Best Landscape Trees – Show Notes

Today, we talk about my favorite landscape trees across the US

Let’s jump right in!

Red Maple – Acer rubrum

  • 40-60’ tall, 30-50’ wide
  • Zones 3-9
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Medium to wet soils
  • Majestic form
  • Bright fall color
    • Red
    • Orange
    • Yellow
  • Early spring flower buds – deep red
  • Tolerates wide range of conditions
  • “helicopters” – favorite for kids
    • Technical term is a samara
    • Synonyms: key, wingnut, helicopter, whirlybird, whirligig, polynose, spinning jenny
  • Watch-outs
    • Can be issue with surface roots near sidewalks
    • Grows large

White Oak – Quercus alba

  • 50-80’ tall, 50-80’ wide
  • Zones 3-9
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Dry to medium soils
  • Majestic form
  • Deep shade tree
  • Acorns
  • Great host plant for insects, critters, birds
  • Watch-outs
    • Can be susceptible to some diseases, especially when young
    • Slow growth habit
    • Grows large

Thornless Honey Locust – Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis

  • 40-80’ tall, 40-80’ wide, depending on variety
  • Zones 3-8
  • Full sun
  • Moist to dry soils
  • Fixes nitrogen
  • Light canopy shade
  • Open form, many small leaflets
  • Yellow fall color
  • Popular city sidewalk tree
  • Some varieties smaller mature size
  • Watch-outs
    • Straight species has massive thorns and seedpods
    • Susceptible to some diseases, but still relatively low maintenance

Redbud – Cercis canadensis

  • 20-30’ tall, 25-35’ wide
  • Zones 4-8
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Prefers average moisture – can tolerate some drought and some moisture
  • Fixes nitrogen
  • Beautiful spring blooms
  • Yellow fall color
  • Attractive umbrella form
  • Great medium-sized tree
  • Watch-outs
    • Does not transplant well – get very young seedlings

Sycamore – Platanus occidentalis

  • 75-100’ tall, 75-100’ wide
  • Zones 4-9
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Moist to average soils
    • Common stream and river bottom tree
  • Beautiful mottled trunk – white and brown
  • Yellow-brown fall color
  • Round seed pods through early winter
  • Watch-outs
    • Can be susceptible to various diseases and insects
    • Grows very large

Serviceberry – Amalanchier canadensis

  • 25-30’ tall, 15-20’ wide
  • Zones 4-8
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Wide variety of soils
  • Multi-trunk form
  • White spring blooms
  • Late spring and early summer berries
  • Orange-yellow fall color
  • Watch-outs
    • No major issues

Red Cedar – Juniperus virginiana

  • 30-65’ tall, 10-25’ wide
  • Zones 2-9
  • Evergreen
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Dry to moist soils
  • poor soil tolerance
  • watch-outs
    • no major issues
    • different cultivars have different growth habit

Links for today’s episode:

this is the easy living yards podcast

I’m your well-rooted host Ben Hale let’s

jump in and learn how to have a healthy

beautiful yard with less work so you can

enjoy more time doing what you love

what’s up and welcome to episode 29 of

the easy living yards podcast today

we’re gonna be talking about the best

trees for your landscape this is the

figure maybe each year we can we can go

through talking about my favorite trees

for the landscape without you know

making like a hundred tree long list I

want to just give you a couple of my

favorite trees for most of the United

States that work well and the reasons

why I love these and the reasons why

they’re great to try in your landscape

as well so let’s just jump right in

today I don’t really have a whole lot to

begin with so the only thing I want to

talk about is if you love this show or

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that would be a huge help to me in a

huge way to say thank you for doing this

show and I hope you are getting a lot of

value out of this show and a lot of

enjoyment as well so that’s just one way

you could go and say thank you so

alright let’s jump right in then okay so

my favorite trees for landscapes across

the United States here in 2018 of course

you know things are gonna change majorly

each year but I just have to restrict

this list of course so I don’t drivel on

for like 10 hours on just talking about

different trees

and so for for this list today I’ve

picked a few of my favorites a few of

the most robust trees that just really

to me speak North America and that’s

what I love about trees is is they they

really have this kind of character and

essence that really speaks to our region

and and same for globally you know a lot

of these trees actually that I’m talking

about today they do have globally

related species or that are closely

related or even subspecies so just

something to think about if you’re

listening to this if you’re some of my

folks across the pond that are listening

to this you know that’s another thing

aside here is is I’ve seen where the

downloads are coming from and it’s super

exciting to see some of the global

people that are listening to this so if

you’re listening to this outside of the

United States a huge thank you to you

guys as well I hope you’re also finding

enjoyment and value in this show and you

know a lot of what I talk about here is

is stuff that is location independent so

I hope you find value in that that stuff

okay so first tree the red maple I love

red maples we have one in our front yard

and so for each of these what I’m going

to do is also give you the species the

Latin name so you can and that’s not

just to be a nerd I am a nerd but just

so you can go and identify the tree as

well because a lot of common names for

plants have crossover there’s various

common names for the same plant and

likewise there’s there’s various

different plants that use the same

common name so this is just to give you

some specificity if you’re going to look

for this plant specifically so for for

the red maple the Latin name is Acer

rubrum which just is Latin for red I

don’t know what Acer means actually but

rubrum is just read in Latin so are you

BR um so the red maple the reason I

picked the red maple specifically is for

both of its structure its hardiness and

its appearance

so the red maple is a large tree so make

sure for these large trees that I’m

talking about today that you plant them

more they have plenty of space to grow

so in our front yard this this red maple

that I planted a few years ago is spaced

about 35 feet away from our foundation

and any any structure as well so it’s

it’s kind of out in an open space where

it can fill in that space and grow big

and tall like it’s meant to do so red

maples grow 40 to 60 feet tall and 30 to

your local area you plant it as well as

the the type of red maple you get so

there’s a lot of various cultivars that

you can get so I add two of that pop in

mind that I see a lot in nurseries are

October glory and autumn I think it’s

October glory and autumn red or I might

have this switch but anyway they’re

they’re just the reason they’re called

that is actually the next piece is that

they’re beautiful fall colors so you get

this bright fall color that’s shades of

red orange or yellow depending upon the

variety you have as well as the seasonal

variations you have from year to year so

some years you might get a deeper red

color some years you might get a bright

orange or yellow color out of these

trees and there are certainly selections

of different cultivars that that kind of

enhanced the color one way or the other

so so I we actually have a one red maple

on our landscape that gets this kind of

deep orange –red color and it’s very

beautiful and then we have another red

maple that gets this very deep maroon

red color in the fall as well so there’s

a lot of variation this tree prefers

full Sun to partial shade and it prefers

medium to wet soils so it’s not super

drought tolerant and likewise it most

these trees I’m talking about they don’t

prefer to be waterlogged at the same

time but this is one where it can

tolerate some of the wetter conditions

out there so if you have some kind of

lowland areas the red maple can tolerate

a lot of that the red maple is able to

be grown in USDA zones three to nine so

that’s most of the United

States zone 3 is pretty cold zone 9 is

pretty hot so it spans north to south

pretty well and as far as structure the

red maple is has a very majestic form so

it’s it grows big with these large

arching branches it’s a little bit on

the softer side of hardwoods but the

reason I’ve chosen the red maple over

some other maple trees is because it is

a better structured tree compared to

some other maples and one of the other

conditions about it is it has these

early spring flower buds that are this

deep red kind of maroon color in very

very early spring / late winter and so

it’s one of the first signs of life

waking up in the winter that I look for

and so you get these I mean they’re not

very prominent but you get these little

red clusters that start popping out all

across the outside of the tree and so

it’s one of the first signs of spring

kind of one of the first heralds of

spring I guess and so I always look

forward to that every winter when the

buds start popping on the maples okay

now like a lot of these trees this maple

the red maple tolerates a wide range of

conditions and if one of my favorite

things about it actually is it it

produces these little things called we

always call them helicopters growing up

and so it’s a it’s a favorite tree for

kids because it drops all these little

seeds that twirl around as they come to

the ground and so you can collect them

you can throw them up and watch them

twirl down so because of the way they

spun around we called them helicopters

now I learned something new in

researching for this episode that the

technical term for the these helicopters

is called I don’t know if I’m

pronouncing this right but a Samara or

Samara sa ma ra and some of the other

synonyms I found for it according to the

all-powerful Wikipedia is a key a wing

nut wing nut a helicopter so of course

apparently we are the

we used was was eligible enough to get

into Wikipedia a whirlybird a whirligig

poly nose and a spinning jenny so you

choose your favorite name I might have

to switch to spinning Jenny’s now as

opposed to helicopters it sounds a bit

more fun but yeah you can choose your

turd for but either way these little

seeds that kind of flutter off the tree

everywhere when the wind blows they’re

just a favorite for kids to play with

and to have fun with and and I certainly

had fun with them as a kid and I still

do so yeah so just kind of a little

interesting perk about these red maples

and maples in general and it’s this

isn’t limited to maples but it was

something with we had this giant sugar

maple in the back of our yard growing up

and and it had all sorts of these little

helicopter spinning Jenny’s coming off

now as far as watch outs for the red

maple you you can’t have issues with

surface routes new your sidewalks

especially so they can actually buckle

sidewalks there’s a lot of trees that

have this potential especially your

larger trees so certainly for red maples

they have a tendency to run more routes

toward the surface as opposed to


and so you you do have to watch out for

that now that said the red maple is

better at not shooting up big surface

routes compared to some of the other

maple trees like like silver maples are

notorious for running surface routes

that actually come above the soil

surface and so red maples can do that as


but not as bad as some of the other

maple trees so something you have to

watch out for if if you’re not too

inclined to have that on your property

or you plant it too closely to something

like a sidewalk or a driveway where it

could buckle the concrete you want to

make sure you avoid that and likewise

you don’t want to plant this tree too

close to a foundation so you basically

want to plan for the the size of the

canopy and maybe even a little bit more

with some of these surface route type

trees so you don’t want to plant closely

to a foundation where it’s

to disturb the foundation the other

watch out is if you’re not planning for

it this tree grows large so you just got

a plan for growth so while it may look

pretty for the first 5 to 10 years in a

certain space if you plant it in a

pretty tight space or a very small

property it may outgrow that property or

that space within a few years so just

something to consider that these trees

again grow upwards of 40 to 60 foot tall

and I would wager even taller actually

and 30 to 50 feet wide as well so you

want to plan for that that full size

which it eventually reaches ok so enough

about the red maple let’s move on to

another large majestic tree and that is

the white oak so the white oak tree

which has a Latin name of Quercus Alba

that’s qu e rc usal ba and I have

information on all these trees in the

show notes so if you guys didn’t know

for every single show I have some show

notes it’s a an outline of the show so

you can check it out make sure it’s

worth a listen to you for one I value

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listening to each show and you know I

want to make sure you get the most out

of each show so so I want you to also

feel comfortable you can always check

out the show notes for each show and

that’s available in the it should be

available in the podcast app that you’re

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well and of course there’s also always

links in the show notes to anything I

link to okay so with

said the white oak tree is an even

larger majestic tree and I just love the

beauty the elegance and the structure

that oak trees bring to a landscape and

the grandeur as well so a just a mature

oak is such a beautiful symbol of to me

of the just the majestic form of nature

and so it kind of gets a little poetic

for me actually when I see just a large

beautiful oak tree so I love driving

through old neighborhoods where you see

these giant oak trees just towering

everywhere and just providing such

beautiful accents to landscapes and in

even to the point where they define the

landscape just by themselves

okay so what’s so cool about the white

oak why the white oak well there’s a few

reasons I’ve chosen it and to be honest

this is largely based on my personal

preference first of all I had to make a

choice right so I love Oaks the white

oak is native to a broad range of the

United States and it’s also a beautiful

landscape tree now that said this is a

large tree just like the maple and even

more so so it grows to a total height of

even up to 100 feet and it grows up to

a and usually has a little bit more

height than girth and it has these

beautifully lobed leaves that’s what I

like about the white oak is it has these

these rounded lobes to the leaves it’s

just a beautiful shape to the leaves as

well as to the tree itself and likewise

they’re they’re acorns they drop every

couple years and they’re just these

larger acorns they’re really pretty

of course if you don’t like acorns they

can make a bit of a mess but I actually

kind of enjoy them and the other thing

is that the the white oak has a lower

tannin content compared to something

like a red oak tree and so the tannins

the tannic acids that are present in the

acorns and I believe also the leaves I

didn’t fully research this part but um

the tannins can actually leach into your


and kind of cause some disruption too so

that’s kind of a side advantage that’s

not the true reason why I like the white

oak but it’s just kind of something to

point out now the white oak

it grows in USDA zones three to nine

just like the maple it prefers full Sun

but it can also grow in part shade and

it prefers dry to medium soils so if

you’re in a drier location compared to

your maples this is something that can

grow in that condition so dry to the

average soils as far as moisture goes

and underneath a mature oak you you

actually get this very nice deep shade

and so some people to the point where

some people can even struggle growing

grass underneath it sometimes so it’s

something to consider as a watch out but

I also really enjoy Oaks just because of

the shade that casts on a hot summer day

you can really tell a difference when

you’re underneath an oak tree compared

to just out in the Sun now the other

side benefit to the Oaks in general but

also the white oak is is that oaks are

an amazing host plant for a wide variety

of insects and critters and birds so

they’re always chattering with activity

there’s a ton of insects that rely on

Oaks for various parts of their

lifecycle and for that reason alone I

really enjoy it because it’s actually a

plant that benefits not only us in the

enjoyment we get out of it but also all

those other creatures around us too so

that’s really cool thing about Oaks now

some watch out so when it comes to oak

trees it can be susceptible to some

diseases especially when young so it’s

something to make sure you you have it

put in the right location with the right

conditions and you plant it as well as

possible and get it as healthy as as as

best you can so it can establish well

and grow into a large healthy tree it

also has a lot of people don’t like Oaks

because they have a slower growth habit

so basically the the return on your

investment I guess if you want to call

it that of planting this tree is that it

takes a lot of time before you start to

really enjoy that majestic stature

and to be honest it might be something

that the you know isn’t enjoyed for 20

maybe 30 years before it reaches that

stage now in the meantime it’s still a

beautiful tree and and it’s just very

enjoyable just to watch it slowly grow

to reach that stage the last watch out

of course just like the maple as this

tree grows very large now Oaks do not

have the tendency towards surface roots

as bad as maples do and so you you can

get away with planting it closer to

things such as sidewalks and driveways I

would steer you away from planting it

closely to foundations though because

foundations go down you know much deeper

in the soil profile and so a lot of

trees that grow large should not be

planted close to foundations for the

potential issues that they may cause and

that’s both through route pressure onto

foundations as well as just the water

pressure differences when there’s a tree

planted close to a foundation so so when

there’s a tree planted close to a

foundation those roots will suck up a

lot of that water that moisture that

might be present in other areas pressing

against the foundation that difference

in pressure across your foundation can

actually cause buckling and shifting and

can be very very bad for your foundation

so in general just avoid putting these

large trees close to your foundations

okay now with that said I really enjoy

oak trees I think they’re beautiful and

this is definitely something you plan

long-term for oak trees grow a little

bit slower than maples maples grow kind

of like a medium growth habit so you see

those being a lot more popular across

landscapes but certainly consider Oaks

as well okay let’s move on to a little

bit of a different type of tree here and

this is the thorny honey locust so the

thorn not thorny don’t don’t get your

thorny honey locusts get the thornless

honeylocust okay just to clarify again

the thornless honeylocust now I’m going

to attempt the Latin for this one it’s

glad it’s iya

ryuk anthos and the the variety you want

to get is variety enormous so I’m not

gonna spell all that out check out the

show notes but the reason you want this

variety is that’s the thornless variety

now I don’t know if you’ve ever been

taking a stroll through the woods or

kind of walking along you know a

naturalised area and you see this tree

with all these massive thorns on them

like these gnarly looking thorns well

odds are that’s either a honey locust or

a black locust stream now the honey

locust can so they get these really I

think they’re really cool looking but of

course you don’t want to tree with these

giant giant massive thorns in your

landscape so what plant breeders have

done over the past century or so have is

they have bred the honey locust to not

have these thorns and generally speaking

I actually prefer the natural more

natural trees the non cultivated

varieties or at least lightly cultivated

varieties of plants but in this case if

you want it in your landscape I

understand you probably don’t want these

giant thorns I mean these are things

where if you step on them it could go

right through your foot they’re giant

like six-inch thorns they’re really

nasty looking and they’re incredibly

sharp as well so so you want to get the

enormous form and the the thornless

honeylocust is actually a really popular

landscape tree in commercial areas and

also public areas so and for good reason

so this tree just to give you a few

defining characteristics the thorny

that’s why I keep saying thorny I really

mean just any time I say Authority think

thornless okay so the thornless

honeylocust grows about 40 to 80 feet

tall when it’s mature and 40 to 80 feet

wide and the reason it’s such a broad

range is high-lead is highly dependent

on the variety of honey locust tree you

purchase so if you purchase a cultivated

variety you want to check out what’s

what it’s mature sizes and get the right

one for your space now the thornless

honeylocust grows

USDA zones three to eight so that’s

still most of the United States

it doesn’t tolerate the really really

hot parts of the United States so that’s

something if you’re down south I’m in

the hot areas you might want to look for

something else now some of the other

characteristics is the thornless

honeylocust generally prefers full Sun

now all that said with these three trees

I listed so far now the white oak does

prefer like more savanna type ecosystems

is where it comes from where you have

patchy grass and wooded areas now that

said – I’ve seen plenty of white oak

trees growing in the middle of the

forest so they can tolerate deep shade

as well and so that’s just something if

you have deep shaded areas that you’re

considering don’t necessarily rule out

any of these trees I’ve listed so I’ve

seen honey locusts growing in the forest

I’ve seen maple trees tons of red maples

growing in the middle of the woods as

well as white oak trees so you can

certainly plant these in those shaded

conditions they will be a bit more

spindle e a bit less full in their

younger ages but as they grow they will

definitely fill out and just reach a

beautiful size it just might stunt their

growth somewhat okay so back on to the

thornless honeylocust so it does prefer

full Sun but it can tolerate a wide

range of sunlight conditions it does

well in all the way from moist soils to

dry soils so this tolerates a wide range

of moisture and the cool thing about

this tree is it can grow in depleted

soils as well so part of why it does

that a little biology lesson for you is

that this is a legume tree so kind of

like your peas and your beans the

thornless honeylocust actually fixes its

own nitrogen so it takes nitrogen from

the air and it kind of pumps it down

this is you know very generalized

version it’s it’s mostly actually it’s

bacteria doing the work that lives on

their roots and so that bacteria are

taking nitrogen from the air and it

turns it into a soluble bioavailable

form of nitrogen that the

can use for its growth in making

proteins for its cells and so that’s

really cool stuff actually how some of

these biochemical processes work but

that’s actually a pretty rare form in

the plant world is to fix its own

nitrogen so there’s a certain groups of

plants that have these symbiotic

relationships with bacteria and this is

one of them so that’s really cool

because it’s able to kind of provide its

own nutrient source where other plants

may not have that capability okay so

enough on fixing nitrogen for now and

let’s learn about other parts of it so

it compared to like the oak and the

maple that casts a bit deeper shade the

thornless honeylocust actually casts a

very dappled kind of light canopy shade

so it’s also a very enjoyable shade to

when you don’t want like this full deep

shade condition it’s a really nice tree

just to kind of give you a little bit of

shade but also kind of let a little bit

of light percolate through it’s also

good for plants that prefer that partial

shade condition you can allow more

plants to grow underneath its canopy as

well so it’s something to consider there

if you’re considering it for say a

garden area the thornless honeylocust

has this kind of open form so it’s kind

of like a wide branching structure with

these really small leaflets so it’s like

a short stem with a bunch of little

leaves sticking off of it and these

little leaflets are kind of what provide

that loose dappled shade along with the

branching structure and in the fall you

get this beautiful yellow color off of

these trees it’s kind of like a golden

yellow that kind of fills the sky first

I guess but also as these leaves drop

they they kind of make these little

yellow drops of color across your

landscape when other things are starting

to turn brown and you still have lots of

green as well but you’re getting some

changes in color that this gold really

just accents your the floor of your

garden or the floor of your lawn in a

really wonderful way

now like I mentioned earlier this is

actually a popular tree in a lot of

public areas as well as commercial areas

and it’s also used in cities as a

sidewalk tree and so you see those like

trees that grow in the city where

there’s like you know a 2 by 2 foot

square of like soil I guess you could

call it soil or dirt and and then

everything else is concrete and you

wonder how the heck do these giant trees

grow there well this is one of those

trees which to me is just super cool

it’s a great testament if it when I see

trees growing in those conditions I

always pay attention to what types of

tree this up trees those are because

they’re incredibly Hardy trees and they

withstand a ton of abuse from whether it

be pet urine salt from winter salting

and just lack of water lack of earth to

grow in and and yet somehow these trees

survive well this is one of those trees

the honey locust I’ve seen them all

across Chicago

I remember seeing these giant massive

honey locust trees growing in Chicago

and so that’s a great testament to how

durable these trees are some varieties

have a smaller mature size like I

mentioned earlier so it’s something to

consider you want to really make sure

you’re getting a certain tree for a

certain size that you would want and on

to some watch outs now like I mentioned

earlier if you get the straight species

of this tree it has these massive thorns

and what I didn’t mention is also

produces a lot of seed pods because it’s

in the legume family it produces these

long bean pods of seeds and if you don’t

like that it’s something to watch out

for some of the cultivated varieties

still have seed pods as well and so you

want to check out which tree you’re

getting and how many of these seed pods

you might have to deal with and whether

or not that’s okay for you okay now the

thornless honeylocust is susceptible to

some diseases but overall it’s a

relatively low maintenance tree like I

mentioned it it tolerates tons of

neglect in in urban conditions and these

trees do just great so while it does

have some disease issues here and there

overall this is a really Hardy tree

alright moving on I guess onward and

downward because this is a smaller tree

I’m sure some of you are out there

wondering okay these trees are all great

but even the honey locust you know

that’s a big tree right what about

something smaller okay well if you’re

looking for some smaller trees this is

one of them

and that’s the red button so I love Red

Bud trees the Latin name is circus

canadensis is the tree I’m specifically

talking about that’s the Eastern redbud

there’s also a western variety out there

it’s a different species name but if you

live on the other side of the Rockies

consider not getting the Eastern redbud

but the I can’t remember if it’s called

the western red bud or something else

but but search for circus cer see is and

it should pop up as one of the options

for red buds okay so the Red Bud tree is

a tree that only grows 20 to 30 feet

tall max and about 25 to 35 feet wide so

it kind of has this wide umbrella shape

that it gets and this is a tree that

comes from our edge habitats so it

generally grows along woodland edges and

and so of course it doesn’t reach this

massive canopy size and instead it’s

trying to take up as much available

light as it can by spreading

horizontally as opposed to vertically so

that’s kind of how you get this shape of

this tree now it grows in USDA zones 4

to 8 so it’s a somewhat more limited

range of conditions but it’s still

widely capable across most of the United

States it enjoys both full Sun to

partial shade and I would even wager

medium to heavy shade of course it needs

some light but this tree does pretty

well my parents have had a little tiny

red bud that’s grown underneath these

two massive oak trees in our our

backyard growing up and it did just fine

there now it grew slowly so when you

have it

in those foolish aide conditions it does

grow pretty slowly but it still does

just fine and these trees are just

beautiful they have these big

heart-shaped leaves that provide a nice

texture to your plantings and of course

your vertical structure but in a really

interesting way where it has again these

kind of like spreading arching branches

outward that gives you this kind of

umbrella loose umbrella form and the the

greatest thing about the redbud that

gives its its name I guess somebody was

a little colorblind but it’s these

beautiful like purplish light purple

almost reddish buds in the springtime

and they’re just beautiful they kind of

line the tree and it doesn’t happen

until the tree is a bit more mature but

once this tree starts to mature it’s

just these beautiful splash of color in

the springtime that signifies again the

the warming weather and the coming of

spring and they’re just a lot of fun so

so based on the structure as well as

that spring color that splash of spring

color is part of why I love the Red Bud

now Red Bud trees as far as where it

grows it does prefer average moisture it

can tolerate some drought conditions in

some moist conditions but but not the

extreme on either end so something just

consider for where you’re planting it

arguably this tree may or may not fix

nitrogen very similarly to the honey

locust either way it does pretty well in

providing its own fertility and just

taking care of poor fertility conditions

and and as far as color I forgot to

mention too that you get a beautiful

yellow fall color on this tree as well

so it’s not as bold as like your red

maple as far as you know being a autumn

color tree but you still get some

wonderful color coming out of it so if

you’re looking for a great medium-sized

tree that does pretty well in sunny

conditions as well as some partial shade

conditions and kind of average moisture

this is probably a tree that you want to

consider now the

primary watch out for this tree is that

it doesn’t transplant well so you want

to get this tree as young as possible at

the nursery so don’t get those big

specimens because they actually probably

will struggle in your landscape and so

instead it’s better to start young with

these trees get it in the soil as

quickly as possible with as little

disturbance to their roots as possible

and and if you do that successfully

you’ll have a nice tree okay

no let’s go big again okay so the next

tree is the Sycamore so I love Sycamore

trees I love all these trees don’t I

let’s face it so I’m having a hard time

saying that I don’t love one of these

trees for sure because they’re just

beautiful trees each in their own right

now the sycamore is a little different

beast from the other trees so we already

talked about two really big trees which

is the red maple and the white oak so

this one has some similar

characteristics but also some unique

ones as well and so that’s why it’s in

here as well so the Sycamore can grow 75

to 100 foot tall pretty commonly reaches

that stage so this is a very big tree

when it’s mature and it also has similar

width so 75 to 100 foot wide so this is

a huge tree so you want to make sure

this is only for your bigger properties

or where you have plenty of space for

this tree to grow and it well it does

take a long time for this tree to get

there you want to make sure you’re

planting it where you’re not just gonna

have to cut down such a beautiful tree

you know 20 or 30 years out sycamore’s

grow in USDA zones four to nine so again

this is most of the United States it’s a

little bit of a southward shift from

some of the previous trees that can

tolerate some of those colder conditions

so make sure this grows in your area it

does well in full Sun to partial shade

and again this is one that I’ve seen in

plenty of deep wood conditions with one

caveat and that is that the sycamore boy

prefers moist to average soils so when

you when I see this tree growing the

it’s not on the ridge tops it that’s

your Oaks so the sycamore grows in your

Valley bottoms in your ravines you’re

you’re just those lowland areas where it

has a lot more moisture and it prefers

that moister area so it’s common along

streams and river bottoms and that said

it’s some of those areas can still be

pretty shady for those young trees and

it can tolerate that shade condition as

a young tree and kind of grow on through

it basically now as far as fall color

goes there’s not a lot of spectacular

show with sycamores sometimes you get

like a brownish color sometimes you do

get like a really nice yellowish color

so it can still be a fun tree for the

fall and what I really like is through

late fall and early winter there’s a lot

of these round seed pods that hang off

of the tree and and kind of get they

almost look like a bunch of ornaments

hanging off the tree it doesn’t hold

them necessarily always through the

whole winter but you get this kind of

really cool seed pod hanging effect and

if you don’t like you know these seed

pods dropping you may not like this tree

so much where they they do kind of like

as they drop they kind of disintegrate

somewhat and you get a lot of these

little fluffy powdery things everywhere

but really they don’t make that much of

a mess I might be over blowing it but

it’s something if you really don’t like

clutter from trees this may be one that

you’re not a huge fan of and so on to

what my one of my favorite things about

sycamores are and very distinct

characteristics is their bark so as a

sycamore tree matures some of the under

under layers of bark are exposed and you

get this beautiful modeled white and

gray and brown trunk and so this white

trunk is is you can pick it out from

hundreds of yards away in the in the

winter and late fall as the leaves drop

you’ll see these beautiful majestic

white and gray trunks sticking out in

the forest and so it actually provides a

beautiful winter accent

and it’s just a lot of fun I think to

see these trees especially in their

majestic form kind of highlighted by the

beautiful color of their bark okay now

as far as watch outs go you might want

to watch out for various diseases and

insects but again overall this is a

pretty Hardy tree if it’s not the

happiest tree so if it’s not in quite

the right condition it might be more

susceptible to some of these diseases

and also again just to reiterate this

tree grows very large so make sure you

plant it in a space where it can grow

okay now I know we already have a lot of

trees and as I’ve said before I love

trees so I still have two more trees to

cover and then we’re gonna wrap up we’re

gonna be done so we’re not here for

hours and hours because well I know you

guys would love to sit here for hours

and listen I have to get moving so we’re

gonna wrap up after these next two trees

so my next favorite going way back down

to the understory is the service berry

now the service berry is a recent

favorite of mine of only I actually have

only known about this tree for maybe

like the past five maybe ten years and

I’ve kind of fallen in love with it now

the service berry its latin name is ml

and Cheer canadensis and check out the

show notes if you want to see that

spelling it grows at max 25 to 30 feet

tall in 15 to 20 feet wide so this is

kind of like on the border of a shrub

and a tree so you know some of these

varieties you’ll see is like a single

single stemmed or trunked form others

are multi stem or multi trunk forms so

there’s a ton of cultivars out there of

this tree it is now becoming a much more

popular landscape ornamental tree and on

top of it you have these awesome edible

berries that you get off this tree as

well and that’s part of why I love it so

this service berry at least this species

grows in USDA zones four to eight there

are a lot of similar related species

that either are shrubs or small trees

that spread across most of the United


and so you can check out for your region

if there’s other other species available

now that said the this serviceberry

emmalin seer canadensis is native to

most of the eastern US it does enjoy

full Sun to partial shade again it can

grow under some shady conditions as well

but you don’t want full shade for sure

with this guy it tolerates a wide

variety of soil types as well as soil

moisture and onto some of the aesthetics

of it okay so it has these beautiful

white spring blooms around a similar

time you get your red buds blooming

you’ll get these beautiful white blooms

on your service berries I actually

really enjoyed just the leaves as well

so during the summer you get these

really nice rounded leaves that just

kind of dot all across this tree

especially with these multi-stemmed

trees it’s just a beautiful design

accent I think because it has this this

kind of spindly sticky form that’s

filled in with these little tiny leaf

Lew leaves everywhere so I just love how

it looks now in the late spring and

early summer you also get this beautiful

show of berries so they start out green

they turn red

kind of like mid to late May and then by

early June they’re turning into like a

deep purple color and that’s when they

become ripe you’ll see birds coming in

all over trying to get these berries

because they’re delicious and if you can

beat the birds definitely try it out

because this tree is awesome now make

sure you’re not doing this on just a

random landscape because the tree may

have may or may not have been sprayed

and you won’t know about it and so it

can’t have some health issues if and for

all so if you don’t know exactly what

tree you’re eating berries from you’ve

got to make sure you know what you’re

eating when you’re kind of wild

harvesting stuff and also how the the

plant has been taken care of so that can

be a huge risk all right now that all

said you get these beautiful berries

following up in the fall you get this

beautiful orange yellow color and it’s

just I love it

alright so enough about the beauty

of the serviceberry some washouts well

there really aren’t any major watch outs

with serviceberries the only major watch

out I would say is it it does struggle

in in dense clay with very little

topsoil I know this from personal

experience and it also doesn’t tolerate

a large amount of deer browsing I also

know this from personal experience so

make sure if you have young saplings

that they do have an appropriate

planting area so it’s not just dense

heavy clay with no topsoil at all and

also make sure it’s protected from deer

browsing okay now once they can get past

that stage it seems to do pretty well

alright so let’s move on to our last

tree and I mentioned this tree just a

few episodes ago and it’s worth

repeating it bears repeating so you may

notice that I have not mentioned any

evergreen trees yet so we’ve talked

about some understory trees like the

service berry the red bud that kind of

grow just above that shrub range where

you get like a medium-sized tree we’ve

also talked about some massive trees

with our white oak a red oak and the

sycamore and they’re also like a

medium-range tree with the honey locust

okay so those are all deciduous trees

that drop their leaves in the colder

months so let’s talk about an evergreen

so without further ado the red cedar is

juniper asst virginiana and the eastern

red cedar is a just a beautiful

medium-sized evergreen tree that grows

across much of the United States and

there is yeah it’s just a great tree

okay so let’s talk about the detail so

the red cedar grows anywhere from thirty

to sixty five feet tall so when I say a

medium-sized tree it can still get

pretty big and also up to ten to twenty

five feet wide so this is more of like a

columnar structure tree and based on the

variety you get and the type of tree you

get and also the type of area your plant

again in planting it in will dictate

what type of growth you have so you

definitely want to check out like what

type of tree you’re getting as far as a

red cedar tree and what its primary

growth characteristics are because there

are a lot of different named cultivars

out there that have a lot of variety in

the structure and the overall size that

these guys get so some of them are like

cultivars that are more of like a shrub

type and some are more like a tree so

check out what you’re getting okay

now with that said these guys grow

anywhere from zones two to nine so

that’s pretty much almost all of the

United States they are evergreen so they

have these little tiny they’re not like

needles like you would think about on a

pine tree but it’s kind of like a

spindly spiky leaf type things I don’t


spikey twigs I guess is that I think

that’s the technical term actually so

they get these spiky twigs instead of

needles and yeah that’s all I’m saying

about that okay they grow in full Sun to

partial shade

I’ve seen them growing and again in the

middle of the woods and they’d seem to

do okay they’re they they the areas I

noticed them in are kind of like drier a

little bit more open areas and I would

assume slightly acidic soils I don’t

really know as far as where I’ve seen

them growing in the woods but whenever I

see them growing in the woods they do

have a slightly more open habit so

they’re not as dense you can you can

kind of see the middle of the trees of

the trunk so if you want something where

it’s a very dense form you don’t want it

growing in medium shade for sure but if

you’re okay with that a slightly more

open form that’s not so densely filled

you can definitely consider growing this

in somewhat like a medium shade okay it

does okay in all the way from dry soils

all the way to moist soils so you’ll

you’ll see this in a wide range of

conditions as far as soil moisture and

it it also tolerates very poor soils so

much so the

I’ve seen it growing on like rocky

cliffs before where it’s like you’re

wondering like where is this thing like

how does it get so big because it’s just

like these gnarly roots like wrapping

around these rocks it’s really cool

stuff actually and and you’re like how

does this tree grow here

well Eastern redcedar can do that so

these are like colonizer trees there’s

they’re highly tolerant of poor

conditions of wide variety of conditions

and for that I also love them as

landscape trees as well because we also

have a wide variety of conditions and

sometimes very poor conditions that

we’re trying to grow in okay some watch

outs well there’s no major issues but

the one thing I want to point out is

that different cultivars like I said

have different growth habits so make

sure you understand what type of tree

you’re getting so your expectations

match up with what the the plant is

capable of doing okay guys that is

pretty much a wrap so again just to

recap my favorite trees for 2018 are the

red maple the white oak the thornless

honeylocust not the thorny honey locust

the red bud the Sycamore the

serviceberry and the red cedar now these

this combination of trees will give you

some beautiful landscape trees both in

color in structure and form just to to

really fill out your landscape so I’d

certainly recommend you consider these

trees now the other bonus is that these

are all native trees and and that was

slightly deliberate on my part because I

do enjoy selecting natives first so

that’s native to the United States and

for me the eastern United States so if

you’re out there in California or

Washington I saw a lot of you guys

listen from Washington so shout out to

you guys that is awesome

some of these trees actually grow out

there too so you can check out plants

dot USDA dot-gov I’ll try and remember

to leave a link in the show notes but

that shows you the native range of all

of these different plants as well as any

other plant you’re looking for so if you

ever curious and you really you actually

care and want to know whether a plant

you’re considering is introduced

or if it is native to your area you can

check out plants at USDA dot-gov and

type in the plant that you’re searching

for and it’ll show you a map of the

United States and of North America and

show you whether or not something is

native or introduced based on the USDA’s

definition so something cool to check

out and a lot of these plants I

mentioned if if that specific species is

not native or does not grow well in your

area a lot of these plants are related

to they’re very common plants and that

was deliberate on my part because you

might have a very similar species of the

same genus so here’s a quick latin

lesson for you guys the the the

scientific name is always two words the

first is the genus the second is the

species so the species is more specific

and so the the genus is a more broad

term of various different species that

are closely related

so like the Eastern redbud that’s native

to the eastern United States

well the whatever that I can’t remember

the name of the Western red but it might

just be western red bud it might be

California red but I can’t remember but

anyway that’s the same genus different

species okay

and so it’s closely related you can

check out see if there’s a closely

related species to one of the ones I

talked about today and see if it has

similar characteristics that you might

be able to use in your landscape if you

live in a different area so I don’t mean

to be exclusive with this episode I had

to be you know somewhat restrictive on

on how many things I talked about and so

I don’t want you guys to feel left out

if you’re listening you know somewhere

outside of the United States where I

taught and you know most of this stuff

applies to okay guys the last thing I

want to talk about is I do have a low

maintenance plants list that lists a

bunch of different low maintenance

plants that you can check out for your

your space not just trees and so I have

a link in the show notes to that so

check out the show notes for the low

maintenance plants list that you can


and access and and take a look at before

you go to the nursery and you’re sitting

there scratching your head wondering

what the heck to get for your your

landscape okay guys so for any of the

links I’ve talked about the day you can

go to e ly l / episode 2 9 and then I’ll

take you to the show notes the the the

post for this episode and all the

information there along with the show

outlined and so go check it out if

you’re curious about any things I talked

about today okay with that too if you

have a question and you want to be

featured on the show

or if you just want to get in touch with

me and need a little bit of help you can

go on over to e ly Dow slash pod p OD

and you can go there to ask a question

right at the top of the page it says ask

me a question and you can click on that

get in touch with me and I’ll get back

with you as quickly as I can to help you

out okay

and of course too if you’re just you

need some help with your landscape

you’re overwhelmed or you need some just

some guidance a little bit don’t know

where to get started

I offer consultation so you can go to e

ly dot how slash consulting and there

you can see the options to get in touch

with me and to consult with me and we

can really work together to move your

landscape forward into a landscape

that’s beautiful and healthy and saves

you time so you can do more of what you

love and with that guys thanks for

tuning in and make sure you live with

passion and make tomorrow better than