Corner property city tree


Hello we used to have a beautiful birch tree on our corner property (no sidewalks) which was stunning but was eventually overcome by borers. Some options that were suggested: Redmond Linden, Cucumber Tree or Kentucky Coffeetree. We personally like the Japanese Katsura. Any suggestions?


All the trees you have suggested are gorgeous. A couple of them will grow very large, so I envy you the space on your property.

a. ‘Redmond’ Linden (Tilia americana ‘Redmond’)

In one place I read that this is a very large tree (75′ tall with 45′ spread) and that it is generally intolerant of air pollution, road salt and other urban conditions. Connon Nursery near Hamilton describes it as being a bit smaller (50′ tall with 35′ spread) and they say it is a great shade or street tree, very adaptable and low maintenance. Full sun is needed. The following link will give you more information about this tree.

b. Cucumber tree (Magnolia acuminata)

This tree is native to a few areas in southern Ontario. This is the largest and most cold hardy of the magnolias. Unlike most magnolias, the flowers are not showy. The unripe fruits look like small cucumbers. The ripe fruit is reddish orange. It is not recommended as a street tree as it is intolerant of road salt. Generally it is 50′ to 65′ tall, but it can be massive. The largest specimen in the US, and presumably the world, is in Ohio – the trunk is 8′ in diameter and it’s 96′ tall. Cucumber trees are monoecious, meaning flowers have both male and female parts. The stigmas become receptive before the anthers release their pollen; this promotes cross-pollination between individual cucumber trees. It is  listed as provincially and nationally endangered and is protected under the Endangered Species Act, 2007. Cucumber tree is threatened by deforestation, and poor reproduction and seedling regeneration in isolated stands. Magnolias are one of the oldest families of flowering plants in the world. Beetles, not bees, pollinate their flowers. The following link has more information.

c. Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioicus)

This tree is suitable for the urban environment. It is drought tolerant once established, tolerant of pollution and a wide range of soils. This tree is dioecious, meaning male and female flowers are on separate trees. This means you probably won’t get fruit – this could be a good thing as fruit can be messy. Apparently male plants are preferred for street tree use even though male flower are smaller than female flowers. This tree is also native to small area in southern Ontario. The following link has more information:

d. Japanese Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum)

This tree is smaller than the other trees you mentioned, growing no larger than 45′ tall. The leaves are multi-hued with heavy veins and tones of pink and green. In fall the heart-shaped leaves take on fall tones of gold, orange and red before they fall from the tree. Katsura flowers are tiny, white and insignificant, but the foliage has a strong brown sugar aroma in fall, which adds to the tree’s appeal. The Katsura, which grows in single-stem and multi-stem variations, is known for it’s fall colour, its rounded to pyramidal shape and the attractive way that its heart-shaped leaves line up opposite one another along the branches. It does best when planted in late winter or early spring. Because they are understory trees (a tree that grow under the canopies of larger, taller trees) in the wild, katsuras can be grown in partial shade.  More information in the following link.

I think that given the information here, the Kentucky Coffee tree or the Japanese Katsura would be the best choices. I tend to try to plant native trees before others, but the best choice depends on your personal preference and the characteristics of your site. You didn’t mention whether it was in full sun or anything about the soil. They are both beautiful trees.