Choosing a Weeping Tree For My Front Yard

by Heidi
(MN)

Heidi is having a problem selecting a weeping tree for a front yard. Here is her question. Part of the problem is that her requirements are very strict and she lives in Zone 4 (very cold).


My dream since I was a child was to someday have a weeping willow tree (i always envisioned the prairie cascade). I started researching how to make that dream possible. Long story short, I need to look into a smaller tree due to space limitations.

I live in zone 4, SW MN. What attracts me is the weeping quality, so I'm open to other trees. I'd like to keep the spread to about 10-15', height is flexible. I'd like to have it as a stand alone tree, at least for now, so it should probably be at least 10' in height (?).

I looked at the pussy willow but I would prefer something that looks more lush. Compared to the large willows, I'd like a tree without such an aggressive root system (which maybe isn't a problem with a smaller tree). I sort of prefer a more pronounced weep. I'm open to color, whether it flowers, etc, I do want something that will really catch the eye as a focal point. The area I want to plant is full sun. The ground does have a bit of a slope. Any suggestions I would greatly appreciate. Thanks in advance!

Susan's Response

Hi Heidi,
That's a tough one. I can't think of any tree that meets those requirements for your zone. You could use a tree of that size but it would not be a weeping tree, or you could go with a larger weeping tree. If you let me know which you prefer, I will get back to you.

A River Birch has great bark color and texture.One tree that comes to mind that would work as a larger tree but does not weep (and is one of my favorites) is the River Birch. Also the White Birch is nice if you use a disease resistant variety.

The River Birch will get very, very tall, and although it gets wide also (wider than you want), you can trim the bottom branches so that the height is up high, not at ground level.

It does not flower, but the bark is beautiful. It peels and is reddish brown color. In a way, this is almost nicer than a flowering tree as you can enjoy the bark all year round. (A flowering tree only blooms for a short period by comparison.)

You can read more about the River Birch and also the White Birch here. (Some of the other ornamental trees on this page are not in your plant zone.) Ornamental Trees

You also might be interested in my new ebook Trees For Landscaping

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"Susan,  what a pleasure it was to work with you.  You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly!  Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant.  You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes.  Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it!!!"
Helen, Ontario-Canada 

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