Articles in Category: Trees
Thuja plicata, commonly known as Western Redcedar, is native to the Pacific Northwest and a is a popular, sturdy, and graceful evergreen frequently used in tall hedges or as a privacy screen.
Southwest Oregon is near the most southern edge of Western Redcedar’s range, which extends north into Washington and British Columbia. The largest Redcedars in the world are true forest giants, and can be found in the rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula, where several trees near 200’ tall by 60’ wide have been found.
Because the climate here in the Rogue Valley is hotter and drier that that of the Olympic Peninsula, plants here will generally get about 50-70’ all and 15-25’ wide at maturity, if left untrimmed.
Western Red Cedars look great when left in their natural shape, but they also respond extremely well to shearing or pruning. They grow at a moderate rate – roughly between 15-24”/year - and are generally pest and disease resistant. They’re also very pollinator-friendly, and serve as host plants for dozens of native butterflies and moths. Once established, Western Redcedar is relatively drought tolerant, and will generally only require deep watering once or twice a month.
As a group, Thujas of multiple species are widely used as hedges and privacy screens. They’re all easy to grow, relatively fast growing, have nice densely pyramidal shapes, and are tolerant of clay soils as long as the soils aren’t soggy. You will want to cage them to protect them from deer when they are young, but they grow quickly enough that you'll only likely going to need to do this for the first few years.
Shooting Star Nursery carries several different kinds of Thuja in large pots and as ball & burlap plants: Western Redcedar (T. plicata), Virescens and Excelsa - T. plicata cultivars, Green Giant and Virginian - hybrids of a cross between T. plicata and T. standishii (Japanese Arborvitae), and Emerald Green - a T. occidentalis (Northern White Cedar) cultivar. See the table below for more information.
Fun fact: One of the common names for Thuja is Arborvitae (Latin for Tree of Life). Early French settlers to North America gave it that name when they encountered an east coast Thuja species (T. occidentalis), and learned from Native Americans in the region of the many uses the plant had: decay-resistant wood for building canoes and houses, sturdy fibrous bark used for clothing and cording, and roots and leaves with a variety of medicinal purposes.
|Botanical Name||Growth Rate/Year||Mature Height||Mature Width|
|Western Redcedar||Thuja plicata||15-24"||50-70'||
|Virescens||T. plicata cultivar||18-24"||20-30'||9-12'|
|Excelsa||T. plicata cultivar||20-36"||to 40'||15-20'|
|Green Giant||T. plicata x T. stanfordii||3-5'||25-30'||10-12'|
|Virginian||T. plicata x T. stanfordii||up to 3'||15'||6'|
|Emerald Green||T. occidentalis||12-15"||12-15'||3-4'|
Tilia 'Summer Sprite'
Linden trees are, literally, a sweet addition to the home landscape. Their fragrant, nectar-rich flowers are a delight for humans and pollinators alike. But full-sized lindens, which reach 35’ to 50’ tall at maturity, can overwhelm a small yard. And that’s one of the many wonderful things about ‘Summer Sprite’.
‘Summer Sprite’ is a natural semi-dwarf tree that reaches just 15’ tall by 10’ wide at maturity. It has a lovely rounded pyramidal shape with dark green, heart-shaped leaves. The fragrant, creamy-yellow flowers appear in early summer, and foliage turns a rich golden-yellow in fall.
Linden trees are beloved by beekeepers (if you get a chance, try some linden flower honey!). In fact, when these trees are in full bloom, you can often hear the happy buzzing of bees from several feet away. The flowers, when picked and dried, can also be brewed as a delicious honey-scented tea – just make sure to leave enough blossoms for our pollinator friends!
“Summer Sprite’ thrives in average, well-drained soils and can be grown in full sun to part shade.
Parrotia persica – or Persian Ironwood – is one of the fall foliage season’s best-kept secrets – and that’s a real shame. If you’d like to broaden your yard’s fall color palette beyond the usual flaming red maples, we’d highly recommend this tree!
In fact, Parrotia provides true four-season interest in the landscape. In late winter, tiny red flowers – similar to witch hazel flowers – appear, followed by bronzy-colored new leaves. As the leaves unfurl, they turn a rich green, providing a nice dense canopy of shade during the summer months.
Fall, though, is when Parrotias really begin to shine; putting a great show of color, with foliage turning shades of yellow, orange, and red. Even when the leaves drop, there’s still plenty to look at. As Parrotias mature, their bark begins to exfoliate; leaving dappled patches of color along the trunk.
A small to medium-sized shade tree, Parrotia will get between 20-30’ tall, and about 20’ wide. They’re generally unfussy trees and are tolerant of a wide variety of conditions, including clay soil and air pollution. Their compact size also makes them great street trees.
Looking for something narrower to fit into a small space? There are two varieties of Parrotia that will do the trick! Persian Spire gets about 25’ tall, and just 10’ wide; growing in a lovely upright, columnar shape. Vanessa is a bit larger: about 28’ by 14’, and was given an Award of Garden Excellence by Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society in 2020.
Graceful beauty, versatility, durability, great fall color: these are just a few of the reasons that Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) is widely considered to be one of the very best native trees for the home landscape here in Oregon.
If you’ve ever hiked along one of the many creeks or rivers in southwest Oregon, chances are you’re already familiar with Vine Maple. They generally grow as an understory tree, but are also able to grow in sunny areas – although they do best with a bit of afternoon shade.
The shape and size of a Vine Maple is frequently dependent upon where it is grown - they can range in height from about 6’ to 20’. Trees grown in sunny areas tend to be upright and fairly compact, while shade-grown trees develop the gorgeous horizontal branching form that gives this tree its common name.
In the spring, branch tips are covered with clusters of dangling, delicate-looking red and white flowers that are extremely popular with a wide variety of bees (both native bees and honeybees); followed by slightly rounded, bright green leaves. These leaves are not only lovely to look at – they’re also an important food source for the larvae of the beautiful Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.
Vine Maple colors up nicely in the fall, with leaf color ranging from golden-yellow to orange to red. Even after the leaves have fallen, the branching structure of Vine Maple provides some nice visual interest in the winter garden. If you’re thinking of incorporating more native trees into your landscape, Vine Maples are a delightful place to start!