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View Full Version : Need ideas for trees! (In central VA)



TooManyChickens
May. 18, 2011, 04:25 PM
I live on a large farm that I rent from an absentee owner who is currently in the process of making some nice renovations to the pasture and property. One of the new projects was straightening a fence line that once curved to be straight, so that when you drive in, the new driveway will follow that fence line and then bend up to his home. He wants to plant some trees along the driveway, to give that 'awe' effect when driving in. My green thumb shriveled up and died a long time ago, so I have no idea what would be good here, but I'd love some suggestions as to what we could plant here that would be 'relatively' fast growing, would not poison the horses, and would be, well, pretty :)

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

JSwan
May. 18, 2011, 04:29 PM
Dogwoods and Redbuds.

Beyooootiful in all seasons. Plus, they are not large trees so won't overpower the driveway.

Plus, they're native to VA and so will be easy care.

rustbreeches
May. 18, 2011, 08:54 PM
Love redbuds, you can sprinkle the buds in salads. Perhaps alternating with cedar so even out of season the drive would still be gorgeous. Maples give such amazing fall color. I believe tulip poplars have an amazing growth rate for almost instant wow factor

SMF11
May. 18, 2011, 10:19 PM
I have five silver maples lining our driveway -- they grow really fast and make a huge shade tree (eventually). I'm a bit farther north than you, so don't know how they do in Virginia.

Crabapples do well here too, and are my favorite tree. I think they look very impressive in the spring if there's a bunch of them. However I've no idea if the horses would love eating the crabapples.

fordtraktor
May. 18, 2011, 11:23 PM
I would personally go with spruce or pine or something evergreen, because I hate that dead tree look all winter. My driveway is lined with spruce, and I have several groves of spruce, cedar and pine around the house and barn. It provides a very private feel, is beautiful year-round, and doesn't make me depressed for six months out of the year like deciduous trees do. Love them.

We had a big grove of pines behind my family farmhouse in WV, they were gorgeous. They might do better in the central VA climate -- call your local extension agent for recommendations for local evergreens that will be very successful.

jbonifas
May. 19, 2011, 05:22 PM
My driveway is lined with pecan trees on one side. They are a nice cash crop come fall harvest. Crepe Myrtles are very hardy and flower in the summer but I don't know if you are too far north for them. Stay away from bradford pears as they have structural issues in severe weather like ice and high wind.

rmh_rider
May. 19, 2011, 05:29 PM
Leland Cypress.

No leaf drop, provides shelter from the wind, Shade, green all year round, healthy, fast growing, won't get so big (silver maple) that it will fall on the house or any fences. No bees, no flowers to attract bees, not much if any thing likes to munch on them. Very nice shape to them.

Crap Myrtles are prone to jap beetles. They do loose their leaves, and sometimes people do the crape murder and prune horribly. Also they will stain your driveways, they did mine. Not nice looking over the winter.

Can't go wrong with Leland Cypress. If they can live in 'Bama, they can live anywhere!

Trevelyan96
May. 19, 2011, 06:28 PM
Crepe Myrtle are stunning as well, and grow really well in this area (zone 7). Once they get bigger, you can remove lower branches and they give a lovely architectural effect.

Frank B
May. 19, 2011, 10:57 PM
Ditto avoiding Bradford Pears. They're suicidal.

shakeytails
May. 19, 2011, 11:01 PM
Pin Oaks.

ETA- just thought of another- Thornless Honey Locust.

HunttoLive
May. 20, 2011, 06:20 AM
I wouldn't use Tulip Poplars as they are prolific spreaders of seeds and can overrun an area. There are many varieties of dwarf apple trees that would work as well.

One warning is to be careful about how wide he tree gets. Our previous farm came with pine trees growing along the driveway on both sides. They got so wide I had to limb them to about 12' off the ground. That looked kind of silly.

The other problem with pines in the virginia area is the pine bark beetle. They get into young pine trees and kill them.

wishnwell
May. 20, 2011, 07:33 AM
I love Sugar Maple....beautiful and so colorful in the fall. They don't grow fast, but worth the wait.

jdeboer01
May. 20, 2011, 09:21 AM
I have five silver maples lining our driveway -- they grow really fast and make a huge shade tree (eventually). I'm a bit farther north than you, so don't know how they do in Virginia.

Silver Maple, Sugar Maple, and Red Maple are toxic to horses!
http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/maple.html

LauraKY
May. 20, 2011, 09:31 AM
Silver Maple, Sugar Maple, and Red Maple are toxic to horses!
http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/maple.html

Great. I knew about silver and red...of course there are huge sugar maples along my road. Guess that electric fence will be going up sooner rather than later.

TooManyChickens
May. 20, 2011, 12:09 PM
Thanks everyone! So far the Leyland cypress and the Spruce trees are winning with the farm owner. I really like that they stay green year round.. I think that's a big plus. I'm sure there will be some pruning involved at some point, which is fine.. The main house on the property that the driveway leads to is somewhat Spanish-inspired, so I think the cypress will look lovely. I hope we get the gravel down soon for the new drive.. I want to see those trees in!

JSwan
May. 20, 2011, 06:14 PM
Wait! One (actually two) more suggestions!

I was reading American Bungalow magazine and there was this really cool tree featured - a Camperdown Elm.

Here's a photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulmus_glabra_%27Camperdownii%27

Also, there are disease resistant American Elms available now - here is some info:

http://www.usna.usda.gov/Newintro/american.html

Perhaps neither would be suitable or desirable for your driveway project - but maybe you might be interested in planting one or more for fun... or maybe plant an Elm as a specimen. They are an incredible shade tree.

carp
May. 20, 2011, 08:36 PM
JSwan, you beat me to it. I was going to suggest a fungus resistant strain of elm too. I've been a few places where there are still mature elms growing along paths and roads. Lovely trees. They don't tend to kill the plants under them as badly as maples do; their branching pattern lets more light and air get down to the ground.

jody jaffe
May. 21, 2011, 07:21 AM
We lined our driveway with a coordinating combo of crabapples, kousa dogwoods, purple leafed red buds, blue spruces, maples, honey locusts and fruitless sweetgums.

that may sound like a dizzying array, but the driveway is long and the rotating color between all the varieties is beautiful all year around, starting with the velvet purple tips of the red buds, followed by the fluffy white and pink blossoms of the crabapples, then come the bright chartreuse leaves of the honey locusts, followed by elegant white kousa dogwood flowers, then the majesty of the maples (fast, fast growers) which wait till fall for their spectacular show, while the silvery blue spruces stay lush all year and red crabapples dot the stark winter landscape. It's a year round show.

All those trees have done well in Lexington, Va. so would prob work for where you are. If you live in the Valley, I'd go to Village Landscape in Fishersville. They have a large selection of gorgeous and unusual trees and Jef, their design guy, can walk you around the place and tell the you virtues of each tree. If your land owner wants him to design it, he can do that too. Trees are a permanent, expensive investment so it's always good to have an expert's take on things.

Lelands are fast growers and are often planted for living fences and/or to block roads, neighbors etc. To me, a row of them lining the driveway wouldn't be as beautiful as some of the other trees mentioned.

Calamber
May. 21, 2011, 07:54 PM
If your landlord has the dough, get him to plant boxwoods, the english variety. They will eventually grow quite tall, have the dark green effect, are soft to run your hands through and have a smell that I treasure from the past. You could intersperse them with dogwoods, redbuds and azaleas. Talk about awe. I like the variety that Jody suggests but I love the Sunburst Locust. Feathery leaves, bright yellow in spring, changing to lime green, and then darkens. All of these do well in any of the regions of Virginia.

chemteach
May. 22, 2011, 08:29 AM
I would plant willow oaks. The leaves are so small they will not need raking. I also enjoy my sugar maples. You need to consider what height you would like the tree to attain and the amount of sun in the planting area. Dogwoods will generally not do well in full sun.

carolprudm
May. 22, 2011, 03:03 PM
I love the combination of redbuds and native dogwoods but dogwoods are not very hardy. I would go with crape myrtle or one of the larger variteies of butterfly bush. I find the bare crape myrtle shapes interesting in winter. Butterfly bushes get hacked off to kneehigh in the winter, they can grow 6 to 8 feet a season.

Goats won't eat either so they are probably deer safe. Goats, and probably deer, LOVE native dogwood

stryder
May. 22, 2011, 03:35 PM
One warning is to be careful about how wide he tree gets. Our previous farm came with pine trees growing along the driveway on both sides. They got so wide I had to limb them to about 12' off the ground. That looked kind of silly.



Ditto. Other considerations: how tall the tree will get (if power/utility lines are a factor), whether the roots tend to pop out of the ground (can affect the driveway integrity), how they'll be watered until they establish a good root system.

There are no bad trees. Just good trees in the wrong place.

nightsong
May. 23, 2011, 02:50 PM
I would personally go with spruce or pine or something evergreen, because I hate that dead tree look all winter.


Agree. Avoid those cheap white pines; they are cheap and fast-growing, but look HORRIBLE and end up pretty darned spindly. Look like something that ought to be cut down as part of weed removal.

AnotherRound
May. 23, 2011, 08:22 PM
Weeping willows?

I almost said a "womping willow". <giggle> i'm watching Harry Potter.