The Q&A Archives: plant new tree

Question: want to plant hardy, fast growing tree for are 5. any suggestions? what do you know about Japanese Maples

Answer: Japanese maples are very slow growing. They require protection from winter winds as well as an acidic, organic, acidic soil that is evenly moist yet well drained. Unfortunately, most varieties are not winter hardy in zone 5. Overall, I would not recommend this tree for your area which, looking at your zip code, places you in zone 5A or the coldest part of zone 5. In a windy or exposed location, your microclimate might actually be as cold as zone 4.

If you like the look of the cutleaf Japanese maple foliage and the darker coloring we see on some varieties, you might try one of the elderberries with dark foliage (named cultivars of Sambucus nigra) as these large flowering shrubs will grow in the 8 to 10 foot range. If you are looking for a smaller ornamental tree, you might consider one of the newer disease resistant crab apples such as "Prairifire" (15 to 20 feet.) For a larger shade type of tree, you might try one of the hybrid maples such as "Autumn Blaze" (50 to 60 feet tall, 40 feet wide.)

Your local county cooperative extension may also have specific suggestions based on a more detailed understanding of the specific growing conditions where you want to plant the tree and for what purpose. I hope this helps you get started on your research.

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