Totally Terrific Trees – Fabulous new finds, and a few old favourites.

Robinia pseudoacacia Frisia

Robinia ‘Frisia’

It’s not every day that the opportunity arises to plant a tree, but when it does it’s important to choose the right one.  There are lots of things to consider – height, spread, growing conditions and sightlines to name a few, not to mention ornamental qualities.   If you have trees on your mind this fall, break out from the ordinary and consider these totally terrific trees.  See the bottom of the article for a photo gallery of these plants.

Acer circinatum (Vine Maple):  This often overlooked native maple, known for its fiery red fall colour, is at home underneath tall conifers, or on open woodland edges.  It will grow in full shade to nearly full sun and adapts to moist or dry conditions. In shade, vine maples have an open sprawling habit. In sun they will be more upright and compact. Ideal for a spot where a Japanese maple won’t quite work.  (H:15-20’ S:6-12’)

Albizzia ‘Summer Chocolate’:  We always know when the silk trees are in bloom in the late summer, because we get lots of comments about them.
They look very exotic with their fluffy pink flowers and finely cut foliage.  Summer Chocolate is a new form that has purple foliage. (H:20’ S:15’)

Betula nigra ‘Summer Cascade’ (Weeping Birch):  Small weeping trees that look good in all seasons are hard to come by, but this fits the bill perfectly.  A close relative of the ‘Heritage Birch’, it shares the same peeling bark and resistance to pests.  Its graceful habit makes it a good choice for a feature tree. Height is controlled by staking and/or pruning. (H:6 -20’ S: 10-15’)

Davidia involucrata Sonoma

Davidia involucrata Sonoma

Davidia ‘Sonoma’ (Handkerchief Tree):  Looking for a stately shade tree for a big space?  This is a strong growing upright tree with large lustrous, heart-shaped leaves. You may have seen the great specimen at Butchart Gardens. It’s known for the showy white flowers (these are actually leaf bracts that surround the flower) that look like so many handkerchiefs.  Good yellow fall colour (H:40’ S:20-30’)

Hamamelis (Witch Hazel) Standard: These witch hazels are grafted onto 4’ trunks which turns them into perfect little trees.  Red or yellow blooms in winter and great fall colour.

Malus ‘Royal Raindrops’ (Flowering Crabapple):  Not just any crabapple, ‘Royal Raindrops’ has serrated purple foliage that holds its colour all summer.  It has bright pinkish-red flowers in late spring and small persistent red fruits.  The leaves turn bright orange-red in fall. (H:15-20’ S:15’)

Prunus ‘Little Twist’ (Flowering Cherry): This is a perfect feature tree for a small space or container. Its unusual zig-zag branches are covered with pink flowers in the spring and dainty serrated dark green leaves in the summer.  Burgundy fall colour. Truly new and different!  (H:6-8’ S:6-8’)

Prunus x ‘Snow Goose’:   A new form of flowering cherry, its pure white blooms have yellow centres that show well against the bright green foliage. Orange fall colour.  Thought to be resistant to common cherry foliage diseases. Upright when young, broadly spreading with age. (H:20’ S:20’)

Robinia ‘Frisia’ (Golden Locust): There’s really nothing quite like this perennial favourite.  The bright gold foliage glows in the sun and shows particularly well against a backdrop of our native conifers. (H30-50’ S:20-35’)