francesca_loudon

Please help select a landscaping tree

Ac Lb
last month

Five years ago we planted our landscaping. My husband planted a crabapple tree that was intended to be included in the flower bed too far off to the side of the house. I would like to improve the look of our landscaping. I am considering planting a cone shaped flowering tree (pear tree) in the corner to add height. I’d also like to extend our flowerbed to include the tree and plant shrubs around it. Do you think I should move the crabapple tree or would it look fine with the existing crabapple tree where it currently is planted? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!! Thank you in advance!

Comments (40)

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    last month

    Also, where can I purchase mature trees? The ones at local nurseries are still very small... where would you recommend I purchase more mature trees?

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    last month
    last modified: last month

    IMO your landscaping needs a whole lot of work . I have no idea what you think is cone shaped in a pear tree.You get mature trees from a tree fram not the local garden center .You have a very large house with tiny flower beds all tose beds along the front need to be at least 2 or 3 x the size they are and as for the tree I need to see pics of the whole yard form much further back. Why a fruit tree at all ?The style of your home suits really nice foundation plantings BTW.These are just for inspiration. One tiny fruit tree is just not going to work. Get some really good help from a landcape designer it can be a plan that is worked on over time to get what you want and still stray withing budget . Gardens are not an instant thing IMO biut best planned for long term enjoymnet



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    There are plenty of reasons to not plant a Bradford pear. Take my advice and just enjoy the beauty of the neighbor's Bradford pears. Your husband does not want a messy tree. They provide wonderful flowers, beneficial shade, but drop leaves for two weeks out of 52, what a chore, certainly not worth all that beauty and comfort during the year. He can just mow them into mulch, instead of raking them up. The choice of London plane and oaks are ideal, as they are deep-rooted, while the maples, especially the broad spreading Norway maple are great as well, but are surface rooted, and more difficult to plant under or put pavement under, but very suitable. If you don't want leaf drop, go for a thornless honeylocust. Their leaflets are so tiny, they will just disappear into the lawn. If you want sculptural beauty, get the honeylocust with thorns. The thorns are up in the tree and trunk, out of reach, but in full view to be admired. There are also plenty of evergreen trees, pines and spruce, fir and hemlock, but also the broadleaf beauties like holly and southern magnolia. The beech and some oaks will keep leaves into the winter. Bring the woods to enhance your new property. Invite nature to your home and family. Trust you local experts. cascio.offsite@gmail.com
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  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you Patricia! I got all of my landscaping... even the design from a local nursery. I would love your input!! This clearly isn’t working... I just don’t know where to begin! I’ll snap a pic from further back

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    last month

    Here’s one I took a few weeks back, but I’ll get a better one in a min.

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    last month

    Here are some more pictures.

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    last month

    I was thinking of extending the flowerbed on this side to include a taller tree with shrubs around it.

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    last month

    I have also considered bing the crabapple tree closer to the house... I just need ideas.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    last month
    last modified: last month

    The issue I see is the tiny plantings that will take time to grow and you need to mix many different types of plants to get year round interest . I like a walkway that leads to the front door at least a way down the driveway not right up close . That walkway gives a feeling of welcome , allows a great place for some landscaping and gives your home a feeling of being quite grand.Right now the pantings in front of the entry actually do the opposite to welcome. Garden centers, unless they have a designer on staff ,are only really interested in selling you plants . I don’t know where you live so I can’t be specific about what to plant but whatever you choose needs to have color, some evergreens and honestly one lonely fruit tree is not a good idea. It seems you have a huge lot so get a nice big shade tree that will grow even bigger overtime it will be a much better propotion than a fruit tree which BTW needs to be kept quite small to be able to pick the fruit. Tree lined drivaways are awesome so maybe use these pics for more inspiration.



  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you!!

  • Marci
    last month

    Patricia is absolutely right. Another thing is…you did not mention your USDA zone or orientation. You have a huge canvas…hire a professional who will help you see all the possibilities.

    You might also start searching for inspiration photos. Use “Zone x full sun” as you your search term.

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    last month

    Great idea!! I’m in a 5a/5b zone.

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you for your advice gardengsl. You sound very knowledgeable! Which flowering shade trees would you recommend? Here is another tree our local nursery recommended.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    last month

    River birches are handsome trees but not a showy, flowering one. For flowers, you could consider a serviceberry, Amelanchier species, hawthorn (Crataegus), Japanese lilac, fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) or a magnolia. Other good shade trees include Kentucky coffee tree, maples, oaks and ginkgo but these also do not produce showy flowers.

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    last month

    I’m okay if it’s not a flowery tree. Thank you for your suggestions! I’ll look those trees up. Do you think I can keep my crabapple tree where it currently is and still plant a larger tree near it, or should I replant the crabapple tree?

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    last month

    To be honest, the crabapple looks very lonely on its own out there :-) I would probably relocate it as it will stay pretty small and could be planted in much closer proximity to the house. But you don't want to do so now.....wrong time of year! Wait until fall and the tree has dropped its leaves before moving. And even the larger shade tree you chose would benefit by more context than just plunked down in the middle of the lawn. I would develop a larger planting bed with the tree as the focal point. Where specifically and what else to include would benefit from some input from a local, in-person design professional.

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you so much for your input!! I feel like I have a better idea of what is needed.

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    last month

    @yardvaark @digdougdesigns I’d love your input as well. What do you think about extending my flowerbed to include a river birch tree with shrubs around it and moving my crabapple tree closer to the house? Thank you in advance!

  • love2browse
    last month

    Do you like picking up sticks before you mow? If not, do not plant a River Birch. They do have really cool bark, but they drop limbs all the time. I cut the one down in my yard that was planted along the side of my home after it damaged my sprinkler system valves. My Father-In-Law has one planted on the corner of his house. It's now growing into the house.


    Maybe add a medium sized Japanese Maple on the corner of your house, if they will work in your zone. Curve the bed so it goes around the corner of the house and add some lower plants in front of the foundation plants.

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you love2browse! Do you think I could leave the crabapple tree or should I relocate it to bf e closer to the house?

  • mad_gallica (z5 Eastern NY)
    last month

    You need to start playing with measurements and maps. How many feet are between the house and the property line? how many feet are between the house and the street?

    You see the big things behind the roses? Those are shade trees. That is what Gardengal is talking about. Those happen to be oaks, but there are other kinds. You are looking for something that is going to be larger than the house, and it is going to take up a fair amount of space. So then the question is whether or not the crabapple is going to fit in the amount of space you have left in the front lawn.

    A conical tree next to the house is simply going to make the house look taller and more massive. That isn't the direction you should be going. If you stick with small, flowering trees, the house is going to look like it is surrounded by Munchkins. It's the big trees that are going to make it look like it belongs in the landscape.

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you!

  • kculbers
    last month

    Nothing beats a beautiful Pink Dogwood tree!

  • Nancy R z5 Chicagoland
    last month

    Where exactly are you? Zone 5 can mean different things in different parts of the country. A two-story house should have some trees that eventually get large enough to balance theheight, but you don't buy them large--you buy them small then they grow. But do you get enough rain in your area to support shade trees? As for River birches, designers love them. I used to have one that was picked out by a landscape designer. After a certain number of years it died of chlorosis, because the soil was too alkaline for them. They also like a certain amount of moisture in their spot. The name gives you a clue. That's why it matters where you are located.

  • ptreckel
    last month

    I affirm the comments about River Birches. They are “self pruning” trees, which means that they constantly shed tiny twigs. Depending on the kind of River Birch, they can also grow to great heights. Finally, their roots grow towards water sources, including your pipes. Be sure to know the potential size of any tree that you are planting and place it accordingly. We once planted what we were told was an dwarf maple tree outside our bay window. HA! We had to cut it down when it quickly grew too tall and wide for the space. In addition to deciduous tree, consider planting fir or pine trees. Conifers. They will add bulk and substance to your landscaping. BE PATIENT. Plants take time to get established and grow. Have a one year, a five year, and a ten year plan. Add items every year. Gardening is a lifetime pursuit. Enjoy it!

  • AC LB
    last month

    Thank you for your input everyone!! I truly appreciate it. I live in the fingerlakes region of NY. I love the look of a River Birch, but after everyone's comments, I think it's best I go in a different direction. I worry about the invasive roots and the possibility of it overpowering my house. I love the idea of a dogwood tree or a pine tree. I'll keep searching.

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    26 days ago

    I went to a different nursery in town that grows their own trees. They had a gorgeous river birch. The owner said many people include it in their landscaping. If I plant it 12-15 ft away from my house, it’ll be where my crabapple tree currently is. We’ve decided to wait until fall to relocate the crabapple tree. I’m wondering what shrubs to plant under the tree. I like things that stay compact like boxwoods or spireas. Should I just plant shrubs around it and create a separate bed for the tree as it’s very far from my current bed. If I extend my current bed out 15ft, I have no idea what to plant to fill it up. Any guidance is appreciated!!

  • petula67
    26 days ago

    You might want to check out the tree-related publications from Cornell's Cooperative Extension Service. They'll have loads of information about trees that are native or otherwise well-suited for your region and your specific planting conditions. They'll also have tips for choosing trees from nurseries, transplanting trees, etc.

  • ptreckel
    25 days ago

    Please revisit the idea of planting a River Birch so close to your home. Depending on the variety, these trees can be enormous. My neighbor has one in his front yard that is at least 30+ feet tall. It dwarfs his two story home. River Birches are also self-pruning. That means that they constantly shed small branches year-round. They require constant clean up. While their bark is beautiful, their tree-root system is extensive. They grow towards water and can disrupt drainage systems. The largest form of the trees look best from a distance. They are not interchangeable with an ornamental like a crabapple. Please re-think your decision.

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    25 days ago

    Ptreckel, thank you for your input. So do you think it’s possible to just plant shrubs around the crabapple tree snd patiently wait for it to grow, or do you think I should replace it with a larger tree? If so, which would you consider?

  • ptreckel
    25 days ago

    I know I have written twice about River Birches. I am no expert on trees. But I do think that you should contact a landscape designer in your area. Someone who can walk your property with you and give you an idea of what can work for you. Many years ago, I contacted a wonderful designer and spent two hours with her in my yard. We walked every inch of my property. She gave me advice on hard scape, planting beds, planting material, shrubs and trees. I took extensive notes. I paid her for her time. It was, honestly, the best investment I have ever made in our home. Over the past 30 years I have implemented nearly all of her suggestions. Patios, walkways, trees, shrubs, perennials, annual plantings. Garden beds. Even garden accessories. It is, I believe, a beautiful yard. I did it over time as my budget permitted. AND...as a consequence of her advice, I didn’t make too many planting mistakes. I didn’t plant things that would inevitably fail because they weren’t suited to my environment. That is the best advice that I can give to you. Not to recommend A tree, but to locate someone who will help you see the big picture, the long term solution. Good luck!

  • kayozzy
    24 days ago

    Isn't that crabapple tree too established to transplant now? Looks pretty large.

  • petula67
    24 days ago

    I'll second the advice from @ptreckel about consulting with a landscape designer. If you choose not to, though, another option would be adding two more crabapples closer to the house to create a cluster of three with your existing tree. They can be even more beautiful in groups than they are as single accent trees. Not a good plan, though, if your current crabapple isn't thriving or you really want something tall in that spot.

  • Circus Peanut
    24 days ago

    I'm in zone 5a and we have a large established River Birch in the back of our lot. It's gorgeous indeed, far taller than our 3-story house. We are not typical lawn-owners, so we have pure clover and perennials instead of the traditional grass, therefore the many dropped twigs (it is a "messy" tree to be sure) don't bother us like they might bug someone else who has to mow often. It is also nowhere near anyone's sewer system, pipes, etc.


    It's a gorgeous tree with great movement and lovely bark, but definitely heed the advice of a local landscaping or gardening expert as to placement and whether it could really work for you in your scenario. It really looks like you have the space for at least half a dozen larger trees, so I suspect there may be room for it somewhere as you establish your overall plan, and if not, there are plenty of other lovely trees to be discovered.

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    23 days ago

    Change of plans. We’re going to keep the crabapple tree and still extend our flower bed to include a Japanese maple.

  • Ac Lb
    Original Author
    23 days ago

    Thank you for your input!!

  • RTHawk
    22 days ago

    Trees are quite expensive. Hiring a landscape designer now to create a whole plan for the yard will save you in the end.

  • cecily 7A
    22 days ago

    The crab is nice and a JM will be nice but you still need a tall shade tree beside that house. Please consult a designer before purchasing more trees.

  • AC LB
    22 days ago

    Cecily, are you saying I should plant a shade tree on the side yard behind the crabapple? I'm just trying to visualize everything.

  • cecily 7A
    22 days ago

    You have a tall house which currently looks bare to me. Short trees will make your house appear even taller. There seems to be plenty of space in your front yard or side yard for a larger tree. A designer can show you mock ups of several placement options.