tree suggestions?

Hi,
I live in Southeast PA. I am removing several box elder trees (aka ashleaf maple, manitoba maple). I don't really want to do this, but they are huge and falling apart (occasionally dropping very large limbs) and they are also attracting large amounts of boxelder beetles which enter my home in the fall. I would like suggestions for a tree species to replace them with. My soil has high clay content and my zone is 6b. I think the soil is slightly acidic, but I need to retest it.
An ideal tree would be something very hardy that grows fast. I'd much rather have a deciduous leaf tree than something with needles. A native species is preferred, but I'd consider others.
Thanks
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I love the deciduous pine tree in our yard. Fast and hardy vs. slow and beautiful ...consider Kousa Dogwood. Japanese Maple upright type another question.
So many options! I'd walk about your area and inquire with the owner when something catches your interest.
Bill
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Acer saccharum Sugar Maple is native to your region & have such a wonderful history & value to them. Even very young sugar maples have beautiful autumn color.
Acer rubrum is famous for its autumn reds. It's fast growing but branches can be weaker than a sugar maple, & may need regular summer watering making it harder to ignore on a roadside, but it has one of the highest ornamental ratings & because Japanese maples can be frozen to death where winters are severe, A. rubrum is its typical substute further north.
Both the sugar & red maples can get fairly large. Acer pennsylvanicum remains smaller, so regarded as a choice ornamental tree that won't get too large for a smallish yard. It has white-striped bark & a duckfoot rather than standard maple leaf that can turn a pleasant pink in autumn though autumn color excellence can vary a lot.
One of the most beautifully flowering no-care native trees is the Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana). The cherries aren't edible raw but make great syrups & jellies. The racemes of flowers are enormous & the black fruit clings pretty strongly to the branches until birds get them. Autumn colors of yellow, maroon & brown aren't quite fabulous but can be pretty nice. There is a purple leaf cultivar called 'Schubert.' Check local growers or experts to see if it is afflicted with pests in your area; some regions it is a totally disease-free native tree, but there are other places where it suffers from just about any insect or pathogen that can afflict an orchard.
Fire cherry or Pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica) has May racemes of white flowers not as showy as the chokecherry but still pretty showy. Tiny red sour berries too tart to eat raw but superb for jellies or pies; or if left on the branches will cling prettil;y until about leaf-fall when birds finally get them (birds tend to leave tend to leave them be until after a couple frosts sweeten them a bit or when sweeter fruits are no longer available). Like the chokecherry, autumn leaves can range from maroon to golden but not generally extremely bright. Probably available from a native plants specialist in your area.
American Plum (Prunus americana) has small April clusters of white flowers though pink-flowering forms exist. Tolerates equally dry or wet locations, but grows quickly only with regular watering. It has very ornamental plums, one of the prettiest fruits of any native prunus species, going from green to yellow or red, but often cloudy or mottled in red, purple, pink & mahogany -- edible especially for preserves. This is a tree or shrub that SHOULD have cultivars because of its tendency to such variation but predictable forms will have to await for enterprising future ornamental breeders. If specimens can be selected from a native plants specialist while in fruit that'd be great because specimens from different regions have such differing fruit appearance; or selected in autumn to get specimen with best autumn color which can also vary from brilliant purple-reds to bland yellows. It needs suckers removed to become a smallish tree (20 feet or so) instead of a multibranched shrub, but otherwise takes no attention, very adaptable. If allowed to sucker it can be used as part of a mixed hedge (& is sometimes called "hedge plum") mixing well with serviceberry & viburnum cranberry for a colorful flowering & fruiting big mixed hedge ten to fifteen feet tall. Note that some but not all strains develop branch thorns.
Native choices can be super-rewarding, but so can cultivated fruit trees. For something smallish yet fairly rapid in growth, semi-dwarf italian prune and/or a crosspollinating pair of sweet cherries or a pair of apples are beautiful trees in their own right, besides feeding you & when on a roadside feeding the neighborhood kids. If there's worry about fruit falling on sidewalk, sweet cherries are better than apples or plums because if you fail to pick the cherries the birds will do so leaving none to fall on the sidewalk.
-paghat the ratgirl
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me wrote:

You might consider red maple. I mean Acer rubrum, NOT the Japanese maple, Acer palmatum, which is sometimes called "red maple" in error.
It grows in your area, has good fall color, is relatively fast growing, and is relatively sturdy. It is hardy (able to withstand cold) up into zone 3.
Mike On the North Carolina coast - Zone 8a (Remove spam traps from email address to reply.)
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You might consider a gingko, which in some areas is relatively fast growing. Another tree which is ornamental and deciduous, but also coniferous, is the dawn redwood. Both of these are chinese imports, but do well in the mid-Atlantic, and are pretty pest free as far as I've ever heard. By the way, congratulations on getting rid of your box-elders. They are waste trees, perfectly acceptable along stream banks, but not in someone's yard.

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presley wrote:

The Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) grows best in in good, well-drained soil with regular moisture.
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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presley wrote:

If so, make sure you get a male tree. The females grow a fruit which when dropped smells like rotting dog excrement.
M
Mike On the North Carolina coast - Zone 8a (Remove spam traps from email address to reply.)
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The tulip tree is a very fast grower. Attractive tree. However they get very tall. So I would recommend these only if your yard is reasonably large, or if you don't mind having a 60 to 90 footer out there in 20 or 30 years.
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