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Dream trees for 1/2 acre back yard

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#1 62vetteefp


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Posted 10 August 2012 - 07:31 PM

We want to plant a few trees in our 1/2 acre grassed back yard. Too much grass and the one very large apple tree on one side is very old and scraggley and the apples are very poor. I will take down.

At the back past our property line is wild woods. Full sun. Clay. In the spring the back part is sopping wet but then dries out to cracked clay under the grass. At the rear property line in the center is a tall Gingko tree and I planted a Norway spruce near the shed a couple years ago.

In the rear around house landscaping we have a Dwarf Peach and a Katsura tree.

We are looking to add the trees to add some backyard interest and supply some shade to the grass since it gets baked.

Next week we are heading up to Gaylord to pick up my daughter from a summer camp and not far away is a tree farm with very reasonable prices on trees. Will be picking up a couple Hemlocks for a different area at the side of the house. They seem to have a very good selection.

So I am wondering if anyone has ideas on trees! Perhaps a Crimson King maple? Or maybe a paperback maple?

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#2 Dsmith74


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Posted 11 August 2012 - 06:13 PM

If you want something purple, I'd plant a tricolor beech before a Crimson King (or any) Norway maple. The are so thick and their roots are so shallow and efficient you may have no grass (or anything else) under it eventually. They also, at least in my area, seed all over the place. The seedlings are easy to pull out, buy why do it if you don't have to? The fact that they're considered invasives may also count against them if you're concerned about that kind of thing.

Also, knowing soil pH would help. A full rundown from the Extension service is best, but you can get pretty close on pH with the instant ones at the garden center.

#3 carolm


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Posted 11 August 2012 - 08:50 PM

The guy from the Ann Arbor Gardener blog was waxing poetic about Acer triflorum. Similar to paperbark maple but nicer.

#4 Cricket


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Posted 12 August 2012 - 09:09 AM

Does your property have sewer hook-up or septic?..........

Heed the full spread at maturity of each tree you're considering - avoid planting a tree where, when mature, it will cast shade on sun loving perennial beds....

Sell the wood from your apple tree if you don't have a firepit or fireplace - keep some wood to soak and use when grilling.........

Choose a variety of tree not present on adjacent properties or in the woods.....

The 'Tree and Shrub Gardening for Michigan' book has wonderful color photos of tree leaves, bark and fruit - it's a good starting point for choosing a tree to fit your space - check a bookstore or library for a copy........

#5 RobRoss


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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:02 AM

Is this Gaylord, MI?  Zone 4?  The land here has a lot of clay just under the surface, mostly good drainage, but little acid.  The USDA is trying to tell us it's on the verge of Zone 5, so you can try some "reachy" trees here, found mostly in Zone 5 or lower, especially if you're in town... Of course, lots of maples will grow here (Michigan is a big maple state), but it depends on what size you want, and what colors you want, when....  Have you looked into things like Redbud (not a long lived tree, but neither is that peach you want).  A lot of the lovely ornamental apples, cherries, and Cleveland pears would give you smaller, more appropriate sizes for a 1/2 acre.  If big shade, White Oak, Sugarbush Maple seem to be insect and virus free still, despite the coming devastation of most of our deciduous trees... We're in the process here of moving back to a simpler tree system, softwoods, primarily White Pine (the beauteous), cedars, firs, spruce...nothing wrong with these....that tricolor beech has not been shown to be immune from the big beech disease, but still...Good Luck and happy spring planting!

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