Thread: Where to plant my trees

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Where to plant my trees

    I would like to plant some American Holly trees and some Washington Hawthorne trees, but I am not sure of where to put them. I have quite a few trees in my yard right now, but I would like to find a place for these new varieties. Is there anyone in my area who could come to my house and give advice or perhaps advise from a photo? I have thought about calling an arborist, but I do not have the budget for it at this time.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Oak Quirky Quercus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    RE: Where to plant my trees

    Why don't you sketch out what your property looks like with precise measurements of where all your existing trees and shrubs are and post it here and I'm sure you will get lots of advice.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    RE: Where to plant my trees

    The attached link takes you to two photos: a sketch of my property and a numbered key to the tree names. I am interested in planting about four (4) American Holly trees, two (2) Washington Hawthorns, and perhaps one or two Red Cedars. I am thinking of the lawn behind the parking area of the driveway, on the rear side of the house. The area on the sketch reading ALL CLF is where the chain-link fence used to be. All of the area behind the former fence to the back line of the property is very wooded. The Canadian Hemlocks along the south line of the property are very small seedlings. As they grow, I will be transplanting about every other one to a six acre lot in the country. The overall dimensions of the property are 100 x 201 x 107 x 201, totaling 0.48 of an acre. The trees in my sketch (the circles) are drawn approximately to scale. The Blue Spruces are in the northwest corner of the lot. The front of the house faces east-southeast. I live in Zone 7 (seven). I will be glad to e-mail a larger scan of the sketch to anyone requesting it. I welcome all comments and suggestions! Thank you!

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Oak Quirky Quercus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    RE: Where to plant my trees

    I'm thoroughly impressed.

    I color coded it to make it a little easier.

    - Do you have a need for privacy? American holly, not unlike red cedar, spruces etc take up a lot of floor space and they can get pretty big. A friend of mine had one in his backyard and it was located off to the side so it wouldn't prevent any yard activities and it blocked the view of a bedroom window. That's something to keep in mind.

    - It's common to group trees together of the same species in professional landscapes. It might sound boring to put 4 hollies together along with some small associated shrubery but it keeps it from looking like a jungle. That's easier said than done if you aren't starting from scratch though.

    - I noticed that if you put something evergreen directly in front of the house it could serve as a windbreak in the winter and give you something green there if that interests you.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    RE: Where to plant my trees

    Thank you for adding the color to my sketch! That really makes it easier to read. Yes, I would like to plant the four American Holly trees close together. I want them to be able to cross-pollinate; closeness would probably facilitate that, wouldn't it?

    The Holly varieties I have looked into are called "Merry Christmas," "Old Holly Berry," and "Jersey Knight." The first two are female, and the latter is male. Could one male pollinate two different varieties of female?

    Because the Hollies grow so large, I think that the best (or only) place for me to put them would be between the driveway and the young apple tree. I thought about a diamond arrangment. What might be a good shrubbery to complement them? I have plenty of azaleas I could use. I had also thought that maybe a Hawthorn could go on either side of the Holly grouping, without getting crowded out by some of the existing trees.

    I like the idea of putting some evergreens out in the front yard. Before I bought the house, the front yard was full of large White Pines, but the prior owner was afraid of them and cut them. The two very small maples in the front are where I thought some evergreens would be good. Maybe you would have another suggestion. Thank you again for your help.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Oak Quirky Quercus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    RE: Where to plant my trees

    Here are some photos of where I used to live in Alpharetta. I'm sure you know where that is. I had a feeling I'd need to know what landscaping looks like some day and I was right. But I didn't take enough pictures.
    These should give you some ideas as to what I'm talking about.

    I'm exhausted so I'll try to answer your questions as best I can and try to pick up tomorrow.
    I'm not a landscaping expert, but I STUDY professional landscapes and take measurements, identify the plants and compare them with mature landscapes. Then I research the plants and their growth and maintenance requirements and make notes on them. I go find books and compare multiple sources of info for plants I'm interested in because sometimes they vary. Just when I think I've designed the ultimate landscape for my future home, I wind up seeing something else that I have to have. But the key is not to have every species you fall in love with in your yard, unless you have many acres. That's where getting your neighbors to plant stuff comes into play.

    I don't know what kind cultivar of american holly it was that my friend had, but it did have a pyramid shape and was about 10-12 or so feet wide. This was about 2 years ago that I saw it and it was probably planted 5 years prior to that. How big was it at planting? I have no idea. It had tons of red berries on it. It was very attractive. I don't know diddley about pollination though.

    If it were me, having learned what can happen to trees in storms, I have vowed never to plant anything in any kind of pattern again. Lets say you do a diamond pattern or a row and some natural disaster takes out one of the trees, then you have an awkward looking space and that could be very expensive if not impossible to replace. So random patterns are recommended by the books I've read to prevent that. Instead, use patterns in places you can control such as lots of curves around planting areas and play with the grading a little (see photos) If you're going to plant anything in a pattern, use something that doesn't get too big that you can easily replace.

    As for shrubbery, I am in the process of finding out what shrubs are used in that area because I never did get a chance to look into that while I was there. If you were in Florida, I'd say use dwarf yaupon hollies or something evergreen around the evergreen trees. I would also use some native ornamental grasses. But wouldn't plant directly underneath the tree and I would space them out considerably so nothing needs any kind of pruning for a long time. I know barberry is popular there as are some exotic species that should be avoided.

    In florida, there's a small group of people that like to create backyard habitats and that was what I had started to do before I moved. Some people do it to attract certain wildlife and would plant certain trees and plants that are found growing together in the wild. It's a bit challenging to do that accurately but there's a website where you can show it all off. On the other hand, low maintainance and a neat clean appearance sometimes are more desirable. I would probably make a separate bed for azaleas and things like that.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    RE: Where to plant my trees

    Thank you for the great feedback! You are right that I should avoid planting in a pattern, in case of a problem. While you are thinking things over (and I do appreciate your efforts!), I am posting some photos of the property from last Fall. I took some additional photos this morning, and I hope to get those posted shortly as well. Here is the link to the photos:

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Oak Quirky Quercus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    RE: Where to plant my trees

    I'm surprised no one else has chipped in yet.
    In picture #25, it looks like you have a nice, almost park-like view expanding out into neighboring yards. If there wasn't any need for privacy back there, I'd plant something behind the red maple and dogwood to hide the house next door so when you look out a window, you can see this wide open area. I know you put hemlock there so many there's a need for it.

    I think your best shot is somewhere in the front. I don't suppose you can do with a little less driveway by any chance, can you? Photo #3 looks like it could have a planting opportunity there.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    St. Louis zone 6

    RE: Where to plant my trees

    That is a pretty good property diagram. I have created copies of mine and drew my plants on in a similar manner. That overhead view really helps me space things out and I have just enough imagination to sit on the front porch and imagine things ten or twenty years in the future.
    Zone 6, St. Louis, MO

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    RE: Where to plant my trees

    Taxodium - Thanks for the comments about the park-like view. Also, I would like to have less driveway, and that may happen in the future.

    Toronado3800 - You are right about having the imagination to look out into the future 10 to 20 years, because that is the key to knowing where to plant things!

    I have added quite a few additional photos today, which might offer a little more insight on where to plant things. Maybe the front would be a good place for the Holly, if they will be close enough for cross-pollination. Otherwise, it might be better to put cedars (or other evergreens) between the house and the walking-paths to the two driveways.

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