Small trees to line driveway

bazdarMarch 29, 2013

I am looking for suggestions for trees to line a driveway.

We recently built a new home and are beginning to plan our landscaping. We have hired a local landscape architect for the beds and landscaping around the house. However, we are interested in planting trees along our driveway. The home is on about 1 1/2 acres of open lot that will be grass, and the lot is carved out of the woods. I am attaching a photo that shows the home, the driveway, and our general idea of what we would like to do. The driveway is about 200' long in the area where the trees will be planted. Our architect has suggested 6 or 7 trees on each side, spaced 20' on center. We are meeting with her next week for suggestions, but I was hoping I could get some additional opinions from this forum.

I will say that my husband likes the idea of flowering trees. I like the look of a cherry or the Pears, such as a Cleveland. I know the Cleveland Pears are very popular, but break easily and are not suggested for long-term or lining driveways (even though you see it often). I am saying all of this just so you get a general idea of the look we like, but suggestions of anything different are very much welcome! Thanks in advance for your help!

This post was edited by bazdar on Fri, Mar 29, 13 at 9:21

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why would you want to line a driveway? I say its better to spread them out evenly away from the driveway. If a good stron storm comes through you could be looking at a fallen tree blocking your driveway. Bottom line: don't get any pear trees.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 10:08AM
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We like the idea of a few trees along the driveway as opposed to a lot of random trees scattered throughout the yard. There is a nice view of the house when you are coming in the original driveway (which is before the one pictured) with way it is all situated right now. We also have a nice view of a stream that you can't see, where deer gather. I'd like to be able to sit on my porch swing and see all of that instead of it all being blocked with various trees throughout the front yard.

We already live in the woods, so we're likely to be cutting up trees in the yard after a strong storm anyway :) Or, across the other driveway!

And no worries... we will NOT be planting any pear trees!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 10:57AM
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While the nice long tree lined lanes are nice don't make the mistake of planting them to close to the drive way. There was a house near us that had a nice tree lined lane. It did not last long when they remodeled and there was a line of big trucks trying to get into and up the lane.

You may think you will not have big trucks, but there are many reason that you will need them, Electrical, plumbing, ect contractors. Delivery trucks, emergency vehicles, and the list goes on.

If you decide on the tree line drive way plan on those trees extending over the drive, so put them back 20 or 30 feet from the edge of the drive way so as they grow they will not block the drive for large vehicles. Also the ones at the ends of the drive should be further back because those large vehicle need more room to turn than a car.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 1:56PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Redbuds are native here and should be relatively inexpensive. Mine tolerate full sun and grow reasonably fast.

Cornus florida, the native dogwood, seems to like more shade in my experience with the more disease resistant Cornus kousa. They are beautiful though in fall also.

I have a Serviceberry cultivar in the ground that is supposed to be small tree like. Only been a year. It showed no scorch in 80% sun during last year's record heat and drought.

Good luck, and I like your idea. Just keep em far enough off the drive like the guys say.

If I am remembering Ohio right there were tons of good looking buckeyes also. How big do they get in your area?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 2:42PM
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If you like the idea of fruiting trees, you'll get flowers and then also some fruit too. You could do different varieties of cherries, apples, etc. One way to help maintain them so that you can pick the fruit easily and avoid having heavy branches overburdened during windstorms, would be to train the trees in an espalier style. You would sink posts in along the driveway and run heavy wire between them to support the branches. You don't have to do anything too fancy with training them if you don't want. Espalier can help make them manageable and looks really neat too. And you could probably do pear trees then too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Landscaping with Fruit on Amazon

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 4:20PM
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1. Laburnum
2. Stewartia
3. Sophora
4. Syringa pekinsis Copper Curls

Or ask again tomorrow. I can name another ten, and no repeats.

but if ya got a landscape architect already working for you...

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 5:07PM
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why would you want to line a driveway? I say its better to spread them out evenly away from the driveway. If a good stron storm comes through you could be looking at a fallen tree blocking your driveway. Bottom line: don't get any pear trees.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 9:51PM
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Flowering trees often don't flower all that long, so be mindful that it's how the tree looks the rest of the time that you see much more.

Any consideration of evergreen conifers, like green giant arborvitae? Colorado blue spruce? Perhaps golden hinoki false cypress?

Are you determined they must all be the same species? It's a more formal look, but more susceptible to getting decimated if a disease comes through that's hard on that particular plant. Mixing species makes that less a risk, and you can get a nice mix of colors (e.g.: the 3 conifers I mentioned above are all big but distinctive from each other).

Redbud is not long-lived as trees go, if that matters.

Even if I didn't put out a lot of trees in the yard, I'd consider a couple of well-placed ones aiming to get huge - a white oak, bur oak or (perhaps faster growing) a Shumard oak, depending on what does well in your area.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 1:22AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

How about American Holly, if it's hardy in your area? You'll be doing the birds a big favor in the late winter / early spring and you'll have beautiful evergreen foliage all year.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 8:04AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

I am not a pro, so take this for what it is worth. How about oaks interspersed with Cornus kousa? Although I love the native dogwoods, we have lost five to anthracnose in the last couple of years. I do have two Appalchian Spring that are still alive (well, we'll see if they leaf out this year!).

I cannot picture a driveway lined with all evergreens (except for examples from France and Italy, but not the same look at all here), but if you do want some, they could also be alternated with the oaks and dogwoods for a natural, wide border along the drive. I would lean toward hollies in that case. Of course, this is more than your architect suggested.

I agree that serviceberries are lovely, but mine has not grown very much since I planted it two years ago and it is still shrub-sized which is probably not what you are looking for along your driveway.

Also agree that you want to plant the trees a decent distance away from the driveway. I think it will look lovely lined with trees.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 11:39AM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

Re: dogwoods - there is a Cornus florida/kousa cross called 'Aurora' that is disease resistant and quite upright, so might be good for your purpose as you wouldn't have to worry about branches heading over the driveway. I agree with those who suggest a variety of trees, partly due to practical considerations, but it is partly also personal preference, so you should suit yourself.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 2:36PM
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I would say that flowering dogwood or eastern redbud would be best...however keep in mind they are not the longest living only to around 50-100 years max. The flowering dogwood could be hard to transplant as well so your going to have to care/water it until its established 3 years from now.
Considering you have such a large open lot I would go with large trees. I have seen some really impressive driveways lined with american elm, white oak, and ginko.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 4:27PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

If i was you I would plant fruit trees.. You could have fruit all year! Don't take your land for granted.. Why plant a useless ornamental when you can e eating off it? Fruit trees are beautiful in bloom and the fruit glistening from the sun! Put in some fruit trees! That's what I would do!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 7:05PM
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My last response did not post so here goes again. I would do Winter King Hawthorn, the orange berries in the winter would be stunning on the bare branches . The late spring flowers and the exfoliating bark would be an added bonus. They do branch horizontally, and have thorns, so I would place them 20ft from the driveway. If you want to mix them with a crab, you would be able to extend the bloom time.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 8:50PM
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shillanorth Z4 AB

Just a thought re; fruit trees - it looks like you have a very long driveway and that would be an awful lot of fruit to pick which would otherwise fall to the ground and decay attracting wasps, bears and a host of other wildlife that you may not necessarily want in your front yard. Something ornamental, with at least 3 season interest would be the way to go - spring flowers, summer leaf colour/shape and persistant fruit/berries for the winter would be my suggestion. There are many ornamental crabapples that would be suitable as well as other ornamentals hardy in your area that I am unfamiliar with. It will be interesting to hear what your landscaper suggests. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 10:22PM
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