Thread: Small tree/large bush advice for a difficult spot

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    St Clair Shores, MI - z6
    Posts
    1

    Small tree/large bush advice for a difficult spot

    We're in the process of removing a dying flowering cherry (I'm 95% sure it's some Yoshino cultivar) planted by the previous owner ~8 years ago. It kills me that I couldn't save it but it had no chance - it has gotten so bad that the trunk has started to bend and become slightly spongy to the touch. We want to plant something in its place next spring to help shade the garage somewhat (it gets no shade from the SW without the tree) but I've been having a nightmare of a time trying to find a suitable replacement.

    The space is about 4 ft wide between the fence and the driveway. The soil is pretty compacted due to the runoff from the driveway but due to our location, I THINK that it may turn more sandy a couple of feet below grade. Water doesn't usually pool in the area.

    The height must be under ~14ft. All of the utility cables for our house and our neighbours house are about 5 feet on each side of where the tree will be planted. We've already dealt with needing the phone line drop restrung because of a break and I'd rather not get to experience that again with the power. No utilities or pipes run underground.

    No Japanese Maples - they are SEVERELY over planted and several nearby have either bacterial or fungal issues with oozing cankers. I had considered a Hungarian Lilac but I suspect the current cherry may have armillaria root rot or something that looks similar and lilacs are apparently susceptible.

    The one I keep going back to is the Crepe Myrtle "Catawaba" but half the sources say zone 7 and up and half say 6 and up so I'm wondering if it would even be more than a tiny shrub in our 6bish location. It IS protected from the north and west by the fence and garage and we are usually warmer than other areas due to our location near the lake, but I hesitate to even try if it would die back to the ground each winter.

    Does anyone have any suggestions that may work better? Would the Crepe Myrtle be worth trying? Thanks in advance!

    ETA - once the trunk and all the roots we can get are out I will be trying to improve the soil in that spot, but, again, because of the driveway (and the couple of feet of snow that can get piled up in that area for some periods of time in the winter) I'm afraid that it won't drastically be less compacted in the long run.
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  2. #2
    pwk16
    Guest

    RE: Small tree/large bush advice for a difficult spot

    That's too bad about the cherry tree. Looks like that should be the right spot for it.
    You might consider a serviceberry. Those don't get too large and can take 6B weather and they have wonderful fall colors.

    Crapemyrtles in zone 6 are right on the edge of being woody perennials. My advice would be that if you can't drive around town and see dozens of examples of great-looking crapemyrtles then you should find another choice. I live in 6A and mine die back to ground level each winter.

    Our Tree Wizard online suggests Smoketree, Mountainash, or Purpleleaf Sand Cherry.

    http://www.arborday.org/shopping/tre...zard/intro.cfm

    You might also consider a dwarf fruit tree.

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