When shopping for trees for your landscape, you may find the most commonly sold landscape trees are fast-growing, rather large and simply too big for the typical landscape. Another downside is, because they are fast-growers, these trees often have weaknesses, said David Hillock, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension consumer horticulturist.
“Some neighborhood developers want their properties to look as good as possible,” Hillock said. “They like the look of tree-lined streets because that is appealing to many buyers. You’ll often find neighborhoods full of silver maple, cottonwood, sycamore and Bradford pear trees. While these all are wonderful trees, they belong in a park setting or on a larger estate because they can grow quite large.”
Larger trees typically have aggressive roots, which can cause problems with a home’s foundation, sewer system and sidewalks. In addition, they can be weak wooded and extremely messy. So what is a homeowner supposed to do?
When selecting trees, choose those that are better suited for small properties. Several different species feature columnar growth or have narrow-growing forms available, too. Just because a tree does not have a 70-foot canopy does not meant it will not make a great shade tree. Small- and medium-sized trees often feature wonderful ornamental characteristics while still providing shade and privacy.
Some small tree species that may work in your landscape include Amur maple, chastetree, crapemyrtle, deciduous holly, desert-willow, flowering dogwood, jujube, Oklahoma redbud, Shantun maple, witchhazel, yaupon holly or the Japanese maple. These trees range in size from 10 feet to 25 feet fall.
If you have space for something a little larger, about 25 feet to 40 feet tall, consider the American hornbeam, cedar elm, Japanese pagoda tree, chittimwood, Chinese pistache or the western soapberry.
“Any of these trees would make a great addition to your landscape and, with proper care, they’ll do well in Oklahoma’s diverse climate,” Hillock said.
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