Magnolia or other Tree suggestions

I'm landscaping a circle in a suburban cul-de-sac.... The circle is 30 feet in diameter, and gets full sun. Surrounded by plenty of decideous trees such as Sweet Gum and Hickory Locust on adjoining properties, but the circle stands out in the sun. My thoughts are to place a smallish tree in the center of the circle....
Location is in Maryland, right between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.. we are officially in a zone 7a but because of the urban city heat, the USDA has also described this area as being zone 8.
Kinda crazy weather.... can be 110 degrees in the summer months and drop down to -20 degrees below zero during the winter. We've just had 4 years of drought, yet this year, it's rained so much my backyard turned into a swamp. I planted carmellia's last year, and the temperature promptly dropped to 20 degrees below zero, followed by a very wet spring.... about an inch of standing water on top of the ground. Last year the ground cracked from the heat and drought. So it needs to be a sturdy tree.
What tree's would be evergreen, grow about 30' high with a 20' spread, forming a canopy. I was considering a magnolia.. but am open to suggestions.
Are any of the magnolia family evergreen and somewhat smallish??? Are they quick growers??
Thanking you in advance !!!
Your suggestions and recommendations are greatly appreciated.
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The Southern or Bull Bay Magnolia is evergreen and gigantic, though a little looking around and luck will nab you a smaller variety.
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Does anyone know of a smaller tree?
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Oh, yeah, I missed that about a canopy. Are you sure it's a Magnolia you're looking for? Evergreen Magnolias have a pyramidal form like an enormous holly, they're not a canopy tree in the sense that an oak or maple would be. Again, if you do get a Magnolia, make sure that it's not one 100' high with a 50' spread.
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I love evergreen magnolias too, after a 12 year stint in north Florida - so much so that I'm raising a relatively hardy cultivar (Edith Bogue) in the far north clime of the inland Northwest. However, the normal growth pattern of the large forms of magnolia have the lowest branches sweeping down to the ground, and a relatively rounded top. The lower branches CAN be pruned off, but I'm not sure that the effect can always be guaranteed to be graceful. The smaller forms are almost all pyramidal in shape, and while the flowers are prettily displayed on them, I don't think they have the majesty or the grace of the taller varieties. <Peter> wrote in message Peter wrote:

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On Wed, 16 Jul 2003 21:27:10 -0400, Peter wrote:

I don't think so. What you probably mean is that it gets as low as 20F in winter; that is, 12 degrees below freezing. USDA zone 8's 'bottom' temperatures are 10-20F; zone 7's are 0-10F. The all-time record low temperature for DC is around -5F.

A brief Google shows many varieties of Magnolia that might suit your purposes. Magnolias produce deep shade, so that would influence your choise of 'underplantings.'
This site has several detailed descriptions, 'though I wouldn't think it were comprehensive.
http://www.sleepyhollownursery.com/descriptions/mo.htm
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Thanks for the info and links....
Your're correct about the temperature.... instead of -20 it was -10 BELOW zero actual temperature including wind chill factor. (Columbia is about 20 miles north of D.C.)
That was this past January / February 2003.... I remember getting a lot of calls warning me about the freeze and spending a few hours freezing my buns off trying to cover plants that had not been mulched for the winter. This included a dozen or so newly planted protected carmellia's hardy to 20 degrees. Darned that night was cold.
Matter of fact, the next few days were also frigid. The carmellia's didn't survive, pulled them up, put them in storage and some are beginning to get leaves again.
I did get a chance to look at some magnolia's.... for some strange reason I thought they were canopied tree's....(wonder where that idea came from).
Still open to some suggestions about small canopied evergreen tree's. The plan for the center circle includes two park benchs that we'd like to shade... (all we need is a concrete checkers board to complete the image !!)
Thanks again for the help...already found a few magnolia's for the backyard !!!

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Although it will eventually exceed your desired dimensions, a Quercus virginiana (Live Oak) might be nice... a great visual anchor and definetely an evergreen canopied tree.
Dave
<Peter> wrote in message wrote:

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A good idea.... looks like it would be great for sheltering a house.... but the size is a little extreme 50' -75' tall with equal spread. The entire cul-de-sac would be full, not to mention the root system would probably disrupt the entire neighborhood water, sewage and electrical system.
By which time I will have moved on to another experience.... as one gets older, the tree's have to learn to grow more quickly.
Do they make these in miniature size ???
On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 15:52:48 GMT, "David J Bockman"

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I think you overestimate the rambunctiousness of this tree-- yes, over time it will form a massive, spreading tree (typically 35-40 feet tall and half again as wide as it approaches maturity). It's commonly used as a street tree/boulevard tree in the south). Combined with the confines of its smallish planting area and cooler northern temps and you have a very maneagable choice.
Dave.
PS a great winter hardy camellia for our area are the Oliepheras... 'Lu Shan Snow' in particular is absolutely gorgeous.
<Peter> wrote in message wrote:

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Placed in that perspective a "Live Oak" does sound like an appropriate choice.... and acorns,....an All-American tree.
I'll include a few magnolia's, and the live oak tree in
the recommendations, to see what the neighbors feel comfortable
with.
Me??? I'm picking up a few magnolia's for my own yard...
and some of the winter hardy carmellia's. I'll find a spot to
put them somewhere !!!
Thanks again for your many suggestions...
On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 21:31:26 GMT, "David J Bockman"

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I'd like to second that. It's a marvelous tree, beautiful in form, sturdy, and well suited to your climate. Unless your site is extremely windy (not likely for a cul-de-sac), it should grow reasonably upright in form, not as low and spreading as those right along the coast. The shape can be encouraged with careful pruning. The result will be a much nicer spot for placing benches and underplantings than a magnolia. Even when the tree gets very large (100+ years from now), it may overhang the street, but that will be the canopy, which will be well off the ground. It's a beauty.
Mike Prager Beaufort, NC (on the coast in zone 8a) (Remove symbols from email address to reply.)
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On Thu, 17 Jul 2003 10:47:17 -0400, Peter <> wrote:

You can't imagine how much research I've been doing on DC/Columbia/Baltimore weather. And even so, failed to read your inclusion of "wind chill." I *did* find that apparently the all-time record low *somewhere* in MD was -32 in like 1913 -- NOAA stats aren't exactly in a neat, comprehensive database.
Sorry about the camellias. My giant bush (N. side of house) suffered considerably in 2 consecutive hard winters (SE VA -- south of you) some years ago, but came back and is once more threatening to shade 2nd story windows. Prune, prune, prune.
I'm not good with suggestions for trees. Magnolias seem pretty fast-growing to me, but then time passes more and more quickly these days. If you want to provide shade for your benches, it may be a good choice. My Neighborhood Association has just planted 'decorative' benches at Bayside overlooks -- no trees. There are about 20 minutes each spring and fall when such an open location is humanly bearable, but they *are* awfully pretty. :-)
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Sincere thanks to all who responded. The Live Oak - Quercus viginiana suggested by David Brockman (thanks Dave) seems to be almost the perfect choice....
So far the shrubs and anchor plants are in place, I'm doing the walkways and bench pads today. Border plantings tonight. Flower beds tomorrow, mulch and final cleanup on Sunday.
From a weed overgrown patch in the middle of a community cul-de-sac to a garden of eden.. from planning to ice cream social celebration all in a week.
Makes me appreciate the rec.gardens newsgroup...without you we would still be trying to stick a recycled Christmas Tree in the center.
Thanks again....
On Wed, 16 Jul 2003 21:27:10 -0400, Peter wrote:

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