Northern Illinois, Mchenry County, Shade tree

reeko05August 4, 2014

Hi Everyone,
My wife and I want to plant a nice shade tree between the edge of my patio and the fence. We have about 10-12 feet between the patio and fence. The neighbors shed sits about 2 feet from my fence on the other side. We currently have a White Ash which is infected and must be removed this fall in the center of the yard which once removed, we would like to plant a tree on the opposite side of the patio, which is the small unused area to provide shade in the evening.

I am hoping people can tell me which route to go. I went to the local nurseries, seems they all suggest a Pear tree such as the Bradford Pear. My wife and I dislike the scent and we want a tree that will not drop alot or any if possible. Also the ability to resist insect infestation would be great. We currently have 2 large pines on one side of our home, a red maple on the other side of our home and a white birch in the front yard.

What type of tree would you suggest, guessing 40-50 feet tops in height, around 30 max width. Clean tree with little to no droppings due to being eventually over our patio and low maintenance is a plus. Thanks

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Just got a return phone call from our nursery we originally purchased the red maple from 15-20 years ago. They suggested a Beacon Oak or Scarlet Sentinel Maple for that small of an area.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 3:54PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)


    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 4:14PM
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Never heard of a Katsura, but called my local nursery. They said its a great tree but needs alot of water, not good on a sloped surface :(. I was really happy reading about that tree. Also he said he has 10-12 foot katsuras on sale for 191.00.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 4:33PM
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some thoughts:
asian (not siberian) elm
ginkgo (male)

some smaller ones:
star magnolia
tree lilac
serviceberry (has berries, but they are small)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:09PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

You might see if your nursery has Acer truncatum. Very drought tolerant, soil tolerant, cold and heat hardy, pretty much the perfect tree. Also, there are cultivars such as 'Fire Dragon' with bright red fall color. Sooner Plant Farm has 5-6' 'Fire Dragon' arriving on 9/1 (43 units) online. link below.

If your nursery has Acer truncatum seedling grown trees... you should wait until fall colors are displayed to choose your individual tree.


Here is a link that might be useful: Sooner Plant Farm: 'Fire Dragon' Shantung maple

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 6:59AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Got to recommend against Fire Dragon that far north. Ours in Northwest Arkansas has not grown nearly as vigously as advertised, but that is not the reason I recommend against it that far north. I dont think its as cold hardy as some seed province. Ours got a severe case of sunscald this past winter, despite having very thick fully mature bark and not having had an issue with this before. The wound is as much as 4" wide on about 5.5" caliper trunk at that level. Its callusing over, but it will take at least 2 or 3 more years to close the wound. If this happened in my zone 6b winter, then I would not touch it further north.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:28AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

I've had one in the ground 4-5 years. Even last winter with -18F did nothing to it.

I also have a seedling.....again, no damage.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:13AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

Our tree was planted November 2007. The originator of the cultivar happened to be coming to the area, and he transported our tree to our area. Our tree is very well established, and has grown from 1" caliper, to presnt caliper of about 6" or so (not completely certain from memory) adding about 1"/yr. I have posted pics of it many times, and those can still been seen at photobucket user Arktrees. We got to -25F a few years ago. The same tree had some branch damage but not too severe, and no sunscald. I posted a thread at the time titled "Zone Buster". Search that title and Arktrees, and it should turn up if GW hasnt deleted the old thread (which they do from time to time). The climate difference was probable 18" snow during the -25F, but not nearly as much snow, and sometimes none, during our sub-zero nights this past winter. Im sure northern Ill is quit capable of producing those climatic conditions on a regular basis. Anyway you look at it, I would not have expected it to have sunscald issues, but a 4" wide wound says I was wrong, and I will not be recommending Fire Dragon to anyone north of Zone 7 due to the slow growth, and apparent susceptibility to winter damage. Now species Acer truncatum sourced from locally grown stock is a completely different story. Perhaps another speces would be a better choice.


This post was edited by arktrees on Tue, Aug 5, 14 at 10:44

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:40AM
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