Small tree suggestion?

dlbk(6a)September 20, 2013

Looking for small tree (or shrub) suggestion, preferably flowering, for the right front corner of the main house.
The location gets morning sun till 1pm in summer and is in Z6. Ideally, the tree would not get taller than 8'. (there's a lilac on the left corner of house)
Pic on left is facing SSW. Pic on right is facing NW.
Black arrow points to spot where tree will be planted.

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dlbk(6a)

Another view.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 1:13AM
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gardengal48

8' is not a tree......with the exception of a few types of dwarf Japanese maples :-) Just about any tree will hit 12 or more feet, even things like dwarf crabapples, flowering dogwoods, etc.

If you need it to stay within 8', look for shrubs that are trained as standards, often referred to as patio trees - panicle hydrangeas, dappled Japanese willow, weeping pussy willow (Salix caprea), ninebark, etc. The other possibility is a grafted weeping cherry.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 2:55PM
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yardvaark

Deciding that trees are trees only if they get taller than 13' seems arbitrary. To my thinking, for design purposes, the only meaningful difference between a tree and a shrub is form and form alone ... whereas a bonsai would qualify as a tree in spite of the fact that it might be only 12" tall. The arbitrary height limit attached to the tree definition serves to confuse the importance of the distinction of form.

That said, the first plant that comes to mind for such a short tree is deciduous azalea. Or even an evergreen Rhododendron. Kolkwitzia amabilis wouldn't be as short, but might be another possibility.

BTW, the house and property have bucket-loads of charm. Really nice!

This post was edited by Yardvaark on Fri, Sep 20, 13 at 23:01

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 10:58PM
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danarachelle77

I think a Japanese Maple would be a great addition to your lovely lawn. There are many varieties to choose from. The Autumn Moon and Coral Bark being two of my favorites.

Here is a link that might be useful: Japenese Maple (pics)

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 12:56AM
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danarachelle77

Beautiful!

Here is a link that might be useful: Picture of the Autumn Maple

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 1:02AM
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gardengal48

Sorry but it is not arbitrary at all - the definition of a tree is a rather clearly outlined and widely accepted botanical convention:
A tree is a woody plant with an erect perennial trunk at least 3 inches in
diameter at breast height, a definitely formed crown of foliage, and a (mature)
height of at least 13 feet.

The reason for this amount of detail is precisely to differentiate a tree from a shrub from a perennial forb so that folks like the OP know what to look for and can ask for a suitable plant at their nursery. 'Bonsai' is not a botanical classification but merely a containerized training practice resulting in dwarfing growth.......one doesn't plant a 'bonsai' in their garden for the simple reason it will not continue to remain at that size.

The height limitation of 8' is very restrictive if one is really looking for a "tree" - it's hard to even find dwarf trees that will remain within that size. Japanese maples are a great choice but be aware that most varieties will exceed the 8' limitation rather easily, including both varieties suggested above.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 3:00PM
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yardvaark

"and a (mature) height of at least 13 feet." This is not arbitrary? Who decided 13' and why? Why not 12'? ... Why not 14? ... Why not 2.5" or 3.5" caliper at breast height as the standard? I'm saying that at the CREATION of this "definition" it could ONLY be arbitrary. No doubt, whoever created it initially thought it to be the best of all possibilities when all things were considered. That followers agreed to use it as such doesn't negate the original arbitrary component ... and the resulting "grey area." In many cases, a plant can fit the definition of a tree, and also, of a shrub. Many plants could live most of their life as "shrubs," but be "trees" before they die, showing that the definition is flawed and weak. The number of trunks one or the other group may have hasn't been factored into the equation. The purpose of a definition is to make things definite, distinct and clear. "Tree" does not and illustrates the need for a better definition or the coining of more words.

The single aspect of the difference between trees and shrubs that remains constant and most useful is that one group has a crown of foliage held aloft and the other does not. However, if most plants deemed trees were to grow in open fields and be left to their own devices, then many would refuse to develop a raised canopy of foliage, preferring to let it drag on the ground.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 3:38PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

13' is 3.9624 meters. I wonder which came first?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 4:24PM
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dlbk(6a)

Thanks for the suggestions and interesting discussion. My thoughts had been running along the lines of a Japanese maple (something like Dissectum Atropurpureum or the variegated Beni Schichihenge), Hydrangea paniculata ('Limelight'), or a dwarf weeping cherry. I think I'm leaning toward the Acer.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 2:28AM
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yardvaark

Even if a tree exceeds your height limits, if you choose something that is close to them, you'll be easily able to keep it in bounds with occasional trimming. One tree I always imagined would be special is coral bark jap. maple with the top annually pollarded (after an attractive branching/trunking structure is developed.) This would generate copious amounts of fresh red twigs each year for a great, lengthy Winter show.

Regarding one point I was making earlier, I think I neglected to clarify the argument. Frequently, what determines if a tree has a distinct (raised) crown of foliage is the happenstance of where it grows -- open field or dense forest. The blocked side light of the forest determines that the woody plant (tree) loses its lower foliage and branches. Grown in an open field, these will generally remain (therefore no distinct raised crown of foliage) unless removed by man or other external forces. If the definition of tree should be sufficient to categorize a species, it cannot be a good definition for that purpose if it relies on happenstance or the meddlings of man. There are umpteen -- dozens probably -- words to describe & define each nuanced form of water that is below 32*F. Is it asking too much to have a few more words so that the differences between shrubs and trees can be better organized and clarified?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 10:55AM
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