The Q&A Archives: Shade Trees

Question: I live in Wichita Kansas, I also live in an Mobile Home Park, our problem is that we have a very hard time getting any trees to grow, they all end up dying.Is there a fast growing three that grows in my region? I was born in Southern Arkansas where the trees are beautiful, I just want one in Kansas

Answer: The lots are usually on the small side in mobile home parks so you're probably looking for trees with a narrow canopy. On the other hand, maybe you have lots of room for trees and are looking for a large shade tree. Either way, here are a few suggestions:
Birch, 'River' (Betula nigra); An excellent choice for any landscape. We highly recommend this Birch over the White Birch, as it is much better adapted to the Kansas climate. It will withstand heat and wind when provided adequate moisture during drought periods. Tolerant of poor soils and exposed sites. The beautiful whitish orange bark peels with growth adding to the interest. A fast growing, graceful tree with dark green foliage in summer, turning golden yellow in fall.
Average Mature Height 40' | Average Mature Spread 30'

Apple, 'Jonathan' (Malus Jonathan); Probably the best all-around apple that can grow in our area. Fruit is red, juicy and flavorful, excellent for fresh eating. Ripens in late September. Average Mature Height 15' | Average Mature Spread 8-10'.

Cherry, 'Montmorency' (Prunus Montmorency); Most widely planted sour cherry in our area. Good for pie and best for canning. Average Mature Height 15' | Average Mature Spread 12'

Maple, 'Shantung' (ACER truncatum); A small maple with potential for street or residential areas. Small rounded-headed tree of neat outline with a regular branching pattern. Reddish purpose leaves when emerging; yellow-orange-red fall color. Average mature height - 20-25' Average mature spread - 20'

To help get your trees off to a good start, dig a hole slightly deeper and wider than the nursery container and roughen up the sides and the bottom. Your goal is to have the tree at the same soil level as it was growing in the pot. When you're satisfied the finished level will be just right, tip the tree on its side and pull off the nursery both, then loosen the roots with your fingers (so they're not growing around and around in a circle. Set the tree into the hole and backfill with the soil you too out of the hole. Tamp it down and then water your new tree. To help with watering, build a water basin or watering well by mounding up a few inches of soil all around the tree, about 12" away from the trunk. Fill this basin with water, allow to drain, then fill it a second time. Water once a week (twice if the weather is really hot). Watering this way will concentrate the moisture over the root system and allow it to trickle down and wet the entire root mass. This will help your new tree become established quickly and will lessen transplant shock. Be sure to water once each week for an entire year (unless rains take over for you).

Best wishes with your new trees!

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