils. The bark is attractive as it flakes off leaving light-colored patches behind.

If you have plenty of room to spread out, there are few trees more beautiful than a large, spreading Weeping Willow. It’s a tree to grow up with, to enrich your lives with great memories.

If you need a little smaller tree, look to the Chinese maples. These tough trees can be planted closer to the house to provide shade for the front porch, or a sunny window. Two fine hybrids are Norwegian Sunset and Pacific Sunset, both with glossy summer leaves and red-yellow-orange fall color.

Fall is the best time to plant trees, so begin now to create a more pleasant environment around your home with trees.

Colorful Trees for the Landscape

Friday, May 29th, 2009 by Jenny Watts
    • Asparagus plants should be fed with good, rich compost when you have finished cutting spears. Keep the bed mulched and weed-free all summer, and the soil moist.
    • Cover cherry trees with bird netting to protect your crop.
    • Mulch blueberry plants with aged sawdust and feed with cottonseed meal or an acid fertilizer.
    • Earwigs are out and about and hungry. Control them with the new “Sluggo Plus” or go out after dark with a flashlight and a spray bottle of Safer’s Insecticidal Soap. One squirt will put an end to the spoiler.
    • Fuchsias in hanging baskets make beautiful patio plants. They bloom all summer and attract hummingbirds to their pendulous blossoms.

Outstanding Trees for Garden Interest

Early spring brings us many beautiful flowering trees. Flowering plums, with their showy pink blossoms, flowering cherries covered with flowers, and flowering crabapples in their many forms and blossom colors. Then there are “tulip tree” magnolias and gorgeous dogwoods.

As spring progresses, we are met with another season of color by a variety of flowering trees. The Red Horsechestnut, Aesculus carnea, is outstanding in the landscape for its beautiful springtime display of blossoms. The multitude of pink to bright scarlet blooms appear on erect, eight-inch-long panicles at each branch tip and are quite attractive to bees and hummingbirds. It has very large, dark green leaves with five to seven leaflets, and will ultimately reach a height and spread of 30 to 40 feet.

Another very showy tree is Purple Robe Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Purple Robe’. The dense clusters of extremely fragrant, one-inch rose-pink blossoms resemble wisteria blossoms and they are literally “alive” with the bustling activity of visiting bees. (The honey which is produced from them is quite delicious and sought-after.) The tree is fast-growing with an upright form and a rounded head to 30 feet tall with a 20-foot spread.

One of the finest of these spring bloomers is the Fringe Tree, Chionanthus virginicus. The snow white fringe tree flowers grow in 6-inch long, loose clusters that have the look of puffy white clouds. It grows as a multi-stemmed tree or large shrub, usually reaching 15 to 20 feet in height and spread. It is hard to think of a more beautiful, small tree than Fringe Tree when it is in full bloom.

The Japanese Snowbell, Styrax japonica, is a lovely small tree with pendulous white flowers that are beautiful when viewed from below. It makes a fine patio tree at 20 feet tall and wide and its fall color is yellow, often with a reddish cast. It will grow in full sun to partial shade, and is beautiful in a raised planting area where the flowers can be enjoyed from underneath.

For foliage color, there are few trees as attractive as the Tricolor Beech, Fagus sylvatica ‘Tricolor’. The leaves are purple with a pink or cream edge, turning copper in the fall. Plant it in the shade of larger trees, or the leaves may burn in the heat of summer. This tree is slow-growing to 20 feet or more, and it can be grown in a container for many years.

The Chinese dogwood, Cornus kousa, is a later flowering form of dogwood than the more common Eastern Dogwood. It flowers for a long time beginning in late May, with creamy white blooms set against bright green leaves. Flowers are followed by reddish fruit that resembles raspberries and attracts birds, and the foliage changes to reddish purple in the fall.

Now is the time to choose one of these outstanding trees for a special accent in your garden.