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Patio tree help

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Patio tree help

Postby ptwonline@yahoo.com » Aug 07, 2012 2:27 pm

Novice gardener here! Need advice about choosing and placing a tree near a patio. I live in the north end of the city of Toronto, and I have pretty heavy clay soil.

Our patio gets brutal sun from the south from noon until about 4 PM, and the pergola on top only helps a bit (most shade is cast behind it). I have limited space between the south side of the patio and the fence (16 feet with a path running down the middle of it) and my neighbour has an arbour with some vines about 8 feet high right at the fence.

As a result I think I want to plant a pretty small tree to the south side of my patio, but very close to the patio. Close as in 1-2 feet from the pavers, and also 1-2 feet from a concrete block walkway. The tree itself would be about 7-8 feet away from the house.

Questions:

1. Is it reasonable to be able to plant a well-behaved tree that close to pavers and to the house? I love fruit trees but that close it will create a mess on my patio. It can't be overly bushy that close or else it will get a bit too much into our faces on the patio.

2. I currently have a garden bed in that area. Will a tree choke everything else out?

3. What size tree should I get? Something really small (6-8 feet) to create a direct screen? Or something taller to angle shade down? It will definitely get full sun. I was looking at dwarf Japanese Maples but I don't know enough about them to know if they are suitable.

I was thinking about a hedge but I just want a bit of dappled shade. Hedges and evergreens make me feel boxed-in, countering the purpose of putting up something open like a pergola in the first place. Plus I simply love trees (it broke my heart when I had to cut a cherry tree down a few years back).

I was also thinking about a tree kept in a container, but as a novice gardener I'm scared enough already trying to keep plants growing in the ground, nevermind in something more stressful like a container.

I'd love some recommendations about tree selection and placement for my crispy hot patio. Thanks!
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Re: Patio tree help

Postby B_BQ » Aug 07, 2012 4:07 pm

Hi, and welcome:

First off, I'm not sure that you would be able to successfully overwinter a tree in a container, even in Toronto. You would have to give it a lot of protection and insulation to prevent it from freezing/thawing/freezing, etc.

There are some very pretty small trees around. I have a Serviceberry, (Diana), within 2 feet of an interlocking pathway, and so far it's pretty well behaved. It will also forgive you for keeping it trimmed to the size you want. The spring flowers are wonderful, and of course the birds love the berries. Some might think the berries might be messy but certainly my experience has been that I've not seen one berry make it to the ground!!! The robins especially love them, and also waxwings.

If you go with the Japanese Maple, make sure it is a dwarf variety. I have one, (Bloodgood), that was only 3 feet when planted 3 years ago and is now 12 feet and will probably grow much more. It is very beautiful.

I have a cut-leaf variety too, weeping, which is gorgeous, and is staying quite small. The trick with this one is to find a good spot where it will be happy; otherwise it just won't survive. It doesn't like winter winds so would need to be protected.

A Korean lilac is another possibility. Lovely small, highly perfumed, flowers. After it's first flush of flowers it will flower sporadically during the rest of the season. Again, this can be trimmed to the shape and height you want and forgive you. Just today I cut mine back as it was starting to encroach on the view from our kitchen eating area.

I think you need a 'clean' tree so close to your patio area, but I'm sure that others here on the forum will come up with some great alternatives.

Another beautiful tree is the Pagoda Dogwood. It is incredibly slow growing, but will reach a height of 20 feet in about 20 years. My next door neighbour has one she planted 20 years ago, and it's a real beauty. But I think may be too large for your situation.

Other alternatives may be something like one of the Weigelas. They're very pretty, come in several colours, and can have variegated leaves, green leaves or even burgundy leaves. Doesn't mind being cut down to size either.

Hope you find something for what sounds like a very nice area.

~BBQ
Zone 5b
South/Central Ontario

Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day
~ Author Unknown
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Re: Patio tree help

Postby bettyjmaar » Aug 29, 2012 8:46 am

Hi, I need advice as to how to grow apple tree? :shock:
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Re: Patio tree help

Postby countrychic » Aug 29, 2012 10:10 am

Maybe a pic of the patio would help with suggestions. Be careful of the root system when choosing your tree.
A Japanese Dappled Willow Standard could be an option too. It is small, and you can trim it into a ball or umbrella shape.
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Re: Patio tree help

Postby hotsummerone » Aug 29, 2012 9:56 pm

Every single apple tree covers an area of ​​16 square meters, which is the result of pruning, do not know your yard is large enough you?
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Re: Patio tree help

Postby Heidi S » Aug 30, 2012 6:10 pm

Most apple trees need a 2nd tree (different variety) within 50 ft for pollination, or you don't get apples. So planting one won't work unless you have a neighbour with one close by.

Depending on where you live, there are some dwarf columnar types of apple trees that can be grown in large containers, but that doesn't work in areas lower than about Zone 6 temperatures. Container growing always requires more care, especially watering especially to get fruit.
Heidi S,
Prince George, BC
Zone 3!

Master Gardener in Training....
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Re: Patio tree help

Postby countrychic » Aug 30, 2012 8:33 pm

maybe consider an Ornamental Pear.
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Re: Patio tree help

Postby bettyjmaar » Sep 04, 2012 9:09 am

hotsummerone wrote:Every single apple tree covers an area of ​​16 square meters, which is the result of pruning, do not know your yard is large enough you?


Thanks for defining the area, I am pretty sure that I have that much space available.
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