15 March 2007

Street trees

So the city wants to put a Ginko in front of the neighbors' house. It's not my favorite, but considering the options and limitations (power lines), I can live with it (we've been assured it's will be male). But I know very little about this category of plant, so I wanted to see what Chuck and Trey have to say. And you!

Cercis canadensis Eastern Redbud
Lagerstroemia indica x L. fauriei Crape Myrtle
Photinia fraseriPhotinia
Prunus cerasifera ‘Thundercloud’Purple Leaf Plum
Pyrus kawakamiiEvergreen Pear
Rhus lanceaAfrican Sumac
Tristania laurina ‘Elegant’Water Gum
Acer buergeranum Trident Maple
Aesculus carnea ‘Briotii’Red Horsechestnut
Alnus cordata Italian Alder
Eriobotrya deflexaBronze Loquat
Geijera parviflora Australian Willow
Ginkgo biloba ‘Saratoga’ or ‘Autumn Gold’ Maidenhair Tree
Koelreuteria bipinnataChinese Flame Tree
Koelreuteria paniculataGolden Rain Tree
Laurus nobilis ‘Saratoga’Saratoga Laurel
Magnolia grandiflora ‘Saint Mary’Saint Mary Magnolia
Maytenus boaria ‘Green Showers’ Mayten Tree
Metrosideros excelsusNew Zealand Christmas Tree
Pyrus calleryana ‘Aristocrat’ Aristocrat Pear
Sapium sebiferumChinese Tallow Tree
Eucalyptus microthecaCoolibah Tree
Fraxinus oxycarpa ‘Raywood’Raywood Ash
Gliditsia [sic] triacanthos inermis ‘Shademaster’ Thornless Honey Locust
Nyssa sylvaticaSour Gum or Tupelo
Pistacia chinensis‘Keith Davey’ or ‘Pearl Street’ Chinese Pistache
Platanus acerifolia‘Yarwood’London Plane
Podocarpus graciliorAfrican Fern Pine
Quercus rubraRed Oak
Quercus shumardiiShumard Red Oak

Note: not a single native, and no habitat trees (as far as I can tell). Habitat = "messy" of course. Some of these are pretty disease prone. Some good resources for street trees, especially in California, are Cal Poly's selectree and the Palo Alto "urban" Canopy. This is zone 9/17.

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Blogger chuck b. said...

Aesculus carnea ‘Briotii’ would be my vote. I have to run, so I'll come back later and say more.

Ginkgo grow so slowly. Chances are good someone will back a car into it before it gains any real stature.

3/15/2007 2:36 PM  
Blogger chuck b. said...

I guess the Eastern redbud is more tree-like than the western which tends toward shrubbiness. I wonder, tho', if it gets cold enough in the Bay Area for it to set bud. I'm not sure that it needs cold to set bud, but I'm not sure that it doesn't either. Geez. I guess you could say that I'm not sure.

So, so, so tired of Prunus cerasifera. Ixnay on the Runuspay.

Although... those pink, cottny flowers are a fabulous harbinger of spring when they burst out in late winter. And you can put the deciduous stems in a vase of water and watch the buds swell and open on the kitchen table.

Tristania laurina is a super-common street tree in San Francisco. I can think of three just on my block. I like it's yellow flowers in summer. It's a small tree and tends to be grow in a narrow pyramid-shape. Which is nice for a street tree.

Eriobotrya deflexa looks like a Berkeley plant. It's dark and textural with serrated leaf margins. Also very common in San Francisco. Will absolutely need the services of a professional arborist as it matures.

Maytenus boaria...love, love, love this tree.

Metrosideros exelsus. This tree wants to drop aerial roots and I feel like it would rather be in a park than a sidewalk, but it's used extensively in San Francisco. (Looks nothing like any Christmas tree.)

Platanus acerifolia. I don't generally like this tree, but I might like it better in warmer Berkeley. This is the tree they pollard in the bandshell in Golden Gate Park. Big leaves. Deciduous. I think deciduous trees are the way to go with street trees, especially on Berkeley's cosy streets where it would be very dark in the wintertime under a canopy of evergreens.

Podocarpus are cool trees. The wind will really put the leaves in motion. Same with the Maytenus boaria. It's nice to get easy motion like that from a tree, imo. It's one of the reasons I like bamboo.

The Crape Mytrle and Magnolia...all nice.

I don't have a lot of experience with the other trees and don't know what to say about them.

As far as power lines go, a lot of these trees will grow right into them, so I don't think this list is really tuned to avoid that problem.

They're probably more worried about sidewalks.

3/16/2007 7:35 PM  
Blogger trey said...

Just took a glance at the list but would like to comment on it. Today, Saturday is a bright sunny one here in the foothills and I have to open the nursery and have a great day! Let me get back to this over the weekend and I’ll post my reply then.

3/17/2007 11:33 AM  
Blogger trey said...

I think Photinia is overplayed but it can be pruned into an easy care small tree. Prunus ‘Krauter Vesuvius’ would have been a better choice than “Thundercloud’ as ‘Thundercloud’ sometimes produces fruit (messy on sidewalks) and “Krauters” rarely does. The Red Horse Chestnut is a great hummingbird attractant.

All-in-all it’s a fairly decent list. As far as no natives included that’s o.k., as it would almost be too much to ask a native plant to try and grow in an urban setting. So the fact that the city is planting trees that will at least have a fighting chance and not being pressured to “go native” as some municipalities have done is good.

There are lots of other trees that could be included so I wonder if the choice of trees is limited to the list or is this just a guide line? I like Arbutus “Marina” which is a great small tree. I wonder about powdery mildew on the Crape Myrtle? When I worked in Belmont it was too humid for them. Maybe in the warmer East bay hills they do better?

I would love to know how they plant the trees. Do the incorporate any mychorizzae into the soil? I do know it’s becoming a trend in cities where the tress need all the help they can get.

3/18/2007 12:36 PM  
Blogger mmw said...

Thanks guys -- I tried to respond earlier but blogger ate my comment and pissed me off.

In short, I was dubious about the Crape Myrtle and the prunus, and the pears, because of disease.

I was hoping for something like Embothrium coccineum.

The list is roughly in order of size, so the bottom third or so are def. out. These are the trees that the city will plant for you. They might cut your sidewalk and let you plant whatever you want but I don't know.

3/19/2007 6:32 PM  

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