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Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

Posted by michiganmuffy 5 (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 5, 13 at 9:36

I live in S.E. Michigan. We had a blue spruce in this circular planter that was taller then our 2 story house. We never had any major problems with it being so close to the house except for it dropped pine needles all the time and blocked our drains, which when it rained flooded the garage and the basement. Also it's canopy was too big and our fire pit singed it's branches. We cut it down and want to replace it.
I went to a tree nursery and they recommended a Cleveland Pear which I see on this forum everyone says to stay away from it. We are looking for something attractive that doesn't have big bug-disease issues, is not so frail it will break in the wind and with snow. I also don't want a wimpy dwarf looking tree. I think it would look funny in the space. The actual measured space of the circle planter is 16 x 13. Does anyone have some suggestions?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

A shadbush serviceberry would look very nice there. Also a sourwood if you have acidic soil


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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

muffy ... muffy.. muffy ... you said:

never had any major problems with it being so close to the house except for it dropped pine needles all the time and blocked our drains, which when it rained flooded the garage and the basement. Also it's canopy was too big and our fire pit singed it's branches. We cut it down

==>> sooo?? as i read this.. it dropped needles.. clogged your drains.. flooded your garage.. and your basement.... and you burnt it... and you start by saying... WE NEVER HAD ANY MAJOR PROBLEMS ....

my God woman.. what would it take.. for you to say it was a problem ... crikey ...

your base problem.. at this point.. and i note power lines above.... is that you want ONE SINGLE TREE... to fit a large area.. that will fill that area.. but not get big ...

no such thing ...

[AND !!!!! to top it all off your spruce dropped PINE needles in clogging the drain.. whats that all about... lol ...]

and find a new nursery.. that idiot isnt worth keeping in business ....

i would suggest a mixed planting of a couple DWARF [which of course you already ruled out.. and i am hoping.. because you were thinking a SINGLE dwarf .. and that is my point].. along with some perennials.. and annuals ...

as i said.. there is no one single plant.. that is going to fill that space.. w/o looking stupid for a decade or two ...

i am down in adrian.. where are you in MI????

and i will bet that picea pungens.. was planted.. long before all that brickwork and asphalt were put down.. and that is why you are now left with a weird space... in a weird spot .... before you plant anything.. is there any dream of re-purposing the area????? .... like finishing the brick patio.. etc ....

and dont forget.. you have big issues.. with just about any tree.. with those power lines...

good luck

ken

ps: did you spruce... ever have pine cones?????


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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

Other than the downspout issue, it looks like a great place for a veggie garden!

The service berry is a good suggestion. What about a weeping katsura or weeping redbud like Ruby Falls for the prime spot? Then mix and match some dwarf conifers, shrubs, and/or perennials to fill in the space.


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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

  • Posted by kchd 7b Mississippi (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 5, 13 at 20:52

I would also suggest American Fringetree Chionanthus virginicus.

And if you aren't dead-set on a tree, consider some of the beautiful native flowering shrubs to fill that space.


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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

Need to narrow this down.

Further south, I'd think since a lot of roots extend out or past the drip line, & since the tree won't be getting much nourishment or water from the soil outside the 16x13' oval planting area, that a plant with a canopy not much larger than that would be preferred. Trees often have a canopy width roughly equivalent to height.

But up north, I don't know but that your summers might not be so hot & dry, so maybe you're not so limited?

We need to know the minimum and maximum height you'd like, and the minimum and maximum width of the canopy.

You know, there are smaller cultivars of Colorado Blue Spruce, such as Baby Blue Eyes.

Do you want an evergreen? If so, will you limb it up, or not?

A problem with aiming for a mid-size tree similar in overall size to a Callery Pear (e.g.: Bradford, Cleveland) is that a tree with that target mature size will likely to slow to reach it, and a tree that gets that large pretty fast will likely overshoot the size you're after. Perhaps some 'supporting' smaller plantings would fill out the space while your new tree is young, then be removed when it's larger?

I found a tree online that might roughly fill the bill; 40 feet tall, 30 feet wide, perhaps the canopy would offer enough clearance off the ground not to create problems, and size shouldn't overwhelm a 2 story house. Zones 4 - 8.

Richard.

Here is a link that might be useful: Here's a more pyramidal form of European Hornbeam


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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

OMG guys....

you are recommending deciduous trees..

what about that drain????

i am thinking.. hot tub... pergola ...??? ... notre dame rot in hell pit??? ...

i cant figure out.. what the greenery is.. on the far left of the pic???? .. if you arent minding the kidding around.. could we see a further back shot of the whole area .... is this right out on the street????

ken


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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

A zone warmer and I would be recommending Japanese maples. That MIGHT be a protected enough location but who knows. Serviceberries are neat. Lilac, crabapple? If a crab outgrows that spot you can always cut it and start over.


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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

I recommend the Golden Raintree.

I have this tree, and it is 3 yrs old. It grows about 2 ft per year and it's completely easy breezy to grow. It transplants effortlessly. It's totally wind tolerant, and will add beauty to your spot.

To me, this tree is one of the most beautiful on Earth. Just my 2 cents of course, well mine and Thomas Jefferson's. lol


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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 7, 13 at 12:11

If anyone is next to you with that view to what you're showing us I'd recommend an evergreen like Pinus cembra. They remain relatively narrow compared to any spruce.

Also I'd recommend you relocate that pile of wood away from the house. They can be havens for insects and rodents. Not that you will have a problem but like I and many others pile of wood don't go next to the house.

Also based upon your roof design how did you have that much of problem with a pine or spruce? Unless you really have a massive pine that was growing into and over your garage roof to the front and back I just don't get it based on the pic.

Eitherway with that small section of gutter overflowing and causing your basement to leak is problematic and tells me you have grade issues.


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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

That is tough one. I have similar situation and I used redbud and serviceberry. I am pretty sure you don't even want a medium tree like buckeye - too big, too close to house and overhead lines. Keep it small.
Someone also suggested shrubs - which is a great idea - honeysuckle, lilac, hazelnut, viburnum - there are lots of choices with lots of pluses. Maybe even trellis with grape vines or some such.


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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 7, 13 at 13:39

I envision a sub-alpine look. Lots of rocks arranged into several outcroppings interspersed with small conifers, groundcovers and Sedums. A good model to go by would be Daves garden on the left side of his driveway. (Dave, you out there?)
I'd get rid of that 'necklace' of small round rocks and use them for a dry streambed between the outcroppings. Don't block the view of the rocks with plants.
Make a bit of a swale next to the hardsurfacing and fill with mulch as needed to absorb any potential runoff. If done right, you shouldn't have any overflow to the driveway and patio.
Mike


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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

Deciduous
Gingko, Yellowwood, Redbud, Maples (Acer ginala, campestre, circinatum, griseum, etc. There are a ton of maples that would fit that area and climate), Birch many varieties, Weeping Beech, Alder, Linden, Dogwood, Hackberry, Laburnum, Nyssa Sylvatica, Mountain Ash,

Evergreen
Pine, Fir, There are many varieties of each that would fit. Western Red Cedar, Incense Cedar,


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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

I will try to take more pictures. These are some of the existing ones I have. The previous owners planted this. It was about 6 feet tall when we got it. When the base width got out of control, as a temporary solution we cut the bottom branches. That eliminated the fire pit problem and as long as we kept after the pine needs we didn't have the flood problem. It never got near the power lines. With all the heavy snow, ice we never had any limbs break. We live on a slope down to a lake that cause a valley effect. When it gets windy we have a wind tunnel going on. The wind never bothered either. I did not intend on up loading this picture because it's not that helpful, but I can't get it to delete.


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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

This is so you can see the roof line. Single story garage. Two story house.


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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

Do you intend to continue using the fire pit? If so, I would discourage you planting any tree that would overhang it.

However, disregarding that, I would say that one of your best choices in a deciduous tree would be a Yellowwood (Cladrastis lutea aka Cladrastis kentukea). Hardy to Zone 4. It would fit the space without overwhelming the house as it got older. Good fall color and shade. It is also a great flowering tree. The flowers look like white wisteria flowers. The seeds are in small pea pods and do not require much cleanup. This is a deep rooted tree that will not give you sidewalk or foundation problems. They are native to the Ohio valley area.

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/plant-finder/plant-details/kc/a270/cladrastis-kentukea.aspx

For an evergreen choice I would recommend a fir. In my area the Whit Fir (Abies concolor) would be our go to fir but in Michigan there may be others that are better for the area. The fir is a nice conical tree that would give you the same shape as the blue spruce you lost but is a better behaved tree. Blue spruce tend to get scraggy and sparse as they age. Firs do not. White firs will want to branch low to the ground like the spruce but will not spread a far wide as the spruce.

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/plant-finder/plant-details/kc/c201/abies-concolor.aspx

Because the tree would be close to your house, I would be worried about the shallow roots that most evergreen have. They tend to raise sidewalks and damage foundations. You can encourage a deeper root system by keeping the root zone moist but this is not going to overcome the nature of the tree to have shallow roots.

There is a relatively deep rooted evergreen that you might consider. That would be the Incense Cedar (Libocedrus decurrens aka Calocedrus decurrens). This is a native of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. They have fronds like Arborvita rather than needles like other evergreens. This tree has deep roots and would not be a problem for sidewalks and foundations. It can get quite tall, 50 feet our so, but does not spread more that 10 or 15 feet in cultivation. It is very drought tolerant and can handle large snow loads.

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/plant-finder/plant-details/kc/a156/calocedrus-decurrens.aspx

I hope this helps.


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RE: Help! Need a small to medium tree zone 5

Is Incense Cedar rated for Z5?
Eastern Redbud might fit in there.
Perhaps an Arborvita of some type. I picture it as cone- shaped with limbs growing all the way to the ground.
But I'm from way down here, lucky to even see snow (some years lucky even to see rain), so what would I know.


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