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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - May 26, 2010

From: Hopewell, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Need a tree that grows only 15 feet tall in Hopewell, VA.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We would like to landscape an area of our yard with a tree that grows no higher than 15 feet. This location receives full sun most of the day and we would prefer a drought tolerant species or one that does not require moist soil.

ANSWER:

Some folks might call a tree that grows no higher than 15 feet a shrub. Let me show you how to do a search to find some plants to chose from.

First, go to the Native Plants Database page and scroll down to the Combination Search box , and make the following selections; select Virginia under STATE, Tree under GENERAL APPEARANCE, and Perennial under LIFESPAN. Check Sun for LIGHT REQUIREMENT, and Moist  for SOIL MOISTURE. Click on the Submit combination Search button and you will get a list of plants fitting these criteria that grow in Virginia.  Clicking on the name of each plant will pull up its NPIN page which contains descriptions, growing conditions and images of that plant.

After going through the list, I found three trees that are close to the size you specified.

Prunus virginiana (chokecherry)     20 - 30 feet    

Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree)     10 - 15 feet    

Sorbus americana (American mountain ash)    15 - 20 feet 

Repeating the search and selecting Shrub under GENERAL APPEARANCE will generate a second list of shrubs in Virginia. I looked through the list and came up with these shrubs for your consideration.

Ilex decidua (possumhaw)      15 - 30 feet    

Amelanchier laevis (Allegheny serviceberry)     6 - 20 feet   

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)         6 -12 feet 


Prunus virginiana

Ptelea trifoliata

Sorbus americana

Ilex decidua

Amelanchier laevis


 

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