En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Summer flowering small trees for NY

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - April 20, 2011

From: New York, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Summer flowering small trees for NY
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Request recommendations about trees for terrace. Would like flowers or color in summer; not spring. (Some of my trees are twenty five feet high.) Full sun, some wind, large containers. Please recommend two or three deciduous trees.

ANSWER:

Well, this is a tough one. The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to promote the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes.  That means that we can only recommend plants that are native to your area and have evolved in and adapted to the natural conditions in your area prior to European settlement.

That is a roundabout way of saying there are no trees native to NYC that are really adapted to life in a container in full sun and the stresses associated with it. 

You will probably have to contact a nursery professional experienced with large container planting and you should look at examples around you in the city to see what plants are doing well in containers.

That being said, you really should be considering a large shrub instead of a small tree.  Most trees bloom in the spring but shrubs tend to bloom in the summertime and there are quite a few shrubs that can attain a significant size.  They can also be pruned to be quite attractive in a container.  When you do make a selection, you will need to consider winter root hardiness and select a shrub that will survive in at least one USDA Zone colder than yours.  That is because in the wintertime, the air is actually significantly colder that the soil.

Our Native Plant Database will generate a list of plants that are native to New York.  Do a Combination Search selecting: New York/shrub/sun/dry conditions and 6-12 ft size and it generates a list of 17 plants.  If you think you can keep the container moist, your choices will be broader with 26 to choose from.

The only plant from those lists that might be remotely interesting as a container plant is:

Physocarpus opulifolius (Atlantic ninebark)

It flowers in the summertime, the seedpods are a colorful red and remain on the plant for an extended period and it turns yellow in the fall.  There are cultivated varieties that offer variation in leaf color and red fall color.

You might also have luck with small, tough northern trees like

Betula nigra (River birch)

It will survive in a container (and not attain its maximum size), but does not meet your requirement of summer flowers.

I am sorry we could not give you the answer you were looking for.  Again, we encourage you to seek advice from local landscape professionals.


Physocarpus opulifolius


Physocarpus opulifolius


Physocarpus opulifolius


Betula nigra


Betula nigra


Betula nigra

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Possible webbing bark lice on oak tree
August 08, 2008 - We live near the Center and have a large live oak tree in our yard. Recently the lower trunk has been covered with thin, white weblike material (not sure if spider web). What could this be and is it d...
view the full question and answer

Are American sycamore or hybrid poplar trees toxic to dogs in San Antonio?
August 26, 2009 - We anticipate planting an American Sycamore or a Hybrid Poplar tree in our back yard but we have several small dogs and are concerned that they may eat some of the leaves. Do either of these trees po...
view the full question and answer

Removing grass under oak trees in Pflugerville TX
August 30, 2009 - I would like to use the newspaper-and-mulch method to smother grass under the canopy of live oaks, a bur oak, and a lacey oak so that I can plant natives that will thrive there. However, I'm concern...
view the full question and answer

Diagnosis of problem with Parsley hawthorn
August 06, 2007 - I have a Crataegus marshallii (Parsley hawthorn) that is about 3 years old. It leafed out this spring and flowered lightly. As the summer has progressed, though, the leaves have been dropping premat...
view the full question and answer

Encouraging branch growth of live oak trees in Austin
February 10, 2009 - I recently had an elm tree cut down that was crowding out 2 live oak trees in my front yard. The oaks have no branches on the sides that were next to the elm. The elm stump is still there. I need to ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center