If you could plant a tree in your yard, what tree would you plant, and where would you plant it?
#1 – The Maidenhair Tree – Ginkgo biloba
This fall, I (Mrs. Hopkins) must start ginkgo or maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba) growing by my house—a ginkgo tree that will grow tall and straight and dapple my lawn with shade.
It may be a very small tree at first, but I know what water can do for a tree, and I shall feed it lightly, quench its thirst and sit back, and will it to grow tall.
Planting Ginkgo Tree
I shall plant this tree on the grass strip between the sidewalk and the curb. Because ginkgoes are remarkably resistant to smoke, dust, wind, and ice, they are considered good street trees.
They’re also known for their freedom from insect injuries. In this part of Kentucky, where we constantly fight against insect depredations, such a tree sounds like an answer to a prayer.
I want to purchase a male tree, so mature seeds won’t drop on the sidewalk.
When The Tree is Tall
And when my tree is tall, my greatest enjoyment will be in the autumn when I sit by the window watching the little children gathering leaves and seeing their delight as they pounce upon a different leaf.
I’ll watch them pick up the little fan-like leaves and turn them in their hands and see them realize that this is no ordinary tree.
Whether or not they are aware of it, they’ll instinctively know that this is an exotic thing.
Origin of the Tree
And though they do not know the tree’s origin, somehow, the leaf still carries and imparts all the mystery, beauty, and magic of the Far East and whispers of a long time.
There will be a moment of contemplation and awe, and then they will laugh and try to stir a breeze with the pygmy fan-like leaves. And they’ll go on their way, but they won’t forget.
#2 Maytenus Boaria (Mayten)
I (Ms. Stephen Harris) intend to plant the Maytenus boaria this fall. We Californians call it the “may-ten.”
It is an evergreen tree of the small broad-leaved variety.
In its youth, it seems to grow much like a shrub such as a privet, except that it has a rounder shape.
Its shiny leaves are small, scarcely 1”-inch long by about ½” inches across, with slightly serrated edges.
As it grows larger, the branch lets hang down in a manner reminiscent of a small weeping willow.
But it’s a merry, gay sort of a tree. It looks the same all year ’round and loses not a leaf in winter.
The mayten grows moderately fast to a height of about 20’ feet with an equal spread and then slowly reaches its ultimate height of about 40’ feet.
This is an ideal-sized tree for a small lot, patio, or even a lawn and knows how to be pretty, provide shade, and really enhance the architectural lines of a small ranch house.
Nor does it require coddling, special fertilizers, and a programmed watering routine.
Insects seem to avoid the mayten tree like the plague—an important factor in a locality where one is constantly faced with whole families of wholesale defoliators.
The mayten is hard to find, but I know a Japanese nursery where 1 can get one this fall. I’ve already dug a hole.
#3 American Holly (Ilex Opaca)
The outstanding native tree for me is the American holly (Ilex opaca), and I (Arthur Holweg) am determined to add one or two to my small collection this fall.
In the spring, its blossoms have a delightful fragrance. Then the green berries start forming on the group’s distaff members, promising Christmas decorations six months later.
What could be better for Northern gardens than the brave evergreen holly that flaunts its colorful berries during the period of the wintry garden eclipse?
The North can’t take the American holly for granted, though. Experts tell us that we can expect the best performance from plants propagated from parents growing within the Northerly limits.
Importance of Soil Preparation and Winter Protection
Careful attention to soil preparation and winter protection is essential, too. Meanwhile, our friends in Dixie can enjoy their hollies with less concern and exertion but surely with no more keen delight.
At best, they can’t be classed as fast-growing trees. But if you’ve been bitten by the holly bug and have a little room left, you’ll find it hard to let another fall or spring season go by without planting another holly.
#4 – Moraine Locusts
Fall is the favorite planting time here in Tennessee for Mrs. HA Webb. It is a season of quiet, sunny days and cool dewy nights.
The soil stays warm, and newly-set roots take hold of it quickly, so our fall-set plants are well established before winter.
The late summer garden is undemanding, and the gardener can plant leisurely.
Chief among our home plantings this fall will be 2 young shade trees, one in the front yard to temper the afternoon sun on our living-room windows.
The other was placed to shade our back door from the high noon heat.
- These trees shall be Moraine locusts (Gleditsia trimanhos inermis “Moraine”). There are several reasons for our choice:
- First, we want a tree that will not be too fussy about soil and climate and will grow rapidly. Gardeners who are nearly three-score and ten can’t wait for the slow growers.
- Second, we want a tree that will be handsome, resistant to disease and insects, and able to withstand windstorms without breakage.
Third, we wish a tree to give us a lacy, light shade rather than dense shadows. Under the Moraine locust, our grass can still grow green, and our perennial plants can still bloom.
So, come November, this pair of elderly gardeners will be happily planting a pair of young trees—Moraine locusts.
#5 – Laburnum Vossii
The tree I (Mrs. HJ Canary) am determined to plant this fall is the golden-chain tree (Laburnum Vossi).
It is a hybrid between Laburnum Lilium and Laburnum anagyroides, members of the legume family, natives of Southern Europe and Western Asia.
The golden-chain tree has bright yellow chain-like blossoms that hang in heavy clusters 12” to 18” inches long in late spring.
Long silky green seed pods follow the blooms in midsummer, which turn glossy black in fall.
Beautiful all summer; even the foliage and bark are unusual. The leaves are clover-like and silky.
The bark is a lovely soft clear gray-green in June and turns a bluish-green in July and August.
This tree grows only 20’ to 25’ feet high, so it is not too big for our garden. It can be planted anywhere south of Boston.