Deciduous trees are ideal for bringing shape, color and shade to your outdoor areas. While they lose their foliage and become bare in winter, they often make up for it with their breathtaking fall coloring. Their shape is generally fuller than their evergreen counterparts, allowing for greater variation and a wider spread for providing shade during the hot summer months. Here we’ll take a look at some excellent choices of deciduous trees for Cortlandt Manor, New York and surrounding areas falling under the plant hardiness zone 6b.
White Oak (Quercus alba)
Being native to large swathes of the eastern and central United States, the white oak is well equipped to handle the annual extremes of hot and cold of the state of New York. With a lifespan of up to and exceeding 300 years, and being extremely slow growing, the white oak is a tree to plant with the benefit of future generations in mind. However, by 20 years of age, the white oak is reasonably mature and will begin bearing acorns. By this stage, a white oak can reach a full height of between 80 and 100 feet and its spread can often be just as great. This majestic giant is perfect for large plots of land and to introduce shape and verticality to sprawling backyards.
Royal Empress Tree (Paulownia tomentosa)
Although the Royal Empress Tree is considered aggressive and invasive because of the huge amount of seeds it releases every year (some 20 million) and it’s general hardiness and resilience, sterile varieties are available to allow homeowners to enjoy the benefits of this easy to maintain and visually pleasing plant without the negative impact on the environment and local plants. The Empress Tree flowers in early spring, bearing funnel shaped flowers similar in size and appearance to a foxglove flower. The flower has a fragrant perfume and light pink/purple coloring. This extremely fast growing tree reaches a maximum height of between 30 and 80 feet tall.
American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
Another native to the eastern United States, the American beech is well-suited to the climate and enjoys partial to full shade. Its considerable height (50-70 feet) and huge spread (40 feet) at maturity, as well as its dense canopy, makes it ideal for creating shade or forming an impenetrable privacy screen. However, the American beech can be a slow grower unless soil and water conditions are optimal. The tapered leaves are a lush dark green, with autumn foliage of bright gold/golden brown. It’s silver-grey bark scars easily, leaving characterful black markings that contribute to its aged aesthetic.
Quince Tree (Cydonia oblonga)
Besides being an attractive medium sized tree that grows to a height of 15 to 25 feet tall and spreads out to between 10 to 20 feet wide, the main attraction of the quince tree is the golden yellow fruit that it bears in summer and is ready for harvest in late fall. The pome is oblong in shape, similar to a large, slightly elongated apple. The taste of a quince can be describe as a combination of pear and apple, but needs to be cooked in order to be enjoyed, and can be used in jellies, tarts and even roasts. The pale pink flowers of the quince tree are another attractive attribute to contribute to your yard’s aesthetic.