Small Trees

We are beginning to plant these trees in special circumstances, like near wires, and in spaces that have limited canopy space, and that are shady.  We need experience in a variety of sites to learn how to grow them well.    They will first be planted along the sides of Oriole Park and Henderson Park, where the wires run.

We will have pictures of our own trees next year.

Raising a Allegheny Serviceberry

About this Tree

                This tree is a native understory tree (Amelanchier laevis), valued for its spring bloom and fruit.  It is 15-30 foot in height at maturity. Several cultivars, like ‘Autumn Brilliance’, have been selected for fall color.  It is similar to the Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), which tends to be a multi-stemmed tree clump.  Apple serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora) is a hybrid of A. laevis and A. arborea.  It is valued for larger flowers. 

 Of the serviceberries, the Allegheny Serviceberry has the strongest tree form and is preferred for a shaded site with low clearance.

 A Suitable Site

 William Cullina notes:   “Serviceberries are extremely adaptable and transplant readily into a range of soils.  Root systems are fibrous and shallow and thus easy to move.  The wood is dense and strong, so the tree species are very resilient to storms.”   (from Native Trees, Shrubs & Vines: a guide to using, growing and propagating North American wood plants. 2002.)  

Observations in Audubon Park:

The Serviceberry tends to form a multi-stemmed shrub like clump, but Allegheny Serviceberry is a tree form.  It has been newly planted in the Rain Garden in Curlew Park, and under the wires along Chickadee. 


Raising Your Carolina Silverbell

About this Tree

             This tree is a Carolina Silverbell (Halesia tetraptera or Halesia monticola).  There are a variety of other closely related Silverbells also available.

 Michael Dirr describes the tree as “one of my favorite small native trees; probably one of the best native trees for shady habitats.” (Adapted from Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, Dirr, fifth edition.)

A Suitable Site

             Planting locations should be selected with the tree’s ultimate dimensions and needs in mind.  Carolina Silverbell may grow to 30-40 foot in height with a spread of 20 to 35 foot, usually growing as a low-branched tree with a comparatively narrow head and ascending branches.  Container grown plants are easily transplanted.  Prefers rich, well-drained, moist acid and highly organic matter soils, and often grows as an understory tree in partial shade.


Raising an American Hornbeam

About this Tree

                This tree is a native understory tree, also known as Blue Beech or Musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana). The tree grows slowly as a small to medium multi-stemmed tree with a rounded or wide spreading crown, reaching 20-30 foot in height. It’s outstanding feature is its smooth sinuous rippled trunk, with smooth blue-gray bark. 

 Michael Dirr notes it is:  “Quite a handsome native tree...this tree has a lot to offer our landscapes in subtle beauty...  I have observed it in many landscape situations, and believe it is much more adaptable than ever given credit.”

 Michael Cullina notes:   “Fall color can be outstanding.  The wood is hard but light.  The trees are fast growing, but not particularly long lived.  When open-grown, American hornbeam has a neat rectangular canopy.”

A Suitable Site

       The American hornbeam tolerates shade and periodic flooding, but shows adaptability to different sites.  It need careful pruning to show its trunk and to shape it to the site, but should make a good tree to try when an understory tree or small shade tree is needed, particularly under wires.