Ornamentals (Trees)

Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple)

Maple (Acer palmatum, japonicum, shirasawanum)

There are numerous amounts of Acers but only three species are frequently referred to as Japanese maples, and only the palmatum and japonicums are super common. Japanese Maples vary in heights; from dwarf such as “Waterfall” or “Red Select”(some maples will stay very small “dwarf” but many Japanese maples grow very slowly and will stay small for a very long time) to trees that are fast growing like the “Bloodgood” or “Emperor I” that will get upwards of 25 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide. These maples are slow (1-3” a year) to moderate (up to 2’ a year) growers, and in the best of conditions these gorgeous trees can live to be over a hundred years old. There are so many varieties to choose from and each one has its own unique quality. The three main ways to differentiate between maples; there are three color variations of leaves 1. Green 2. Red 3. Variegated, two styles of leaves dissectum “lace leaf” or palmatum “standard” and two growing habits upright and weeping. All Japanese maples have inconspicuous flowers (some more than others) that give way to fruits called “samaras” or “helicopters” which are seeds enclosed in a fibrous tissue that’s in the shape of wings. In cultivation seeds can be collected from mature maples, but the seedlings aren’t guaranteed to be exact duplicated of their parent plant. Cuttings is another way of propagating these ornamental trees, but they are usually slow growing, weak and hard to winter over. 95% of Japanese maples you see on the market are grafted! Grafting is where the selected variety is joined with a strong, seed grown root stock that makes them stronger growing together; it works well because the selected variety has a vigorous root system to absorb nutrient faster than trying to get it to grow its own root stock (which might never happen).

Betula (Birch)

There are around 60 different species of birch. Birch are deciduous trees that require well-drained soil, adequate moisture and direct sunlight. These trees usually grow near lakes and rivers. Birch have smooth, multicolored or white bark marked with horizontal pores, that usually peel in thin horizontal strips, especially on younger trees; on more mature trunks the thick, jagged bark breaks into irregular pieces. They have slender branches that rise into a narrow pyramidal canopy when they are young; as they mature their canopy becomes horizontal, often weeping. The bright green leaves have toothed margins and are oblong to triangular; the leaves are arranged alternately on the branchlets. The foliage turns yellow in the fall. The male catkins are drooping and flower before the leaves emerge; the smaller female cone-like catkins are upright on the branches. As the female cones disintegrate, they release tiny, one-seeded, winged nutlets.

Cercidiphyllum japonicum (Katsura)

Katsura is a deciduous understory tree that can be single or multi-trunked; they have a slow, dense, round growing habit that can reach 40-60 ft tall. It’s grown for its wonderful shape and its gorgeous round, heart shaped leaves (4” long) resembling the leaves of a small redbud. Leaves will emerge a reddish mauve in the spring; maturing to medium green tinged with a rosy red in summer and turns golden brown in fall. Although these trees are not aromatic; the fallen autumn leaves that are starting to rot have been known to smell of a sweet, spicy fragrance with hints of cinnamon or caramel. Tiny flowers (red on male trees and green on female trees) will appear in spring before the foliage emerges but are not very attractive. Pollinated flowers on female trees only are followed by clusters of green pods (3/4” long). Its lightly–peeling, brown bark give this tree it’s charm right through the winter.

Cornus (Dogwood)

Flowering dogwoods are deciduous, multi-branched shrub or small tree; characterized by a rounded canopy and horizontal branches that spread wider than its height (15 to 30 ft tall). Leaves are oblong that comes to a point, foliage turns red orange to purple in Fall. The center of the flower is a small yellow cluster that is surrounded by 4 large white (pink or red) bracts. Each bract has a rounded notch on the outer edge. Flowers appear between March and June, with or before the leaves, and persist for 2 to 4 weeks. The fruit is yellow to red, berrylike pods that contain one to two cream-colored seeds (fruits ripen in September and October). The bark on mature trees have and alligator effect because it is broken into small square blocks.


Pine (Pinus), Fir (Abies), Spruce (Picea), Cedar (Cedrus), Juniper (Juniperus), Cypress (Chamaecyparis), Thuja (Arbrovitae)

There are a few different types of ornamental pines including pompom, cloud or weeping. Pompom style is a tree shaped where the inner branching and trunk is pruned clean; the tree will have a “poodle” look to it. A cloud shape is commonly found in Asian style gardens where the bottom branches are pruned off leaving just the top of the foliage; it is then shaped into a round or “cloud” shape. Weeping varieties are usually left to do their own thing creating one of a kind trees.

Fagus sylvatica (Tri-Colored Beech)

 Tri- colored beech are the ideal purple-pink Beech tree for smaller city plots. It can be used for shade, along an entryway, driveway or as a colorful street tree. This tree is very cold hardy and can be used both as an accent planted with evergreens or in a grove as its color will be distinguishable from a distance. Stunningly well-formed it is a great front yard statement tree for larger homes with classic architecture. The foliage is purple with irregular creamy pink and rose-colored margins. A striking specimen tree that will be a wonderful addition to any landscape.

Hydrangea paniculata Tree Form

Hydrangea trees are moderate growers; will grow 6-8 ft tall 7 ft wide and can live to be 40 years old. The only hydrangea that can be trained into a tree safely is H. paniculata the other varieties of hydrangea are too heavy and will snap easily. These hydrangeas are perfect for shady gardens and can even handle some sun with the right amount of water! It is not care what kind of soil type or pH and is very tolerant of urban pollution. Flowers appear in early summer on panicles above dark green foliage. Flowers are usually white that fade out into pink or blush pink. With its upright, vase shape growth habit it makes a great patio tree!

Hibiscus syriacus 'Rose of Sharon Tree'

Rose of Sharon are deciduous, vigorous, multi-stemmed, upright, with a vase-shape that typically grows 8-12’ tall. It can be trained into a small tree or espalier but is usually grown as a large shrub. The dark green leaves emerge late in the spring before the flowers start to form late spring through early summer. Hibiscus shaped, 5-petaled flowers (3” diameter) can be white, red, blue or purple, and will bloom from early-summer to fall. Each flower has a prominent blob of color at the center and a showy center staminal column. Medium green leaves (4” long) are three-lobed with veins and a coarsely toothed margin. The leaves are attractive during the growing season but are unattractive in fall; rarely changing color before they drop off.

Lagerstroemia indica (Crape Myrtle)

Crape myrtles are a multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub or can be pruned into a small tree. They usually grow 15-25ft tall. These plants have many ornamental features such as a long bloom time, peeling bark and awesome fall color. Showy flowers with frilly petals bloom in mid-late summer (sometimes even until the first frost); they come in a variety of flower color, including white, pink, red, mauve, lavender and purple. Flowers are followed by round seed capsules that can stay on the branches well into winter. Thick, leathery, oblong leaves emerge light green often with a tinge of red in late spring, eventually maturing into a dark green by summer and turn beautiful shades of reds, oranges and yellow in fall. Pale pinkish-gray bark on mature branches peels with age.


Magnolia grandiflora –

Magnolia grandiflora are broadleaf evergreen trees that are prized for their attractive glossy, dark green leaves (with pale green to grayish brown underneath) with extremely large fragrant flowers. The most commonly grown Magnolia grandifloras' grow in between 60-80’ tall with either a pyramidal canopy or a rounded crown. The fragrant white flowers (to 8-12” diameter) usually have six petals, they bloom in late spring and continue to sparsely flower throughout the summer. Spherical cone-like fruiting clusters (to 3-5” long) remain on the tree until they mature in late summer to early fall, releasing individual red coated seeds.


Magnolia (spp.) –

Deciduous Magnolias consists of many different species (trees forms and shrubs) in addition to numerous hybrids and cultivars. Most plants feature showy, sometimes fragrant flowers (most commonly white, yellow, pink or purple) which bloom in early spring, large simple leaves emerge in late spring to summer. Most deciduous Magnolias get about 25–40ft tall and about 15-20ft wide.

Parrotia persica

Persian Ironwood is a small, single trunk, deciduous tree that will eventually grow 20-40' tall (growing to 10 ft in just 7-8 years). Large, multi-stemmed shrubs will grow to 15 ft tall. Flowers (Apetalous- meaning a flower without any petals) are dense with red stamens surrounded by brownish bracts that will appear in late winter to early spring before the foliage. Flowers are attractive up close but are generally considered insignificant. Oval leaves (4" long) will emerge reddish-purple in spring, maturing to a shiny, medium-dark green in summer and changes to shades of red, orange and yellow in fall. Bark of mature trees peels away to show its green, white or tan patches beneath that provides winter interest.

Malus (Flowering Crab Apple)

There are approximately 1000 different flowering apple, of which only about 100 are commonly planted. These trees vary in mature size, growth habit, flower color, and the size/color of fruit. Crabapple blossoms appear in April to May, depending on variety and elevation. Some crabapple varieties bloom relatively early, others bloom mid- season and some bloom towards the end of crabapple season. The length of the blossoming period can range from 1 to 2 weeks, all of this depends on the variety and weather conditions. Crabapple flower buds are attractive even before they open, developing color even before they fully open. Some varieties of crabapple have showy fall leaf color, ranging from yellow, orange, red and/or purple. Crabapple twig and bark color ranges from green to yellow to reddish brown when young.  Many crabapples develop attractive mottled bark as they mature.

Prunus (Flowering Cherry / Plum)

Flowering Cherry -

Flowering cherry trees are extremely versatile and will fit in with numerous garden styles including Asian gardens, Zen gardens, cottage gardens and country gardens. In late March through mid to late April these trees will produce profuse amounts of flowers. The blossoms can change color, when the buds emerge, they are a dark pink, turning a lighter pink when the blossoms open, then eventually turning a pale pink or creamy white. There are some varieties that will display wonderful fall foliage that turns purple, red, and oranges.

Flowering Plum -

Flowering plums are a small to medium-sized ornamental tree native to Asia.  Purple-leaved cultivars, such as the popular Thundercloud (Prunus cerasifera), are more common in the home landscape because of its beautiful red leaves and smaller growing habit. These trees grow in full sunlight to partial shade and will tolerate mild coastal conditions. Flowering plums do not do well in a site that gets a lot of wind, as this can be damaging to the leaves and upper branches. Flowering plums are one of the earliest blooming trees that attracts bees with its delicately fragrant pink blossoms, and birds with its small, fleshy red fruits. The fruit is edible

Pyrus (Flowering Pear)

Callery Pear is an upright-branched ornamental tree, that grows from columnar to pyramidal in its youth, and usually becomes more oval or spreading with maturity. They are recognized for their early and abundant spring blooms, glossy green foliage and often beautiful fall color. Flowers are five-petaled and creamy white (each to 3/4” wide) that bud on dense corymbs early to mid-spring; the flowers are followed by clusters of inedible, greenish-yellow fruits (1/2” diameter) which have no ornamental significance. Glossy dark green leaves (3” long) are narrow and oval with distinctive wavy margins. Foliage turns an attractive reddish-purple to bronzy red in fall.

Salix discolor (Pussy Willow)

Salix discolor is a dioecious species (male and female catkins appearing on separate trees) that is most often a large multi-stemmed shrub 6-15’ tall, or as a small tree that can grow to 30’ tall. Before the foliage emerges in late winter, male trees produce a showy display of grey silky catkins (1-1.5” long) covered in yellow pollen that bees love! (Female trees produce smaller greenish catkins). They have a dull medium green color elliptic leave with a bluish grey underneath side (to 5” long) with marginal teeth. Fall color is usually a greenish-yellow. Can be weeping or upright.

Salix integra 'Hakuro-nishiki' (Dappled Willow)

Japanese willow or variegated willow is a compact cultivar that typically grows to 4-7’ tall and features gorgeous variegated foliage through the whole growing season. Narrow, lance shaped leaves (4” long) are attractive in spring new foliage emerges bright pink; early summer the leaves mature and will gradually fade to mostly green later in the summer. Throughout the summer the new growth will be variegated shades of pink, white and green. New growth stems turn red in fall providing excellent winter interest. All stems turn red in warm winter climates. Trunk does not turn red but remains gray. Tree forms are grafted onto high graft rootstock.

Stewartia (Japanese Stewartia)


Stewartias are lovely woodland trees that are slow-growing, and gorgeous in all seasons from showing off fresh oblong, dark green foliage (3" long) in spring, white flowers in May-June, brilliant reddish-orange and burgundy leaves in autumn, reddish brown bark in the winter. These trees make wonderful specimen trees or as a backdrop to a woodland garden. Stewartias should not be placed in hot areas and will be happiest with afternoon shade. Most single trunk trees will end up growing 20-40ft tall, multi trunked Stewartias will grow to about 12ft tall.  The white flowers resemble a Camellia (2.5" diameter) with showy orange-yellow anthers appearing in early summer. Stewartia, Camellia and Franklinia are all members of the tea family.