You might ask yourself, what kind of tree is that landscape worker planting over there in that new community? Quite often, the common response is – “I don’t know.” In this article, I would like to discuss a tree planting topic that is overlooked by many people, even landscape professionals. This is the ultimate question; why are there often poor recommendations for planting certain species of trees in people’s yards these days?
Honestly, I am not trying to knock the landscape professionals, but sometimes a statement should be made when things are going downhill. I mean, I really do believe that there is an issue. As a certified arborist, I can confidently say that many of the plant choices that are being commonly used today are less than desirable. There are two trees on my list that I am speaking of. Are you ready? Ok, here goes:
- Leyland Cypress
- Bradford Pear
Please do not misunderstand my message. These are not horrible plant choices; however both trees are over planted by many professionals today. It just so happens to be that both the Bradford and Leyland are inexpensive, and fast growers. However, they are more vulnerable to storm, snow, and ice damage when compared to many other tree species. Next time that you are out and about, take a look around. I am willing to bet that a Leyland Cypress and Bradford Pear tree are obvious to your eye. Look at the new development communities; you will most likely see damaged Bradford Pear trees in front yards – probably improperly cut. You will also see a row of damaged Leyland Cypress trees on the side or in the back planted for a privacy wall.
So you say, what are good alternatives for these trees? Well, I have a few suggestions. The Bradford pear tree is deciduous. A few good native alternatives to a Bradford Pear tree are flowering dogwood, yellowwood, sourwood, little leaf linden, or red maple. White oak, hickory, and black gum trees are all native deciduous trees that are fantastic planting choices as well.
The Leyland Cypress is an evergreen, and mostly planted together in rows as privacy walls. A few native Evergreen choices are blue spruce, holly, and eastern red cedar. A non-native alternative is a Japanese Cryptomeria. These trees are all good alternatives to the Leyland Cypress.
People love to plant trees that can grow fast to receive the benefit of shade. What most people do not realize is, generally the faster that a plant grows the more vulnerable a tree becomes to disease and structural problems. The slower growing cultivars are mostly less prone to disease and have a very strong structural root system and growth. If you have already planted a Leyland or Bradford, do not be discouraged. Consult a tree service company to provide regular tree pruning and maintenance to keep the health and reduce chances for wind and storm damage.
The recommended trees above are great choices and alternatives to our ever so famous Leyland Cypress and Bradford Pear trees. Next time you consider planting a tree, I ask that you make an informed decision. There are many things to consider when selecting a tree for planting. Our generation has a great responsibility to keep and maintain the native cultivars in our area. This will in turn help enhance our environment, and keep our native urban forestry strong and healthy.
So that is my story and I am sticking to it! Please plant professionally and responsibly.