Q. We have many silver maples that were damaged by the recent storms. Could you list any trees that would be good to plant as replacements in our area?
A. There were many responses to my last article about storm damage and silver maples, and I appreciate all the comments and feedback.
One can Google ACH-162 – Landscaping For Homeowners to look at an Allen County Horticulture Extension publication I wrote many years ago to help residents select trees, shrubs and flowers more suitable for our region. I have revised this publication many times based on how landscape plants react to climate change, invasive pests and how well or poorly a particular plant does in northeast Indiana.
ACH-162 is also available for free at our Allen County extension office on the IPFW campus.
The following are my top seven shade trees with fewer issues than, well, the silver maple.
Sugar maple. A native tree with few issues, the sugar maple has wonderful fall color and good architecture. Legacy and Commemoration are cultivars bred for tough city conditions. Fall Fiesta is a new sugar with blazing fall color.
Red maple. There are many cultivars of this reasonably fast-growing tree. Just plain ole red maple – Acer rubrum – in my mind makes a nice shade tree for our area. Tried and true cultivars such as October Glory and Red Sunset are smaller selections. Brandywine is a relatively new cultivar released by the U.S. National Arboretum.
Hybrid maples. State Street is a faster-growing maple with a bit of Asian parentage that has done well in a tough spot in our extension office display gardens.
Oaks. Oaks are great native trees to attract wildlife. They have strong wood resistant to breakage. Several oaks are underused in my opinion. Chinquapin oak is a faster-growing oak with small acorns. Shingle oak is an oak with simple leaves, with a nice rounded form and a medium fast growth. Swamp White oak is a tree adaptable to moist and dry sites. Bur oak is a tree tailor made for tough sites that will last for generations. Its a good tree to plant as a memorial tree because of its longevity.
Ginko. It hard to find any fault with this tree as it has the whole package. It has few if any disease or insect problems, as well as great fall color and a nice form.
Hornbeam. Both the native and European hornbeams are good midsized trees with few if any issues to use in our landscapes.
Linden. Lindens are very site adaptable trees to use, especially now that Japanese beetles have moved on west to better pastures. Little leaf linden is a midsized tree great for tough spots. American Linden and Silver Linden also make good shade trees.
Make sure to choose a variety of different species for your landscape.
Your nursery and landscape professionals and Allen County Extension can help you make appropriate choices for your home landscape.