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Old 05-21-2014, 07:45 PM   #1
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Brutal winter killed some trees


We lost two Japanese maples and one purple plum (ornamental) tree to this winter.
I'd plant another J maple out front ( if I wasn't convinced of more brutal winters to come) as it's the focal point of the wife's garden in front of the
picture window.
North facing house so it's protected by the wind and has some shade ....it's done exceptional well for 7 yrs till now.
The back side(south side ) is were the other J maple is and has always struggled in nearly full sun and wind ( gets windy here).
The Plum is planted in a 6' circle area at the end of a evergreen shrub lined peninsula of my driveway( side load garage ....privacy)
It has done just OK for the past few yrs probably due to the terrible clay soil I planted it in and maybe some salt run off .
The evergreen shrubs ( their name escapes me ) have done very well here.
So yeah ...any suggestion on hardy ornamentals ...cheap is good .
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:38 PM   #2
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I do love the looks of a Japanese maple--However,in this area 7 to 10 years is about it before the winter winds kill them---

I have one friend with one planted in a corner ,where a porch juts out of the main house--it has survived 14 years and looks great.
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:22 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info Mike , I didn't know that ..would have thought a better life span ...
I suggested replacing it with a cutting from one of the curvy/corkscrew willows out back ( a most confusing tree to look at ) ...got shut down on that idea.
Just as well ..shallow roots not good for the nearby sidewalk.
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Old 05-22-2014, 06:32 AM   #4
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Any of the flowering crab trees do well--you need to watch the size--some get rather large--I planted a couple to close to the house---now I have a ladder for squirrels.
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Old 05-22-2014, 11:23 AM   #5
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The one that is on the north side is in a good spot for Japanese maples. Many Japanese maples have a hardiness rating of Zone 5 or 6, roughly 10 to 20 degrees below zero. I'm assuming from you location you are in zone 5 and the one on the south side may experience problems because of sun scald, which is cold damage due to premature emergence from winter dormancy. This frequently happens to maples planted on a south or west side of a home, which reflects warmth and causes the plant to "wake up" from winter prematurely, reducing its cold tolerance. The key to avoiding this in Zone 5 is to cover trunks with tree wrap. Also, mulch the ground at the base of the tree so the roots warm more slowly, keeping the plant dormant longer. Many of the widely available varieties, such as 'Bloodgood' and 'Emperor I' have true Zone 5 hardiness, as do the closely related Acer japonicum (full moon maple) and A. aconitifolium (fernleaf maple). However, some cultivars only have Zone 6 or 7 hardiness, so it's always wise to check. If you live in Zone 5, try to stick with a variety that has a Zone 5 rating for a little more safety.

As for other ornamentals you can try here's a selection of hardy ornamental trees for Midwest and Northern Climates.

Aesculus pavia Dwarf Red BuckeyeDwarf Red Buckeye

  • Zones: 4-9
  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Height: 10-20’
  • Spread: 10-20’
  • Shape: Rounded dense crown
  • Growth Rate: Slow to moderate
  • Soil Preference: Prefers moist well drained, deeply cultivated soil. Somewhat adaptable.
  • Moisture: Average to high moisture requirements
  • Foliage: Large leaves are drooping and dark green, 5 leaflet, coarse texture.
  • Blooms: 6-9” erect, loose clusters of carmine red flowers in late spring to early summer.
  • Fruit: Leathery capsules in fall.

The Dwarf Red Buckeye is one of the first to open leaves in spring, a month ahead of oaks and maples. But the leaves are also the first to drop in autumn, with no color change. The early blooms are one of the first food sources for hummingbirds. But the early blooms may be susceptible to late frosts, particularly in zone 4. Dwarf Red Buckeye will bloom when the tree is still very young. Plant in full to mostly sun for best flowering (like on the south side were you had the other Japanese Maple). The small tree is clump forming and can be grown as a large shrub or multi-trunk tree. Prune lower lateral branches to maintain a tree form.

Amelanchier canadensis ShadbushAmelanchier canadesnis Downy Serviceberry

  • Zones: 3-7
  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Height: 10-25 feet
  • Spread: 10-25 feet
  • Shape: Rounded bushy crown with upright branches
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Soil Preference: Moist well drained soil, Neutral to acidic pH. Adaptable to sand, clay or loam
  • Moisture: Average water needs, moderately drought tolerant
  • Foliage: Shiny green leaves that are white and fuzzy when young, elliptic toothed leaves
  • Blooms: White
  • Fruit: Showy edible fruit

The Shadbush and Downy Serviceberry are generally multi-stemmed trees or shrubs. Minimal pruning of the main trunk and stems will keep it in tree form quite easily. Downy Serviceberry is the maintains the most tree-like form of the serviceberries. White upright clusters of flowers are produced in early spring just as the leaves begin to open. The bloom period is quite brief, but the flowery show is wonderful. Eventually the blooms give way to tiny red or blue-black fruits that are quite show and attract birds. Bright green foliage turns brilliant yellow-orange or red in fall, one of the first trees to color. Amelanchier Shadbush and Downy Serviceberry are quite adaptable to drier soil if they receive adequate water when they are establishing. Amelenchier have a lovely form that is perfect against a shady woodland setting or in a shrub border. With moderate salt tolerance and pollution tolerant this would also be an excellent choice at the end of your evergreen shrub lined peninsula.

Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’Amelanchier grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'

  • Zones: 3B-8
  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Height: 15-25 feet
  • Spread: 15-25 feet
  • Shape: Vase shaped, upright branches
  • Growth Rate: Moderate to fast
  • Soil Preference: Average well drained soil, will tolerate a wide range of soils that are well drained.
  • Moisture: Average water needs, moderately drought tolerant
  • Foliage: Blue green leaves, finely toothed elliptic leaves
  • Blooms: White
  • Fruit: Showy edible fruit

‘Autumn Brilliance’ is a hybrid Apple Serviceberry tree, also known as the Juneberry tree. It can be allowed to get shrubby, or side shoots can be periodically pruned from the trunk. This Serviceberry is often sold in a tree form with a single or multiple trunks, and is fairly easy to maintain the form. ‘Autumn Brilliance’ flowers early, producing lightly fragrant drooping clusters of white blooms tinged with pink, that mature fully white. The blooms are larger than the original Serviceberry hybrid, creating a spectacular display in early spring. Small round berries follow the blooms. The berries are green when young and turn red, then when fully mature the berries are dark purple-black. The berries are edible and sweet. The leaves open purplish then are blue green in summer, turning bright orange red in autumn. The outstanding ornamental features from spring through fall make ‘Autumn Brilliance’ an excellent specimen tree in the home landscape. It is a small enough ornamental to be well suited to a shrub border. Overall it is easy to grow and maintain, despite occasional pruning of side shoots and suckers. Pruning is not generally required, but should be done in late winter or very early spring. Disease resistance is very good, but may occasionally be attacked by leaf miners or aphids. This sturdy tree is tough enough to use in the street boulevard or planting strips that are 6 feet wide, and is moderately tolerant of soil salt. ‘Autumn Brilliance’ will grow to 10 feet in five to ten years depending on conditions.

Amelanchier laevis Allegheny ServiceberryAnelanchier laevis Alleghany Serviceberry


  • Zones: 4-9
  • Sun: Full sun, part shade, shade
  • Height: 15-25 feet
  • Spread: 15-25 feet
  • Shape: Vase shaped irregular crown with upright branches
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Soil Preference: Moist well drained soil of coarse loam, but will tolerate a range of soils, Neutral to acidic pH.
  • Moisture: Average water needs, may be sensitive to drought
  • Foliage: 1-3” simple elliptic leaves, finely toothed, shiny green
  • Blooms: Lightly fragrant drooping clusters of small white blooms in April or May
  • Fruit: Showy edible fruit

Allegheny Serviceberry is a multi-trunk tree or shrub that is quite adaptable to sun, part shade or shade. Flowering will be at its’ best in full sun. In more shade the crown form will be more open and graceful. Allegheny Serviceberry will be more tolerant to short periods of drought once it is well established. In consistently moist soil it will grow tall and fast. Under ideal conditions it is possible this Serviceberry could reach 30-40 feet high and wide. Clusters of fragrant white blooms form before the leaves, later giving way to berries in summer. The berries mature from magenta red to purple to dark purple-black, reaching ripened maturity in June, often called Juneberry because of it. The edible berries are a good source of iron and copper, and are juicier than those of Amelanchier arborea. The berries have a taste similar to blueberries. The leaves emerge bronzed purple and mature to a shiny green, with dense fine branching. The foliage turns red, yellow or orange in autumn. Serviceberry can be somewhat sensitive to disease and insect problems, but not serious enough to cause serious problems. Allegheny Serviceberry is very easy to grow and provides year round interest in the landscape. The flowers will attract bees and butterflies in spring, the berries will attract birds which minimizes berry litter. Allegheny Serviceberry is very similar to Amelanchier arborea Downy Serviceberry. The only notable difference is Allegheny Serviceberry has a smooth hairless leaf, purple-bronze new growth and a sweeter juicier berry. Allegheny Serviceberry is fine textured and graceful, and is a wonderful choice for shrub borders, woodland edge or ornamental accent tree. It is moderately tolerant of air and soil salt as well as urban pollution. Maintaining a tree form will require occasional pruning, easiest to maintain if purchased pruned to tree form.
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Old 05-22-2014, 03:36 PM   #6
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Thanks Mike and Indepspirit. I've learned so much .
Yes zone 5 ...I can see practically see Wisconsin from my place.
Everything is heavily mulched around here as I've seen the benefits from it.
The fronts got to have another Maple as that's her showcase garden.
As far as the driveway and the back gardens ( probably and 1/8 of an acre of gardens ..hummingbirds are occasionally spotted and with no feeders)
I think I'll print this info off and see what we can come up with.
Thanks again.
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