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Old 04-30-2015, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Southern MN
7,282 posts, read 4,124,700 times
Reputation: 25779

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About forty years ago, just before we moved in, the city planted a maple tree right on top of our sewer line.

Last summer when they were redoing the street it was necessary to cut it down. Sad, since we had watched it grow along with our children. But on the practical side I am glad to have it gone. It dropped messy, ropy things, wing-like seeds and many branches on my flower beds and sidewalk all summer long. And keeping the front yard tidy, along with pulling all those stubborn little baby maples was a pain. Then at the end of the season it dropped a kabillion leaves. And being a red maple we didn't even get to enjoy those luscious autumn colors.

So goodbye to our maple.

The city has offered a choice of five kinds of trees and I'd like to get something ornamental and tidy. After doing some research it appears that that is a difficult thing to find. I've researched the list of pros and cons for each choice and have decided that an elm would be the best for us. Plus there would be that longevity for the next folks who live in our home.

We have a choice of three different kinds of elm:

Discovery
Prairie Expedition Accolade
Princeton American

Can any of you who know something about these varieties tell me which you'd choose for a boulevard tree and why?

Thank you.
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:29 PM
 
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,593,909 times
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By boulevard tree, do you mean the ground area between the sidewalk and the street?

If you do, I choose None Of The Above.

This is a bad place for trees. They often don't have enough area to to put out sufficient roots to support the tree canopy, then years later they blow over in a storm. I see it around here all the time. Just last winter a city approved elm up the street went over in exactly this way in a rain. I know for a fact the tree was less than 10 years old.

Also trees planted in this area will often buckle the sidewalk.

Even though it may look cute -for a while- it's not a good place for trees long term.
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Old 04-30-2015, 07:45 PM
 
Location: Southern MN
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Hi, azoria. I'm not sure where you live, but our towns in southern MN have tree-lined streets.. Before Dutch elm disease took them out they formed magnificent canopies over the streets and avenues of town. Bad mistake, that, planting all of a same species.

I am aware that the boulevard, or tree lawn, as some call it, is considered the death zone for trees but we really don't have a choice about whether we get a tree or not. The city decides that.

Maybe where you live weather makes it especially bad for trees to grow there? The one we had hadn't hurt the sidewalk in forty years and was nice and healthy - just a nuisance.

So, since we're getting a tree one way or another and they aren't going to plant it on top of the sewer line this time I am glad to have a chance to pick it out.
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Old 04-30-2015, 07:51 PM
 
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,593,909 times
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The city can plant it, alrightey. And then when they leave, their job is finished. But perhaps it might fail to survive, if you know what I mean?

I see these street trees pull up out of the ground all over the place around here. Sometimes they keel over on parked cars.

And they always wreck the sidewalk sooner or later.

Some places are just not good places for trees, no matter how traditional is is to put a tree in an inappropriate place.

Up to you.
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Old 04-30-2015, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Climate Zone Dfa/ Hardiness zone 6a, 46062
3,500 posts, read 2,280,678 times
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Lodestar, I agree with everyone else on this thread thus far, that some places just are not meant for trees to grow. I note that you say you are in minnesota, perhaps the reason why the trees there haven't wrecked the sidewalks is because they are younger trees or the fact that the growing season up there is too short for trees to get massive enough to cause major damage, such as ruining sidewalks by causing them to buckle. I have seen phyical damage to structures such as sidewalks where i live, but then again i can attest to the fact that i live in indiana and not in minnesota.
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Old 04-30-2015, 08:53 PM
 
3,096 posts, read 2,946,593 times
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Depends. How wide is the tree lawn? Some in the community I grew up were about 12 feet and the trees mostly do fine (Norway maples/ lindens/ ash), other places it's about 5 feet and nothing will last more than about 15-25 years before the roots cause problems. The best boulevard planting method - if you have the narrow tree lawn, is to plant the trees on the other side of the sidewalk in your front lawn but I gather that's not an option (may be worth asking the local municipality). Some streets in the community I grew up did that, and most trees still remain 50-70 years later with nice towering canopies.

Curious as to what your five choices were?

Azoria's point is apt. Most cities do absolutely nothing in regards to maintenance for what they plant. So, if you have the narrow type of tree lawn I would pass on planting anything there and instead plant something I wanted (if you really want a tree) on my front lawn. Perhaps ask if you can have the tree type you like but say you'd like to plant it (if it's an option).
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Old 05-01-2015, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Southern MN
7,282 posts, read 4,124,700 times
Reputation: 25779
Quote:
Originally Posted by ciceropolo View Post
Depends. How wide is the tree lawn? Some in the community I grew up were about 12 feet and the trees mostly do fine (Norway maples/ lindens/ ash), other places it's about 5 feet and nothing will last more than about 15-25 years before the roots cause problems. The best boulevard planting method - if you have the narrow tree lawn, is to plant the trees on the other side of the sidewalk in your front lawn but I gather that's not an option (may be worth asking the local municipality). Some streets in the community I grew up did that, and most trees still remain 50-70 years later with nice towering canopies.

Curious as to what your five choices were?

Azoria's point is apt. Most cities do absolutely nothing in regards to maintenance for what they plant. So, if you have the narrow type of tree lawn I would pass on planting anything there and instead plant something I wanted (if you really want a tree) on my front lawn. Perhaps ask if you can have the tree type you like but say you'd like to plant it (if it's an option).
I neglected to mention.

The other choices were Hackberry, Swamp White Oak, Linden, Maple. I don't think the oak is a good choice for over a sidewalk, won't have another messy maple and there were other things I didn't like about the linden and hackberry although they all seem like more interesting trees than an elm.

The city owns that strip of land so I have no say about it but I am responsible for maintaining it. That's just the legality of how it is here. They do come around every so often and trim the trees. We have a responsive city government and I'm glad they are allowing us a choice.

I do want a tree there as all the houses have a tree in front of them and it creates a nice appearance. When we moved in disease had killed all the elms and it was barren. Now we have a nice, shady street once again. And the neighbors cooperate with each other to keep flowers planted around them which gives our street a somewhat uniform look we all seem to like.

As far as repairing the sidewalk, once in forty years isn't much of a burden, I think. When you've lived in the same place for forty years you can expect to do some of those kinds of things.

Having acknowledged "no tree," anyone have an answer to which kind of elm would be preferred?
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:26 AM
 
Location: SC
2,967 posts, read 4,388,671 times
Reputation: 6850
Do you have underground utilities? The problem is that most tree strips are located directly under the power lines. The city plants the trees, then comes through in 15 years and murders them by chopping them up to get them away from the lines. Looking up at what will be above your tree is just as important as looking at the ground.

I would avoid oak for a small space. My neighborhood is filled with 100 year old oaks that have pushed the sidewalks up 2+ feet in some places. Almost every one has been butchered by the city chainsaw crew - they clear-cut and topped o0ff literally 1/2 of each canopy that was near the wires, leaving horrible looking mature oaks all lopsided with half the canopy gone.

Also consider if the city pays to replace your sidewalks, or if it's your responsibility. My last city required homeowners to do it, my new city is replacing all the oak-ruined sidewalks by chain sawing down all the old trees, grinding the stumps, and paying for the sidewalks. It seems like everyone here planted at least one oak tree 24 inches from the sidewalk 100 years ago.
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
4,988 posts, read 7,946,029 times
Reputation: 4744
Let me start off by saying that I can't answer your question. I don't know anything about those trees that you probably haven't already read online.

I just want to say that I envy that your city is taking an active role in tree planting. In my neighborhood, the city planted a lot of street trees in the 20s and 30s, but now that the trees are getting "long in the tooth," the city is just taking a reactionary approach to dealing with them when they die. (or fall)
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Old 05-01-2015, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Boston Suburb
2,120 posts, read 5,639,076 times
Reputation: 1671
Quote:
Originally Posted by L0ve View Post
Do you have underground utilities? The problem is that most tree strips are located directly under the power lines. The city plants the trees, then comes through in 15 years and murders them by chopping them up to get them away from the lines. Looking up at what will be above your tree is just as important as looking at the ground.

I would avoid oak for a small space. My neighborhood is filled with 100 year old oaks that have pushed the sidewalks up 2+ feet in some places. Almost every one has been butchered by the city chainsaw crew - they clear-cut and topped o0ff literally 1/2 of each canopy that was near the wires, leaving horrible looking mature oaks all lopsided with half the canopy gone.

Also consider if the city pays to replace your sidewalks, or if it's your responsibility. My last city required homeowners to do it, my new city is replacing all the oak-ruined sidewalks by chain sawing down all the old trees, grinding the stumps, and paying for the sidewalks. It seems like everyone here planted at least one oak tree 24 inches from the sidewalk 100 years ago.
Completely agree... same goes on here with the chainsaw crew hacking off tree branches in the name of saving the powerlines. Aesthetics is out with the winds. IMO, having a tree with amputated limbs is worse than no tree at all.

I'm still mad that the tree guy hired by the city chopped off the crown to our birch tree a few wks ago. Those leading branches were growing straight up and not remotely touching the powerline off to the side. In the future, lot of unwieldy messy branches will probably grow out from the cut area which will be more likely to spread into the powerlines.
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