The Q&A Archives: A Tree for Full Sun

Question: I have an open back yard that is connected to a lot of open space at the end of a cul-de-sac. The area is in full sun. I would love to find a tree I can plant that will grow rather fast, so it can provide some needed shade. I'd love something with lovely fall color, and maybe even something that blooms. I know I'm asking for a lot, but is there anything that will give me what I want?

Answer: I don't think you're asking too much of a landscape tree. All season interest is high on my list, as well. Here are a few trees for you to consider;

Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) The original species grows to 30 feet, and the cultivar 'Bradford,' to 40 feet, are fast growing and pyramidal when young, upright to rounded with age. Profuse with fragrant white flowers before foliage. The small russet-colored fruit is marble-sized. Glossy foliage often becomes orange to scarlet to deep crimson in fall.

'Bradford' has dense, handsome foliage on a highly formal tree, and has few pests. 'Bradford' is hardy statewide, tolerant of all but wet or poorest soils, and fire blight resistant. Newer cultivars include 'Aristocrat', 'Redspire' and 'Chanticleer' (also known as 'Cleveland Select'). These are somewhat less prone to storm damage than ?Bradford? because they have better brancing habits.

Disease resistant crabapples are worth considering:

Red buds open into single pink flowers. Foliage is deep green with a red tint in spring. Trees grow up to about 25 feet and develop a dense, rounded shape. The red fruit is about 5/8 inch in diameter. Leaves develop good fall color of orange-red.

Bob White
Buds are pink, opening to single white flowers about an inch across. Long-lasting fruits are yellow and approximately 1/2 inch in diameter. Trees grow to about 20 feet and develop a rounded head. While this variety has good resistance to scab, rust and mildew, it has some susceptibility to fire blight.

Camelot (Malus 'Camzam')
Flowers of this crab are fuchsia pink on white. Trees are dwarf, reaching a height of about 10 feet with a rounded shape. Fruits are 3/8 inch in diameter and become burgundy in late summer. Foliage is dark green with an overcast of burgundy.

Flowering cherry might also be something you'd like:

Double-flowered Mazzard cherry
Dense pyramidal tree to 40 feet, hardy statewide. White, double flowers, effective seven to 10 days. Medium-sized edible fruit is attractive to birds.

Higan cherry
A dense rounded tree, to 30 feet. Not for northern Missouri. Light pink flowers. Both single and double flowered forms are available. Small black inconspicuous fruits. A pendulous, weeping variety (Pendula) is the most popular form.

Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is also an attractive tree:
Rounded to upright, 30 feet, open, horizontal branching. Growth slow to moderate. Spectacular white bracts with flowers, before leaves appear. Glossy, red medium fruits persist in fall. Foliage lustrous, scarlet in fall.

Used as specimens, masses or naturalized under large trees. Prefers deep, moist but well-drained soil. Avoid a hot, dry exposure. Improve tight or shallow soils and use a mulch. Needs water during drought. Old or injured specimens subject to borer damage. Not reliably hardy in northernmost parts of the state.

'Apple blossom' -Bracts apple blossom pink.
'Cherokee Chief' - Red bracts, new leaves reddish.
'White Cloud' - White, flowering at early age.
'Xanthocarpa' - Yellow fruited.

A final suggestion is Red horsechestnut (Aesculus x carnea). This unusual flowering tree is a hybrid between horsechestnut and the small, red flowering buckeye, Aesculus pavia. It is a rounded tree growing to about 35 feet, smaller than its horsechestnut parent. The most commonly planted cultivar, ?Briotii?, produces 10-inch-long panicles of pinkish red flowers with yellow throats in May that look dramatic against the large, glossy leaves. Red horsechestnut is susceptible to a leaf blotch fungus and should be planted in full sun with good air circulation to reduce the incidence of this disease.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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