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Magnolia or Birch - opinions please

Posted by dkgarber MASS (6a) (My Page) on
Fri, May 14, 10 at 9:50

I also posted this in the trees forum, but I figured I'll run it by you follks, as there are so many valuable opinions and suggestions in this forum:

I have a large island bed in my front yard with a sandcherry tree which is nearing the end of its life. Part of me is kind of happy b/c I don't really like the tree-its ratty, overplanted in my area and looks horrible by june b/c the japanese beetles absolutely decimate it. This is probably the last year I'll keep it b/c half of the tree has stopped leaving out and is not looking so great. I felt bad ripping it out when healthy.
I love river and paper birch trees, as well as magnolias and would like to plant one of these in its place. I know the Magnolias can't get quite large, so am considering a dwarf tree. My lot is about an acre, and my house is a 2 story colonial, to put things in scale.

The shade from a large tree would be welcome, as the grass in the front gets scorched b/c we can't water here. The only grass I can succesfully grow is, beleive it or not, under my pines. I don't really put much resources into my lawn, as its a waste of space in my opinion.

Both trees are beautiful but I am torn. I like the winter interest of the birch, but the spring show the magnolia puts on is amazing.

The area will get sun all day (from dawn-dusk). Any opinions??

The rest of the bed is mixed plantings, with some knock out rose bushes. I'd like to get more and create a rose garden.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Magnolia or Birch - opinions please

I'm confused. With an acre, it sounds like you could plant (a) both of the trees you like and (b) a full-size magnolia if you choose that option - all you have to do is expand your thinking beyond the boundaries of the flower bed.

That aside, growing conditions strike me as being of paramount importance and would seem to me to suggest neither of these trees, unless you find a way to water with grey water, which I've been doing for years and can vouch for.


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