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
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
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.
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.