Monday, 1 March 2010

ABC of Trees

I’ve tried to make a list of suitable trees for our area of Provence, with cold night temperatures, above freezing during the day in winter and hot summer temperatures, very often above 30°C.

During the first two years after planting , the best way to water them is once a fortnight and plentifully, at least 20-30 litres per tree. This way the roots, when they get thirsty between the watering periods, will seek water and find their way deep down into the ground, which is exactly what to aim for and then when they are really getting desperate, they get this nice dousing of water. Any suggestions to add to this list, would be welcome.

Although not all our gardens are big enough for very large trees, a few trees planted about give a certain structure to a garden. With the trees mentioned below I hope everyone can find something to fit their garden.

Conifers :
Cupressocyparis leylandii (Leyland cypress, often used for hedges) H-35m S-5m; C leylandii ‘Castlewellan’ H-35m S-5m; C leylandii ‘Harlequin’ (columnar variegated conifer) H-25m S-5m.
Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey cypress) H 30m S 4-12m; C sempervirens (Italian cypress) H 20m S 1-6m; C sempervirens ‘Stricta’ is narrowly upright H-20m S-3m.
Junipers grow in all sorts of soils, including alkaline, can cope with heat and drought.
Juniperus chinensis Keteleeri H-10m S-2m; J chinensis ‘Obelisk’ H-2.5m S-60cm; J chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ H-6m S-3m; J oxycidres (prickly juniper) native to our area H-10m; J scopulorum ‘Blue Heaven’; J scopulorum ‘Skyrocket’ H-6m S-50-60cm; J virginiana ‘Burkii’ H6m S1m; J virginiana ‘Robusta Green’ H-3m S-60cm.

Pines likes clean air and not too much shade. Although some do not like alkaline soils the ones mentioned below grow in all types of soil :
Pinus canariensis H-25m S-6-9m; P halepensis (Aleppo Pine) native to our area H-20m S-6m; P jeffreyi (Black pine or Jeffrey pine) H 25-35m, S 6-8m; P muricata (Bishop pine) H-20m, S 6-9m; P pinea (Umbrella Pine) native to our area, H-15-20m S-6-12m; P sylvestris f. fastigiata H-8m S1-3m; P wallichiana (Bhutan or Himalayan pine) H-20-35m S-6-12m.
Thuja – many varieties to choose from in all sorts of colour and shapes, a very good conifer can cope with all sorts of soils and it is very resistant to heat and drought.

Lac de Ste Croix

Evergreen trees :
Arbutus unedo (Strawberry tree), native to our area H-6m S-6m.
Cotoneaster ‘Hybridus (Salicifolius) pendulus’, semi-evergreen H-3m.
Eriobotrya japonica (Japanese loquat) – [néflier] H-6m S-6m.
Laurus nobilis (Sweet Bay) H-12m S-10m.
Magnolia grandiflora, will tolerate dry, alkaline soil H6-18m S-15m.
Olea europea (Olive) – in our part of the Var the varieties to choose are : Agla
ndau, Cayon and Picholine throughout the Var, Bouteillan (Haut Var), Salonenque (Varages), Petit Ribier and Cayet Roux (Draguignan).
Quercus cerris (Turkey Oak) H-30m S-25m, there exists a variegated form of this tree; Q ilex (Holm Oak), native to our area, H-25m, S-20m; Q x hispanica ‘Lucombeana’ (semi-evergreen) H-25m S-20m; Q x turneri (semi-evergreen) a cross between Q robur and Q ilex H-20m S-20m.
Although most oaks like deep, fertile, well-drained soil, the above mentioned oaks will cope with alkaline soil.
Ulmus parvifolia ‘Sempervirens’ (semi-evergreen) H-12m, S-10m; Ulmus parvifolia ‘True Green’ H-12m S-10m.

Trees with showy blooms :
Aesculus indica ‘Sydney Pearce’ (Indian horse-chestnut) deciduous H-15m S-15m. The normal horse-chestnut is also suitable as it likes alkaline soil.
Arbutus unedo (Strawberry tree), fruit and flower appear at the same time in late autumn H-6m S-6m.
Caragana arborescens ‘Pendula’, deciduous H-2.4m.
Cercis siliquastrum (Judas tree), native to the region, deciduous H-7m S-7m.
Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul's Scarlet’, deciduous H-4.5m.
Fraxinus ornus (Manna ash), deciduous H-15m S-15m.
Koelreuteria bipinnata, deciduous H-10m S-12m.
Laburnum x waterii ‘Vossii’ H-6m.
Laurus nobilis (Sweet Bay) H-12m, S-10m.
Magnolia delavayi, deciduous H-10m S-10m; Magnolia grandiflora H6-18m S-15m.
Melia azedarach (Bead Tree, Persian Lilac), deciduous H-10m S-10m.
Prunus ‘Amanogawa’, deciduous H-6m S-4m, Prunus dulcis (Almond), deciduous H-8m S-8m.
Punica granatum (Pomegranate), deciduous H-5m S-4m.
Robinia pseudoacacia, deciduous H-25m S-20m.
Sophora japonica (Japanese pagoda tree), deciduous H-30m S-20m.
Sorbus domestica – native to the region, deciduous H-20m S-12m.
Tamarix H-4m S-3m.

Fruit trees :
Most of the fruit trees will need watering, they'll survive if not watered, but they look quite miserable during the height of the summer.

Arbutus unedo (Strawberry tree) H-6m S-6m. Fruit contains many pips, but is very nice as a jelly or compote.
Castanea sativa (Sweet Chestnut) only in acid soils.
Diospyros kaki (Persimmon) H-10m S-10m, lovely autumn colours and fruits stay on the tree after the leaves have dropped.
Eriobotrya japonica (Japanese loquat) [néflier] H-6m S-6m.
Ficus carica (edible Fig) H-3m S-4m, they are quite hardy, but even the fig can look a bit sad during the hottest period and would benefit from some water.
Olea europea (Olive), various types mentioned above.
Morus alba (White Mulberry) H10m S-10m; Morus nigra (Black Mulberry) H-12m S-15m.
Poncirus trifoliata (Japanese bitter orange) H-5m S-5m.
Prunus armeniaca (Apricot) H-6m; Prunus domestica (Plum) H3-6m; Prunus dulcis (Almond tree) H-8m S-8m.
Punica granatum (Pomegranate) H-5m S-4m.

Other deciduous trees :
Acer griseum (Paperbark maple) H-6m.
Acer monspessulanum (Montpelier maple) H-8m S-8m.
Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven), very invasive H-25m S-15m.
Celtis australis (Australian nettle tree) H-20m S-20m.
Crataegus prunifolia H-4.5m.
Platanus x acerifolia (Plane tree) H-30m S-25m.
Populus alba (White Poplar) H-20m S-20m.
Prunus serrula, grown for its bark H-10m S-10m.
Quercus pubescens (Downy Oak), native to the region H-25m.
Salix x sepulcralis ‘Chrysocoma’, needs occasional watering H-15m S-15m.

Palms :
Chamaerops humilis (European fan palm), native to the Mediterranean H-4m S-1.5m.
Trachycarpus fortunei (Chusan palm) H-8m S-3m.
Washingtonia filifera H-30m S-5m.

[Bibliography : Royal Horticultural Society – A-Z Encyclopedia; Hugo Latimer – Mediteranean Gardener; Heidi Gildermeister – Mediterranean Gardener; Collins – Mediterranean Wild Flowers; Peter Mc Hoy – Choosing Small Trees; Adrian Bloom – Making the Most of Conifers & Heathers; Tirion – Bomengids in kleur.]

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