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Mr. Smarty Plants - Tree for memorial in Levittown NY

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Monday - August 09, 2010

From: Levittown, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Tree for memorial in Levittown NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am planning a tree planting memorial in Wantagh Park and I don't know what will be hardy enough to grow there. There are the constant breeze and salt water elements to deal with there and of course it will have to depend on mother nature for its water supply! The park has suggested a weeping willow or a locust tree(?). Do you have any suggestions? I would like something that will stand out so maybe one with a different color leaf.

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center will recommend only plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants are being grown. So, we will go to our Recommended Species section of our Native Plant Database, and look for trees native to the area of Nassau County on the western end of Long Island, east of New York City. We also looked up Wantagh Park, and it looks like a lovely place for a living memorial of trees. We can see what you mean about the sea breeze and water elements as the park seems to be bordered on two sides by inlets from the Atlantic.  However, the surrounding ocean apparently also moderates the temperatures, as it appears to be in USDA Hardiness Zone 7b, a good deal more moderate than most of the rest of the state.

In reference to the two trees suggested for your project: Gleditsia triacanthos (honeylocust) is native to New York and, in fact, seems to grow very well on Long Island, according to this USDA Plant Profile. On the other hand, non-native to the United States, Salix x sepulcralis is a hybrid of a Chinese species (Peking willow) and a European species (white willow), and is said to grow in Zones 5 to 8 in the United States. It is weak-wooded, fast-growing and, therefore, short-lived. It has aggressive roots, can lift sidewalks and interfere with sewer lines, often growing on soil surface, making a problem with mowing. It is susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, and notorious for littering the ground beneath it. That is to say, we don't like it. 

Follow each plant link to our webpage on that tree to find out its projected size, appearance and whether or not it is evergreen. All of the trees we are suggesting are shown by the USDA as growing in the locale in question, so they should be prepared for the salt water, the breezes and the amount of rainfall. 

Trees for Memorial in Levittown, NY:

Betula populifolia (gray birch)

Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic white cedar)

Gleditsia triacanthos (honeylocust)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)

Liriodendron tulipifera (tuliptree)

Quercus coccinea (scarlet oak)

Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Betula populifolia

Chamaecyparis thyoides

Gleditsia triacanthos

Ilex opaca

Juniperus virginiana

Liriodendron tulipifera

Quercus coccinea

Quercus macrocarpa

 

 

 

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