Thread: SW FL "New Construction" tree help/advice needed...

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    SW FL "New Construction" tree help/advice needed...

    Hello! So tickled I found this site! Could spend all day just reading posts! My problem is my builder planted several palms, live oaks, and about 30 shrubs in our yard, very sloppy job, and in 3 1/2 years since moving in we have lost all but 3 palms, 1 live oak, and 5 ixora. We're from NH, bought/built long distance, never again... Holes were dug JUST big enough to accomodate rootballs, every tree that tipped over in ANY wind still had its rootball intact, most of the rootballs on the hedges were rotted, after only 2 years ALL our low-growing evergreen shrubs were simply lifted out of the ground by hand - no root growth whatsoever! Very little of anything additional was mixed in with dirt from the pot when they were planted. So we're kinda starting from scratch... The Florida builder's sand upon which this entire community is built, is composed mostly of ground up base rock mixed with sand...which means it won't support anything except possibly something native, and only if I can clear away enough of the "topsoil" that they tried to pass as dirt.
    I've seen some very lovely evergreens and palms growing wild on the sides of the roads that I'd like to get some info on.... the evergreen is tall, single trunk, kinda weeping, soft needled, and the trunk spreads wide at the base. With all the construction I'd truly love to "save" a couple of these for MY yard! They seem to grow well in wet areas, which IS my back yard! Would you be able to provide info on what types of evergreens/pines would survive in this sandy, quick to drain, full-day sunny spot?
    Also, we're considering a Crape Myrtle for the front yard but not until we make a fairly substantial raised bed.... digging just a few inches down creates a pool! Builder also sorta neglected to follow the correct berm/swale elevations!
    Thank you in advance for any suggestions you may have! Dianna

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Zone 6, Central New Jersey

    RE: SW FL "New Construction" tree help/advice needed...

    Taxodium, this is a question right up your alley! Saccharum, too! Good luck, Dianna. I'm sure you'll find help here. (Though I'll bow to the Florida leaders, since they know about that Florida climate and I don't.)

    “There is just as much beauty in the landscape as we are prepared to appreciate, not a grain more.”
    —Henry David Thoreau

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Oak Quirky Quercus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    RE: SW FL "New Construction" tree help/advice needed...

    This sounds just like me a year ago! I moved from Atlanta to Port St. Lucie. I had the same problems as you. From the live oaks right down to the sandy fill. I have a ton of suggestions that I will share with you because I know exactly what you're going through. But I have a dinner reservation and have to go get ready. I'll be back.

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

    RE: SW FL "New Construction" tree help/advice needed...

    From your description of the "evergreen" I'd guess what you are talking about is probably bald cypress or even more likely, pond cypress (taxodium distichum and taxodium ascendens). Pond cypress is more weeping in appearance. They actually aren't evergreens though, they are deciduous and offer some fall color believe it or not. You said you were from NH, so I'm not going to pretend to know what good fall color is. You should be able to find bald cypress fairly easily in retail garden centers. Arbor Day has them in the tree store. Pond cypress is a bit more difficult to find but you can order them online if a small one will do.

    The native palms are pretty easy to find too. At least sabal minor, saw palmetto and sabal palmetto are pretty easy to get ahold of but can be tricky to transplant from the wild or take a long time to get established.

    The backfill on my lot was pretty bad. It had large chunks of concrete in it and other construction debris. I was able to get most of my trees to grow in it just fine. The only ones that didn't like it were sweetgum. Saccarum (another forum member here) could elaborate more on the subject but even though you could dig down a few inches and hit water during certain times of the year, the 4 feet of garbage fill is better suited for trees that prefer dry sites. That stuff drains out quickly. If you like evergreen trees, I've had good success with southern red cedar which is a drought tolerant native. The native pine by you is probably south florida slash pine (pinus eliotti var. 'densa') tricky to plant, near impossible to transplant from the woods. I've also had good success with red maples in that soil.

    You actually have quite a bit of great choices and even though that soil looks like the most infertile you've ever seen, there's a lot that will grow there that won't need any water or fertilizer.

    You might also look into using sugarberry if you have space for a big tree and also tupelo/blackgum and turkey oak. These happen to be good fall color trees if you're not burned out from all that fall color stuff. And they are my favorite natives for the southern half of the state. You'd want to make sure the site is suitable for them too and with the exception of the turkey oak, those trees prefer it wet.

    If you've got a bookstore nearby, there's a good book on the natives by Rufino Osorio. There's also lots of great support for florida natives in the "growingnative" Yahoo Group.

    I like crepe myrtles too but I have yet to find one in a nursery that is in decent shape. They are all over the place yet very tough to find where I am.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Ocala, FL

    RE: SW FL "New Construction" tree help/advice needed...

    Taxodium covered a lot of ground there, I'll try not to repeat too much...

    I agree that the tree with the wide base you're seeing is probably Taxodium sp. When you say your backyard's soil is wet, how wet are we talking? Like Tax said, if your neighborhood is like most developments, the extremely sandy fill soil becomes very droughty for a good part of the year - not good ground for a baldcypress. They are an excellent tree, though. I'd grow one on my own yard if I thought it would have a good chance, but my neighborhood was built on a sandhill area that would naturally support mainly oaks and pines.

    Just as an interesting factoid, baldcypress and other swamp trees only develop that widely butressed base when grown in unstable swamp soil.

    You wouldn't think it with all the warm-season rains we get, but so much in Florida depends on the availability of water in the soil. It mostly boils down to how quickly it drains out of that sand, and so it's mainly the low-lying areas (what the locals call "hammocks" and "flatwoods") that stay wet enough to allow some species to thrive. If your back yard or the surrounding area sounds like that, you have a lot of nice species to choose from!

    On the other hand, you're pretty safe with many oaks, hickories, some magnolias, most southern pines, and sabal palms on dry sites. For pine, I would suggest longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), because it's attractive and less prone to insect and disease problems than slash or loblolly.

    I'll second Tax's suggestion of southern red-cedar, which like its northern cousin seems to be able to grow just about anywhere. Live oak is overplanted, but there are good reasons for it - it's long-lived, hurricane resistant, drought hardy, and quite stately in old age. Tax, have you seen much sugarberry grown as a landscape tree? I'm just curious because I haven't, but the northern hackberry species is prone to insect and disease problems, and isn't considered very desirable in urban plantings.

    Naples is so far south that you can also grow a number of interesting semitropical tree species that I'm frankly unfamiliar with, like gumbo limbo.

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

    RE: SW FL "New Construction" tree help/advice needed...

    What I discovered about my where I was living (I don't live there anymore) is that the fill was brought in pretty much for the house and had a steep slope and by the time you got to the property line it was native soil. They bring in sandy topsoil at the end to bridge the gap. The fill was very compacted and dry as was the native soil during the last early summer which was droughty. Then by the end of the summer I litterally shoveled down to scoop up some dirt on the native soil part of the lot because I need a little dirt somewhere and the hole filled up with water. It didn't fill up with water prior to that. I'd guess the poster was talking about the native soil, But even that can dry out significantly as I discovered last year when I dug a well.

    Saccharum, unfortunately I haven't seen sugarberry used much as a landscape or street planting. According to this silvics document, there's some reasons why that could be.

    Of course you know in Florida it's not easy to find a lot of trees, especially in a smallish city like where I was. I talked to some nursery owners about sugarberry specifically long before I took those fall color photos and there was. They grow very quickly in their youth and can outgrow their nursery container. Or require pruning so they don't look awkward. Since south florida seems to like palm trees rather than shade trees, they don't turn over the inventory fast enough. There was one nursery near me that either went wholesale or out of business and they had planted them alongside a road. A month or so ago I found them (3 gal size) in a nursery in Brevard county. The document suggests "Lack of popularity may be due to the open, awkward appearance of young trees and susceptibility to trunk rot in mature trees." (If the trunk is damaged)

    I found sugarberry growing along with palmetto, evergreen oaks, and red and silver maples albeit in a site that could be best catagorized as a mesic hammock rather than 4 feet of sand. I do see quite a few growing in yards here in Orlando. Check the sheet for pests and disease, which looked pretty minor to me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Ocala, FL

    RE: SW FL "New Construction" tree help/advice needed...

    Northern hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) in the northeast tends to suffer so much from twig and leaf galls, leaf miners, and witch's broom from anthracnose that it's almost an identifying characteristic for the species. I've noticed that I don't see as much of those problems on the local sugarberries that I see growing in the woods and as weeds in people's landscaping.

    You found silver maple in Florida? I haven't seen any yet, it's all red.

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

    RE: SW FL "New Construction" tree help/advice needed...

    That was quick.
    Contrary to the USF atlas of vascular plants, I have found silver maple growing far south of where the map shows vouchered trees. I have also seen some planted in yards. The leaves are distinctly different. Had I known this at the time I would have notified the authorities or whatever. I've seen them mostly at very wet roadsides so technically they could have been planted but I think that's unlikely. I had some leaves from a silver that I wanted to preserve with my leaf collection but they wilted quickly and I think I tossed 'em. Haven't seen any since moving to Orlando but I will keep my eyes peeled.

    By the way I have a northern hackberry that I got from Arbor day a year or so ago planted in a pot. I know it's out of zone. It's leafing out now. I bet it will be happier in zone 7 though.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Zone 6, Central New Jersey

    RE: SW FL "New Construction" tree help/advice needed...

    Was I right, or was I right? Tax and Sac, you guys ROCK!

    “There is just as much beauty in the landscape as we are prepared to appreciate, not a grain more.”
    —Henry David Thoreau

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    RE: SW FL "New Construction" tree help/advice needed...

    Thank you so much for all your information! I feel well "armed" now to find a few trees locally that will grow and BE HAPPY in my yard!
    When I said "wet" I meant a 6" hole dug straight down will be filled with water to about a 4" depth in 15 minutes or less.... and the sandy sides will cave in shortly thereafter! And this is pretty much in any spot more than 10' from the house footprint.
    Thank you again! Dianna

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Unknown Cap'n Crunch "Crunchberry" Tree
    By JuiceHead in forum Tree Identification
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-07-2011, 10:31 PM
  2. "Halloween" Tree Mystery.......
    By rsey103 in forum Tree Identification
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 05-20-2008, 05:33 PM
  3. Bushy "Cloud" Tree
    By Gracieangel in forum Tree Identification
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-05-2007, 11:05 PM
  4. "bug barrier" tree band
    By zhugege in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-27-2006, 10:02 AM
  5. Purchase a "longleaf" or "slash" pine?
    By Tennesseestorm in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-18-2006, 10:27 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

X vBulletin 4.2.0 Debug Information

  • Page Generation 0.06346 seconds
  • Memory Usage 7,531KB
  • Queries Executed 15 (?)
More Information
Template Usage (35):
  • (1)ad_footer_end
  • (1)ad_footer_start
  • (1)ad_global_above_footer
  • (1)ad_global_below_navbar
  • (1)ad_global_header1
  • (1)ad_global_header2
  • (1)ad_navbar_below
  • (1)ad_showthread_firstpost_sig
  • (1)ad_showthread_firstpost_start
  • (1)ad_thread_first_post_content
  • (1)ad_thread_last_post_content
  • (1)footer
  • (1)forumrules
  • (1)gobutton
  • (1)header
  • (1)headinclude
  • (1)headinclude_bottom
  • (2)im_msn
  • (10)memberaction_dropdown
  • (1)navbar
  • (4)navbar_link
  • (1)navbar_tabs
  • (3)option
  • (1)pagenav
  • (1)pagenav_curpage
  • (1)pagenav_pagelink
  • (10)postbit_legacy
  • (10)postbit_onlinestatus
  • (10)postbit_wrapper
  • (5)showthread_similarthreadbit
  • (1)showthread_similarthreads
  • (1)spacer_close
  • (1)spacer_open
  • (1)tagbit_wrapper 

Phrase Groups Available (6):
  • global
  • inlinemod
  • postbit
  • posting
  • reputationlevel
  • showthread
Included Files (23):
  • ./showthread.php
  • ./global.php
  • ./includes/class_bootstrap.php
  • ./includes/init.php
  • ./includes/class_core.php
  • ./includes/config.php
  • ./includes/functions.php
  • ./includes/class_friendly_url.php
  • ./includes/class_hook.php
  • ./includes/class_bootstrap_framework.php
  • ./vb/vb.php
  • ./vb/phrase.php
  • ./includes/functions_facebook.php
  • ./includes/functions_bigthree.php
  • ./includes/class_postbit.php
  • ./includes/class_bbcode.php
  • ./includes/functions_reputation.php
  • ./packages/vbattach/attach.php
  • ./vb/types.php
  • ./vb/cache.php
  • ./vb/cache/db.php
  • ./vb/cache/observer/db.php
  • ./vb/cache/observer.php 

Hooks Called (70):
  • init_startup
  • database_pre_fetch_array
  • database_post_fetch_array
  • friendlyurl_resolve_class
  • global_bootstrap_init_start
  • global_bootstrap_init_complete
  • cache_permissions
  • fetch_threadinfo_query
  • fetch_threadinfo
  • fetch_foruminfo
  • load_show_variables
  • load_forum_show_variables
  • global_state_check
  • global_bootstrap_complete
  • global_start
  • style_fetch
  • global_setup_complete
  • showthread_start
  • showthread_getinfo
  • strip_bbcode
  • friendlyurl_clean_fragment
  • friendlyurl_geturl
  • friendlyurl_redirect_canonical
  • showthread_post_start
  • showthread_query_postids
  • showthread_query
  • bbcode_fetch_tags
  • bbcode_create
  • showthread_postbit_create
  • postbit_factory
  • postbit_display_start
  • fetch_musername
  • cache_templates
  • cache_templates_process
  • template_register_var
  • template_render_output
  • fetch_template_start
  • fetch_template_complete
  • parse_templates
  • process_templates_complete
  • postbit_imicons
  • bbcode_parse_start
  • bbcode_parse_complete_precache
  • bbcode_parse_complete
  • postbit_display_complete
  • memberaction_dropdown
  • pagenav_page
  • pagenav_complete
  • tag_fetchbit_complete
  • showthread_similarthread_query
  • showthread_similarthreadbit
  • forumrules
  • navbits
  • navbits_complete
  • expand_navigation_state
  • build_navigation_data
  • build_navigation_array
  • check_navigation_permission
  • process_navigation_links_start
  • process_navigation_links_complete
  • set_navigation_menu_element
  • build_navigation_menudata
  • build_navigation_listdata
  • build_navigation_list
  • set_navigation_tab_main
  • set_navigation_tab_fallback
  • navigation_tab_complete
  • fb_like_button
  • showthread_complete
  • page_templates