The Q&A Archives: Tree Suggestion For Brooklyn Roofdeck

Question: I would like a suggestion for a fruiting, flowering, or red-leafed tree to plant on a Brooklyn roof deck. The box has a little over two feet of soil in it. Because of the box's placement on the deck, a small plant will only get 3-4 hours of evening sun in the summer, but once it grows about 3' high it will get sun almost all day. If there is a tree we can buy small that will thrive without too much sun, please let us know. Likewise, if this is unrealistic and we need to invest in a nearly-mature tree, we'd like to know that too. Thanks!

Answer: Since rooftop conditions can be trying at best due to wind, reflected heat and limited soil space, I would suggest you experiment and see what works best. You might try the purple leafed sand cherry which has purple foliage all season long. This is technically a shrub but will grow tall enough to give the effect of a small tree. It withstands wind and temperature extremes and blooms in the spring, but does not provide edible fruit. It is usually available with stems over three feet long and grows relatively quickly.

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