City Tree Selection

(Question)

City of Toronto is requiring us to select a tree for planting in our front yard. it faces south and has full sun for most of day. interested in a tree that does not sprawl outward a lot and does not have an overly high potential. Low maintenance for cleanup and doesn’t create sprouts on the grass. any suggestions?

(Answer)

Planting a tree, whatever size, is a great investment. Trees provide cooling to the home, oxygen for clean air, beauty and habitat for our birds. Choosing a tree can be difficult,

Toronto’s Free Tree Brochure – click here –  includes 34 trees; however not knowing the size of your lot, and soil conditions, it is difficult to make specific suggestions.

You might like to consider the following trees:

Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea) is a North American medium growing native tree. It has a fairly open,vase-shaped canopy, compound leaves that turn yellow in the fall, and once established the tree produces wisteria-like fragrant white flowers in spring.  It grows to about 12m, but it does spread to 10m, when mature. It is a lovely specimen tree, and suitable for a small lot. This tree has medium tolerance to salt. This tree is not seriously affected by pests and diseases.

Japanese Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) grows best in a sunny exposure in moist soil; however, it is considered drought tolerant once established and has moderate tolerance to salt.This is a medium to large tree reaching a mature height of  12-18m with a spread of  10-18m. The growth rate is moderately rapid when young but slows down with age. Fall colour is a spectacular yellow- orange. This tree is not seriously affected by pests and diseases.

Tulip Tree ( Liriodendron tulipifera) is a fast growing large tree which can reach heights of 35m tall. It grows best in full sun on sandy moist loam soil. The scented tulip-like greenish-yellow flowers appear in mid spring. The leaves turn a yellow-gold in the fall. The tree in unaffected by light salt spray. Scale is a key pest of this tree.

There are several linden, although the only native is the tall Basswood (Tilia americana).  ‘Redmond’ is a pyramid-shaped cultivar that can grow to a height of 20m and a spread of 10m. The tree produces fragrant inconspicuous yellow flowers in early summer. Leaves turn yellow in the fall. Little-leaf Linden  (Tilia cordata) is a great shade tree, gets to 16m tall and a spread of 8m.. Tilias are disease free, and can withstand adverse city conditions.

You might also wish to look at  the following trees: Black Gum ( Nyssa sylvatica), Kentucky Coffee Tree (Gymnocladus dioicus), Ironwood ( Ostrya virginiana), and Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis). These links include helpful information like height and spread, when they bloom, sun requirements, maintenance, pest/disease problems and much more.

Good Luck with your choice.