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Ornamental Trees are Year-Round Performers


Ornamental Trees are Year-Round Performers

Although warm weather is on the wane, that's no reason for active gardeners to hang up the shovel. Fall is the perfect time to plant ornamental trees. Certain species offer unique displays even in winter, according to Lindsay Bond Totten for Scripps Howard News Service.


The Hawthorn isn't called "Winter King" for nothing. Months after yielding masses of white, springtime blossoms, the Winter King really comes into its own. Fall brings bright red berries hanging from silvery twigs, berries that are so hardy and unappetizing to birds that they continue to hang around well into the winter. It's a colorful and long-lived display.

You'll also admire the silvery-gray bark and striking outline, preferably planted a slight distance from the house where it can be viewed from a window. In ten years, you can expect a height and spread of 15 feet. The urban gardener will find the hardy Hawthorn is resistant to pollution and drought, once it's established in good soil with adequate moisture.

Japanese Stewartia boasts of waxy dark leaves and distinctive white blossoms reminiscent of camellia. Dressed out in more formal attire than the Hawthorn, it's a better choice for a formal garden or courtyard. The Stewartia is not quite as rugged as the Hawthorn, either--drought or stressful city conditions are hard on this pretty tree. Nonetheless, the Stewartia does reliably well in cooler climates from USDA Zone 5 and south. After shedding leaves in the fall, younger trees display their smooth, grayish-green bark that acquires a mottled appearance in later years when the bark begins to flake off naturally.

"Forest Pansy" is a popular newcomer that hit the gardening scene a few years ago. In the spring, you'll be tantalized by a brief burst of tiny, reddish-purple blossoms, here and gone. But the tree's signature are the leaves--large and heart-shaped with a strikingly dark, maroon color. This is a larger tree that needs some space around it. It's a good choice for the walkway or patio or further away from the house.