Trees are an important element in any landscape. They provide shade for humans and shelter for birds, they create focal points and vertical structure, and for those in urban areas they bring a much valued piece of nature right outside the door. They can survive almost anywhere and with a little initial care become almost maintance and trouble-free for the remainder of their lives.
As with all plants, there are many varieties to choose from when considering your landscape needs. The most important consideration is how you want your tree to function. Is it for shade, a wind block, a focal point point? Will it be close to your home or powerlines? Is it okay for it to loose its leaves in the winter (deciduous) or do you need it to be evergreen? Are you looking for something with lovely spring flowers, brilliant fall color or fascinating bark and branch structure for winter? Once you have determined the attributes you want, you can begin the selection process.
Please give us a call if you are looking for a specific plant.
Acer plantonoides (Norway Maples)
Norway Maples (Acer platanoides)
Crimson King - With a moderate growth rate to 40', this maple has a broad spreading habit and dark maroon leaves that turn brown, dark maroon, and bronze in the fall. Zone 3.
Emerald Queen - Hardy to Zone 4, Emerald Queen grows 50' and has deep green leaves that turn yellow in the fall.
Red Maples (Acer rubrum)
Autumn Blaze - This maple is actually a hybrid cross between a red and silver maple. Autumn Blaze will tolerate almost any type of soil, has an fast growth rate (up to 3' a year) and brilliant scarlet, red and orange fall foliage. The new growth stems have a reddish color for great winter interest. Hardy to Zone 3, this 50' maple has become one of the most popular trees in the United States.
Autumn Flame - Growth to about 55' in Zone 3. Great orange and red fall foliage that turns about 2 weeks before other varieties.
October Glory - A medium to fast grower (2+'/year) to 50', October Glory has beautifull orange, gold and yellow fall foliage. Zone 4.
Red Sunset - A zone 3 maple with outstanding autumn leaves of brilliant red and scarlet, Red Sunset also has red buds and new stems and twigs in the spring. Grows at a moderate pace to 50'.
Sun Valley - This cross between Red Sunset and Autumn Flame is a moderate grower with orange, red and scarlet fall color. Grows to 40' in Zone 4. Introduced by the US National Arboretum.
Sugar Maples (Acer saccharum)
Green Mountain - A large shade tree growing to 70' at a medium rate in Zone 4. Typically has bright yellow and orange fall foliage with touches of red for a prolonged period. A great shade tree for open or large areas where it can attain its full size; not suitable for urban or curb use.
Legacy - One of the most heat tolerant of sugar maples, Legacy has bright yellow to orange and red fall color. A Zone 4 tree that grows to 50' or more. Great shade tree.
Acer Palmatum (Japanese Maples)
We have one of the largest selections of Japanese maples in our area! With over 250 7- and 15-gallon sizes. We also have the best prices around! We stock dwarf-weeping, mid-sized-weeping and upright varieties.
Acer palmatum, or Japanese maples, are deciduous trees that come in over 200 varieties. Some get only a few feet in height, others reach 20-25 feet. Some have a weeping habit and will get more broad than tall. Some have bright green bark; others have red bark. One easy way to estimate the mature size of a Japanese maple is to look at the branch structure. If the branches almost immediately start branching out horizontally, the mature size is likely to be under 5 feet. If the tree has some height before the horizontal branching starts, it will probably be 5-10 feet or slightly more. Both these growth patterns suggest that the tree will be more broad than tall. Those trees with upright branching are the ones that will continue that pattern and will likely be 20 feet or more tall. Of course, there is always the "oddball" variety that is a true dwarf but still has upright branching. The beauty of this huge variety is that there is sure to be one that fits the spot you have picked out.
The palmate (lobed) leaves have five, seven or nine pointed lobes and can be green, red, orange or multi-colored. Each leaf may be shallowly lobed (like typical maple leaves), very deeply lobed or anything in between! Those with deeply lobed leaves are often refered to as "laceleaf" or "filigree." The fall color of Acer palmatum tends to be gloriously brilliant and many varieties have interesting exfoliating or brightly colored winter bark. Check out the photos at left for a very small sample of the wide range of leaf color and structure.
Japanese maples are quite hardy in our area and are particularly suitable as focal points. They can be used in wide border plantings or as foundational plantings because the root systems are compact and not invasive. Japanese maples can be kept in large planters for many years before they need to be moved into the ground. Most prefer full sun, but they will tolerate some shade. The soil needs to be well-drained, but it does not have to be especially fertile.
Amelanchier (Serviceberry) - Small to medium-sized ornamental trees in either single or multi-trunked specimens.
Allegheny - A Zone 4 specimen that grows to 25' at a moderate pace. It has white flowers in the spring followed by yellow to red fall foliage and purple-black berries that attract feeding birds. Plant in full sun for more blooms, but will happily tolerate moist woodland conditions.
Autumn Brilliance - In the spring, Autumn Brilliance has 3" long racemes of white flowers; in fall it has juicy purple-black berries that are loved by birds. 30' in Zone 3, red autumn foliage.
Heritage River Birch - A fast growing tree with cinnamon, salmon and tan peeling bark. Like the paperbark birch, these are typically sold as a clump. Tolerates moist soil but also okay in drier soil. Great all-year interest in Zone 4 with yellow fall leaves. Less susceptible to birch borer* but keep a watch for the tell-tale bore hole in the base of the trunk. Best planted in the spring.
Jacquemontii (White Paperbark) - the Himalayan Birch is a deciduous tree with white, shredding "paper" bark on the trunk. Usually sold as a clump of 3 or more trees, they grow to about 40' in Zone 4 and prefer cool, moist conditions that are not in high traffic areas. Although susceptible to bronze birch borer*, the leaves shimmy and tremble beautifully in the breeze making it a great specimen tree. Catkins in the spring, bright yellow autumn foliage and great winter interest with the white bark. Best planted in the spring.
Youngii (Young's Weeping Birch) - A small specimen tree with pendulus, twisty branches that grows to about 20'. The bark is a lovely peeling white and the tree has the characteristic catkins in the spring. Zone 2. Also susceptible to birch borer*.
*To learn more about identifying and treating the bronze birch borer, please visit this University of Minnesota Extension site: http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG1417.html
Blue Atlas (atlantica forma glauca) - The Blue Atlas cedar is a very large growing evergreen tree that can reach heights of 100', but more typically around 60'. The young foliage is silvery-blue maturing to a greyish blue. Cones that are up to 4" long take 2 years to mature. It looks best if planted in an open area where the lower branches don't have to be pruned up. Zone 6.
Golden Weeping Himalayan Cedar (deodara aurea) - This slow growing evergreen has bright gold tufted clusters of foliage at the tops and ends of branches. It grows into a pyramidal shape with gracefully arching branches. Drought tolerant, it will grow to about 35' in Zone 6.
Weeping Blue Atlas (Glauca pendula) - This cedar, like its upright cousin, has greyish blue needles but in a weeping form. It can easily be trained into curves and S-shapes or grown over arbors or trellises.
Appalachian Red - A new selection of the native canadensis with buds in a bright fuchsia pink rather than the more common lavender-pink shade. Grows to 25' in Zone 5. Plant in sun to dappled shade.
(Eastern Redbud) canadensis - Growing 30' tall in sun or light shade, this redbud is a common and welcome sight in the spring with its lavender-pink blooms along roadsides and throughout the woods. Can be grown as a single or multi-trunked ornamental tree. After blooming, brown, pea-like pods appear; yellow leaves in the fall.
Forest Pansy - This redbud is a purple-leafed variety that grows to 30'. The heart-shaped leaves open as a bright reddish-purple and mature to a darker purple. Forest Pansy is a great small specimen tree for lightly shaded areas but can handle full sun. Zone 4.
Lavender Twist - For a truly unique specimen tree, choose Lavender Twist redbud with its contorted, weeping branches that are covered with lavender-pink blooms in the late spring. Grows to 10' with a 10' spread in full sun to part shade.
Chamaecyparis (cypress/cedar) - The chamaecyparis genus, with members bearing the common names "cedar" or, more often, "cypress" includes gold mop and Hinoki cypresses.
Weeping Alaskan Cedar (nootkatensis Pendula) - The weeping Alaskan cedar has graceful arching branches and can reach 40'. It likes moist but well-drained soil and is hardy in Zone 4.
Cornus (Dogwood) - The dogwood is a small, spring-flowering ornamental tree that is native to northeastern United States (C. florida). Typically a woodland tree, newer cultivated varieties can handle more sun, which is good since dogwoods are prone to powdery mildew. Most dogwoods do start to look somewhat stressed by the end of the summer, though. This is common and nothing to worry about in terms of tree health. After blooming, the bright red fruits appear on the tree to either be eaten by birds or dropped as seed. Zone 5.
Appalachian Spring - A great white-flowering dogwood that was found growing wild on Catactin Mountain in Maryland. 20x20' with bright red fall foliage. Highly reistant to dogwood anthracnose.
Cherokee Brave - (C. florida) Has pink flowers and burgandy-red fall foliage. It grows to about 20" tall and wide.
Cherokee Chief - (C. florida) Has flowers that open almost red and fade to dark pink. 20x20'.
Cherokee Princess - (C. florida) Same as Cherokee Brave but with large white flowers.
Kousa - C. kousa is native to Asia and blooms about a month later than other dogwoods. The white bracts are pointed and followed by large red drupes (fruit). 20x20' with scarlet fall foliage.
Stellar Pink - A hybrid dogwood that is a cross between C. florida and C. kousa, developed in response to find dogwoods that were disease and insect resistant. It blooms slightly later than florida but before kousa and has no fruit. Stellar Pink has lovely soft pink flowers. 20x20'.
Stellar White - Another hybrid of the Stellar series, the flowers open with a slight greenish tint but mature to pure white. A heavy flowerer growing to 25x20'.
Cotinus (Smoke Tee)
Smoke Tree - Prized for its dark purple foliage and fluffy-like summer blooms, the smoke tree can be grown as a small single-stem tree, but it is more likely seen in a mutli-stemmed or branched form. 10 to 20' tall depending on variety, with purple, red, orange and yellow fall foliage.
Ann - Ann is a hybrid between M. liliiflora and M. stellata and the growth habit is more like a shrub than a tree, growing 15x10', but can be limbed up into a small, multi-stemmed tree. Part of the "Little Girl" series, it was developed by the National Arboretum. The very dark pink flowers are up to 8" long, blooming in March. Prefers well-drained soil and flowers more profusely when planted in full sun. Zone 4.
Claudia Wannamaker - the grandiflora or southern magnolias are large growing and have large green and brown-backed leaves It is evergreen with white flowers in May to June. The mature height on Claudia Wannamaker is up to 60' with a 30' spread. As a Zone 7 plant, this tree has to be planted in just the right spot that provides protection from our colder winters. We do not guarantee this tree to survive our winters.
Edith Bogue - another sourthern magnolia with dark, glossy green and brown-backed leaves and large, creamy white, fragrant flowers. As a Zone 6 tree, this is the most cold hardy of the southern magnolias, although it is somewhat smaller at 40' and has a more open growth habit. We recommend planting it in an area that is sheltered from winter winds.
Jane - Like Ann, Jane is one of the "Little Girl" series and has blooms that are dark purple-pink at the base on the outside, fading to lighter pink at the tips, and white insides. Zone 4.
Royal Star - M. stellata Royal Star has a growth habit much like the "Little Girl" series and can be grown like a shrub or small tree that reaches up to 20'x15'. The pink buds open to fragrant white flowers with up to 30 petals. Zone 4.
Malus (Crab Apple)
Prairiefire - A Zone 4 crab apple with profuse, bright reddish-purple blooms in May. Grows to 25x25' with the young purple leaves maturing to a reddish-green, turning orange in fall. Half-inch fruits do not drop from the tree and attract songbirds during the winter. The red bark resembles that of a cherry tree and is very attractive throughout the winter. To prevent bud damage, plant in an area protected from late frosts.
Colorado Blue Spruce - native to western United Startes, the Colorado Blue Spruce grows up to 90' in a pyramidal shape. The evergreen needles are a bluish-grey to grey-green and get slender cones that open to 2" across. The foliage color may vary slightly by tree and even by season. Slow growing while young, but once established grows about a foot per year. Zone 3.
Japanese Black Pine - this Zone 5 plant has deeply rutted black bark and dark green bark and can grow as tall as 100'. More commonly, however, the Japanese Black Pine is trained to be a bonsai or stunted in some way to keep it shorter and add personality and interest to a landscape. Oddly shaped trees or those with angled branches are perfect to add to small landscapes that need to look larger. To get thicker foliage pinch off part of the candle (start of new growth); to maintain shape or limit height, pinch off the entire candle before the needles have formed.
White Pine - The Eastern White Pine has soft tufted bundles of needles that are green to bluish-green. They can live for over 250 years and grow as tall as 160' or more, with one tree in the Great Smoky Mountains at a remarkable 207'! Slender 6" cones and fast growth rate of up to a foot a year are common once the tree has become established.
Prunus (Ornamental Cherry)
Kwanzan - 30x20' in Zone 5, the Kwanzan cherry has lovely, ruffled, double pink flowers in the spring. Copper-red bark, new leaves of bronze and yellow fall leaf color. This is the cherry tree that was gifted to the United States from Japan and lines the Tidal Basin on the DC mall. Visit the official website of the Cherry Blossom Festival at: www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org for more information.
Pendula (Weeping Pink) - A lovely spring blooming tree with double pink flowers on gracefully weeping branches. This is a medium-sized tree that will reach 40' tall by 25' wide. Zone 5.
Snow Fountain (Weeping White) - This weeping cherry with white spring blooms stays much smaller than the pink variety, growing to about 12' tall with a very broad 12' head, making it perfect for smaller landscapes. Zone 5.
Yoshino - A Japanese cherry tree that grows about 30x30' with horizontal to slightly upright branching. It has white or very pale pink flowers in the spring followed by bronze-toned leaves that mature to green. Fragrant and a good food source for birds. This tree, along with the Kwanzan, can be found along the Washington DC Tidal Basin. Zone 5.
Prunus (Ornamental Plum)
Krauter Versuvius - Beautiful light pink flowers in the spring are followed by very dark purple leaves. 20x15', Zone 5.
Thundercloud - Deep purple leaves appear on this tree after its spring display of pink flowers. Zone 5.
Pyrus (Ornamental Pear) At one time, the Bradford pear was the ornamental pear on the market. The problem with the Bradford is the many vertical limbs and embedded bark that gets packed close to the trunk. This weak branch structure makes it very susceptible to wind and snow damage. This original introduction of the ornamental pear has been improved upon with trees that have a central leader (1 large main trunk) with branches that have a much stronger branch structure. We stock only the newer varieties and do not sell the Bradford pear.
Cleaveland Select (also known as Chanticleer or sometimes Stonehill) - Covered with white flowers in the early spring, this long-lived variety grows to 40x20' in Zone 4. This tree is very commonly used to line driveways where they make an impressive spring showing.
Quercus (Oak) Oak trees are divided into two groups, red oaks and white oaks. Red oaks have pointed leaf lobes and take two years to mature their acorns. White oaks have rounded leaf lobes and produce flowers and acorns within the same year. Oaks can easily live over 100 years.
Northern Red Oak - Moderate growth rate of up 1-2' per year with dark, highly ridged striped bark. 90x45' tall and very longed lived, reaching ages over 300 years old.
Pin Oak - Part of the red oak group. When young, there is a strong central leader that is usually lost as the tree becomes larger. 70x45' with a 4' or more trunk diameter
White Swamp Oak - 100' tall with a growth of about 1' per year. Produces acorns sometime after the 20th year of growth.
Willow Oak - Part of the red oak group. This oak doesn't have the typical looking oak leaves, but instead has long, narrow leaves similar to its namesake the willow. A fast grower (2' per year) to 60x35' in Zone 5. The yellow to yellow-brown leaves tend to blow away after falling in the autumn making clean up easy! Acorn production begins after 15 years, earlier than most other oaks.
Salix (Weeping Willow)
Corkscrew willow (tortuosa) - With its twisted, curly branches, the corkscrew willow makes a fascinating and unique focal point tree. It grows rapidly to 30x20' and flourishes in moist sites. Provides great winter interest and the branches look fabulous in cut flower arrangements. Native to China, Zone 4.
Weeping Willow (babylonica) (weeping willow) The weeping willow is an excellent choice for an area that tends to stay wet. The willow loves water so much that you should avoid planting it close to water or sewer lines, as the roots will seek out their moisture. A Zone 2 tree, the willow will reach 50' quite quickly. The drawbacks are that it is a relatively short-lived tree, averaging 30 years, and is somewhat messy due to leaf and branch drop. Despite these issues, the weeping willow is one of the loveliest trees for your landscape.
Sciadopitys (Japanese Umbrella Pine)
Japanese Umbrella Pine - This is truly a unique and difficult to find tree native to Japan and has been found in fossil records for 230 million years. It has flexible stem-like needles and produces interesting knobby cones. Produced for the garden trade by cuttings that take 2 years to root, this conifer also has a slow growth rate about 6" - 1' per year, making it a more expensive investment for your landscape, but worth the price for the uniqueness. A sacred tree in Japan, there are records of one tree outside a temple as having been worshipped since 1310 - this tree is now 90' tall and designated a natural monument. Zone 5.
Taxodium (Bald Cypress) Also known as Metasequoia
Dawn Redwood - This is a deciduous conifer with small, soft, feathery, fern-like leaves and reddish stringy bark that looks great in the winter landscape. Likes moist soils but will grow in just about any type of acidic soil. Grows to about 130' in Zone 5 at a moderate - fast rate.
and Caring for Your New Tree
Most newly planted trees do not need to be staked. Staking should only be considered in an area that gets lots of wind, to prevent the tree from being pushed over until its root structure has had time to firmly anchor the tree. Some movement of the tree by the wind is actually good for the tree - it helps to make the roots, trunk and branches strong. If you do stake the tree, be sure to remove those stakes and ties in 6 months to a year. Left staked, the ties will eventually constrict the growing trunk and choke, or girdle, the tree. Even if the tree doesn't die, the area where it was girdled will always be weaker and has greater potential to break in adverse weather conditions.
Fertilizing and Mulching
Managing pests and diseases