Friday, January 25, 2008

Landscape - Alternatives to Norway Maples

Norway maples have been used extensively as shade trees but have a number of problems. The can be susceptible to wilt disease, they are difficult to plant turf under, and they have become invasive in natural areas. The following are some good substitutes for Norway maples.

Red maple (Acer rubrum) – 60’, dense rounded shade tree with excellent red fall color and tolerance to both wet and dry conditions (Native to DE)

European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’) – pyramidal to oval; 40-60’ tree with late, yellow fall color and tolerance of wet and dry conditions

Katsuratree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) – 40-60’ with pyramidal to wide-spreading habit; leaves emerge reddish purple, change to bluish green in summer, and yellow in fall; may require water during drought periods

Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioicus) – 60-75’ with a narrow oval crown that tolerates dry soil and urban conditions, short-lived fall color but great bold winter structure

Sweet gum ( Liquidambar styraciflua) – 60’ pyramidal tree; purple, orange and yellow fall color on the same tree and tolerance of urban conditions (gumballs can be messy) (Native to DE)

Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) – 30-50’ irregularly rounded tree with green glossy summer foliage and brilliant red foliage in fall; tolerates wet, dry and urban conditions (Native to DE)

Swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor) – 50-60’ rounded tree with yellow-bronze fall color and excellent drought tolerance as well as tolerance to wet and urban conditions (Native to DE)

Shingle oak (Quercus imbricaria) – 30-45’ conical tree; leaves unfold red in spring with lustrous dark green summer color and yellow-brown fall color; tolerates wet, dry and urban conditions (Native to Delaware)

Information from Plants for a Liveable Delaware. For full information, credits, and pictures go to

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