Sometimes, we take trees for granted because... well, they're just
"there." But I think that trees are some of Nature's most beautiful
creations, and today I'd like to share some of my favorites with you.
Perhaps my thoughts will inspire you to add some of them to your own
Kiku-Shidare Cherry. Also known as Weeping Cherry because its long,
delicate branches hang elegantly toward to the ground, swaying in the
breeze, particularly when laden with a profusion of double-pink
The Shidare Cherry (sometimes called Cheal's Weeping Cherry) is ideal
for small spaces as it is fairly compact and very dramatic,
particularly when in full bloom! The dense double flowers are often
over an inch in diameter with 50 or more pointed petals.
Red Bud Lavender Twist. Here's another "weeper." But this one is quite
unusual as it's a weeping Red Bud. Although something of a rarity, it
is quite easy to grow. Again, an ideal tree for smaller spaces as it
will not grow to a great height even at maturity. The branches start
growing out horizontally then begin to droop at the tip, taking on
their "weeping" characteristic. The lavender-pink flowers burst out in
the spring, and the blue-green foliage turns to yellow and bronze as
summer gives way to fall. Frequently, the stems take on a twisted,
almost contorted appearance, providing a real point of interest in
Red Baron Willow Tree. Unlike the first two trees on my list, this one
can grow to a considerable height. It's not unusual for this
fast-growing shade tree to be more than 20' tall and 15' wide within
three years, and reach a height of 70' or more at maturity! If you're
looking for trees to line a road or a driveway, this Willow hybrid
could be a very impressive way to welcome visitors to your home. The
Red Baron gets its name from its reddish-tinged branches that add
color to the landscape from late fall, through winter and into spring.
Gobbler Sawtooth Oak. If there was a prize for a tree with the
weirdest name, this would have to be a contender! For no other reason
than that, it's close to my heart, but it does have a very practical
use. Also known as Quercus acutissima gobbler, this variety produces
comparatively small acorns which are a highly desirable food source
for wild turkeys... hence the name, in case you hadn't guessed!
Obviously, this tree is highly prized by wild turkey and wild game
River Birch. If your landscape consists of wide open spaces, the River
Birch could be an excellent choice. In fact, professional landscapers
often select this tree for parks, golf courses and large estates as it
seems particularly at home on large lawns or rolling countryside. I
really like the light reddish-brown cinnamon bark that peels and
flakes as it matures. You can plant River Birch as a specimen or put
in a row of them as a windbreak, about 20' apart.
Those are five of my favorite trees. As we get closer to the fall
planting season, I'll give you some descriptions of more of my
favorites, some familiar and some just a little off the beaten path!
Just room for one e-mail from a reader...
QUESTION: "I have three questions for you: 1. How can I get rid of
"Yellow Flies" (Deer flies)? I am extremely allergic to their bite and
cannot tend to my garden because they immediately attack.
2. Can Oleander bushes be trimmed back? and if so, will they still
3. I have another pest..."June" Bugs. They attacked all my rose
bushes. I bought the "June Bug Bags", but they did not help much." -
ANSWER: I am going to give you two links to sites that might help on
the deer fly thing: http://www.pestproducts.com/deerfly.htm
The oleander plants can be trimmed back like azaleas right after they
bloom. This way they will have a chance to produce new blooms for the
As far as the June bugs, you might try an old remedy that I have used
in the past: Sugar water! Put about a half cup of sugar into a gallon
of water and make sure it is stirred or shaken until dissolved.
(Unlike James Bond's Martini, it doesn't much matter how you get it
mixed.) Then spray your plants with this mixture. It would seem to
attract insects but once they eat the sugar their systems cannot
digest sugar in this form so they die.
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs
and landscaping to firstname.lastname@example.org and for resources and
additional information, including archived columns, visit