One tree, two trees, my trees are small trees!

Planting in small areas can be challenging, especially if you want to add some height to your landscape. Consider adding small trees that will excite your senses!

Small trees are perfect for any landscape and add color to entry ways, curbs, and long sidewalks. These small trees are sure to standout and add charm next to your home every spring and some even all year round! Continue reading to discover which small trees have caught our interest.

Smoketree_1-920The mutli-stemmed smoketree holds true to its name- growing blooms that are wispy clumps of filaments. This easy-to-grow specimen turns a smoky pink color from June through August. Growing 10’ to 15’, it is a good choice for a shrub border or other grouping.

Ann-Magnolia_1-860The ann magnolia is a member of the “Little Girl” group of hybrid magnolias developed in the mid-50s at the U.S. National Arboretum. Its profusion of deep purple-red blossoms resemble tulips and bloom in mid-to late March.  Sometimes, the tree blooms again in the summer. At maturity, the Ann magnolia grows to a height of 8’ to 10’.

Japanese-Red-Maple_1-866After 300 years of cultivation, the Japanese red maple is still a beloved tree. It offers a warm touch of red to any yard in the spring and fall, and features a green summer leaf. Red, winged seeds attract squirrels, chipmunks, quail and songbirds. This taller landscape tree matures to about 15’ to 25’.

Purpleleaf-Sand-Cherry_1-816Purpleleaf sand cherry  tree‘s year-round beauty and smaller size makes it an excellent choice for landscaping. Its fragrant white and pink flowers blossom in spring while featuring simple leaves with an intense reddish-purple color. The small yields of plump red berries are an important food source for small birds and mammals including robins and cardinals. The Purpleleaf matures to 15’ to 25’.

Downy-Serviceberry_1-919A phenomenal large shrub that can be trained into a single trunk tree is the downy serviceberry. The combination of flowers, vibrant fall foliage and wildlife value will add lots of visual enjoyment to your yard. This wonderful little tree reaches 15′ to 25′ at maturity and produces plump red berries for pies, preserves and fresh eating.

Did your favorite small tree make the list? If not, share your favorite in the comments!

Before you start planting, get helpful tips and information on tree care, and to find out which trees grow best in each hardiness zone. You can find all of these trees and more in our Tree Nursery. Get a discount on all of your trees when you become an Arbor Day Foundation member.

Peaches, cherries, and plums! Oh my!

Wouldn’t it be fun to pick fruit from your own trees at home? We have selected a variety of choices that are both delicious and add beauty to your landscape. Each selection grows in both a standard and dwarf sizes- suitable for many types of landscapes and gardens. Before planting, consult our fruit tree spacing guide to make sure you reap full benefits of your yummy fruit trees.

Golden-Jubilee-Peach_1-892The Golden jubilee peach tree begins to produce abundant yields of high-quality, tender and juicy fruit between ages 3-4. It survives colder climates better than other peaches and can be expected to grow in zones 5-8. This popular yellow freestone peach ripens around July, several weeks before Elberta peach trees. Scented pink blossoms appear in spring, adding a sweet bonus to your landscape.

Bing-Cherry_1-809America’s favorite cherry tree, bing cherry, produces sweet large fruit by the pound- as much as 50-100 lbs. per year. Excellent for fresh eating and preserves, the fruit ripens in mid-June to mid-summer. Its white spring blossoms also add beauty to your landscape in spring. Ideal for zone 5- 8.

Methley-Plum_1-907A cultivar of Japanese plum, Methley produces heavy, annual crops of sweet and juicy plums perfect for fresh eating or jelly. Sweetly fragrant white flowers bloom in early spring and fruit ripens in late May to mid-July. This tree is self-fertile and grows in zones 5-9.

Add flavor, color, and more beauty to your landscape by creating your home orchard. Be sure to read an earlier blog post for helpful steps before you begin planting! Visit the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Nursery to find more variety of fruit trees, perfect for your landscape. Get a discount on all of your trees when you become an Arbor Day Foundation member.

Inviting all butterflies! Create an oasis designed for them!

It is no coincidence that every time you see a butterfly, a smile stretches across your face. They are exquisite flutters of color that glide flower to flower-pollinating plants around them.  If you find yourself wanting to invite butterflies into your garden, keep reading to find out what trees and shrubs they are attracted to!

Butterflies feel welcome almost anywhere, but only if you know what they are looking for – sources of food, shelter and water. Trees and shrubs bear fruit, nuts and berries while also offering shelter and breeding places.

The best way to attract butterflies to your garden is to start with a variety of flowering and fruit trees and shrubs. We recommend choosing a mixture of both prolific bloomers and those that have a long bloom time. Butterflies attracted to the following recommendations include American lady, silvery blue, zebra swallowtail, Compton tortoiseshell, and northern pearly eye- some containing more specific species.

zebra swallowtail

Zebra Swallowtail by Shenandoah National Park

sweetbay magIn spring, sweetbay magnolias produce a profusion of creamy white flowers that carry a light lemon scent. Working well as a patio tree, it flowers best in full sun exposure and yields clusters of red fruit. Sweetbay magnolias attract different types of butterflies such as the tiger and zebra swallowtail.

silvery blue
Silvery Blue by Brad Smith

 

eastern redbudMany butterflies visit the eastern redbud because it is one of the earliest trees to bloom in the spring. A few species that are drawn to it include silvery blue, zebra swallowtail and dreamy duskywing. Its nectar and pollen attract butterflies necessary for a small healthy orchard or a vegetable garden.

white

White Admiral by Brad Smith

pink dogwoodThe pink dogwood blooms in April and May and produces a glossy red fruit that ripen in the fall.  The blossoms attract butterflies such as the American snout, white admiral and banded hairstreak.

american lady

American Lady by John Flannery

‘Blue Chip is one of the many butterfly bushes but has some unique characteristics – namely its noninvasive behavior and compact size. Sweetly scented flowers continuously bloom from midsummer through fall-attracting all types of butterflies like the American Lady. This butterfly bush is perfect for landscaping along a pathway, too.bluechip

Welcome these lovely friends into your garden by offering what they need. Visit the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Nursery to find more variety of trees and shrubs, perfect for your butterfly oasis. Get a discount on all of your trees when you become an Arbor Day Foundation member.

#TreeCityUSATuesday

Glendale, AZ

Glendale has been a designated Tree City USA community for 19 years.

Glendale AZ

Flickr | N1D0

Home to more than 230,000 residents, Glendale is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. With 40 miles of hiking trails and acres of parks, the city drives you to explore the outdoors. Don’t let the warm, dry climate discourage you from being outdoors, as you can take shade under any of the city’s 21,000 public trees. Glendale is also the home of two major sports venues: University of Phoenix Stadium and Gila River Arena.

Although Glendale is situated in the desert, it still places an importance on urban forestry. Glendale saves $116,728 in energy costs every year, and intercepts an approximate 1 million gallons of stormwater runoff annually equating to a saving of $37,000 in stormwater management costs. In addition, the trees in the city increase property value by $467,213, benefits that property owners enjoy.

Glendale’s urban forest provides more than $660,000 in economic benefits to the community.

Is your city worthy of Arbor Day Foundation #TreeCityUSATuesday recognition?  If so, please tell us about it!

Soak it in! Designing your own rain garden is easy

Have you been thinking about adding a rain garden to your landscaping? Well, this is the perfect time! In spring, the soil is softer to dig and the rainy weather contributes to the initial watering. Rain gardens are a beautiful way to enhance your landscape both visually and sustainably — benefiting everyone. So let’s get started!

Raingarden buildA rain garden is a garden in a shallow depression made to naturally gather and filter rain water -designed to temporarily collect storm water runoff from roofs, driveways, walkways, patios, and lawns. Once the water is collected, it percolates down into the soil, which is then absorbed by trees, shrubs and other plants – cleaning the water of pollutants such as pesticides and fertilizers. Rain gardens are also a natural habitat for butterflies, birds and beneficial insects. We call that a win-win!

When choosing a rain garden site, first, decide where the rain garden will be filtering storm water from such as a downspout, driveway or sump pump. This area should receive water regularly from its source during a rainstorm. Also, make sure to choose a garden site that is at least 10 feet away from building foundations and septic system to avoid storm water from leaking into these areas.

Determine your hardiness zone before picking out your trees and shrubs. Knowing which hardiness zone you live in will clarify which trees will grow properly in your area. Also, select plants that will add beauty but also have the ability to thrive in wet areas. Find information on trees and shrubs through the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Guide.

Sweetbay MagnoliaOne recomendation we have for your design is the sweetbay magnolia, thriving in zones 5-9. Its creamy white flowers have a light lemon scent and are visible in late spring and early summer. Bright scarlet-red seeded fruit ripens in the fall attracting a variety of songbirds.

Redosier DogwoodAnother colorful choice is the redosier dogwood. It has a wide range of tolerance except for extremely dry conditions. Its fibrous root system provides effective erosion control on banks and slopes. The shrub also has vibrant red stems that remain in winter-adding color all year round in zones 2-7.

Another bird-friendly option is the prairifire flowering crabapple. Long-lasting spring blossoms add variety and color to the year-round beauty it offers. Withstanding climates in zones 3-8, this ornamental is disease-resistant and able to adapt to many different conditions.Flowering Crabapple

In the final steps of designing a rain garden, dig the desired area and arrange the spacing of plants according to their directions.  Mulch the area with woodchips that won’t float away and apply so it is two to three inches deep. Remember to water!

Most importantly, while your plants are soaking in the water, you can soak in the splendor you have just created! Visit the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Nursery to find a wide variety of trees and shrubs, perfect for your rain garden. Get a discount on all of your trees when you become an Arbor Day Foundation member.

Evan Barnard, Student, Johns Creek, Georgia, High School

Research indicates that visually impaired individuals often find themselves on the perimeter of activities that sighted individuals enjoy, leading to lower than average rates of time spent in nature.

Education8bYet trees provide unique sensory experiences for the visually impaired – the textures and patterns of bark, the shapes and sizes of leaves, the unique routes carved out by roots, and the interesting paths taken by branches. An opportunity existed.  How do we get the visually impaired out in nature, enjoying trees?

Evan Barnard, a 16 year-old junior at Johns Creek, Georgia, High School, answered the call. He began work on a Braille trail — a nature trail with Braille signage and guide ropes to improve access for the visually impaired.

Evan attended a Georgia Council of the Blind meeting and invited members to experience the trail. He quickly found himself with a group of enthusiastic volunteers.

Education2b1Soon, interest in Evan’s work grew – a story appeared on the international Braille blog and he was contacted from across the nation about establishing Braille trails.

One day, standing near the Gwinnett, Georgia, Environmental and Heritage Center, Evan heard the breeze whispering in the woods, and decided the name for a new trail — Whispering Woods Braille Trail. Construction started on Global Youth Service Day.

The ability for the visually impaired to walk freely along the trail is a unique opportunity for those usually unable to enjoy the forest.  Georgia Council of the Blind members experienced the trail and provided suggestions.

Education7fThe experience was moving. One participant commented on how long it had been since he had been in nature and connected with trees, and how much it meant to him. This life-altering experience would not have been possible were it not for Evan Barnard.

Evan is sharing his work with legislators and others, and as a participant in TEDx Global Youth Day — a series of events all around the world designed to empower and inspire young people.

For determination and innovation in increasing nature access for the visually impaired, Evan Barnard is the recipient of the 2015 Award for Education Innovation. This year’s Arbor Day Award ceremony will be held at Lied Lodge & Conference Center, located at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska, on Saturday, April 25.

Do you have an Arbor Day Foundation story that you’d like to share?  Please tell us all about it in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear it!

#TreeCityUSATuesday

Louisville Metro, KY

Louisville Metro has been a designated Tree City USA community for 15 years and Growth Award recipient seven times.

Louisville KYHome to more than 750,000 residents, as well as the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Fried Chicken, Louisville is a Southern gem filled with American history and unique charm. The city also features the largest preservation historic district entirely of Victorian architecture in the country.

In addition to its cultural attractions, Louisville boasts an impressive urban forest with 37% tree canopy coverage. Louisville’s trees intercept more than 18.8 billion gallons of stormwater runoff annually, equating to nearly $63 million in stormwater management savings, and remove 6.9 million pounds of pollutants from the air annually.

Furthermore, the urban forest saves consumers $5 million in energy savings and increases property value by nearly $240 million a year.

The benefits Louisville’s urban forest provides to the city equate to approximately $330 million annually.

Is your city worthy of Arbor Day Foundation #TreeCityUSATuesday recognition?  If so, please tell us about it!

John Royster, Landscape Architect – Omaha, Nebraska

Enersen1bJohn Royster has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to serving his community as a tree planter, promoter and protector. One of John’s childhood memories is of his interest in the conservation projects on his grandfather’s farms. John built on this interest by helping care for trees as a Cub Scout. Later, as a college student, he served as a park ranger engaged in planting projects. John eventually earned a Master of Landscape Architecture degree at Kansas State University.

During his 30 year career as a landscape architect, John Royster has been committed to conservation.  By focusing on trees, one site at a time, John has made a profound impact on the Omaha region and beyond.  He’s made public engagement a priority, providing a platform to educate people about the importance of their actions to environmental quality.

In 1989, John worked with the Arbor Day Foundation to develop the site plan for the development of Arbor Day Farm, which served as the roadmap for this National Historic Landmark.

John has worked with several nonprofits, such as Girls Incorporated of Omaha, the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, Omaha by Design, and the Arbor Day Foundation, among others. John has never been afraid of getting his hands dirty. If a planting project needs to be done and John is around, you’ll likely find him in the thick of it.

Omaha-DowntownFor nearly a decade, John worked with Omaha by Design — an urban design and environmental nonprofit dedicated to enhancing Omaha’s economic development potential by improving the quality of its physical environment as an avenue to a better quality-of-life. John served as a voice for trees and conservation as a way to attract people to — and keep people in – Omaha, a Tree City USA community.

Connie Spellman, Director, Omaha by Design, said, “John’s enduring respect for the natural environment is evident in every project he touches. His passion for sustainable design helped us develop the tenets to which we remain committed a decade later.”

For his lifelong commitment to tree planting and conservation leadership in greater Omaha, John Royster is the recipient of the 2015 Lawrence Enersen Award. This year’s Arbor Day Award ceremony will be held at Lied Lodge & Conference Center, located at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska, on Saturday, April 25.

Do you have an Arbor Day Foundation story that you’d like to share?  Please tell us all about it in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear it!

Fast Growing Trees

Fast growing trees are becoming more and more popular. The reason being, home owners get to enjoy the benefits of a mature tree sooner. Fast growing trees are especially great when landscaping. Some act as quick solutions to privacy and others as shade trees.

Let’s take a closer look at six fast growing trees available in the Arbor Day Foundation Tree Nursery.

weeping willowFirst, is the weeping willow. Depending on the cultivar, weeping willow trees can grow from 3’ to 8’ per year, making it one of the fastest of the fast growing trees.  Often seen as one of the first indications of spring, the weeping willow’s yellow twigs and green foliage appear early in the season—sometimes as early as February.

Quaking aspen quaking aspen has the widest natural range of any tree in North America- fit for zones 1-7.  The name stems from how it adds movement and a soft, pleasant sound to the landscape due to the “quaking” leaves. It grows 40’ to 50’ with a 25’ spread and averaging 2’ to 3’ per year. It has stunning golden-yellow foliage in the fall to accompany its iconic white bark.

red mapleRed maple stays true to its name by featuring something red all year round-—buds in winter, flowers in spring, leafstalks in summer, and brilliant red or yellow foliage in autumn. Homeowners are growing this favorite across the Unites States because of its tolerance to a wide range of soils and deer resistant bark.

green giant arborvitaeThe green giant arborvitae  is large and vigorous. This is an exceptional landscape tree for use as a screen, hedge or single specimen. Once established, it is resistant to wind and can withstand heavy ice or snow, making it a good choice for a natural windbreak. Arborvitae provides nesting sites and cover for birds and small animals. The flower buds, seeds and foliage are a food source, although this cultivar has greater resistance to deer browsing than most arborvitae.

tuliptreeTuliptree features aromatic stems, bright green leaves, and cup-shaped flowers, which bloom in May and June. It grows well in a variety of soils and reaches heights between 70’ and 90’. Tuliptree seeds, maturing in summer and persisting into winter, provide food for both birds and mammals, including finches, cardinals, quail, mice, rabbits, and squirrels.

river birchRiver birch as its name suggests, naturally grows alongside river banks but can be grown almost anywhere in the United States. Features include being the most borer-resistant birch, works well for holding stream banks, and control erosion.

When planted properly, these trees will grow strong, healthy, and tall. Get helpful tips and information on tree care, and to find out which trees grow best in each hardiness zone.

You can find all of these trees and more in our Tree Nursery. Get a discount on all of your trees when you become an Arbor Day Foundation member.

Did your favorite fast growing tree make the list? If not, share your favorite tree in the comments!

#TreeCityUSATuesday

Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids has been a designated Tree City USA community for 17 years and Growth Award recipient twice.

Grand Rapids MIHome to nearly 200,000 people and five of the world’s leading furniture-manufacturing centers, Grand Rapids is also a major lumber and forest products center. Grand Rapids understands the importance of sustainable forestry to its economy, and values its urban forest, boasting 1.3 million trees equating to tree canopy coverage of 34%.

In addition to its industrial culture, the city offers tourist attractions such as the Van Andel Museum Center— one of the oldest history museums in the United States— and Blandford Nature Center. You can feel comfortable exploring Grand Rapids knowing that the city’s tree canopy produces an estimated 13,700 tons of oxygen per year. Additionally, it removes 236 tons of pollution saving $5.34 million a year in air filtration costs. The urban forest also lowers energy costs by $650,000 a year as a result of the shade produced by the trees.

Grand Rapid’s urban forest has a structural value of $791 million.

Is your city worthy of Arbor Day Foundation #TreeCityUSATuesday recognition?  If so, please tell us about it!