Different Trees – Part Deux

Different Trees Can Make Your Yard Awesome!

Part Deux – Return of the Ornamentals!

There are those staple plants that everyone wants.  The plants that can survive even the worst of the ‘killer thumbs’.   Whether it is trees, shrubs, perennials or even annuals; there are those plants that everyone seems to want.   There is a long list of plants that are tough, can withstand a lack of care, and still look fantastic! Why have the same Trees as your neighbors?  Give some of these different trees a try.

This posting will focus mostly on Ornamental Trees.  What is an Ornamental Tree?  They are, simply put: A small tree or large shrub, single stem or clump form … I know very specific, right? 🙂  Generally they are the plants that will tend to be anywhere from approx. 10′ to as large as 30′ (either tall or wide)

Tree Replacements

Bark of the Hornbeam

Like I said before: There are a lot of tough plants out there, but for this posting, I will stay with a ornamental trees.  Please note:  This posting is based on USDA Zone 5 and there are always new trees that are being developed.

American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) Also called Muscle Wood, is a tough native that can withstand clay soils.  It is a slower growing tree, but it is the bark and habit is where its strength lies (yes, pun intended) :-).  The older branches and  trunks have a textured appearance giving it a look of flexing muscles.  Fall color tends to be a little more towards the oranges (into yellows and/or reds), but very nice, soft shades.

Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamillia) This is not a common tree, however, it has performed well the last few winters here in northern Illinois.  It will have an initial flush of flowers on the spring, but continues to sporadically flower through July.  The flowers are a nice white, and the extended bloom time will make a nice addition to any landscape.

Summertime Maackia (Maackia amurensis ‘Summertime’) The Maackia is a shorter relative of the Yellowwood Tree.  It is a very versatile tree and has flower similar to that of the Yellowood.  Almost pure white, and flowering around August!  A tree that will flower in August is a great addition to almost any landscape.

Replacement Tree Options

Yellowwood in Flower

American Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentuckea) The American Yellowwood is on the larger end of the spectrum for ornamentals, but I wanted to include it.  It does better in protected spaces, and looks really neat on the edge of a woodland area.  It has a really cool flower, but doesn’t flower every year.  When they are in flower, it is a real treat.

These trees (and others) are great options for any yard.  My only caution:  If you don’t site a tree properly it will never perform.  I’ll continue with later blogs where I will list out some other plants that are great options for Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.