The Q&A Archives: Patio Tree

Question: Hi, I would like to plant a small to medium sized tree (<30' tall) near my patio to provide shade in summer. The location of the planned planting site is within the lawn and is in full sun during summer time. I am new gardener and am not sure what kind of tree I should choose. I prefer trees that grow fast, but not too messy. I also like trees with very bright red color in fall. Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Answer: Reliable autumn color in your mild climate gardening region will be a challenge. Two trees that I would recommend are Liquidambar (sweet gum) and Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple). Of the two, Liquidambar is the fastest growing. It has a pyramidal shape and maple-like leaves that turn orange, red and yellow in the fall. Japanese maples are slower growing, but with a similar pyramidal look. Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood' will provide burgandy colored leaves all summer long; A.p. 'Ornatum', the Red Lace Leaf Maple, produces red leaves which turn a brighter red during fall. Acer rubrum 'Autumn Blaze' has a dense oval, upright crown, and orange-red fall color. Hope these suggestions help you choose just the right tree.

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