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Which tree for my garden?

I moved into my house 2.5 years ago, and there was a beautiful large Sunburst Honey Locust in the centre of the border (approx 20 m tall). Unfortunately it has died since we moved in (not sure if it was something I did?!), so we have removed it. I'm looking for something to replace it with, but I'm really worried about choosing the wrong tree as it is a central location in the garden, so I really don't want something that will cause problems.

My requirements are:

(1) roots won't disturb the perennials alongside it in the border, or the lawn next to the border;

(2) will be able to compete with other plants around it

(3) should cast dappled shade rather than deep shade

(4) should grow tall enough (eventually) that the bottom branches will be well above head height (e.g. bottom branches about 8 feet or so).

(5) an attractive tree!

The gleditsia clearly worked well and in an ideal world I'd replant the same, but that doesn't seem like a good idea seeing as the original one died! My original ideas were eucalyptus (although I think the roots may be too shallow), acer (may not grow tall enough in the long run) or Gingko biloba (not sure if this would create too deep a shade though). So now I am going round in circles trying to work out what would work in the space! Any suggestions would be most welcome!



  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,009

    Eucalyptus gets huge very quickly and gingko will grow very slowly at just a few inches a year but end up being enormous.

    Have a look at Liquidambar which has attractive foliage with stnning colours in autumn and a neat, conical habit that won't cast too much shade.  You can gradually lift its canopy by removing lower branches till you get your head height clearance.

    Have a look also at sorbus kahmiriana which dosn't get too big and has attractive flowers and berries.    Prunus serrula is another good small tree with fabulous mahogany coloured bark for winter interest as well as attractive foliage and blossom in other seasons.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • FleurisaFleurisa Posts: 779

    Were there any mushrooms around the tree which died? You don't want to plant another tree in the same area if you had honey fungus.

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,686

    If it is Honeyfungus (don't want to jump the gun here!) RHS do recommend some less susceptible varieties, of which Nyssa looks promising for a small garden.

    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,287

    Think I'd go for a sorbus (Rowan). Flowers and pretty foliage in the spring, fruit in the autumn and a blaze of colour before it has a rest in the winter.

    Some beautiful type of birch that would also tempt me or a hawthorn maybe.

    Happy hunting!

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • I have what I *think* is a katsura in my garden. It is beautiful - lovely weeping habit but with branches way above head height. Small round leaves, which go a gorgeous buttery orange in Autumn (September, usually) and make fab leaf mould (I am slightly obsessed with leaf mould). It was in the garden when I moved in 15 years ago, and I am still trying to make a positive ID! However, I am in London - I believe they don't thrive well in very cold, exposed sites. If I had to replace it, I would probably go for a Liquidamber - Rowans are pretty but a bit too small for me and they are being planted all over London. I am sorry you lost your honey locust, there are a few in neighbouring gardens and they are absolutely beautiful trees. If you can establish why the old one died and ensure the problem is fixed, I would replace like for like!

  • Thanks all for the comments. I will investigate to see if it could have been honey fungus...we occasionally get small mushrooms on the lawn, but I have never seen any on or around the tree. I have the logs though, so I can check those for any signs.

    I think we already have a sorbus kahmiriana in the garden, so I'll probably go for something else, but I love the look of the liquidambar and Katsura, so I may read up on those a bit more.

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