We depend on plants to solve our functional and aesthetic needs in various landscape situations. A popular group of plants being recommended and used in modern landscapes is intermediate and small-sized trees. The trees in this category mature to a particular size and are quite "well-behaved" in the landscape. Generally, the trees, both evergreen and deciduous, mature to a height of 35 feet or less.
When specifying any plant material, one or more particular landscape characteristic is considered. For example, leaf texture, flower color, bark patterns and canopy form are all important, but the one common denominator for this group is size. Quite often this could be the most important determining factor in plant selection.
Intermediate or small ornamental trees can be planted because of their low maintenance requirements. Most require little pruning and with many being native species to North Carolina, they are quite tolerant to a wide range of climatic conditions, soils, insects and diseases.
Selecting "foundation plants" can be troublesome for many people as overplanting and overgrown plants are common problems. These trees can be implemented into many designs and planted as close to 6-7 feet of the foundation. The design can be complemented by underplanting with a ground cover or mulching with some type organic matter.
Several trees are tolerant to various degrees of shade and can thus be planted as understory trees for both beauty and screening. Urban landscapes often demand trees to grow in a restricted rootzone area or planter. Most are recommended for these areas as the root systems are more tolerant than full-sized shade trees.
The multi-trunk trees are becoming a familiar landscape characteristic. This added dimension to design is very helpful in creating a focal point.
Listed below are several intermediate or small-sized trees recommended for North Carolina.
|Scientific name||Common name|
|Acer palmatum||Japanese Maple|
|Betula Nigra||River Birch|
|Cercis canadensis||Eastern Redbud|
|Cotinus coggygria||Smoke Tree|
|Diospyros kaki||Ornamental Persimmon|
|Ilex opaca||American Holly|
|Koelreuteria paniculata||Goldenrain Trees|
|Laburnum anagyroides||Golden Chain Tree|
|Magnolia soulangeana||Saucer Magnolia|
|Magnolia stellata||Star Magnolia|
|Pistachia chinensis||Chinese Pistachio|
|Prunus cerasifera 'Atropurpurea'||Purple Leaf Plum|
|Prunus serrulata||Japanese Cherry|
|Pyrus calleryana||Callery Pear|
|Sorbus aucuparia||Mountain Ash|
An acceptable horticultural practice for some overgrown evergreen shrubs is pruning to create a "tree-form." Generally, this is accomplished by selectively pruning lower branches to expose the main trunk(s), thus creating an evergreen tree 15-25 feet in height. These shrubs are commonly pruned into tree-form.
|Scientific name||Common name|
|Ilex cornuda Burfordi||Burford Holly|
Be certain the particular tree is climatically adaptable to your area in North Carolina
Publication date: Sept. 30, 1993
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