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Drive the Detroit area to see sterling examples of
unusual trees to replace ash trees
I'm looking for info on a "Village Green" variety
Zelkova tree. We're considering it for our full sun S.E. exposure
front yard (replacing an Ash tree that was on the other side of the
front). I understand it's similar in appearance to an American Elm
with an added benefit of turning a russet red in the fall. We are
looking for a large shade tree. Does anyone know where I
could see a growing tree on it's way to maturity?
Zelkova (Z. serrata) is a sturdy medium size shade
tree, 50 to 70 feet tall. Its limbs spread up and out to make a
vase that's wider than it is tall, a great shape for casting shade
from on high. People can walk beneath a zelkova without bumping
into low hanging branches and the lawn will not be shaded out.
Zelkovas may turn wine red in fall but they're as likely to be
'Village Green' and "Green Vase' are varieties you're likely to
find at area nurseries. 'Village Green' was selected for a reliably
straight trunk, 'Green Vase' for its fast growth rate in youth, up
to 36 inches per year versus 18 to 24 inches for the species.
Since a shade tree can be a lifetime fixture you're wise
to look at the full grown tree before you choose. You were
also smart to ask the right questions of a salesperson who not only
knows the plants in the nursery but recognizes them in the
A city of great trees
Deciding on a tree to replace your ash tree, working from the
list I've published here and made available to readers? You
may think those trees are too unusual to be shopped in the way that
D is shopping for a zelkova. Not so! They are not common, and
that's the point, that we should not plant all the same few,
already-overused species to replace the millions of ashes we're
losing. But they are not rare.
Japanese tree lilac(Syringa reticulata).
Kousa dogwood(Cornus kousa).
Golden rain tree(Kolreuteria paniculata).
Maidenhair tree(Ginkgo biloba).
American linden or basswood(Tilia americana).
Bur oak(Quercus macrocarpa).
Kentucky coffee tree(Gymnocladus dioicus)
Dawn redwood(Metasequoia glyptostroboides) is a fast
growing big tree that's a clean pyramidal form in the
Originally published 6/12/04
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