The Q&A Archives: Hardy Ornamental Trees

Question: I live in a heavily wooded area. However I want a natural dilenation in my back yard to designate the end of my yard and the forest. I wanted to use ornamental trees to add color/contrast to the solid green backdrop. I'm looking for hardy shade and sun tolerant trees, that are wide as they are tall. Non fruit bearing is preferred, and non-green folaige. What are my best choices?

Answer: Very few trees will grow well in deep shade -- if you think about it, the center of a forest is usually fairly bare except for the trunks of the tall trees. In dappled light you could try a redbud (Cercis canadensis) or the native dogwood (Cornus florida) or possibly a blackhaw viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium) or maybe the semi-evergreen to evergreen Viburnum rhytidophyllum. These trees are understory plants in the forest but usually grow along the edges or in bright dappled areas where there is a bit of direct sun. Some tree varieties have variegated foliage (dogwood, elm and maple) and some have reddish leaves (Bloodgood maple, Cotinus, Jacarunda, purple leaf plum). Hope you find a favorite from the above list. Best wishes with your landscape!

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