Tree recommendation for front yard, large, med/fast grower

scootr71April 8, 2012

Looking for a recommendation for my front yard(see below, zone 6). There used to be a large maple on this side of the house that died a few years ago. You can probably see the newer circle of sod in the center of the pic. There's 40 feet between the sidewalk and my house and my neighbors drive is on the left side as well. The easement has 2 medium white ash (i think) trees on it now as well. I also already have a river birch on the right side. I think a weeping willow would look great but from what I've read they need more room to grow. Just looking for thoughts, comments, suggestions, maybe another river birch to balance out the look? Will there be any issues with planting where an old tree used to be recently?


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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

I'd shoot for a larch if they will grow (where?) you live. Would really look sharp.

Larix kaempferi would be my first choice as it's not as wide as Larix decidua. Larix decidua, I think might fit though.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 6:33AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

I keep thinking a rounded green tree in front of the taller home there. And a nice home and lot you have btw.

First two things to come to mind were a rounded green crab apple. Pick one of the billion varieties. Service berry is a neat smaller tree or large shrub as well.

Below is one of my favorites for all situations.

Dax, is this your metasequoia pic I am about ready to repost for the 100'th time? Grows fast. Looks formal limbed up.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 10:19AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Yep tornado, I photographed that tree.

I'm thinking the poster's house would look stately with a larch anchoring it. A big beautiful house and a larch that won't be congested with leaves and has a see-through appeal if that makes sense. And it's such a formal tree that is often planted on the grounds of large homes or historic buildings.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 11:40AM
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It's a tall house so a tall-growing tree is called for. Save the fl. crabs for accent trees off of corners and such. That big, wide-open space needs something that can attain size.

Of course, there's no place where a larch wouldn't be great! Other than under wires, I mean.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 6:04PM
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Thanks for the suggestions, I live in Louisville, KY( zone 6), will a larch work here? So what are the drawbacks to a larch???? Does it drop needles? Shallow roots? There's always a catch right?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 8:35PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

I think the similarities between the eastern larch and a limbed up metasequoia are amazing. The Larch is a northern tree to me. The local botanical garden has at least one but the bald cypress (another choice!) and dawn redwood out perform it here.

Cincy has some tall metasequoias at Rowe Arboretum. The zoo has planted a number of Ogon metasequoias and all look healthy to me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Larch info

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 9:13PM
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I was just thinking how nice a large local Ginkgo in southwestern KY would look in the center of that yard, but they're not fast growing.

If Ken were here, I think he'd warn you large maple trees have dense, fibrous shallow root systems and it's often not practical to garden under them (e.g.: hostas), if that's your thing. That can be a hassle with most any tree, I suppose, but especially the large maples (e.g.: red maple). An oak tree would offer some options.

I recently planted a Blackgum tree near our house, as something to tolerate a wet area and be perhaps big but not huge, strong-wooded since near a house, and while not rare, a bit unusual and with nice fall color (some cultivars have reddish new foliage and are preferred over regular species for this reason).

If you want tall, one of the better regarded fast-growing trees, with a somewhat pyramidal form (if memory serves, at least young) and deciduous/broadleaf, a Tulip Poplar (a.k.a. Yellow Poplar) could fill the bill. There's a variegated cultivar available; I saw some recently - think yellow margins around a green center, if memory serves.

If you want something to compliment the river birch, perhaps you could squeeze in a paperbark maple tree somewhere.

If you could heavily customize your tree, how tall would it get, how wide would the canopy spread be, do you like broadleaf (e.g.: maple, oak) vs. needles (e.g.: pine) or something else, and how dense would the shade be?


    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 9:30PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Larix kaempferi will grow that far south but I wouldn't plant any other larch species. You'd need to keep it well-watered until it's established, and then give it a drink every now and then until it really gets going. Otherwise, Bald Cypress is a great choice for Louisville. Metasequoia is just such a huge tree that someday it will overwhelm its' welcome.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 7:36AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Greer Gardens has Larix kaempferi in varying sizes up to 6' tall.


Here is a link that might be useful: Larix kaempferi - Greer Gardens

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 4:27PM
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Fast growing and wind firm (for southern t-storms and worse) are often mutually exclusive, but if you want fast, dawn redwood. Bald Cypress would be my choice, but I don't know your soil or rainfall averages, and to get them going fast you need lots o' water and hot summers :-)

Both will drop foliage in the winter, so you get sun through to the house if that's a concern. But unlike leafy trees, the foliage won't blow around so much.

Just my $.02

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:00AM
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Another River Birch seems like a reasonable idea, but like the other posters, a conifer would seem like the best choice here to me also. A pine would be probably be too much. Eastern Red Cedar or Bald Cypress would work. Know you have other choices up there in Z6 that I am not familiar enough with. (I could never grow a larch down here) Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:42AM
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