Foundation tree?

subnet_rxJune 22, 2009

I'm looking for a foundation tree that can help shade my house. The tree will be planted about 5 feet from the house. My first thought was an upright form of a crape myrtle variety that grows to 15-20 feet. I already have crape myrtles at both corners though, so I'm not sure that will provide enough variety in the view. Any other suggestions for a tree that's not going to cover up windows, be big enough to provide some shade, but not be so big that it looks out of place?

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esh_ga

Five feet from the house is too close for almost any tree.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 4:42PM
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iforgotitsonevermind(♪☺♫)

I like the upright tree form junipers, arborvitae and SOME hollies for close to the house. In your location the hollies and Chinese juniper cultivars are probably the most reliable.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 4:53PM
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Dan Staley

No tree that close. Period.

Dan

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 5:09PM
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subnet_rx

Not even a upright Japanese Maple, crape myrtle, or something similar?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 12:29PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You don't need a tree next to your house to provide shade. Or worded in a different way: a tree doesn't need to be right up next your house in order to provide shade.

Situate the tree so that it will block out the sun from the direction you want it to, but many feet away from the house. The shadow it will cast will be broader and you won't block any windows. Our newly planted shade tree is probably about 25 feet from the house, blocking the hot western afternoon sun.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 12:37PM
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Dan Staley

Not even a upright Japanese Maple, crape myrtle, or something similar?

These two are spreading plants. If there are fastigiate vars, I'm not aware of them (but I'm not an authority on either spp).

As the diagram I provided above shows, any tree as tall as your initial post requested would be too close to the foundation at 5 ft.

Dan

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 12:47PM
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iforgotitsonevermind(♪☺♫)

What is that pointy green thing next to the front porch in that diagram?

Does OP strictly want a deciduous canopy tree?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 1:29PM
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Dan Staley

It's a plant, âªâºâ« , in a pot on the porch.

What the OP wants doesn't exist: a 15-20 ft tall tree that can safely be planted 5ft from the house. Some compromise will have to be made.

Dan

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 1:48PM
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iforgotitsonevermind(♪☺♫)

Oh I see the pot now. I didn't see the pot before âº.

I don't necessarily agree with there not being a 15-20' tree you can safely plant 5' from the house. That's why I suggested something like a hollywood juniper or something like a dahoon holly. Especially the hollies. They tolerate pruning and shearing and very commonplace as a foundation plant. Getting a cultivar that grows a little taller than the shrub forms and cleared trunk up to 3-4' will look nice. This is commonly done with japanese privet although I don't recommend that plant. It's also commonly done with foster hollies and nelly r stevens hollies. Those are nice cultivars too... the latter gets a little too big though.

Or arborvitaes. Most of those cultivars don't grow wider than 3'.

This is a foundation planting in the home landscape. Not for a legacy tree. In otherwords, if it gets too big, you take it out. No big deal.

Do y'all not have anything planted within 5' of your homes?!

Homes in the south are build on slabs, btw. I have not seen any home without a basement that looks like those diagrams.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 4:03PM
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iforgotitsonevermind(♪☺♫)

Teddybear magnolia is another possibility for planting close to the house.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 6:09PM
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subnet_rx

Yeah, large trees are routinely planted near houses around here. It's not the smartest thing to do, but people do it. I have kind of pulled back from my original post. I am now just looking for a small tree 15-20 feet x 10-12 feet that is ornamental. I am doing it to be a little taller than my current shrubs to break up the monotony of the row. I also just really like trees and am trying to work more in my landscape.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 12:37PM
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arbortista

I agree, plant no tree within 5ft of a home. Here's where the problem starts: Developers want to sell homes. Homes without landscaping don't sell. So they buy a "template" landscape plan and offer minimal adjustments in plant variety. Usually these are designed by people ignorant of the plants growth habits, needs etc. Then the homeowner is stuck paying people in the green industry to somehow mediate the existence of your landscape with your own existence.
What's worse, is that everyone driving by sees eight thousand of these landscapes and thinks "hmm...ok, so that's how it's supposed to look" Which does nothing but perpetuate the problem.
Before you plant any tree anywhere on your property, research what variety will flourish. I highly recommend species native to the area because it will offer more than just a tree, the wildlife will flock to it, butterflies, birds that eat them, etc. Aside from that, you'll only have to plant one tree with minimal maintenance as opp osed to having to dig up and replace a "specialty" tree that has no business being in that spot anyway.
When you think of trees, think in terms of decades rather than months. Think "how big will this tree be in a decade"...read the tags on them or research the trees online. You'll be happier with your choice and you'll get the proper results much faster than you'd think

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 5:16PM
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iforgotitsonevermind(♪☺♫)

arborista--- but why?!
Why think of terms of decades...
It's a residential landscape.
Nothing about residential landscapes last decades.
It's just to add curb appeal. The same thing the homebuilders do.
It's not a legacy tree planting.
They just need something that is suitable for foundation planting. If the plant stays for 10 years, before the next homeowner pulls it out to plant something else then it's managed to stay longer than most.

You just don't want something to grow 6' a year and send out branches over the roof. But what is wrong with crepe myrtle, hollies... the usual.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 5:36PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"Nothing about (poorly planned) residential landscapes last decades."

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 8:46AM
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esh_ga

What's worse, is that everyone driving by sees eight thousand of these landscapes and thinks "hmm...ok, so that's how it's supposed to look" Which does nothing but perpetuate the problem.

Arrrgh. So true!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 9:08AM
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iforgotitsonevermind(♪☺♫)

But what is wrong with planting suitable foundation trees!!!??? Hollies, junipers, dwarf alberta spruce, arborvitae etc. These are fine!
I'm not saying to plant a cottonwood there.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 9:30AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I think it depends on the holly, juniper, etc. Some varieties have growth habits that would work fine near a house, but others are more tree-like and will eventually become a problem. I think the key is simply to plan ahead, not necessarily eliminate all trees from around a house. Planting something that will require a lot of pruning to stay in bounds is probably not a wise choice. I think some of the potential disagreement here might be due to terminology. Not all hollies, junipers, etc are trees. Many are shrubs.

BTW, I despise dwarf alberta spruces, so I wouldn't consider planting one of them at any location for any reason under any circumstances, but that's just a personal thing.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 10:21AM
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Dan Staley

Hollies, junipers, dwarf alberta spruce, arborvitae etc.

IME too commonly arborvitae stop being pruned for a while, then in a few years you have a green monster threatening to swallow your home and rotting the sides and roof. And speaking of repetitive landscapes, how many places do you go where you can't swing a dead cat without impaling it on a dwarf AB spruce?!

Now that we are re-set for the OP, the new request is: I am now just looking for a small tree 15-20 feet x 10-12 feet that is ornamental.

That's super, but a 10ft spread will still have a chance at brushing the house, compromising the integrity of the siding by mechanical action AND shading which fosters algal growth.

Let us think about things like the teddy bear magnolia suggested above - moved out a bit - certain osmanthus, columnar juniper (that can take that climate), Camellia sasanqua (moved out a bit), that sort of thing?

Dan

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 10:21AM
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iforgotitsonevermind(♪☺♫)

The small trees I mentioned, foster holly, dahoon and hollywood juniper are indeed trees. I am not suggesting to plant something with a real spreading branches but even if what I suggest has an eventual "mature spread" of 10' or more, it's likely never going to reach that.
And furthermore it will grow more upright anyway if planted close to a building just like trees planted too close in a tree farm.

"Let us think about things like the teddy bear magnolia suggested above - moved out a bit - certain osmanthus, columnar juniper (that can take that climate), Camellia sasanqua (moved out a bit), that sort of thing? "

That's a complete 180 from

"No tree that close. Period. "

So to clarify, are you now open to planting trees there that are suitable for planting 5' from the house?

Does nobody here have a foundation planting?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 11:38AM
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Dan Staley

None of the plants I recommended are trees, save the magnolia which I said should be moved out a bit.

Hollywood juniper is too close at 5ft.

We have two foundation plantings (3 if you consider the raised bed of veggies next to foundation a foundation planting). None of the plants consist of anything that gets over 6 ft (Buddleia if unpruned).

Dan

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 5:43PM
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iforgotitsonevermind(♪☺♫)

Do you think this is too close?
At maturity it's 8'wide and 12' tall.
It'll never reach that but even if it did it leaves a 1' of space at it's widest point.

Here is a link that might be useful: blue point juniper

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 7:12PM
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Dan Staley

It doesn't meet OP's new criterion. Wind blows and pushes trees.

Dan

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 7:24PM
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iforgotitsonevermind(♪☺♫)

I didn't see that but also I'm not sure I understand what that means. Wind blows and pushes trees???

(âº)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 11:50PM
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Dan Staley

8' wide means ~1 ft space. Except when the wind blows and the plant rubs against the house.

Dan

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 9:29AM
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katrina1(OK)

Frans Fontaine Hornbeam
thuja Degroot's Spire
Ornamental Corinthian peach (this tree has cultivars to choose from which will either bloom, pink, white, or red flowers.) I also love how long its new leaves stay a deeply bright red, but also change to green in the hottest part of the summer. All while emerging more bright red leaves as the tree begins to grow again after the Summer heat breaks and its fall growth begins to set-in.

I have planted all three of these trees, and over the last 2 years have not noticed any of them dropping bothersome litter at any point throughout their growing or dormant seasons.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 9:41AM
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