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rollinastang 06-16-2011 01:09 PM

Looking for shade
i have a newly constructed home with virtually no shade what so ever. I was told that i was getting a gift card for a shade tree for fathers day this weekend. I am looking for something that will provide good shade and grow relativly quickly.. i am planning on getting some stronger trees such as walnuts,or oaks. i know that those take a long time to mature so i am looking for something to keep me cool for the time being. Thanks in advance...P.S. i would like to stay away from poplars due to the stupid cotton that they let fly in spring it really tears me up!

Piedmont 06-16-2011 01:51 PM

Yikes.... oaks. :furious: I hate oaks. Everytime a storm comes through my yard ends up with all sorts of oak tips ripped off (that is the ends of the branches with 4-5 leaves attached) and they go all over my backyard, frontyard, and roof. During storms they also dump all sorts of small broken branches which I hate chewing them up with my mower. Best of all comes fall for 4 reasons. 1st that's when they dump acorns. Lots, and lots, and lots, of acorns, and acorns are pretty darn hard to rake and don't get sucked up in the mower. Squirrels collect them and bury them for "later", and come spring you will have little oak shoots popping up in places you would never imagine as those little critters bury them in the oddest places but they like to bury them in my garden and dig/damage my other plants to do it. 2nd reason, oaks drop their leaves WELL past all other trees... so when you're all done with your fall cleanup you will look at your oak tree knowing later you'll have to do it all again. 3rd, oak leaves have a wax coating that prevents breakdown so any oak leaf you don't take care of will be there for years and years. 4th, oak makes your ground acidic which lawns hate. I have to spread lots of lime to counteract the oaks. By the way, the oak trees I'm referring to are all on my neighbors property. They were nice enough to line our border with their oak trees and lucky me I'm upwind of them so I get all their s***.

I would opt for a sugar maple if you want a strong tree. Typically maples aren't much stronger than pine but the sugar maple is an exception it's stronger than oak. If you want a fast grower, it's hard to beat a weeping willow. A corkscrew willow is very interesting in winter with it's bold golden branches all twisted and twirled (you can't notice it much in summer) and will grow over 5' a year. But, fast growers are weak trees so it's susceptible to snow/ice and breaking branches. I don't recommend Birch, they get massacred by caterpillars and the birch borer and aren't that especially strong. There aren't that many walnut trees around here, I can't comment on them.

rollinastang 06-16-2011 02:01 PM

thanks for all the info on the oaks. i actually hadn't thought about all of that or known all of that info. as for the willows i hate willows and we get pretty rough winters here sometime and i don't think they would do well. plus in the summer it is kinda dry at times and have heard horror stories of the willow roots doing all sorts of foundation,drain and septic damage. i will consider the sugar maple...thanks

Maintenance 6 06-16-2011 02:40 PM

Sugar maples are not fast growers. Fast growing trees are usually weak trees and susceptible to storm damage. Also watch out for trees that have shallow root systems. Most maples that grow fast, grow shallow roots. The roots often grow to the surface. They are a pain to mow over and around and suck the nutrients out of the soil, so other plants including grass won't grow under them very well.

rollinastang 06-16-2011 02:43 PM

i was just surfing the net about some fast growing trees and came across a royal empress I t says it can grow up to 18 feet a year!!! it has a lot of pros to it as it grows fast and has a flowering stage. Has anyone had this tree? Does it grow like they say it does?

user1007 06-16-2011 02:55 PM

If your city has an arborist the office will have a list of trees they would like to see planted and that are known to grow well. Your library may have expansive resources on the topic as well. A real nursery will have good information about trees and will likely have healthier stock than the nursery department at a box store.

Things like certain beetles and diseases that snuck into the country and took out almost all of a certain species (e.g. Dutch Elm disease) have prompted arborists to diversify planting of street trees and they would love to see homeowners implement similar strategies with their landscape tree plantings. Gone in many places are the arching canopies of matched trees across brick streets but the theory is that if something hits one species it may not kill all the trees if they are different.

As for what kind of tree to start off with? It depends on lots of factors including how close to the house foundation, sewer lines and so forth it is going to be. Be sure and plant according to the size it will grow to be, and not the size it is when you get it home. No reason to knowingly plant a tree that will grow to have threatening upper limbs over your roof?

The bad news about fast growing trees is that they are aggressive in all ways. Their root systems will grow fast and expansively along with the top growth and can be a threat to sidewalks, foundations and so forth so make sure you keep them away from such structures. They will also be aggressive each season so plan on extra pruning each year to keep them shaped and healthy.

There are so many varieties of maples and would be hard to single one out for use in the landscape. Depending on where you are, things like magnolias and ornamental flowering pears, cherries and plums are nice. If you want shade and fruit a stately grafted apple tree can be nice if you can keep up with its maintenance including diligent spraying, removal of dropped fruit and so forth. Same with nut trees.

Think also about what else but shade you want out of the tree in terms of leaf canopy and color---during the growing season and in the fall. What kind of branch structure and color would you like to see. Flowering plums have deep purple bark for example and of course weeping willow trees have the drooping branches. Birch trees do not provide much shade planted alone but clustered together can offer quite a bit. Aspens too.

Do want the tree to provide shade to what is under it or are you planting it to block harsh sunlight from an upper story window.

Before you plant anything, I would encourage you to scale off your yard and transfer it to graph paper or a software program that does floorplans and things. Sweet Home 3D is a free open source product I really like. It has extensive free symbol sets for landscape plans.

Once you have your plan to scale you can map out where your trees will go. Just like working with an interior floorplan and moving furniture symbols around, you can do the same with trees shrubs and so forth.

Do be realistic about how fast you want shade and whether you are willing to settle for a tree you might not really like but that will mature almost before your eyes. And also be honest with yourself on how much you can commit to maintaining the trees. You may want to budget for someone to come in once a year to gather up leaves and prune just to get used to the idea?

Piedmont 06-16-2011 02:58 PM

There are other benefits of a Sugar maple. They are...

1.) It's the tree that maple syrup comes from once it gets big enough
2.) In Fall it turns bright orange (depends on environment etc. but here they do)
3.) Stronger than oak
4.) The leaves are excellent for decomposing, use a mulching mower and mulch them right in the lawn or compost them.

Another tree to consider is Beech. Strong as oak, turns yellow in fall (around here), leaves are great for decomposing. But, because of the smaller nature of their leaves they're not as easy for fall cleanup as maple.

NancyNGA 06-16-2011 03:13 PM

For the permanent trees I would pick native hickory over oaks, because their roots grow deep and more straight down. Fewer problems planting them next to sidewalks, driveways, etc. If you don't mind acorns falling, then I assume you wouldn't mind hickory nuts falling.:wink:

rollinastang 06-16-2011 03:29 PM

i am on roughly 2 acres of land in a rural area so i only have a small area of sidewalks and driveway the rest is mostly just grass. i do not plan on planting anything too close to my home for obvious reasons. i have been looking into some fruit tress as my fiancee like to make jams and such. mostly looking for a few quick growing trees to get some shade because right now we have none until the sun goes down. i am planning on planting some stronger trees such as the hickory or possibly even a buckeye tree for stronger longer living trees but really just need something right now that will offer quick shade until those other stronger larger trees will grow to maturity. i am not sure if we have an arborist place around here but i will definatly be looking into that. i appreciate all input it is helping me think of other trees and ideas.

rollinastang 06-16-2011 03:48 PM

Sdsester i am looking for that Sweet home 3d download but having trouble finding a place to download it from!every place wants me to download all this other crap first

user1007 06-16-2011 04:17 PM


Originally Posted by rollinastang (Post 668433)
Sdsester i am looking for that Sweet home 3d download but having trouble finding a place to download it from!every place wants me to download all this other crap first

This is the download option page I get from the HELP menu from within the program. I don't remember having to download crap to go with it but I guess you can always go in and uninstall it. You will need Java though.

rollinastang 06-16-2011 07:19 PM

thanks sdseter thats what i was looking for now let the fun begin

user1007 06-16-2011 07:24 PM


Originally Posted by rollinastang (Post 668565)
thanks sdseter thats what i was looking for now let the fun begin

There is a short learning curve so be patient with yourself.

rollinastang 06-16-2011 08:06 PM


Originally Posted by sdsester (Post 668570)
There is a short learning curve so be patient with yourself.

yeah i noticed that but i get bored when im off work and there is no projects to do so ill take my time and figure it out thanks again

jamiedolan 06-16-2011 10:21 PM


Originally Posted by rollinastang (Post 668350)
.P.S. i would like to stay away from poplars due to the stupid cotton that they let fly in spring it really tears me up!

Those would be cotton wood trees, Populus fremontii, other members of the poplar family do not produce the "cotton". They are not strong trees, but are some of the very fastest growing you will find. I'd keep them away from your house unless you know you will stay on top of frequent pruning to keep them safe.

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