suggestions for front corner house planting

wackyoneJune 2, 2008

Looking for suggestions for front corner house planting - preferrably upright multi-stem shrub or a tree no taller than 15'. Replacing arrowwood viburnum that "suckered" way too much and was too rounded.

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    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 10:22PM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

Star Magnolia, very slow growing, a nice green. Flowers can be iffy, though nice if not frozen. This is the best magnolia for cold places. Comes in white and colors. My pink Jane is really attractive. Tolerant of low growing things under it, if you want more than mulch.

Butterfly bush is also good, if you don't mind a very slow starter in cold locations. Mine are just getting going now with sprouts, though the sunny ones are the earliest growers. Cut the old growth off in spring, bush is renewed each year. Huge bird and butterfly attractant. Can get good sized over the years, with good roots. Several colors to choose from.

Would rain chain be an option, leading down into the bush, plant? Soften the water fall from eaves, visually attractive in a corner location. Probably would have to pull down for freezing weather, too much frozen water weight for the eaves.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 1:27PM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

Just to clarify, there are several variants of Star Magnolia, mostly varying in the shape of the flower petals, but to my knowledge, they are all white, and most of them are sweetly scented. The Little Girl series, to which 'Jane' belongs, are mostly colored, coming in shades of pink and purple, some with white reverses. As far as I have seen, the Star magnolias seem to have an open, spreading shape as they grow, while most of the 'Little Gir' seem to be more upright and tight. Both groups do meet your height requirements, but I would look for a picture of a mature specimen of whatever you think you would like to avoid disappointment down the road.

Amelanchier - one of the shrubby, multi-stemmed ones, not the taller single-trunked one, might work very well. 'Autumn Brilliance' is supposed to be a good cultivar - I haven't grown it.

Clethra/Summersweet might work - it's native to z4, although some of the cultivars might not be as hardy as the species. It grows to 8' with good moisture.

Cotinus/Smoke bush is another possibility. There are cultivars with leaf colors ranging from the normal green to lime green to purple-y red (some of these fade to greener faster than others), and the summer "smoke" ranges from reddish to reddish white. It is bulkier in its affect than some of the others, but can be cut back hard if it gets out of hand.

A selected witch-hazel might also be good. They have early flowers, before the leaves, and have good autumn color, mostly yellow.

P.G. Hydrangea would also do - if it gets out of hand, rejuvenation pruning will rein it in. It can also be trained to a tree form, rather than a shrub.

Almost any of the hollies, evergreen or deciduous would be good - select for mature height. You would have to have a male in the vicinity if you want berries, or just use a male and avoid the whole issue.

Hope this gives you some ideas. You might also contact your local county extension agent - they frequently have lists of plants that do well in their areas.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 3:41PM
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I'm also looking for a corner tree no wider than 10' or so. I was thinking about planting the burkwood viburnum which gets to 10' tall by 7' wide. I haven't read anywhere that it suckers like the arrowhead. I like the look of the serviceberry but needed something a little smaller. I haven't read anywhere that it does. I also thought about a spicebush or whitch hazel.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 7:37PM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

Ohh...Good suggestions Dibbit.

My Janes are about 4 years, started small, still rather small at about 4ft. I have done some pruning to prevent rubbing branches, open up the centers a bit. No idea of the upright or open spreading look in finished trees. Tags said about 10ft tall. The most mature ones I have seen were at MSU in Lansing. They were white ones, and open as you said. Not real tall, 10ft or so, and I would call them attractive, shapely trees.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2008 at 10:19PM
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