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PLANT PROFILES: LARGE TREE

When curating a plant palette for the four season landscape…

…there are a lot of design elements to take into consideration. And that’s only after narrowing down plants for their requirements for survival. It’s always important to keep in mind that Chicago has every season, not just the lush and flowerful, but the cold and harsh as well.

Though that doesn’t mean the landscape needs to be as harsh as the climate. Starting with the elements that create a dynamic design ensures a well-rounded palette with year-round interest. While most in the LARGE TREES category are considered deciduous, meaning they loose leaves in the winter, their large form keeps a presence when most things have died back down.

They’re also the first element to add as it is always easiest to start with the largest component and step down from there to ensure everything fits at maturity. Chicago lots can be small, so some cultivars and varieties fare better for the tight urban lot due to their compact, or fastigiate, habit.  

 

LARGE TREE ORNAMENTAL TREE LARGE FLOWERING SHRUB MID-FLOWERING SHRUB LOW-SPREADING SHRUB UPRIGHT EVERGREEN LOW-SPREADING EVERGREEN
FLOWERING PERENNIAL FOLIAGE PERENNIAL UPRIGHT ORNAMENTAL GRASS SHRUB-LIKE ORNAMENTAL GRASS FLOWERING GROUNDCOVER EVERGREEN GROUNDCOVER VINE

 

KEMORA PICKS American Sweetgum, Aspen, Birch, European Hornbeam, Maple, Oak
SUN Full to Partial Sun
ORNAMENTAL INTERESTS
LARGE TREES provide architectural structure in
the landscape with ornamental value in leaf color, texture, bark aesthetic, or bloom as well as compact habits for the urban environment. Many are also chosen for their outstanding autumn color.
DESIGN USE
As the normally tallest element in a landscape design, LARGE TREES anchor layers of plantings
and help frame views. Use for shade or to block unsightly views.

ALTERNATIVES
Not enough space for a LARGE TREE? An ORNAMENTAL TREE might be a better alternative
for creating architecture in tight spaces.
Hornbeam Photo Credit: PSNH via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]; Birch Photo Credit: Richard Elzey via Flickr [CC BY 2.0].

Plant info found on Google is not always precise as it is an aggregate of information from around the world—so we want to share our observations from years of getting our hands dirty in the Second City. This post is the latest in one of our newest series, PLANT PROFILES, where we explore each plant category as well as the preferred species of Kemora. We love plants which in turn gives us a trained eye for trouble-shooting them. And it is our hope you will come to love them too!

Kemora Landscapes is a full-service design, build, and maintenance company based in Chicago.

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