Planting trees for the next century

taylorjonl(6a)October 7, 2013

I have been working on my front yard and am about to start planting some trees. I would like to plant some trees that within 20 years gives my south facing house some decent shade and in 100 years extreme shade. I was thinking of planting 3 permanent(meaning 300+ years, nothing is permanent in nature) trees.

Bur Oak
Ginko Biloba
Northern Red Oak

Attached is a plan I did in google sketchup that shows trees canopies when they are mature.

My research says the Bur Oak will get a 60 foot canopy, the Ginko Biloba will get a 30 foot canopy and the Northern Red Oak will get a 50 foot canopy.

First off, are my numbers correct for my zone? Second, looking at the plan, am I too close to my house or the street? I spaced the trees at least 4 feet from the sidewalk.

Also, to get me some shade until the Oak trees fill out, I planned on planting some fast growing trees closer to my house that I will cut down in 20 years or so, was thinking a variety of the Ginko Tree that grow tall but narrow.

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The N Red oak will grow fast enough without a temporary tree to be removed in 20 years. Well, they should if not stressed by drought or disease etc.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 11:35PM
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I wasn't planning on planting temporary trees for the Northern Red Oak, the temporary plantings would be for the Bur Oak. I attached a guess on what it would look like after 10 years.

I didn't mention this but the left most tree is the Northern Red Oak, the next tree to the right is the Ginkgo(Autumn Gold cultivar), then the lower right is the Bur Oak. The two close to the house are the temporary trees.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 11:40PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

z6 doesnt give us much info as to where you are ...

i would not rely on a ginkgo ... to provide shade in your lifetime ... at least that is their vigor in MI ....

is there a reason you rule out scarlet oak ???? i dont know my oak distributions ....

and.. your drawing are great.. but i am a I GOTTA SEE IT SORTA GUY ...

any reason you cant give us a picture of the front of the house ...

as an aside... i planted 6 to 8 foot bare root oak in 2000 ... they are going on 30 feet tall .. aggressively pruned to lift the canopy .... do NOT presume.. a well established young oak.. grows slow ... its an old wives tale ...

finally ... NOW is the time to select a tree for color .... you find it at a nursery.. and ask them to TAG IT for you ... perhaps even offering a deposit if need be ... you do NOT rely on descriptions.. for sublime color ...

and i do NOT suggest you go for anything larger than what i bought ... it will take too many years to get re-established ... and the smaller would have the potential to outgrow the larger in 5 years ....

and when the time comes for planting.. read.. study and follow.. to the letter .... EVERYTHING at the link ... no fert.. no amending.. etc


ps: why not throw in a deciduous conifer ... like the dinosaur one ... metasequoia glpsasomethingoranother .. lol .... a dawn redwood ... get rid of the gingko ....

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 7:48AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Bur Oaks can grow pretty quickly w/the right seed source & moisture - some populations are very large and fast growing, others are more scrubby.

From what I understand the populations from the northern Midwest are slower/smaller (smaller acorns, too), and those from the southern part of the range up into even parts of Ohio and Indiana are the larger leaved, larger acorned, faster growing ecotype.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:20AM
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Taylor, your plan seems sound to me, with the added caveats of others here, that you might not need any of your temporary trees. Have you considered swamp white oak? At least where I live, that species seems a bit more vigorous than bur oak. Then there are the naturally occurring hybrids between the two. Maybe I'm just complicating things, but those tend to be very good trees too.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 11:34AM
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Bur oak seedlings here, from mid-MO, KY, TX, OK, AL seedsources have easily outgrown any member of the red/black group, planted at the same time. Don't think you'll need a 'temporary'.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 12:36PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Another thing to consider it that oaks tend to grow much faster in sandy slightly acidic soils than in clay soils. It seems obvious but not always the case for all tree species.

Ginkgo are strange little critters when it comes to growth rates.
I planted an Autumn Gold at one home 5 years ago and it looks the same size. By the way my neighbor had a 18 year old Gingko that was but 10 to 12 tall about 50' away.

Fast forward to my next house and my Autumn Gold Gingko planted from b&b is double the size after 3 years than the one I planted 5 years ago.

Personally I'd sub Burr Oak with Swamp Oak and Red Oak with Scarlett Oak.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 1:34PM
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Ken, my location is a city in Utah called Sandy, zip code is 84070. I hadn't noticed the Scarlet Oak, looks promising, almost the same as a Northern Red Oak.

As for buying from a nursery, I was planning on planting the Oak trees from acorn, I have heard that the tap root can make transplanting iffy and the best way to grow them is at location from acorn, thoughts?

BTW, what don't you like about the Ginkgo? I mainly bought it because it is a very old tree and would be an interesting specimen, that Redwood looks interesting too but I have heard the Redwoods loose a lot of material and could cause damage as it falls, is that just the giants in the Redwood forests? I will do some reading on this guy, the images I see are very tempting.

I will read up a bit more on the Swamp Oak and am seriously contemplating replacing the Northern Red Oak with a Scarlet Oak as suggested.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 6:04PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Ginkgo appear to grow quite fast in well drained, moist sandy loams. What tree doesn't though?

However they are very slow in clay or dry sandy soils.

Here are several Ginkgo from my area and the Chicago area that aren't more than 30 years or so. Do even think about getting rid of your Ginkgo!lol

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:08PM
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whaas, I won't be getting rid of my Ginkgo, likely I will shift it to the side yard north of the Northern Red Oak(possibly a Scarlet) instead. I am just loving the Dawn Redwood:

All the images I see on google are amazing, I can just imagine a 100' yellow tree sandwiched between two 60' Oak trees in the fall.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:27PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

My metasequoia "gold rush" is growing pretty well. It might be an excellent choice, plenty fast growing here and a little more narrow in habit than the species.

There is supposed to be an improved form out there. I forget the name. It grows fast so no need to pay for a huge transplant. Mine was mailordered.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 11:17PM
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"...was thinking a variety of the Ginko Tree that grow tall but narrow."

Be sure you view some 'fastigiate/columnar' trees before you commit to one. I've seen such a cultivar of sugar (?) maple in a city, and while it could be said to complement the severe tall vertical nature of area buildings in an urban setting, it could, depending on placement, look a bit strange in a suburban yard.

I find young ginkgos often look like malformed hat racks (or so I think of them). I bought a 'golden globe' ginkgo by mail order that does. Didn't intended on another, but later found an unusually bushy 'Autumn gold' ginkgo and got it.

Ginkgo is one of those trees I think, for future reference, I'd really like to pick out at a retail nursery rather than order one & hope to get lucky.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 11:58PM
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So this is the site of planting, I bought the house 1 year ago, it has a couple huge trees in the back(you can see them in this photo), these trees made me buy the place. They need company...

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 1:02AM
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Another angle...

Tomorrow I am getting a new water supply line ran along with a new backflow preventer. Then I need to run a sprinkler, the soil has been tilled to 6-8" with compost, and I hope another 1-2" of shredded leaves by the end of the year, if my fortune tells right.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 1:10AM
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This is the plan I based my transmogrification on...

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 1:14AM
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arktrees(6b NW Arkansas)

IMHO, being in such a dry climate, that you need to stay away from the Metasequoia. VERY water thirsty plants, and subject to burn from dry wind combined with intense sun. Same with Sugar Maple.

The Ginkgo, Burr Oak, are excellent choices. However I agree with whaas, that Scarlet Oak is a better choice over Northern Red Oak, as they originate from dry ridge tops, and so are better adapted to a dry climate. To me that is an overriding concern.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:03AM
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arktrees, very good point on the water requirements. I haven't had a chance to do much research on the subject yet but the few places I have checked say it is not drought tolerant at all, so I as much as I would like one it is not going to happen.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 12:00PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Ark, my Dawn Redwood put a second flush on in July and burned exactly like you said with dry windy conditions when it was in the 90s for a week. Not even that hot if you ask me.

Taylor you might consider posting to the design forum if you are looking for feedback on the layout. Appears to be alot going on there will many competing curves and little repetition for a cohesive look.

Here is my Autumn Gold. D is right, you have to get them retail.
Even with this one I had to do a bunch of heading cuts the other year. Good news is that it has finally filled out and is double the size of what it was 3 springs ago. For perspective its about 12' tall. I'm jost over 6' and can easily clear that left side lower limb.

This post was edited by whaas on Wed, Oct 9, 13 at 13:56

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 1:41PM
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