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marsupial mama June 21st, 2007 05:58 PM

need tree ideas (GTA- zone 6a I believe)
I'm looking for ideas - I want to plant some trees in my yard as the old tree I inherited looks like it is dying.

I want something easy, low-maintenance, preferably native and not messy. (We have a poplar and smoke bush in neighbouring yards that make a huge mess every spring).

I like laburnums and quaking aspen in theory but am not sure if they are native and/or messy and/or low maintenance. Am also wondering about a red maple for some fall colour. I *love* fall colour.

Any ideas? I know from Marko's age-of-trees thread that we have some knowledgeable folks on here.

TIA :)

mummummum June 21st, 2007 06:23 PM

well knowledgable about trees most certainly does not describe me...

But, have you been to the McMichael Gallery in Kleinberg ? They have the most delicious evergreens edging the driveway to the parking lot. The needles are like feathers.

Maples are lovely but messy btw (we have tons in my 'hood) and if they get those black spots on their leaves which seems to be plaguing Toronto, they have to be collected and disposed of via landfill ~ they can't be composted ~ every year or the disease continues.

jiorji June 21st, 2007 06:32 PM

i can't believe i'm going to say this...but...go to Humber Nurseries...they really do know their trees and will help you. The trick is to successfully transplant your tree. And they will make you buy this fertilizer...i know cos i used to work there:rolleyes: But they do have TONS of trees and the specialists will tell you which is best. They're at hwy 50 and hwy 7.

mummummum June 21st, 2007 06:50 PM

OOOooooo jiorji's decadent and debauched past comes out... :eek:

jiorji June 21st, 2007 07:16 PM

bahahah mum

tell ya a little secret, at Humber if they get you to buy transplant fertilizer so your tree gets transplanted successfully, the cashier gets an extra $1 on their paycheck for the sale. And it adds up

But you didn't hear it from me :o

JanM June 21st, 2007 07:50 PM

Have you considered a flowering dogwood? I'm not sure what zones they thrive in but they are sooo beautiful... Also, here's a link to the UBC Botanical website - you might find some useful info there.


clm June 21st, 2007 09:54 PM

I love Humber Nurseries, unfortunately, I live way too close to the place. It's not cheap, but they have everything and very knowledgeable staff.

I have a trembling (quaking) aspen, they are native and they grow quickly in any kind of soil. I'm actually thinking of getting another. I got it at Humber and it wasn't expensive.

If you have a wet spot or one that doesn't drain very well, you could try a crimson frost birch, not as much trouble with borers as the european white birch.

I have a russian olive, but they're weedy, pretty but need to have the dead stuff trimmed off every year.

If you want to go with evergreens stick to the native white pine, can't be beat and a really beautiful tree.


marsupial mama June 22nd, 2007 04:54 AM

No birch for me, I am allergic to the pollen and there are enough of them in the neighburhood already!

thanks for the heads up about the maples. It's a pity though, I really wanted to do the Canadian thing :ca:

not sure if I can make it to Humber. Do they do the same thing at other nurseries? ($1 for the cashier if they sell the transplanter stuff?) I wouldn;t mind too much.

off to look at the BC website. I;m jealous of Vancouver gardeners. I visited there last year and the first thing I noticed was people's gardens. :cloud9:

clm June 22nd, 2007 06:07 AM

If you want something tropical looking, you could always do a staghorn sumac for something a little different. They can get to 25 feet tall, prefer to be in a dry location. They sucker though, so you'll have to watch for others popping up.
Locust are a nice tree for a more dappled shade effect, get a male though, the female trees are messy.
Walnut and butternut trees are very pretty too, but slow growers.
If you're thinking maple I have an amur maple, smaller than most and havent had any trouble with mine at all with the disease that's going around. I've had mine for almost 20 years now and it's beautiful. Goes crimson in fall and not tons of leaves to rake every fall either. :D
Tons of choices, I love tress, wish I had room for more.


marsupial mama June 22nd, 2007 06:15 AM

so many choices - my yard isn't big enough. I love trees although I don't know enough about them.

Can I take it as a rule of thumb that female trees are more messy than male?

Also about aspens - I found out an aspen is a kind of poplar and someone warned me not to plant a poplar because "they fall over". Is that true - are they prone to falling over, or more prone than other trees? But I have wanted a quaking or trembling (I always get the name wrong) aspen for years!

clm June 22nd, 2007 06:32 AM

Trembling aspens are poplar, but not the type that grow quick, die and fall over. They're broader canopy and taller than the tall skinny poplars you see people put up as a quick screen. There's one at our cottage that's been there for at least 50 years, it's gotta be over 50 feet tall and it's spectacular. You can hear the leaves rustle in the breeze and they shimmer so pretty. The bark is very light, almost looks like birch only more silver than white, that doesn't peel. Truly the prettiest tree I've ever seen. Lots of them up there, should have dug up a youngster and brought it down to my place before my parents sold the place :frustrated:

I don't know if all female trees are messy, but we have a few locust at work and the female ones of course are the ones they planted near the patio. It's a mess in spring.

If you like oak, the native red oak is very pretty, my parents have a couple and they are beautiful, but the acorns are a hazard in hurts if you're walking down their yard and the acorns are dropping :laughing:


clm June 22nd, 2007 06:38 AM

The trembling aspen I bought 2 years ago is growing very nice and my husband commented on how nice it looks the other day. I really like them. I'm really trying to stick to native plants in the garden now. They're lots of choices, if you google native trees you'll come up with a few nurseries that carry lots of native plants, hopefully some near you.


want4rain June 22nd, 2007 07:51 AM

the eastern redbud tree is my hands down favorite. its not native to you guys but does sucessfully grow. the seed pods and flowers are edible. a very [I]romantic[/I] tree. :lovestruck: they are the heralds for all of the other trees to burst out in leaves in the spring time! you know as the flowers reach their maturity the other trees are days behind their spring time show. there is also a red leaf in the species called the forest pansy redbud tree and Canadian redbud tree but i am not as familiar with those two.

very lovely smaller tree. :love:


marsupial mama June 22nd, 2007 10:37 AM

Cindy - where did you buy your trembling aspen? I;m assuming it was somewhere local? (west GTA?) Thanks :)

SableCollie June 22nd, 2007 04:34 PM

[QUOTE]it hurts if you're walking down their yard and the acorns are dropping[/QUOTE]
We have a big old red oak in our front yard. It produces [B]tons[/B] of acorns every fall, it is a squirrel magnet! My mom's car has dents all over it from acorns falling on it because unfortunately she has to park right underneath it.
And sometimes the squirrels throw acorns at my head when I walk by. :p

We also have an apricot tree that is dying unfortunately :sad: , but it is very old. It flowers every spring and it is gorgeous, but the flowers don't last very long. Nice little tree though. It also produces one apricot every year. Just one. Poor old tree. :o I think fruit trees are nice, because they give you free food. :D

marsupial mama June 22nd, 2007 06:14 PM

free food! I'd be up for that... are there any very easy fruit trees??

I think I'll have to look into a red oak as well, just for all the shenanigans with acorns and squirrels. :laughing: But I'd have to plant it in the back, away from any cars.

Are there any guidelines on trees that shouldn't be planted near each other? I have an inkling there may be some that are incompatible...

clm June 22nd, 2007 06:18 PM

I got the trembling aspen at Humber Nurseries, it's on highway 50 in between highway 7 and steeles.

I don't know whether some trees can or can't be planted near each other. Black Walnuts I know can be a problem.


Stacer June 22nd, 2007 06:21 PM many choices. I wish I'd seen this thread earlier. I'd probably go with a Maple, I don't think they're messier than any other tree, they all lose their leaves in the fall. If you're in a moister spot, go with a red maple, if you're in a higher drier spot go with a sugar maple. Don't be fooled by the crimson king Norway maple, it's not native (alot of people confuse it with a red maple because of it's red leaves). Trembling aspens are nice, but they are fast growers and can go into decline very quickly as well. I like Hackberry, they have really cool warty bark, don't grow too fast and they do get quite tall if given the right conditions. If you're into trees with needles but still want the fall colours, maybe you should look into a tamarack (if you're in a moist area), their needles turn a blazing yellow/orange and fall out, but they're a really soft needle and it's amazing to see them grow back in the spring. Basswood is nice, big spade shaped leaves. I planted a lovely blue beech for my mom last spring, it's a small tree, it gets maybe 25 feet high. I like Serviceberry as well, it's another small tree, they do have berries that birds love, so if you don't like birds then don't plant one of these, it does have pretty flowers though.

If you're not in a rush to get a tree in the ground, you should wait until spring to plant, that way you can avoid buying jiorji's transplant soil ;). Planting in the spring gives the tree an entire growing season to establish roots and make it better equipped to survive the winter.

jiorji June 22nd, 2007 07:16 PM


If you're not in a rush to get a tree in the ground, you should wait until spring to plant, that way you can avoid buying jiorji's transplant soil ;). Planting in the spring gives the tree an entire growing season to establish roots and make it better equipped to survive the winter.[/QUOTE]

hey now!LOL i don't work there anymore though. But the sales usuakky go on towards the end of summer. But true, spring would be a good idea. But well then there's mulch you can put on to protect the roots...which can be bought from Humber as well....[SIZE="1"]ok i should stop advertising for them, teh managers aren't that nice to the employees[/SIZE]

marsupial mama June 23rd, 2007 07:22 AM

thanks for the suggestions. The ground does get a bit waterlogged in spots so I'll consider the suggestions for those trees that like it wet.

A friend advised me that in the fall the garden centres have big sales... but I would be leary of planting a tree in the fall for the reasons stacer mentioned. But would it be o.k. to plant in the summer and then mulch in the fall?

clm June 23rd, 2007 08:27 AM

You can plant in summer, but you'll have to keep an eye on watering if it gets too hot and dry.


marsupial mama June 24th, 2007 11:22 AM

are there any general guidelines for watering? like daily, or once a week? or would it depend on the type of tree?

"they" say we are in for a hot dry summer so I need to arm myself with this info :)

clm June 24th, 2007 03:32 PM

It'll depend on the type of tree and the type of soil you have I'm afraid. Once you've picked your tree, read up on it and see what it prefers. As the garden centre folk for advice when you buy it too.


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