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Small Tree / Large Shrub Speciman for Front Yard

Posted by whaas 5a (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 23, 09 at 13:06

Previous owners planted a Purpleleaf Sandcherry as the premier front yard plant right off the front door. Looking to replace it next spring.

Any suggestions for a small tree or large shrub that can be limbed up? Season long beauty would be number one goal, but could be as simple as good bright clean foilage year long, like a Magnolia.

Some of my choices may be too large, but if I can contain them since they are so slow growing it may be worthwhile. Could make a 10' X 10" plant work.
Coincidently this is my best spot in my yard. Gets sun from 6am till about 1pm during the growing season (zone 5a, Milwaukee area).
Protected from west and north winds.

Choices so far...
Leonard Messel Magnolia
Blackhaw Viburnum (McRouge or Summer Magic)
Eastern Redbud (Columbus Strain)
Pagoda Dogwood
White Fringe Tree

Any other suggestions, or would you focus on one in particular from agove?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Small Tree / Large Shrub Speciman for Front Yard

River birch, non-fruiting crabapple. Both are rather fast growing, and look best when limbed up. Another smaller tree that dosn't need limbing up is a multitrunked Service-
berry. It is somewhat of an umbrella shape, like an Elm.

I sure am no expert on what is hardy to zone 5. But none of those trees you mentioned grow freely around my SE WI area. (Oh, except virburnum) Pondy

RE: Small Tree / Large Shrub Speciman for Front Yard

  • Posted by whaas 5a MKE (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 23, 09 at 19:12

Whoa, River Birch will get 20' wide in 10 years, easy.

Your missing out, all those trees are readily available in SE WI and will thrive given the right spot.

In fact Pagoda Dogwood is a native here and the Redbud Columbus strain is from Columbus, WI.

I did add the following plants:

Ball of Fire Musclewood (new Johnsons Nursery intro)
Common Witch hazel
Firebird Crab shrub tree form many choices!

RE: Small Tree / Large Shrub Speciman for Front Yard

U guys are in the banana belt region of WI compared to me (Eau Claire). I've been growing a couple of Minnesota strain Redbuds for several years now with no dieback. They're growing all over the MN landscape arb. I've also got a Fringetree that seems to be fully hardy. I did have one die back to the ground after a hard winter, but it was from a different seed source. Cornus alternifoia is hardy into z3. Have either of you tried Paperbark Maple?


RE: Small Tree / Large Shrub Speciman for Front Yard

Ah, another good choice!

The bark on those are very cool. Tough to find and unfortunately too big for what I need (10' x 10').

Yes, both the Redbud (MN and Columbus strain)and White Fringetree are hardy to zone 4.

RE: Small Tree / Large Shrub Speciman for Front Yard

Is the 'limbed up' thing just about preventing it from taking a lot of ground space? If so, what about a columnar evergreen conifer like an emerald green arborvitae? Or something similar that'd remain green & attractive during winter, without bushing out too badly. Of course, if you want a tall naked trunk under the crown of the tree, that's not going to work out.

What is it about the Purpleleaf Sandcherry that you don't like? I'm not pushing the plant, just thinking that knowing what you don't like about it might help rule out some of the other options.


RE: Small Tree / Large Shrub Speciman for Front Yard

linking to the same post in another forum .... since you are getting other ideas over there ..

NOT a complaint ....


Here is a link that might be useful: linking

RE: Small Tree / Large Shrub Speciman for Front Yard

Sorry, since its a bordline a tree/shrub question I thought I post in both. Wasn't sure if either one had regulars in one vs. the other.

I don't know, evergreens have there place, but they bore the heck out me...escpecially Arbs, I think they are starting to outnumber the blades of grass in my neighborhood.

As for the Purpleleaf Sandcherry, its 15 years old. I'm shocked that it lived that long. Everyone and there mother has one of these planted in my area, kind of like those stupid burning bushes.

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