With trees, size matters. Sometimes towering behemoths block light to gardens and greenhouses. Pruning with a chainsaw may be the only option. Or sometimes a lack of trees results in homes and outbuildings bereft of unifying plantings. In both cases, the best garden design strategy—plant the right-sized trees now.
I talked with Nancy Buley, Communications Director for Oregon’s wholesale nursery, J. Frank Schmidt. Their trees are sold all over the United States. Here are Nancy’s five choice picks, perfectly suited for today’s enjoyment and tomorrow’s home resale.
Tree planting does take a commitment to time and patience. “You don’t want really fast growing trees—they tend to be weak-wooded, and break in windstorms,” Nancy says. “Think long term and plant trees that will eventually fill the space.”
Royal Raindrops® crabapple (Malus‘JFS-KW5’ PP 14375) – Growing to 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide, this is such a popular tree it has its own website. Flowers start out magenta and turn eye-popping pink followed by bright red berries. Purple cut-leaf new foliage goes dark green in summer and bronze red and orange in fall. “It has excellent fire blight resistance,” Nancy says. “The rootstock is non-suckering for good anchorage and hardly any sprouts.”
Pink Flair® cherry (Prunus sargentii ‘JFS-KW58’) – An upright flowering cherry with large pink blooms, this tree thrives over a wide range of the U.S., from the muggy Southeast, to the fierce cold of Zone 3b in North Dakota. Those temperatures “usually kill flowering cherries,” Nancy says. “But not this one.” Growing 24 feet tall by 15 feet wide, it has clean foliage, no shot hole, good drought and heat resistance, and bold orange and red fall color.
Apollo® maple (Acer saccharum ‘Barrett Cole’) – How about a columnar maple that grows to 30 feet tall, and only 10 feet wide? Nancy says, “This is one cool tree. It has good heat tolerance, great dark green summer foliage and goes orange red in the fall.” Added bonus—resistance to Japanese beetles.
Crimson Spire® oak (Quercus robur x Q. alba ‘Crimschmidt’) and Streetspire™ oak (Q.r. x Q.a. ‘JFS-KW1QX’) – “Oaks don’t grow as slowly as people think they do,” says Nancy. These narrow shade trees are crosses between English and white oak—“With the best of both parents,” she notes. At 45 feet tall and 15 feet wide, they are widely adaptable to many growing conditions, and make excellent focal points or screens. Crimson Spire holds its winter-brown leaves until spring while Streetspire drops them in fall.