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To tree or not to tree. That is the question.

Jim Boxberger - Correspondent
Posted 5/28/21

It has been another crazy spring and I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. A month ago now a reader sent me a letter asking for advice on finding a tree for the corner of …

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To tree or not to tree. That is the question.

Posted

It has been another crazy spring and I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. A month ago now a reader sent me a letter asking for advice on finding a tree for the corner of his house.

Since I haven't found the time to write him back, I figured I would use this week's column to let him know since he is an avid reader. The area he had for the tree is on the southwest corner of the house, and he would like a tree that will not get over twenty-five feet tall.

Because it may be near the house I would recommend a deciduous tree that will give shade in the summer but drop its leaves in the fall so that sunlight can warm the house in winter. With his wanting a tree not more than twenty-five feet, maples and oaks are out, as they will grow taller than twenty-five feet.

Birch would be a suitable tree as most varieties will get between twenty and twenty-five feet tall. Paper birch and a few other varieties have a darker bark when they are young and only start to get that tell tale white bark once the trees get around ten years old. There are also a few nice flowering options as well.

Dogwoods, both cornus kousa and cornus florida, will get to around twenty to twenty-five feet tall and would be good bloomers. Cornus florida blooms in the spring and cornus kousa blooms mid-summer starting in July. Some varieties of crabapple would also be suitable. Many varieties like Royalty, Snowdrift and Gladiator get twenty feet or so, bloom in the spring and get colorful fruit that benefit wildlife, unless you make crabapple jelly and then they benefit you.

Magnolia trees fit the bill height-wise, but they will probably be too wide for your liking as they will get just as wide as they get tall.

Bloodgood Japanese maples would have a maroon red leaf all summer long for added color on that corner of the house. They get to around twenty feet but grow at a slightly slower rate than other trees, so it would probably take over twenty years to get to twenty feet.

That is another consideration to think about when getting a tree, sure it may get to twenty-five feet, but how long will it take. Most of the trees we have in our garden center are less than ten feet currently so that they are easily manageable.

If you are looking for a larger specimen that won't take more than ten years to get to the desired height then you will probably need a landscaper to plant it, as larger trees come balled and burlap can run anywhere from five hundred to a thousand pounds and are not manageable by an individual.

So taking time into consideration, if you got a sugar maple for example that will get to forty feet or more in total, it would be the right size in about ten years and wouldn't be too big for the area for about another fifteen years. Sometimes when planning for a new tree or shrub, take time into account.

A sugar maple will take thirty or more years to get full grown. Will you still be in your home in thirty years? If the answer is no, then even trees that seem to be out of the question at the time, may still fit the bill if they get to the desider size in a reasonable amount of time.

Taller trees can also be pruned back to keep them smaller, but that is not easy and most likely you would need a professional to do this.

So the long and the short of it is, I probably gave you more questions than answers, but there are at least a few tree varieties that will fit the bill when they are full grown. Thanks for the questions, keep them coming.

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