Need advice picking a shade tree

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by dochockin, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. dochockin

    dochockin New Member

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    Location:
    Merville, BC
    Hello!

    I'm seeking advice on choosing deciduous shade trees for our property. We have large windows on the SW side of our house, on both the second and third stories. We are located in the Comox Valley, mid Vancouver Island (Zone 9a). We have 5 acres, so property size is not an issue when choosing shade trees.

    The parts of the house behind those large SW facing windows get HOT! in the summer. I'd like to plant a shade tree (or multiple shade trees) to keep the sun out during the summer. The SW facing side of the house is about 30 feet across. The top of the highest windows are approximately 25 feet above ground level.

    I'd like a fast growing tree, so we can have shade asap (I do plan to try and track down a container sapling that already has some height to get a jump on the growth). Our septic tank is on the western corner of that side of the house, and there is a tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) planted beside the tank.

    I'd also like to find a tree with great secondary qualities (nuts? autumn colour?). Why not stack uses, eh?

    What trees would you recommend?
     
  2. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    gulf island, bc, canada
    Robinia Pseudoacacia "Frisia", Paulownia tomentosa, Heartnut, Toona sinensis all come to mind, and are relatively fast growing.
     
  3. dochockin

    dochockin New Member

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    Thanks for the info woodschmoe!

    The heartnut sounds interesting, but as far as I can tell it only grows 1-2 feet per year... is your experience with them different?

    Ideally I'd like to find something that will grow faster than that... Though I'll consider planting some heartnut somewhere else on the property.
     
  4. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Heartnuts are the fastest growing nut tree, in my experience (here on the coast, at any rate), with the rate of growth depending on the site: 1-2' per year is average, but on sites with moist soil, I've seen them put on more like 4' per year.

    For me, Toona sinensis has been the fastest deciduous tree, by far: it typically puts on 3-4' per year for me (I'm growing a few). Second would be locusts, with "Purple Robe" being faster than 'Frisia' (again, though, about 2-3' per year....). Paulownia, oft-touted as the 'world's fastest growing tree' seems to be slower than the above: they seem to sit for the first year, often die back, and then spring forth the following season. Once they are established, they might be faster than the others mentioned, but for me, nothing has beat the Toona.

    I think you'll be hard pressed to find a deciduous tree that's faster (in your location) than those mentioned (that's not a red alder....): though doubtless others will pipe in with alternatives.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    You need an arbor or other architectural solution. Otherwise you are going to be waiting years for relief.
     
  6. ScottWales

    ScottWales Member

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    A little copse of birch (4-5 trees in an informal group) might suit since that than presenting a solid screen of leaves, you'd end up with a more dappled "net curtain" effect, with the solar energy decreased while still allowing you to see though the semi-porous foliage. B. ermanii or B. nigra are very quick growers in good conditions, and I've planted many 5-6-metre+ trees with little difficulty in establishment, although on this warm aspect you'd almost certainly need some temporary irrigation getting them away if you went for such large trees. 75mm deep mulch to beyond the drip line would help too.
     

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