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Thursday - August 30, 2012

From: Dennisport, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Planting, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Need suggestions for a small tree for cemetery in NH.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


I would like suggestions for picking a SMALL tree for a rural cemetery in Winchester, NEW HAMPSHIRE. Would the delicate Japanese Elm be suitable for the weather, etc?


You may have done this already, but Mr. Smarty Plants suggests that you get in touch with the people who manage and maintain the cemetery to see if they have  a list of recommended plants to use as well as a list of plants you cannot use in the cemetery. One thing you can do is look around the cemetery and see what plantings are present; there may be some good examples as well as bad examples. This page makes a statement about what can happen to plants in cemeteries.

The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes; so the Japanese Elm would not get our vote. As the name implies, it is native to Japan. Also, with a crown height of 35 - 55’ and a crown width of 25 - 35’, it would be considered a medium to large tree.

To find some plants, lets go to our Native Plant Database to see if we can find a tree to fit the bill. Using the Combination Search box, select New Hampshire under State, tree under Habit, and perennial under Duration. Check sun under Light requirement and dry under Soil moisture. Click on the Submit Combination Search button, and you will get a  list of 43 trees for New Hampshire landscapes. Clicking  on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page which contains a description of the plant, its growth characteristics and requirements, and in most cases images. As you check out each plant, you can note its size and  and other features. If you repeat the search and select shrub instead of tree under Habit, you will get a list of 37 shrubs/trees for your consideration

Here is a short list of plants that could be possibilities. The first two are from the tree list, and the last two are from the shrub list.

Prunus serotina (Black cherry)  image

Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry)  image

Rhus glabra (Smooth sumac)

Amelanchier arborea (Common serviceberry)  image

As you plan, keep in mind that the plants will need some care as they grow.

You may find this article about cemetery horticulture interesting.


From the Image Gallery

Smooth sumac
Rhus glabra

Smooth sumac
Rhus glabra

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