Skinny tree for corner of house

Jayram10November 19, 2012

I am looking for suggestions on a tree for the front corner of my home. I currently have a Honey Locust which is entirely too big for the house and will be coming oun in the spring.

I am looking for something which will grow to about 20' and be skinny in nature.

Can anyone offer some advice?

Thank you!

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

My first suggestion is to not plant beanpole trees or shrubs at corners of houses. My next suggestion it to study other, older plantings in the area and see what looks good.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 7:44PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

any chance you want to post a pic.. and let us make suggestions .. rather than stabbing in the dark completely???

ken

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 11:21AM
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terrene(5b MA)

No trees of any kind getting planted near my house. I personally plant only perennials and dwarf shrubbery and religiously prune back any shrubs I've spared. Vegetation near a structure holds moisture against the house, provides avenues for pests and rodents to access the house, can damage the structure during a wind (i.e. scraping branches), etc.

I am a small time landlord and property manager and have ongoing hassles dealing with the trees and shrubs that previous owners have planted near structures, and then they get too big. At my rental house the previous owner planted Canada Hemlock, one of the largest trees in the eastern North American forest, as a foundation shrub!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 8:45AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Trees just don't normally grow to a skinny 20' and then stop.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 10:06AM
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Mike Larkin

Honey Locust is a large tree and Brandon is 100% correct trees dont stop growing. But some tree grow faster than others and therefore if you wanted a tree for your front yard you may select a slowing growing tree for your spot - or maybe a tall nice shrub.

Not knowing your exposure, or your soil type I will just suggest one tree - a good example might be a japanese maple - It will take many years to reach 20 ft. vs the Honey Locust. The key is finding the right cultivar
One maple - Acer palamtum "Shaina" it is Slow grower to 6 to 8 ft. tall, 8 to 10 ft. wide. Not exactly narrow, but a much better tree for your front yard.
I would suggest that you go to a local nursery garden center in your area, and ask for a suggestion that does best in your soil and sun conditions. Plus you casn see what the tree actually looks like.
I have a photo of one on my blog -- It is from my yard. Have 3 growing in my garden and they are doing great in PA.

Good luck and happy planting

Here is a link that might be useful: my blog

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 12:56PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Yes true brandon, even "dwarf" shrubbery and trees get big given enough time. Little dwarf Golden Arborvitae I planted around a deck 25 years ago are now 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide - well they were until I sheared them way back.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 3:54PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

You guys are starting to sound like that Dan guy with those generic responses!lol!

Trees stop growing after their useful lifespans and can decline considerably in growth rate after maturity.

There are certain cultivars that will "likely" die or decline before they get 20' wide so there are options. With that said these types of fastigiate trees usually look awkward next to a house.

Jay, would you consider a tree like that? A picture like Ken mentioned would be helpful.

I framed my house with an Oval shaped maple with a columnar evergreen in the backdrop. Then a dwarf crabapple with horitonzal branching to break-up the vertical lines in front of those two. Plus the red fruit pops with the evergreen in the back.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 10:50PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Whaas,

First, I really miss "that Dan guy". Sometimes his responses were a little cryptic, but, for the most part, they sure were right on target. Sometimes his style may have been slightly curt, but his input was frequently very helpful.

It's true that the growth rate of trees (particularly their vertical growth) can slow on maturity, but it's also true that there are few, if any, trees that reach a "skinny" 20' height in a reasonable time and then stop growing. Can you think of any?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 11:14PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the problem here.. IMHO ...

is the confusion between the 'natural' growth of a plant

and what a homeowner can 'do' with a ladder and a saw ... thru pruning ...

20 feet.. in my world.. that is an 18 foot ladder ... which most of us can not move ... let alone works at height ...

so i would start the equation.. with the size of the ladder..

then add the ability to learn how to prune a tree to what they want ...

add in.. that no 20 foot TREE should be planted w/in 10 feet of the house..

then create a garden design to work it all in.. including companion plantings which are spaced for the ladder work ...

you cant just consume.. a multitude of adult beverages.. while flipping thru m stewart design catalogs ... and come up with some grand scheme ... trust me.. i tried that method.. and though i came up with grand designs.. what i usually ended up with was a very long term hangover .. lol ... [mostly because i didnt have the 20 gardeners to do the work.. that martha forgot to tell us she employed ... lol ]

the very simple answer is.. no 20 foot tree should be planted near the house.. nor on the corner.. [where it 'looks' like it is planted .. from the street.. is the real key ... but never right 'on' the corner]

and as noted.. no 20 foot tree will remain thin .. by itself ... though you can make it anything you want ...

BTW.. i dont think OP ever really defined what thin meant ... if momma is 100 feet wide at 20 feet ... then a thin version could be a mere 50 feet wide .. but if OP is talking 2 foot wide by 20 high ... well.. who knows ... see above about pruning ...

any chance at a picture???

ken

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 8:23AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Hmm...

Pond Cypress?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 10:19AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

First, I really miss "that Dan guy". Sometimes his responses were a little cryptic, but, for the most part, they sure were right on target. Sometimes his style may have been slightly curt, but his input was frequently very helpful.

Hah! You caught on. Yes he was very sharp when he wanted to be but when he wasn't, the whole "Dan's default #1" without any explanation for folks without experience was what most people would call arrogant. Some have varying levels of technical experience and when those with a higher level show boredom with laziness its something I despise. Showing patience and sharing knowledge is the only thing I can respect.

Honestly I have no idea why I even care about this right now!lol!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 11:05AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Now don't be impatient.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 2:08PM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

European Hornbeam Fastigiata.

They are close to what you are looking for. Google some pics. I have 15 of them, planted them in early March, and adore the living daylights out of them.

They grow fast too, even though they're hardwood. Mine grew 3ft from March to Sept this past year. The leaves are so pretty and they stand up to wind like total pros.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 6:10PM
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treebarb Z5 Denver

I miss Dan, too! I last exchanged emails with him about a year ago and he indicated he'd be back on GW soon. Well, he's not! His advice was particularly valuable to me since he lives (or lived) here and understands gardening at altitude with 13 inches of annual precip. in clay soil. Since we're up to a whopping 9 inches so far this year, I could have used his insights! He knows what he's talking about, helped me tremendously and kept me from making a few mistakes. But, yes, he was snippy sometimes!

ilovemytrees, I planted a Carpinus betulus 'Fastiagata' 6 weeks ago, so I'm glad to hear you adore it. I love it's form and now that the leaves have dropped, it's just loaded with buds, so I have high hopes for it's survival. From what I've been able to gather it's ultimate size at maturity is 40' X 30', so not super skinny!

Barb

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 7:21PM
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salicaceae(z8b FL)

Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil' will grow narrowly to about 20' and stop. Also, there are certain cultivars of Taxus x media (eg. 'Beanpole'), Rhamnus 'Fine Line', Juniperus communia 'Suecica', Thuja occidentalis 'Degroot's Spire' and 'Malonyana' (bigger over many years), Taxodium distichum 'Peve Minaret' and 'Lindsey's Skyward'....

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 10:51AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Never heard of a 'Sky Pencil' taller than around 10'. The National Arboretum lists its mature height at 10', so there's just no way I could buy the 'grows to 20' and stops' claim.

The conifers (the ones that will reach 20') will continue and will grow taller than that once they reach that height. Dwarf conifers grow slower than their full-sized counterparts, but don't necessarily grow smaller. When you visit an old dwarf-conifer collection, the massive size of the specimens can be amazing.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 11:44AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

...but, as plantman56 pointed out, slower growing plants may remain at an acceptable height for a longer time. The thing about that though is that, since they are slower growing, you either have to fork over the dough and start out with an older (larger) plant to start with, or, accept a small plant in the landscape for years.

The bottom line, IMO, is that maintaining a 20' beanpole tree will be a fight against nature. It can be done, just as an area of dirt can be kept weed free, but not without intervention of some type or other.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 11:54AM
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strobiculate

it' s been interesting to see this one develop.

to answer the quesrion, several varieties of crabapple are the closest match in height and width. then, in no particular order and varying degrees of size irregularities, columnar varieties of maple, beech, oak, the aforementioned hornbeam, parrotia, ironwood, pine, spruce, arbs, juniper, and chamaecyparis.

funny how people have such strongly held ideas...about how someone else's property should look. for the number of people who say never to plant under the potentulial canopy of a tree, this is the perfect question. name a tree or a variety that can be planted close, but won't grow too big...cuz we all the the impotant thing is to make small things appear bigger. honest, size isn't every thing.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 2:37PM
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conon(6b, Southern, IN)

�Slender Silhouette� American sweetgum. Anybody mentioned this one?

Here is a link that might be useful: �Slender Silhouette� American sweetgum

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 4:19PM
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sam_md

Is the OP still with us? If so, I think conon gave you the most helpful answer.
Here's another suggestion depending on the construction of your house. This is one of many conifers that might espalier well:

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 4:43PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I missed that the OP wanted to top out at 20' tall and took it as width.

That Sweetgum gets quite tall, perhaps 50' or more...but yes very skinny in nature!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 6:29PM
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