Even great trees need proper plant­ing, care

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - MIKE ALLEN

EV­ERY spring I get many calls and e-mails ask­ing me what trees I would plant. I cer­tainly have my favourites suit­able for grow­ing in south­ern Man­i­toba. Most of the ones listed are typ­i­cally trees that have I find have the least num­ber of prob­lems. It should be re­mem­bered that all trees can have their prob­lems un­der less than ideal grow­ing con­di­tions such as crowd­ing by other trees and large shrubs, shad­ing by build­ings or ad­ja­cent trees, poor soil drainage, past con­struc­tion into their root sys­tems, ex­ces­sive use of pes­ti­cides, and poor prun­ing prac­tices.

Prairie peo­ple love conif­er­ous ever­greens, how­ever so many of them get se­vere in­fec­tions by dis­eases and/or se­vere in­fes­ta­tions by in­sects and spi­der mites. Most conif­er­ous trees do not nat­u­rally grow on clay soils. I have writ­ten about these prob­lems many times in this col­umn. This is es­pe­cially true of Colorado blue spruce (Picea pun­gens) and Scots pine (Pi­nus sylvestris). I rec­om­mend the na­tive east­ern white cedar (Thuja oc­ci­den­talis), Swiss stone pine (Pi­nus cem­bra), and na­tive ta­ma­rack (Larix laric­ina). White cedar is nat­u­rally grow­ing con­i­cal tree in open ar­eas and seems to thrive on heavy clay soils. Swiss stone pine is the only pine species I know that grows well on clay soils in our area. It is a slow grow­ing tree and def­i­nitely can not be crowded by other trees. It needs full sun­light for most of the day. Ta­ma­rack is not ev­er­green but pro­duces golden coloured nee­dles in the fall. It is a mem­ber of the conif­er­ous or cone bear­ing trees such as spruce and pine. It grows well on clay soils.

My first pref­er­ence for shade or de­cid­u­ous trees is our na­tive Hack­berry (Celtis oc­ci­den­talis). A cul­ti­vated va­ri­ety call ‘Delta’ hack­berry is avail­able through some nurs­ery and gar­den cen­tres. It is not a tall tree on clay soils but it does pro­duce a wide shade canopy. Its bark has a unique warty tex­ture that I find very at­trac­tive. It is a per­fect re­place­ment for an elm killed by Dutch elm dis­ease or a very large hy­brid pop- lar va­ri­ety that shows signs of dis­ease caus­ing deca­dence. These poplars grow fast but do not have a long life span.

Lin­dens (Tilia species) such as ‘Drop­more’ and ‘Glen­leven’ make great in­ter­me­di­ate sized trees as long as they are planted prop­erly. Our na­tive Amer­i­can lin­den or bass­wood (Tilia amer­i­cana) needs a fair amount of space to grow as it is a tall grow­ing tree. The lin­den flow­ers are very fra­grant and they at­tract pol­li­nat­ing in­sects that are es­sen­tial for many rea­sons for es­pe­cially for nearby fruit trees and fruit­ing berry shrubs that may be on your prop­erty.

I am a fan of our na­tive bur oak (Quer­cus macro­carpa) and have planted many of these trees in both gar­dens and nat­u­ral ar­eas. It is a ma­jes­tic tree. Keep­ing grass her­bi­cides from seep­ing into the oak root zone is es­sen­tial in keep­ing it stress-free on lawn ar­eas. Fre­quent ap­pli­ca­tion of these her­bi­cides will re­sult in sig­nif­i­cant growth and die-back prob­lems for this oth­er­wise very long-lived tree.

In­ter­est­ing small trees that can be con­sid­ered es­pe­cially for smaller yards or small spa­ces in av­er­age yards are: Ohio buck­eye (Aes­cu­lus glabra), honey lo­cust (Gled­it­sia tri­a­can­thos), and Ja­panese tree lilac (Syringa retic­u­lata ‘Ivory Silk’). The buck­eye pro­duces a beau­ti­ful stalked flower in the spring. Honey lo­cust has very small leaflets that pro­vide very soft dap­pled shade. I be­lieve the Free­man maple ‘Au­tumn Blaze’ va­ri­ety will do very well in ar­eas pro­tected from strong north win­ter winds. This hy­brid be­tween red and sil­ver maples will pro­duce leaves hav­ing a dis­tinct red colour in the fall. It is an in­ter­me­di­ate sized tree that does not grow to the tall heights that the in­tro­duced sil­ver maple does in our area.

I have a spe­cial in­ter­est and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the mag­nif­i­cent old na­tive plains cot­ton­woods (Pop­u­lus del­toides var. oc­ci­den­talis) that grow along river banks in south­ern Man­i­toba. It is not a suit­able tree for ur­ban res­i­den­tial yards. It is the tallest-grow­ing de­cid­u­ous tree and can be one of the most mas­sive trees that oc­cur in our prov­ince. The Win­nipeg area has many fine spec­i­mens grow­ing along all our wa­ter ways. Be sure to visit the ones in McBeth Park.

Amer­i­can elm (Ul­mus amer­i­cana) is still one of my top favourites but Dutch elm dis­ease con­tin­ues to kill many thou­sands of these trees. Amaz­ingly, a few giants are still with us es­pe­cially my favourite elms in Whit­tier Park.

If you wish to find out more about these and other trees please con­tact me.

Delta Hack­aberry, left and Honey Lo­cust, above: two great trees for Mani

toba’s cli­mate.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.