Beautiful Large Trees - March 2011 article

Last month my article was on stunning trees for smaller urban  sections. Today I want to talk about trees that lend themselves to the bigger sized property.

We are very fortunate in the Waikato that our climate lends itself to being able to grow a wide range of beautiful  large growing trees.

We get a good overall yearly rainfall, and the winds are not too bad for most of the year .
The trees I am talking about today are fine examples for shading stock in a paddock or lining a large driveway. Basically they all in time get to be large specimens and so when you plant any at your property, make sure that you don't plant them too close together and give them plenty of room to spread their limbs, so that in 150 years time they will be beautiful specimens for future generations to admire.
My wife Val and I are very fortunate that we live on a property at the Rukuhia Homestead which has numerous trees that are at least 150 years old, including Planes, Oaks, Copperbeech, Himalayan Cedar, Evergreen oaks. Because these trees are so old, and have been cared for over the years, they are now just amazing specimens. So just remember when you plant one of these types of trees on your farm or lifestyle block that in 150 years, future generations will be very grateful.

PLATANUS - Plane tree - the two most popular are the LONDON PLANE and the ORIENTAL PLANE.Wonderful specimens of these trees can be seen in the streets of Cambridge, and surrounding countryside amongst the horse studs and farmland. The planes are quick growing, extremely hardy to the elements and they won't take long to give you a descent sized tree.When the tree is young, make sure that it stays with only the one central leader and this will ensure a beautiful specimen tree in years down the track. The bark is very attractive as the tree matures, changing into shades of cream /grey tones and will peel in flakes as it matures. If you want a tree that will give you impact quickly on your large property, then the plane trees are a very good option, but definitely not suitable in the city sized section. The photo of the plane tree in the attached photo is in our driveway, its hard to get a  large specimen tree better than the plane tree.

QUERCUS - Oak tree - this is also a fantastic family of trees, especially noted for their outstanding display of autumn foliage colour, and will live for a hundreds of years. The most common are SCARLET OAK - as its name suggests will bring on a dazzling display of fiery autumn  foliage before the leaves drop. Performs well next to a duck pond or damp area. ENGLISH OAK - the specimen in the attached  photo is one in our lawn. This shows  what a lovely shade tree this turns into, the best variety for acorns. PIN OAK - another beauty for its autumn colours, has a wide drooping spread. Keep taking the lower branches off, and this will encourage it to keep pushing upwards, turning into a fine specimen for  many future generations to enjoy
GOLDEN WEEPING WILLOW - this weeping tree makes a wonderful shade tree for the stock, especially in damp soils.Very hardy to the elements. You will find that the stock will keep the lower branches trimmed up for you. This selection looks great in the winter even with no leaves, with its golden willowy stems bending with the breeze. A real easy care tree, and like the above trees, there are many fine specimens in paddocks around the Waikato.

COPPER BEECH - one of the best specimen trees you can get, but considerably slower in its growth rate.When you plant one of these trees, you are really planting it for the benefit of future generations. They, like the oak tree live for hundreds of years. The rich velvet/red foliage is breathtaking in the spring when it opens and it keeps this brilliant foliage colour right through to the autumn. Perfect as a specimen in a large lawn or in the paddock as a shade tree for the stock.

LIQUIDAMBERS - this family of trees is deservedly very popular, due to the amazing  autumn display which we will see very shortly all over the Waikato. Another name is AMERICAN SWEETGUM - this is due to the fragrant resin produced by these trees. In  past years LIQUIDAMBERS were all grown by seed, so the variations in autumn colouring and growth habit were like a lottery and you never knew what you were going to get. Over time nurserymen from all over the world have made some outstanding LIQUIDAMBER selections, and these trees are  now vegetatively propagated and are on the market under various names - some are L. FESTERII, L. LANE ROBERTS, L. BURGUNDY, L.WORPLESDON and you can even get a selection called GUMBALL, that grows to only two metres tall,with a round head on it like a colourful gumball. A great selection if you are wanting something colourful for a smaller garden

If you have the space, then I would recommend that this winter you plant a few of the great trees I have mentioned today, because they will give you endless years of beauty and importantly keep on giving for many generations into the future.

Happy Gardening from Graeme
Rukuhia Homestead Landscaping

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Graeme Burton - Landscaper - Rukuhia Homestead, RD2, Ohaupo 3882
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