Trees & Shrubs
Adding trees and shrubs to the landscape offers a plethora of benefits. This striking flora draws in both pollutants and carbon dioxide while releasing health-giving oxygen. They provide cooling shade for homes and yards. In the process, soil moisture is conserved and the soil itself is anchored in place by the extensive network of roots. Also, they supply shelter and even food for various forms of wildlife while providing a source of aesthetic inspiration for human observers. There are even more reasons to add one or more tree or shrub to the yard, but we’re guessing this handful of advantages should convince just about anyone. The only question left is which kind is best for a particular mission.
Evergreen trees are also referred to needle-leaf or conifer trees. It might be surprising to know that evergreen trees offer more color choices than just green. Gold and yellow can be found in some cultivars of Yews & False Cypress. Our recommendation is the alluring blue presented by the Blue or Colorado spruce. The Colorado spruce withstands both severe cold and drought.
It can grow to 75 feet, so if a more compact tree with a similar color and the same ruggedness is desired, we suggest the Black Hills spruce. With either of these evergreen trees, the color can be counted on for the entire year while the thick mass of branches gives wildlife exceptional shelter.
A wide variety of colors can be found in ornamental trees thanks to both their leaves and sometimes their flowers. Depending on the particular species, ash trees can contribute yellow, purple, dark red, and even brownish leaves in the fall. Other deciduous ornamental trees that make a spectacle of themselves in autumn are maples and oaks. Sugar maples and some types of oaks like white oak and chestnut oak offer iridescent gold while red maples and scarlet oaks live up to their names by changing to crimson as the days grow shorter. Despite the name, the red oak actually presents a mix of red and brown leaves for fall. In summer, these ornamental trees furnish plenty of heavy shade to keep things cool. If lighter shade is preferred, we suggest using a honey locust instead. These trees are strewn with countless tiny oval leaves that allow dappled sunlight to pass through. If shade is needed in a hurry, our recommendation is the aspen tree. The North American native species is the quaking aspen which puts on up to 2 feet of growth per year. This variety has the added benefit of possessing ornamental bark that resembles that of the paper birch.
It’s often a nice idea to combine a tree’s ornamental qualities with the ability to supply tasty treats too. Fruit trees like apples and pears are perfect examples. These types of trees make themselves decorative starting in the spring with masses of beautiful flowers. The pear tree displays delicate paper white flowers while the apple tree produces slightly larger flowers with a hint of pink at their centers.
Both types of fruit trees come a range of varieties with fruits of varying colors and flavors. Along with classic red apples like the red delicious and empire, there are yellow types like the Fuji and yellow delicious, and green ones like the Granny Smith. There are even plenty of mixed-color types like the red and yellow gala. Likewise, some pears like the red anjou are red rather than standard yellow. With fruit trees, we remind everyone that regular pruning and pest management are keys to a bountiful harvest.
Trees might supply ample shade, but shrubs really shine when it comes to supplying privacy due to their dense growth habit. Their smaller stature ensures they won’t be towering over the house so they can be safely planted close to it. Shrubs can be either deciduous or evergreen. Some species also have the advantage of being pruned into any desired shape through the art of topiary. Privets are the most familiar choice for this job, but holly works quite well too. Dwarf forms of arborvitae, yew, and Alberta spruce also work nicely if evergreen shrubbery is preferred over leaf-bearing plants.
There’s a huge variety of flowering shrubs available for the average yard. These can range from fairly tall plants like serviceberries and lilacs to exceptionally showy azaleas and flowering almond. All of these flowering shrubs can handle the cold of the northern US. If a combination of flowers and topiary are desired, we’d point out that flowering shrubs like barberry and boxwood can perform both duties easily.