Ornamental Tree Debate! Selection criterion and Your Choice

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Farhan Ahmed
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Ornamental Tree Debate! Selection criterion and Your Choice

Post by Farhan Ahmed » February 18th, 2013, 10:01 pm

Generally when we are selecting Trees for our gardens we only consider their appearance/beauty and nothing else which can result in difficulties later. It’s very important to consider following considerations before selecting tree. You will not be able to get all desired characteristics and some aspects would need to be compromised.

Let’s share each others point of view in tree selection and choice of trees vis a vis reasons.

Standards

Height and spread
This is probably the most important factor. Although dependent on growers choice, too big or too small mature size can be an issue. Keep in mind the ultimate height and spread of your desired tree in respect with space available and how much area you want to give to the tree. Big tree planted close to walls/buildings can lead to problem.

Growth rate
Growth rate is also very important. It should reasonably be medium to fast. or the tree will acquire its full form after your life time maybe....:-)

Good shade
One reason of planting trees is shade. If your selected tree is not good enough to do that. What’s the use then.

Beauty
Beauty of tree comprises of three aspects:-
1) Good(your choice) foliage
2) Good(your choice) Flowers
3) Handsome structure
If your tree has nice blooms but otherwise ordinary foliage you will have to live with shabby looking tree for most part of the year as mostly flowering period of trees is couple of months. If your selected tree is otherwise beautiful but forms an uneven, lanky or dropping structure, it will be a big turn off. Selection of tree based on color of foliage, fall color, flower appearance/fragrance are one of the key selection criteria.

Beautiful canopy
This is one of the most sort after feature of ornamental trees. Trees which form round symmetrical canopies are good looking, neat, shade rendering etc

Straight trunk
Ideal trees beside canopy must have a trunk which is stable, solid looking and as straight as possible. Imagine a beautiful tree with zig zag trunk loitering everywhere. This aspect can be controlled to some extent by training the trunk and proper pruning technique.

Season of interest
Give due thought to season of interest when selecting tree. You want it flowering in spring or want to have fall color or good foliage throughout the year etc.

Evergreen or deciduous
Both types of trees have their advantages. Evergreen would mean leaves throughout but will not provide fall color on the other hand deciduous will be naked bark for at least 4 months of the year and enormous amount of litter as well.

Maintenance
Following maintenance aspects are very important:-
1) It should be reasonably disease resistant
2) Does it require regular pruning/ training, thereby increasing work load.
3) Tree should be the cause of minimum litter in terms of fallen leaves, bark and fruit. Or you would end up sweeping your lawn/beds every other day.
4) Some trees make undesirable fruit, which is not only cause of litter but also excessive bird/animal activity.
5) Ideally tree should not be the favorite tree for roosting/nesting by birds.
6) Seed germination is another major issue. Some trees have excellent germination rates. As I experienced with melia azedarach, every seed/berry that drop is sprouted if water is available. This can cause weeding issues in your borders/lawn. If unchecked you will have the same tree everywhere in your garden…..LOL
7) Root and basal suckering. This is very important aspect. Some trees send roots traveling far away and that too horizontally. This can not only damage your landscape/borders but also leech nutrients available to your other plants. Meaning by nothing left for your flowers to thrive on.


Tree Safety
Tree should be strong enough to support itself and its branches. Otherwise adverse weather will either uproot your tree wasting years of effort or branches flying here and there in high winds causing damage to surrounding area

Climatic Adaptation
Last but not the least, Very very important consideration. If you have selected a specie which is not suitable to your climate, its bound to fail. Select trees which suit your terrain/climate well so that its flourishes well.
Keep in mind what exposure (Sun-Wind-Temperature) you have at your selected site, and then select the tree. Also keep in mind hardiness zone if you are living in colder areas. Heat/cold burns, humidity requirements, rainfall/water requirement, soil requirement for that specific tree all must be accounted for. For instance tropical trees can’t survive cold areas in general, trees which require chilling period will fail in warmer areas and so on.

Farhan Ahmed
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Re: Ornamental Tree Debate! Selection criterions and Your Ch

Post by Farhan Ahmed » February 18th, 2013, 10:13 pm

Having said that, i would present my first contender.
Its a beautiful looking, medium sized, evergreen tree, provides unbeatable canopy and structure. No litter at all. In my opinion it fits all the above mentioned criterion except that its flowers are not that eye catching. But otherwise handsome look of the tree makes up for it. compromise on flower and you get all the rest benefits. Its native, perfectly naturalized and easily available. Planted throughout the avenues in cities.

Alstonia scholaris-Indian Devil Tree....... i hope i have named it correctly :-)..i will share photos of this tree planted closeby
Image


Contender 2. For tropical(karachi) climate
Delonix regia
Caesalpinia

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Re: Ornamental Tree Debate! Selection criterion and Your Cho

Post by Munir » February 19th, 2013, 8:58 am

Great information,Farhan! Hope it is appropriately stored,to be easily accessable as a reference material.

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Re: Ornamental Tree Debate! Selection criterion and Your Cho

Post by rabia » February 19th, 2013, 1:19 pm

Alstonia flowers are not quite showy but their fragrance is extra ordinary.It has the quality to add some element of joy in rather gloomy fall dusks.

Farhan Ahmed
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Re: Ornamental Tree Debate! Selection criterion and Your Cho

Post by Farhan Ahmed » February 19th, 2013, 1:32 pm

Come on people, share your contender or should i assume Alstonia scholaris has won uncompeted :mrgreen:

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Re: Ornamental Tree Debate! Selection criterion and Your Cho

Post by Izhar » February 19th, 2013, 2:56 pm

Erythrina indica... as the name suggest its our native, fast growth, good shade, lovely blooms and nectar for fauna..

This is a pic from internet but i will upload a pic of this tree in blooming in my area.

Image

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Re: Ornamental Tree Debate! Selection criterion and Your Cho

Post by Muhammad Arif Khan » February 21st, 2013, 10:41 am

Every tree has its own shape and character; a Dhak tree would lose half its beauty with a straight trunk.
My DHAK

Image

Alstonia like Ashoka has been planted so much that it has become vulgar.
Last year picture of my three year old Tabebuia, The display will stop people within a few year.

Image

I hope my pink Tabebuia which had only a few flowers would put up a better show this year

Image

And so would Budha

Image

Another small tree that I have come to like is Tecoma,stonia

Image

Image

Below is the list of my trees
Ornamental trees
Alexander Palms, Fish tail Palms, Fox tail Palm
Butea, Bottle brush, Brachichiton
Chorisia, Casia fistula (Ammaltas), // // X Bakariana , Casia- Nadosa, C Grandis, C Javanica, C glata
Michellia Champaca, Royal Paulownia, Straculia
Tabebuia carabia (yellow & white), Tabebuia Serratifolia (pink & yellow), // (Marwa like leaf)
Tulip tree, Terminalia and no Alstonia.

Farhan Ahmed
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Re: Ornamental Tree Debate! Selection criterion and Your Cho

Post by Farhan Ahmed » February 21st, 2013, 12:12 pm

Commonness is a virtue earned through good credentials such as fore mentioned. Sir when did you plant Dhak and what growth has it achieved since then?

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Re: Ornamental Tree Debate! Selection criterion and Your Cho

Post by Morina » February 21st, 2013, 2:01 pm

Very nice trees and names ! The fourth picture is a Buddha tree ? Could you give some more descriptions of this one ? It would be great.
Your list is also very interesting. When you say 'Tulip Tree', is that the Liriodendron ? It seems there are two sorts of tulip trees, one coming from America and another from China. Are they growing in your area ?

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Re: Ornamental Tree Debate! Selection criterion and Your Cho

Post by Muhammad Arif Khan » February 21st, 2013, 4:42 pm

Butea monosperma, Dhak although a local sub-continent tree is a little difficult to grow in the first few years. It is named monosperma as the big long pod has one seed only. It germinates readily, is about a foot by the first winter, dies to base and some will sprout again in spring by next winter its single stem is about 3 feet and looses two in the winter and so on fourth year on ward it gets started. Out of three I planted in Garrison Golf Club 8 years ago only one has survived and blooms. Two planted at Arches Three years ago are about 15 feet high and are showing a few buds.
Plant in the picture was 13 years old.
Close up of flowers,

Image

Image

Morina Budha tree is Chorisia Speciosa, The canopy is covered with flowers each tree has different flowers.
Tulip tree is African Tulip tree it does well in Karachi
Mine came to buds last year but all buds dropped.

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