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All, Spring

Deciduous Trees

August 31, 2021

Deciduous Trees

Deciduous Trees

Deciduous trees are those that drop their leaves for part of the year. Common examples of deciduous trees include linden, maple, and hickory; these varieties lose their leaves in the fall and re-grow them in spring.

Trees are an important part of landscaping. They add beauty and a sense of structure to any garden, street, commercial property, or public space. Environmentally, they are essential to our survival.

Trees moderate climate by cooling in summer (deflecting sun and heat) and warming in winter (deflecting the wind), thereby reducing energy costs. They improve air quality by removing dust and other particulates from the air. The leaves absorb harmful carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and give off large amounts of life-giving oxygen.


There are various considerations when choosing a tree:


  • Make sure to factor in the mature size of a tree before purchasing. Planting a tree too close to a structure or overhead wires will cause problems.
  • Some trees are available as a single trunk or multi-stem. Clump birch (Betula) is a popular choice due to its striking white bark.

Soil Condition

  • Catalpa and Norway maple (Acer platanoides) are tolerant of clay soils.
  • Honey-locust (Gleditsia) and Russian olive (Elaeagnus), on the other hand, handle dry or poor soil.
  • Pin oak (Quercus palustris) and hackberry (Celtis) tolerate moist conditions.


  • Flowering trees add a special feature to your landscape. The early blooms of a magnolia are a sure sign spring has arrived.
  • The large blooms of a horsechestnut (Aesculus) are very impressive in late May.
  • Remember that flowers can lead to fruit or nuts that drop, so plant this type of tree away from sidewalks, walkways, driveways, and swimming pools.


  • For a stunning contrast, try Shubert chokeberry (Prunus virginiana Shubert), harlequin maple (Acer platanoides Drummondii), or red maple (Acer rubrum).
  • Serviceberry is another bold choice with its white flowers and vibrant red/orange foliage in autumn.
  • Regal petticoat maple has dark green leaves with a rich purple underside that is displayed nicely in a summer breeze.


  • The form of a tree can also make a visual impact. For instance, a house that’s very tall would be proportionate to a narrow, columnar tree such as a pyramidal English oak, (Quercus robur Fastigiata), glenleven linden (Tilia cordata Glenleven), or a Siberian crab apple (Malus baccata Columnaris).
  • For a large property, the pyramidal shape of some lindens (Tilia) would contrast well with the roundness of a crimson king maple (Acer platanoides Crimson King) or the asymmetrical branching of a honey-locust (Gleditsia).
  • Shade trees ideal for providing privacy include beech (Fagus), birch (Betula), honey-locust (Gleditsia), linden (Tilia), maple (Acer), mountain ash (Sorbus), oak (Quercus), and tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera).
  • London plane tree (Platanus acerifolia Bloodgood) grows very large and is almost as wide as it is tall. It’s noteworthy for its multi-colour, “camouflage” bark and its pollution tolerance.
  • One of the slowest growing trees is the maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba). Its fan-shaped leaves turn yellow in fall. It is also resistant to insects, disease, and pollution.
  • Magnolia, ornamental pear (Pyrus), Kwanzan Japanese cherry (Prunus serrulata Kwanzan), and crab apple (Malus) all flower superbly in spring.
  • Following the above is the flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida and Cornus kousa), golden chain tree (Laburnumx watereri Vossii), and ivory silk Japanese lilac tree (Syringa reticulata Ivory Silk)
  • Purpleleaf sand cherry (Prunus cistena), limelight hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata Limelight), dwarf Korean lilac (Syringa meyeri Palibin), rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), fragrant snowball (Viburnum carlcephalum), and Bristol ruby weigela (Weigela florida Bristol Ruby).
  • Weeping forms like weeping mulberry (Morus alba Pendula), red jade crab apple (Malus Red Jade), weeping peashrub (Caragana arborescens Pendula) or snow fountain weeping cherry (Prunus serrulata Kiku-Shidare) also make interesting specimens.
  • For colour contrast and winter evergreen interest, plant Emerald Gaiety and Gold Tip euonymus.
  • Keep turf at least 30 cm (1’) away from the trunk(s) at all times to prevent any damage to the bark by lawn mowers or string trimmers.
  • Spread 5–10 cm (2–4”) of mulch over the root zone to help prevent weeds, minimize moisture loss, and keep roots cool.
  • Water the young tree well and deeply for the first two years to get it established.
  • Prune dead, broken, or diseased branches at any time.
  • Fertilizer spikes for trees can be driven into the ground at the drip line in spring to provide slow-release nutrients for the whole year. Repeat every spring.

At any time, if your tree doesn’t look quite right, look carefully for insects or disease. When in doubt, bring sample leaves or a twig to the Sheridan Nurseries Garden Centre nearest you for analysis and advice. A tree can last decades or, in the case of oaks, centuries. Planting trees not only enhances the beauty of any garden, but it’s also essential to human health; the environment needs healthy trees.