The Q&A Archives: Trees Appropriate For Long Driveways

Question: I am in search for a tree recommendation . . . I have a long winding drive which has the following attributes:

2000 ft' in length
winding up a slight incline
good drainage
fenced on one side allowing 12' from drive to fence
livestock (Alpaca and Llama) graze in fenced-in field beside drive - safety concern

My business is a Bed & Breakfast called Maple Hill Manor - we also raise Alpaca and Llama.

We're in search for an all-season tree which can be enjoyed by our guests(HIGH IMPACT) as they enter our drive, but also safe for our farm animals. We desire something that is fast growing, flowers, good fall color, not to high (to prevent blocking the view of the Historic B&B which sits on a hill - surrounded by ancient Maple Trees), easy maintenance, driveway consdierations, and something that is reasonably priced realizing the number of trees that will be needed.

We are considering the following trees:

Red Maple
Japanese Maple
Callery Pear
Flowering Cherry
Kousa Dogwood
Tulip Tree
Eastern Redbud
Golden Chain Tree

What do you recommend as your top two choices?

Thank you for your help!

Answer: Some of the trees you list are probably too large -- red maple and tulip tree and sassafrass. The Japanese maple has fairly strict requirements in terms of growing conditions and would probably do better in a more sheltered location with an evenly moist humusy soil. Callery pears are often used as avenue trees and look quite elegant however they may tend to break apart in ice and wind storms. The remaining choices would be flowering cherry, kousa dogwood, redbud and golden chain. The kousa dogwood would likely be rather expensive and grows quite slowly; the golden chain may be difficult to locate. The redbud and cherry would both be candidates, however the redbud blooms very early in the season possibly before your guest season peaks. For that reason I would probably suggest the ornamental cherries (although they are not usually terribly long lived trees) and might suggest you add modern disease resistant varieties of flowering crabapple to your list. Your local professionally trained nursery personnel and county extension may have other suggestions or opinions based on a more detailed knowledge of the site and particularly the soil conditions. Finally, I would suggest you check with your veterinarian as to the safety of the trees in case the animals should ingest leaves, stems, twigs, or fruits. Best of luck with your selection, I'm sure it will be lovely.

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