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Gardening Tips

Trees are perhaps the least troublesome of all plants you'll grow on your carefree property. Once you plant a tree you have something, so will your grandchildren, maybe even your great grandchildren! For gardening the easier way, choose trees that are not only attractive but also self sustaining and generally well behaved.

You want your trees to:
1) Leaf out early
2) Hold foliage late
3) Let plants or grass grow beneath
4) Be free from insect pests
5) Be drought resistant
6) Be winter hardy
7) Be adapted to your soil and climate

One tree may not possess all these advantages but each one should have a reasonable number. Avoid trees that are difficult to transplant, like tulip and sour gum; avoid elms (even the so-called "resistant" forms) until the Dutch elm disease problem is solved.

As much as anything you plant, trees set a tone, create an atmosphere. If yours is a carefree life in a casual meadow you don't want Lombardy poplars. If your place is small, neat and formal, don't plant hemlocks unless you plan to curb their trailing windblown habit by clipping them into a trim hedge.

Although formal landscaping may call for one or two specimens of certain sorts, a lot of charm is gained by growing trees in a tangle. How graceful is the intermingling of different varieties thriving casually along a country lane or an old stone wall. Nature does this so beautifully. Why shouldn't we try it?

Good Trees To Choose
Whether you decide on a tangle or a more conventional tree planting, here are a number of suggested kinds of trees-at least several of which should ideally suit your situation. (The list includes trees that are sometimes classified as tall shrubs.)

Most of the maples are fine trees for shade on lawn, terrace, or woods walk. Bright red buds chasing the last snows are followed by tiny furry scarlet flowers, dusty pink pointed young leaves, and finally deep green mature summer foliage. Lovely winged fruit pods, like twirling ballerinas, spin to earth-here two, there five, and now a dozen. No trees are giddier in autumn than maples as they toss their flaming golds, reds and scarlets over a chilling landscape.

The orange-red autumn foliage of the swamp maple stands vivid against the gray trunk and a blue October sky, while in the woods gold maple leaves light up with a luminous glow the area where they stand. Sugar and Norway maples are among the most desirable and easiest. Keep lower branches pruned off to let in the light and encourage grass to grow beneath them. The silver maple and certain others are especially beautiful when a breeze turns up the silver undersides of the leaves.

The fast-growing sycamore is a hearty tree, with large, heavy-textured leaves that produce a fine cool summer shade. Brown spiny seed pods account for one of its alternate common names, button ball. The limbs grow into wonderful elbows and angles, in winter the freckled brown and white trunk and branches stand out strikingly in the sunlight.

Lovely Oaks
The hardy long-lived oak brings squirrels to perform merry antics on your lawn as they hunt for acorns. The many-fingered leaves not only turn to rich coppery and maroon autumn tones, but also cling during the winter, bringing a fine hue of rosy brown to the scene. The pin oak, the red oak, and the scarlet oak are among the best. Oaks may be a bit slow growing but are attractive in the process. Plant at least one, if for no other reason than to be able to go out and contemplate it when you feel the need of something solid. An oak, we learn, weighs as much as fifty pounds per cubic foot!

One of the easiest and most beautiful of all shade trees is the sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua). The many pointed leaves are fragrant when crushed and, in autumn, turn deep yellow and rich red.

The graceful beech has smooth gray bark that folds in a neat tailored manner around its trunk. The tree is not only fine to walk or relax under in summer but in winter the yellow-tan leaves cling and turn gold in the sun.