Five alternatives to some of our commonly used and overused woody landscape plants include:
- Aesculus flava (octandra) Yellow Buckeye is a beautiful North American buckeye that develops an upright oval crown maturing to about 50 feet tall. The darker green leaves turn a pumpkin orange in the fall. The yellow flowers appear in May in six to eight inch panicles followed by fruit. It prefers a deeper, moist, well-drained soil and adapts to our alkaline soil.
- Crataegus x lavallei Lavalle Hawthorn is a hybrid between Crataegus mexicana and Crataegus crusgalli.It has a dense, oval to roundedcrown growing to about 15-20 feet in height and about two thirds as wide. The glossy green simple leaves turn yellow to copper-red in the fall. Clusters of white flowers appear in May into June followed by red to orange-red fruit that persists into winter. The stems usually do not have thorns.
- Maackia amurensis Amur Maackia develops into a round-headed tree maturing to 20-25 feet tall and about the same width. The bark isolive-brown and peels at maturity. Unfolding leaves are silvery-green then turn medium green. The fragrant flowers are white, blooming June to July followed by green to brown pod fruit.
- Quercus muehlenbergii Chinkapin Oak or Yellow Chestnut Oak matures to about 45 feet tall and can spread wider. Leaves turn reddish-rust in the fall. The acorn fruit is one inch in length and matures the first season.
- Pyrus calleryana ‘Whitehouse’ Whitehouse Callery Pear develops a columnar-pyramidalform with a strong central leader and upward arching branches. The leaves are a glossy green, long pointed and narrower than other clones of Callery Pear. Leaves turn reddish-purple earlier in the fall than other clones. The white flowers are a little later than other clones of Callery Pear.
These plants and many more can be viewed throughout the year during daylight hours at the Plant Environmental Research Center and Center Avenue site on the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins. Visit www.woodyplants.colostate.edu for more information.
For more information, see the following Planttalk Colorado™ video(s).