Memorial Tree Selections

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Littlestar, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. Littlestar

    Littlestar Member

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    Hello - I am so happy to find this site and hope someone can help me. My family has decided to plant a memorial tree for my dad. He lived in Sechelt BC and that is where the tree will be planted. The city had a Memorial program that offers a selection of trees and benches etc, but we like the tree.

    The selection they gave us on the application is very broad and me and my brother have done some research online but still City Hall can't seem to answer our questions. You have a choice of: Ash, Dogwood, Ginko, Maple and Sequoia. There is no mention on the type though eg. Pacific Dogwood, Flowering Dogwood etc. I have emailed them to get more information but in the meantime I can only find one type of Sequoia - the giant redwoods in pictures. I thought a Pacific Dogwood would be nice becuase it's the Provincial Tree and can't be cut down, but my brother thought the hartier Sequoia would be good.

    I went to Sechelt this past weekend to pick a spot. I found a great spot near the waters edge that would be perfect for a Memorial Tree I think. There is another little one planted no too far away. My problem in deciding is because it's so close to the water there is the factor of climate and weather conditions. The other trees around the evergreens and it would get protection from those but the wind can be cold and strong and with the salt air I don't know if a Dogwood could survive. WOULD ANYONE BE ABLE TO OFFER THEIR OPINION OR SUGGESTIONS - EVEN IF YOU THINK THAT ONE OF THE OTHER TREES THEY OFFERED ABOVE WOULD BE MORE SUITABLE FOR THE OCEANS EDGE THAT WOULD BE FANTANTIC. When the tree is planted we are also having a memorial plaque installed and then can have a rememberance ceremony so any quick replies would be appreciated. Thank you very much. I have attached a photo of the path near where I would like the tree planted (in the middle of the picture you can see a stump) so you can see the conditions of the Sunshine Coast and also a picture of another memorial tree.
     

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  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  3. NiftyNiall

    NiftyNiall Active Member 10 Years

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    Having lived on the Sunshine coast for a while, I recognized the site, Dogwood trees, any plant for that matter are not protected in any way, unfortunatly for them, the powers that be, just classify them. The Pacific dogwood would probably not like it on the site proposed,they like large cobbles,well-drained soil, and usually are usually like a bit of protection provided by taller trees. Arbutus would tolerate the site, as would most conifers. Mountain ash would do ok. Gingko biloba would grow but the wind would mis-shape it. The area proposed sometimes gets very windy, and carries with it salt spray. Redwood would be a good one. You have to also think of the damage that people can do to on this very public site. Ask the people at city hall if you can talk to the head gardener; AKA; John Gillespie, he will help you more than I can with your selection. Good luck.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Does seem like at least a few questionably suitable selections, but I don't think it's unusual for parks etc. officials to prepare You Can Plant These Only lists made up of choices that probably won't give much better results than if they let people plant whatever they wanted.

    Certain ashes and certain maples are known to be good for coastal conditions. And if those are red alders on the beach there in the photo on the left, then it may not be so tough a site afterall.
     
  5. Littlestar

    Littlestar Member

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    Hello again,

    I just wanted to thank everyone who took interest in my memorail tree questions and your great advice and comments.

    After several weeks of talking to John Gillepse (thanks Niftynaill for your referral - he's a great guy!) we have choosen a Russian Olive Tree. It's surprising that an olive tree would do well there, but it was a special selection and came highly recommened by John and he tells me there are some other Russian Olive's that he's planted along the coast and they do very well there. I am looking forward to the dedication ceremony and my dad's memorial tree will be the first "offical" memorial tree planted in Sechelt. I will post pictures of the tree when it's been planted near the end of Sept.

    Thanks again for helping me make such an important decision and I look forward to the Spring when I can go up and sit under the tree when all the little yellow flowers are in bloom and smell so wonderful. I think my dad would have been very happy with the spot and the tree.

    Take care all!
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Russian olive is not an olive, as in martini olives. And those do grow here too, actually, although we are a bit cool for them. Russian olive is more conspicuous in the interior, where it looks right at home with its pale leaves. Out here they are much less frequently seen. While the appearance of its foliage and flowers can be pleasant, I do not care for its floral aroma or winter aspect.
     
  7. Littlestar

    Littlestar Member

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    Good Morning (Ron),

    Since it's been very difficult to find a suitable tree for Sunshine Coast of BC, I have been still been wondering about the Russian Olive. It was a selection that was given to me as an alternative tree. Usually for Memorial trees they offer typical trees - Maple, Sequoia, Ash, Dogwood & Ginko. While searching for pictures of the Russian Olive, I found one in bloom and it looked very nice. I saw others however that didn't look very nice and were more of a shrub then a tree. I can't find a picture of one in winter though. It's so hard to pick a tree that's different and will stand out of the coast and all the other evergreens. It was also suggested that a Red Flowering Chesnut might be nice, but I was think that the thorny seeds might be bothersome when they fall. I want a tree that I can sit under in the summer and that blooms. My brother wanted a Sequoia, but the location is not suitable since the tree can grown so big and I found out that the Russian Olive only has a life span of 50 years if there are no diseases. While I appreciate your opinion, I would like to know if you have any other suggestions for a suitable tree. In my first post there is a picture of the path were the tree will be planted so that might offer some more info on a suitable tree. Afterall, this will be my dads tree, a place for friends and family to go to as there is no other memorial site. His wish was to be part of the research for Spinal Cord Injuries and remains were donated to UBC Anatomy Dept. so having a spot to go to is very important to me and I want it to be a nice tree and there is still time to change my selection.


     
  8. Littlestar

    Littlestar Member

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    Here are some photo's of the Russian Olive...
     

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  9. Dee M.

    Dee M. Active Member 10 Years

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    I think it would be a good choice. One of the most important considerations has to be if it will grow there, and this tree would. It is a harsh environment for a flowering tree. Sure, in the winter it will be bare but that's the way most flowering trees are except for a few that won't live there. And the fruit [olive-like] would be nice for the birds to eat. I think the grey leaves would look good there and appropriate for the beach and sand. Trees often live longer the average. I would do some pruning to it when it is small to get a good tree shape and keep doing it regularly because it is naturally a large bush shape but it can be modified easily if you have a plan in mind and stick to it. Just don't skip a year when it is in it's young, formative years! The one caution I would add is that it is considered an potentially invasive plant in some areas so before people plant it they should be sure it won't be a problem in their area. It shouldn't be a problem were you live.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2005
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    As I said earlier, I don't think the spot can be all that tough with red alders(?) standing right there, perhaps actually closer to the water than where the memorial tree will be. It may not be necessary to plant a beach/seacoast tree at all - the list you were given is certainly not made up of these, although it is sufficiently dorky to suggest that little thought for the specifics of this particular location was involved.

    Without even examining the site one cannot give a tailored recommendation. Have you dug around in the planting spot and examined the soil conditions? If it's very sandy for a considerable depth that would be an important factor.
     
  11. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I have been thinking about this for a number of days and am glad to hear that you are reconsidering which tree you will plant. Elaeagnus angustifolia is indeed on invasive lists, is quite common, and difficult to appreciate from photographs alone. I know that it is stressful choosing a tree that is just right, but there is no hurry unless you would like it to be the first of the memorial trees planted, which is a bit special in and of itself. I have been working on which maples to plant in my niece's memorial garden for eight years now. In fact, is in her memory on the 21st anniversary of her birthday that I spent so much time in making our contribution to the Maple Photo Gallery on these forums.

    It seems that you probably would like to make your decision soon, but are you actually planting next September? That part of your second message was confusing. One thing that I would keep in mind is that you can have that lovely memorial on the coast, which you are fortunate is available in the community of Sechelt, and another at your home. With my niece in mind, I have been planting a lovely area at her grandma's as well.

    Personally, I think that Sequoia sempervirens is a great choice: it is magestic, has aromatic needles, produces cones at a young age, provides habitat for birds, and will stand out among the native evergreens, especially if you choose a bluer seedling or cultivar. The following is a link to an article by the "Sequoia Doctor" from San Jose State University regarding Redwoods in non-native habitats: http://www.sempervirens.org/non-native.htm. You did not mention a height or width limitation, but there are cultivars that do not grow to 400'.

    Other readers could provide some advice regarding the suggestions which follow, but I encourage you to try a google search with trees, wind, and salt tolerant, and to check out the soil as Ron suggested. I found some helpful information from sources like the University of Vermont and a nursery in Scotland, where Eucalyptus pauciflora, Snow Gum, is noted as being tolerant. It would certainly stand out among the evergreens, in part because of the beautiful bark, has aromatic leaves and smells lovely in the rain.

    You did not mention that deer were a problem in this park, otherwise the following suggestion is not appropriate. I read in several sources that Prunus mume, Japanese apricot, is salt and wind tolerant. It is quite hardy, has fragrant early winter flowers of white, pink or red on bare branches before it leafs out, and provides a winter silhouette, but does need to be pruned to shape. I do not envision you sitting beneath it on a blustery coast to enjoy the flowers from sometime between January and April, depending on the cultivar, but it is small enough to plant in a pot, so I have read. My understanding, from Levy-Yamamori's writing in Garden Plants of Japan, is that the traditional flower viewing (hanami) dates back to the ninth or tenth century when people appreciated Prunus mume.

    There were a number of trees listed as wind and salt tolerant; I will only mention two. It was stated above that Mountain Ash would do, so I only mention Sorbus hupehensis because it was recommended to me in the past, is available in Seattle if difficult to find otherwise, and because our Arboretum's specimen was so beautiful when I saw it yesterday. I believe that it is somewhat rare, so it may be difficult to find information and photographs. As a maple enthusiast, however, I mention Acer buergerianum, which would be a beautiful choice. Two links follow, including one from the forums, but there is so much available to read about this tree and its cultivars, both in the library and on the internet:
    http://www.greatplantpicks.org/conte...ergerianum.pdf
    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/fo...ad.php?t=10123.

    You may have received some private emails on the subject, and readers here would be pleased to comment on any further questions that you have. I wish you the best and hope that you can relax and let it be more of a wonderful experience planting this memorial. If the tree does not happen to make it, that is okay, another beautiful tree can be planted in its place. Last year I planted a maple, which is actually extremely rare in North America, in my niece's garden: http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=10103. It was perfectly symmetrical and beautiful, but as it stretches east, it is telling me it would love more sun. Frankly, I have often thought that Cercidiphyllum japonicum would be wonderful planted as a memorial tree, but unfortunately, not in this instance and not in this spot.
     
  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Japanese apricot can make a venerable-looking small tree, with a gnarly trunk. It does not require diligent pruning, in fact if one does not want a pollarded-looking specimen, consisting mostly of long, straight shoots heavy pruning is to be specifically avoided. Anyway, I would think there would be too much risk of this choice being taken out by cherry bark tortrix or disfigured by bacterial canker to be suitable for your purposes.

    Considering the setting it might be best to go native, Pacific wax myrtle or Hooker willow for quick effect, Garry oak for longevity. You wouldn't be able to sit under this last anytime soon, but it might still be there 500 years later. And if somebody questioned its suitability, you would have only to point to the nearby examples at Victoria.
     
  13. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Acer buergerianum at sunset this evening a moment from Puget Sound as Raven flies.
     

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