I'm looking for a medium large shade tree for my back yard. I am in SW Ohio
and prefer a tree that doesn't make a mess (other than the leaves) and is
trouble free to grow. My back yard is devoid of vegitation, so this tree
would get full sunlight. The back yard is 75 x 60 feet and the tree would be
near the middle. I would like to start from a seed. I looked on a tree
website and there is a vast amount of possiblilities that I'd like to narrow
down. I know I can't have trees that can be attacked by EAB and oaks seem to
have problems of their own. What do you suggest?
"Fast-growing" maple would almost certainly be a silver maple. While
they are fast-growing, that comes at a price of being soft and easily
broken in storms and prone to shedding branches, etc. As someone else
noted, the "helicopter blade" maple seeds can be a nuisance, too.
If choose a maple, look carefully at the _particular_ variety of maple.
I'd iterate the other advice--either local extension office or a good
(not HD/WallyMart or the corner hardware) garden/landscape supply will
have suitable recommendations for the area. You'll be far better off
starting w/ small sapling in general than the seed route as well, not to
mention far more choices as trees are simply not sold by seed.
Also, remember in selecting that what looks like a very large are now
while empty will fill in w/ this tree and anything in neighbors lawn
that may now be small will also be growing as well. That suggested
maple or many oaks could easily overgrow that area.
One of my favorites is the Locust.
I think the growing habit is very graceful.
2 years ago I picked up a seed pod from one of my neighbors trees
and stored itin the refrigerator over the winter.
I think they may grow slowly, so
far the 2 trees I have are under a foot.
They make a very dappled shade since the leaves are very small.
The leaves don't make a mess either.
Yes that's the tree.
I believe they all have some thorns but not so bad you can't lean
against the trunk of a full grown tree. I think most of the thorns
are in the branches. You wouldn't want to climb it.
On Tue, 14 Oct 2008 13:13:43 +0000, JohnR66 wrote:
Not sure what county you are in but I looked up Dept. of Agriculture for
Athens county. (former Buckeye here)
Might find info for the county you reside in after a soil test. Then get a
We had some Tulip (poplar) trees in SW Ohio that offered good shade.
Had Maple trees in Central Ohio that had the winged seeds. They would
sprout in the gutters and required cleaning out the gutters on a two story
house. I don't recomend these.
Telephone your city parks department. They ought to know
what will suit your needs e.g. shade, overall size, speed of
growth, and thrives locally.. (It is not usual to grow trees from
seed: you get a better start with saplings anything from 2 ft. to 8 ft.
Seed works for me. I've been in the same house since 1979, and there
are three 30-foot plus maples growing that were once "weeds." I started
another one in the back from a seed that I got from a nearby town, a
maple variety with the thin 3-prong leaves. Okay, I've been at it for a
couple of years and it's only four feet tall so far, but I'm patient.
If possible, consider planting nearer the perimeter than the center. You
can do that if you back up to a green area or a common area.. Putting the
tree in the middle of your back yard will make your yard seem much smaller,
and make it more difficult to mow. Putting the tree in the middle also makes
it more difficult for other activities, whether it's a new deck, a winter
ice rink, badminton net, croquet game, etc.
Also consider what you want to do in the yard -- do you want an
umbrella-shaped tree which lets you sit in the shade, like an oak or a
maple, or one that has branches all the way to the ground, like a magnolia.
Is the tree supposed to be a landscape focal point or a source of shade to
help other activities? Do you want to look AT the tree, or look beyond it
to the landscaping?
The tree should be a proportianate size with the house -- a small one-story
bungalow would look better with a purple-leaf plum than with a big sycamore,
and vice versa.
How soon do you want the tree to look like a part of the landscape? A
fast-growing tree is likely to be very weak-limbed and vulnerable to strong
winds or heavy snows. If you only think you'll be in the house a few years,
planting from seed is probably out of the picture, as are slow growers like
oaks and hickory.
Your extension service office should have a list of trees for your area,
along with pictures and characteristics that will help you decide. I agree
with the others who say don't try to grow it from seed. The time scale is
too long, plus you won't know for several years whether it's going to grow
the way you want it to. For example, you might plant a maple for quick
shade, and then see it grow as a multi-trunked specimen that doesn't match
the use you had planned.
Personal preference -- I would plant a tree as a backdrop at the rear of the
garden, with landscaping, rocks, perhaps a small pond, etc., in front of it.
My choices would be something to add color and shape to the setting, such as
white birch, japanese maple, purple-leaf plum, or black pine. If instead I
was just looking for shade so that I could use a deck, have cookouts, etc.,
I'd probably go with a sycamore, sugar maple, or something similar, but I'd
still try to move it as close to the property line as I could. Actually, if
I could only have one tree I'd be tempted to get a Bracken Brown Beauty
magnolia and put it in the corner of the lot, if I was sure it could handle
the winters in your area.
Let us know what you decide. --
That is a question best answered by your local agriculture experts. Call
your local college ag department or nurseries and they can guide you as to
what works best in your area and soil types.
Why from seed? Yes, it can be done but it will be years before you have
anything of shade benefit. Many of the shade trees grow only a foot or two
in a year.
You may want to consider the location also. It is common practice in some
farm areas to plant evergreen on the west side as a wind break and the shade
trees on the east and south for shade int he summer yet get full sun in
winter. A good sized tree can reduce the need for air conditioning
Another advantage of buying a small tree is that you can somewhat determine
how good the condition is and not waste five years on something that is
going to be a problems with split trunk, etc. Put some thought into this
for both type and location and it will also increase the value of your
Do a little reading on characteristics at places like this
Red Maple. No helicopter seeds with this tree. Not that many little
branches fall off.
Silver maple is messy.
Locust - they have a tendency to sprout little trees along the roots and
into the lawn.
Mountain Ash - a pretty tree, but has berrys that make a mess.
You have to be careful planting along perimeter of your yard. If branches
grow into the neighboring yards the people can get upset. People can be
Lots of choices. Narrow your preferences down. I'd pick something
that is native for a better tree. Sugar maple, gingko, chestnut oak
are my favorites. From seed you'll need to wait 20 years for a small
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