DECIDUOUS & SEMI-DECIDUOUS TREES
Deciduous trees shed their leaves seasonally, usually over the Autumn months. The leaves turn from green to shades of yellow, oranges or reds, creating a stunning display before the tree discards the leaves that are no longer needed.
Once on the ground, the leaves provide insulation for the root system and eventually break down providing nutrients for the tree. Even when bare, the deciduous tree’s interesting branch arrangement is an excellent landscape feature.
The term semi-deciduous refers to trees that lose only some of their leaves for a very short period of time, typically tropical or sub-tropical species. This is usually immediately before the growth of new leaves or branches and on a slightly different schedule to ‘typical’ deciduous trees.
Below we have listed a number of the most popular deciduous and semi-deciduous trees that you may like to consider for your garden. Which are your favourites?
Bauhinia blakeana (Hong Kong Orchid)
The Hong Kong Orchid is the most popular orchid tree in Australia due to its semi-deciduous nature. With a preference for well-drained soils and warmer climates, the Bauhinia will only shed some of its foliage, helping to reduce the required clean-up each Winter. In cooler climates however, it will tend to lose most of its leaves.
The tree flowers from spring through to summer with fragrant purple-red flowers (thought to resemble butterflies), while the leaves are distinct and are made up of two broad leaflets.
The Bauhinia can grow up to eight metres high, with a broad canopy up to six metres wide. It is a sterile tree, not producing seeds and therefore will not invade other areas or nearby properties.
Plumeria acutifolia (Frangipani)
Perhaps the most recognisable tropical tree, the Frangipani is a very popular exotic that is easy to care for and an ideal way to accentuate the holiday oasis feel that you may be aiming for in your garden.
The Plumeria features beautifully perfumed, funnel-shaped flowers in a variety of colours and lush green foliage from Spring through to Autumn.
The Plumeria will grow up to six metres in height, while its mushroom-shaped canopy will spread to five metres wide at a very slow rate, meaning maintenance is very manageable once established.
Gleditsia triacanthos ‘Sunburst’ (Sunburst Honey Locust)
The Sunburst Honey Locust is an excellent deciduous shade tree with a soft sweeping branch habit, preferring well drained soils and a ‘sunny disposition’, but can adapt if needed.
While its flowers are small enough to not be regarded as a feature, new growth comes in as a bright, golden yellow which matures to a yellowish-green. Gold foliage develops in Autumn, creating a beautiful contrast against a dark background.
The Gleditsia can grow up to fifteen metres high with a seven-metre canopy, so consideration should be given to the surrounding area.
Jacaranda mimoseafolia (Purple Jacaranda)
Often seen lining the streets of South Perth, the Purple Jacaranda is an excellent large feature tree providing an elegant aesthetic when flowering with stunning purple and lilac bell-shaped flowers in December.
The Jacaranda can grow up to fifteen metres high, with an eight-metre canopy featuring light green foliage that turns yellow in Winter prior to shedding.
While the Jacaranda is tolerant of dry conditions, consideration must be given to its aggressive root system which will seek out moisture and nutrients anywhere it can – even in underground sewage plumbing. For this reason, it is generally recommended for larger areas where it can be safely placed at a distance from underground services and boundaries.
Though less common, the Jacaranda White Christmas is sometimes available with white flowers.
Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’ (Flowering Plum)
Perhaps one of the quickest ways to add some contrast to your garden’s colour scheme, the Flowering Plum’s new growth starts out as a dark green, before maturing into a deep purple or burgundy tone. Its small leaves feature textured veins that can be seen from the underside, which shed to make way for the blossoming of light pink flowers in Spring.
The Prunus is an ornamental flowering tree and thus does not produce fruit – eliminating the need to gather and collect the fruit from below to keep the garden tidy and pest/disease free.
The Prunus grows up to four metres in height with a four-metre canopy, making it one of the very best trees for small gardens and perfect for use in residential courtyards.
Pyrus calleryana ‘Capital’ (Flowering Pear)
The Flowering Pear is another ornamental flowering tree (yields no fruit), making it an excellent aesthetic option without requiring daily attention after flowering. It features singular white flowers that blossom in Spring (although some have been observed in Autumn) and leaves that turn a reddish-orange before changing into a tone of purple before shedding come Autumn.
The Pyrus is tall and slender, growing nine metres high with a very dense canopy that is only three metres wide. It is very hardy and disease resistant, tolerating most conditions including dry periods once established. This makes it excellent in the warmer Western Australian weather.
Malus eleyi (Crab Apple)
The Crab Apple is a slow-growing, small tree with an upright spreading habit. New leaves appear in spring in a purple-bronze tone, turning to a bronze-green in the late summer. It develops semi-double, dark pink flowers in Spring, followed by a plentiful abundance of deep, red fruit – perfect for crab apple jam!
The Malus grows up to five metres high with a four-metre canopy, making it ideal for courtyards and smaller gardens. It prefers a sunny position with fertile but well-draining soil.
ELLENBY TREE FARM
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At the forefront of tree production in Western Australia is Ellenby Tree Farm
Ellenby Tree Farm have operated in the Perth local area for over 35 years. During this time they have been steering industry changes and implementing innovative growing practices, to provide better trees for local commercial and residential projects. Ellenby Tree Farm grows over 400 varieties in 60,000 trees over 120 acres and 3 large properties. The size of the trees ranges from 1-year old trees to 50-year-old salvaged trees, 50cm dwarf trees to 12 metre mature transplants and multiple sizes in between. They are sure to have a tree to suit any budget or other restraints.
Craig Woodroffe is the Sales Manager at Ellenby Tree Farm and undoubtedly Perth’s most trusted arborist. Craig Woodroffe is President of the Nursery and Garden Industry association of Western Australia and second-generation nurseryman. His vast skill set also includes a Landscape Architecture Degree as well as Marketing and Management qualifications.
Craig recommends the following tips for selecting the perfect healthy tree for your outdoor space:
- Craig’s number one tip is to foremost ‘know what you are buying’. Do your research and seek out the advice of industry professionals if you feel that you need to.
- Always ensure that the rootball size is appropriate for the canopy and trunk calliper. There is a new Australian standard which can be referred to if you are in doubt.
- Remember, biggest is not always best. Be on the look-out for strong healthy growth, suitable for the season as well as a well-balanced tree canopy.
- Seek out a good defined stem taper, as this is evidence of a good growing technique.
- Selected trees should be free from weeds, pest and diseases. Where ever possible utilise an accredited nursery or garden centre.
- A strong, robust root ball is required support the canopy (without being rootbound). Have a little dig around the top of the root ball to inspect the root system development.
- Finally,… think about the logistics of how you will be installing the tree and select appropriately.
Contact details, as well as links to the Ellenby Tree Farm website can be found below.
Phone: (08) 9405 4558
Retail Nursery Address: 439 Sydney Road, Gnangara, W.A. 6077
Note: The image contained in this blog post is from of Ellenby Tree Farm stock taken by Luke’s Landscaping Co.
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