Pacific Dogwood is one of our most beloved native flowering trees. From BC south to the Sierra Nevada of California this understory to margin tree alights in April and May in pristine white bracts/ true flowers appear. They perch on upward arching stems for a perfect display. This large conical shaped tree can achieve 35′ in great age. Water deeply and infrequently during its first summer in the ground, once it is firmly established it can go with natural rainfall. In full hot sun more irrigation may be needed. Native to the Portland city limits and a firm spring decoration on our freeways. Pacific dogwood contrasts wonderfully in bloom with deep green conifers. Average growth when young is 2′-3′ per year. In certain seedlings this spectacular species may re-bloom in August/September. Its a fairly small percentage but when it occurs its a refreshing display at the end of hot summer. Fall color is pink/red/orange and is conspicuous in the understory. Full sun to overhead shade in the understory. In autumn red fruits decorate the branch tips and are food for birds. Give this native tree good air circulation and mulch after planting. Oregon native plant.
American smoke tree has a surprisingly limited natural range in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma but its an exceedingly adaptable tree. Large round leaves are soft green when they emerge. In mid summer the tips of the branches are covered in clouds of beige smoke- which is not as prolific as the hybrids or the species Cotinus coggygria. Rounded medium sized tree to 22′ tall and handsome. Moderately slow growing 1-2′ per year when young. Full sun and regular irrigation to established then fully summer drought established. Deep rich soils yield the best performance. Autumn is its time of true glory. The large soft leaves transform into electric shades of orange/red/yellow. It holds this color for weeks before dropping. An amazing show that outshines just about any other deciduous tree. Limited supply. Accepts some summer irrigation. It is being used as a street tree in Portland, where its arboreal habit is superior to Cotinus coggygria and its hybrids.
Chilean Lily of the Valley Tree or Evergreen Snowbell- both descriptive common names for this unusual tree from South America. Fast growing evergreen tree that looks superficially like a live oak. In mid to late summer relatively large pure white waxy bells appear and line the stems like small bells. The bottom of the waxy bloom is deeply serrated. Cool. To 16′ tall and half as wide. Often forms multi-trunks if you don’t want this then diligently prune it until you get one sturdy trunk. Do not site in the direct path of subfreezing east wind- a south or west exposure will do in windy areas. Easy to grow tree that gets by with a minimum of water in summer once established.
Fantastic form of the incredibly tough Monterey Cypress. Foliage on this fast growing large evergreen tree is brilliantly hued in chartreuse/gold and acid green. Pinch the foliage and the fragrance of lemons is released. Fast growing tree for poor to average well drained soil. Avoid overly rich soils- which causes rank, unsteady growth. Average un-amended native soils are best. Light summer water to initiate growth and then completely drought tolerant. To 35′ tall x 25′ wide in 15 years. In time it develops a really cool flat spreading crown that this species is so famous for. Great drought and cold tolerance at our nursery. Give it amble room, full all day sun and not much else. Cold hardy to 0ºF. Long lived tree. This species has been placed in the genus Hesperocypress.
Remarkable form of the hardy Arizona Cypress. This variety has foliage frosted in chartreuse/cream with interior foliage closer to sea green. A great affect. To 15′ tall but only 4′ wide this is a decidedly fastigiate form of this species. Fast growing tree for screens, specimen. Poor to average soil- avoid rich soil- this causes Cypress to grow to fat and fast in our climate- they get rank and rocky. So plant in average to poor soil with light irrigation until you see appreciable new growth and then none- ever. This produces a more measured growth rate and a sturdier plant. Full sun- from ALL directions- no shade at all. Open exposed sites are best. Very pretty plant that adores our climate. Cold hardy below 0ºF. Rare tree and quantities are limited. Completely drought tolerant.
The most common form of Italian Cypress with a strongly fastigiate (skinny upright habit) and blue green foliage. Fast growing tree that demands average to poor soil and little to no summer moisture. Soil that is too rich and too much water in our climate leads to prodigious rank growth and instability. Dry, poor soils and no summer water leads to steady measured growth and no tipping. Full all day sun from every direction. This will ensure thick foliage from the base to the top. Established plants can easily put on 3′-5′ of growth per year. To 22′ tall and about 18″ wide. Extremely drought tolerant. Does not succumb to spider mites or other diseases as Arborvitae frequently can. If it is too tall you may top it and it will re-grow a new terminal leader quickly. Great in containers. Protect containers from temperatures below 10ºF. Takes intense reflected heat with no problem. Great urban tree.
The golden form of Italian Cypress which is a very useful plant for bright vertical effects in gardens. Fast growing fastigiate tree to 18′ tall and just 18″ wide. Full sun and average to poor soil with little to no summer water. If it becomes disheveled in ice or snow simply give it a good hair cut and a denser form will emerge. You may also cut the top to limit size and a new vertical leader will quickly form. Deer resistant. Avoid overly enriched soil and shade or growth will be rank and unkempt. Grows about 2′-3′ in an average year.
A superior form of Italian Cypress that is thinner and more resistant to ice and snow. The foliage is forest green eschewing the blue hue of the more common ‘Glauca’. To just 10″ wide it rises to 16′ tall in a fast growing spire. Full sun (which means all parts of the columnar tree from top to bottom should receive full sunlight) and poor to average, unimproved soil. Avoid overly enriched soil which causes fast rank growth which can make the tree unsteady. Its adapted to the very poorest soils which ensure measured, sturdy growth. Our favorite form of this useful disease and pest resistant columnar tree. Cold hardy.
Underused cold hardy evergreen tree that has fascinating and handsome foliage and tolerates full sun to total shade as well as summer drought. Umbrella shaped tree with glossy large triple lobed leaves that become entire on adult foliage. Slow growing to 17′ tall and half as wide. Attractive pale tan bark. Very tough and adaptable small tree. Green flowers in summer become black berries by autumn but are almost always stripped by birds. Great branching structure and form in time. Very cold hardy and deer resistant. Flowers attract bees and beneficial wasps. Rare but stately evergreen tree. A member of the Aralia family from SW China. Moderately fast growing with supplemental summer water. Excellent small evergreen tree for courtyards.
Chilean Fire tree is a brilliant and fun tree to grow in the milder parts of the PNW. Our seed strain is from established cold hardy specimens around Portland. Moderately fast growing somewhat thin tree to 18′ tall and just 6′ wide in 10 years. In late spring (May) the tree is smothered in fascinating tubular hot orange/red flowers that are effective for a month or more. Semi-deciduous to deciduous in these hardy forms. Full sun and average well drained soil that has NOT been amended. Protea family it is sensitive to high nutrients- best in our native unimproved conditions. Light summer water. Hummingbirds manna. Long grown in the PNW- because it adores our maritime climate. Fantastic performance at the Oregon coast. Less susceptible to overly enriched soil. Mulch after planting. Fall color is very late Nov/Dec and is red glowing orange. Very important to water this tree until you see progressive new growth. It can be somewhat difficult to establish. Avoid disturbing the roots and mulch lightly with bark. In subsequent years water once every 2 weeks in summer is sufficient. Blooms on wood from the previous year. Prune AFTER flowering if needed. Full sun, from every direction.