What two small trees would be appropriate for our backyard in Rockland County?

selecting two smallish trees for our back yard in Rockland County We'd like to add two smallish trees to our back year. I've done some research but would appreciate your any your expert thoughts. My main concern is choosing plants which will remain healthy--free of pests and diseases and not be too short-lived (like the Redbud we just lost). Both trees will be in full sun, and our soil is heavy. One tree will be in area which often remains wet for a few months in spring. (American holly and Ilex verticillata are thriving in this spot). I've narrowed our choices down to: - Amelanchier 'Autumn Brilliance' - Acer griseum - Stewartis pseodocamellia A related question: We have a lot of Junipers. Does this put our Amelanchier at risk because Juniper is a host for rust? Thank you very much for any help you can offer.


Three beautiful specimen trees on your list, all three of which should be long lived in the right growing circumstances. The soil that does not drain for weeks is likely to be a problem for all three of them, if what you are referring to is standing water conditions. If the ground is simply very moist but drains, the possibilities are better.

Amelanchier x grandifolia 'Autumn Brilliance' grows 15 to 20 feet tall and is a good, understory small tree or tall shrub. It is reliably hardy to zone 5. It has both attractive flower and good fall color, with birds attracted to its berries. This cultivar is considered relatively disease-free but there is some incidence of rust, canker and powdery mildew. Rust can occur in conjunction with your junipers and setting the tree in a site that allows excellent air circulation would be the most effective deterrent if you select this plant. While it is not terribly fussy as to soil, it does need the soil to drain well (as will most trees) and you will need to improve your soil condition before planting. A good selection.

Acer griseum is a beautiful tree of up to 30 feet in height. It has no significant incidence of pests or diseases. It is hardy to zone 4 and will tolerate clay soils as long as drainage is good, but will not do well in drought conditions. Fall color and bark characteristics are outstanding.

Stewartia pseudocamilila is a larger but slow growing tree of up to 40 feet. It is another tree of exquisite, specimen quality with beautiful bark, flower and fall color. It is hardy in zone 4 to 7 and likes moist soil but must have drainage. There are no significant pests or diseases that are typically associated with this plant.

Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information


  • Last Updated May 01, 2019
  • Views 180
  • Answered By Leslie Coleman

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