Last post, I gave some reasons why I have become a proponent of using native plants to create your garden sanctuary. Now, over the next two posts, I will give you a list of 12 non native invasive plants and some suggested native to US alternatives.
Just for fun I am going to pick on myself and include plants that I have recommended before or have planted in my yard.
If you don’t live in the US, and are one of my readers from Spain, Australia, England, or California (oh come on it’s just a joke!), these suggestions will not apply but maybe you can find some cool non-natives from America to invade your ecosystems.
Instead of Amur Maple – I planted one of these in my yard!, use Musclewood or Pagoda Dogwood
The Musclewood gets its name from the muscle like shape the branches and trunk get. I mean not like MY muscles but instead someone that actually can stick to a workout routine for more than a month. The pagoda dogwood has a horizontal branching structure that is very cool.
Instead of Norway maple use Red Maple, Sugar Maple, or Black Maple
They all reach a similar height as the Norway maple. They are native, hardy, and have nice fall color. The red maple has small red flowers in spring, and yellow to red leaves in fall. Sugar maples have attractive yellow to orange fall color. The Black Maple is a very close relative of the sugar maple and is better for the midwest states, like my native Illinois. The red maple tolerates wet soils better than the sugar maple, but is not as drought tolerant.
Instead of White popular, use Prairie Gold® Quaking Aspen
If you really must have a fast growing tree and are in cooler parts of the US, this Quaking aspen is a good bet. For most people, I would recommend they find a longer lived slower growing tree, but in some natural settings nothing beats a quaking aspen’s leaves golden fall color fluttering in the wind.
Instead of Callery Pear, use Allegheny Serviceberry
You want white flowers in early spring with great fall color, pick a Serviceberry. If you can beat the birds to them, the berries are pretty tasty.
Instead of Princess Tree or Empress Tree, use Serviceberry, Redbud, or Flowering dogwood
Princess tree is an aggressive ornamental tree that grows rapidly in disturbed natural areas, including forests, stream banks, and steep rocky slopes. These are one of those tree you see for sale on the back page of newspapers with claims of grows 5 feet the first year! Skip it and get one of the suggested trees instead. All of them have beautiful spring flowers, but also support wildlife and are better behaved, although redbuds put out quite a few seeds themselves!
Next time (tomorrow), I will cover some invasive shrubs, groundcovers, and ornamental grasses. See you then!
As some trees are called different names in different parts of the country, here is a list of the trees with their proper Latin names.
- Amur Maple (Acer ginnala),
- Musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana),
- Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternafolia)
- Norway maple (Acer platanoides),
- Red Maple (Acer rubrum),
- Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
- Black Maple (Acer nigrum
- white popular (Populus alba),
- Prairie Gold® Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides ‘NE Arb’)
- Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana),
- Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanhier laevis)
- Empress Tree (Paulownia tomentosa),
- Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis and A. arborea),
- Redbud (Cercis canadensis),
- Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)
I have Carpinus caroliniana growing in really wet, almost constantly wet, soil and in less than part sun. I’m in 7b NC. Great tree – but it spreads via runners or roots like crazy. Can’t have just one – more like a grove or thicket. Not many plants around here like those conditions, so I’m thankful for it.
Lacey, I have heard that Carpinus caroliniana sucker a lot in the eastern US, but in the Midwest they don’t tend to do this. I am not sure if it is genetic diversity or more likely the growing conditions. That could be a issue to consider if you are more East coast then Midwest.
Great suggestions and you found spectacular pictures to show off the best of these recommended trees. I don’t know why Norway maples and Callery pears are so popular when there are more beautiful and less troublesome trees to choose. They must be easier to propagate and sell than the native maples or serviceberries or other better choices — the plant growers seem to push them and they must be cheaper since builders put them in by the hundreds.
I could not locate a pagoda dogwood for the longest time. I finally found one, but almost no nursery around here (southern New England) could get one for me. And the small container plant I got was not cheap. Same thing for a Cornus mas, which I finally located. But I could have bought a dozen Callery pears anywhere. sheeesh.
I probably am spoiled as I have no problem finding those plants in my area, but I also have probably a dozen nurseries within 20 miles of me. Even my local Home Depot and other big box stores have been getting lots of once hard to find plants, such as Vanderwolf’s Limber Pine and Weeping Alaska Cedar the last few years.