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Horticultural Science

urban landscapes

NC Division of Forest Resources

North Carolina Urban Forest Council

The North Carolina Urban Tree Evaluation Program


Top Ten Performers

Cornus mas 'Spring Glow' (Corneliancherry Dogwood). Mature Ht/Wd:25'/20'. Small, oval-rounded tree with yellow flowers in February-March. 'Spring Glow' has particularly large flowers, excellent dark green glossy foliage and has flowered well in Raleigh, N.C. Very tough plant. Originally selected by the late JC Raulston.

NC Observations: One of the best small flowering trees in the program. Very adaptable across zones 6-8 with no particular problems. Extremely floriferous with 4 weeks of showy flowers. Excellent summer foliage.

Chionanthus retusus (Chinese Fringetree). Mature Ht/Wd: 25'/25'. Small tree related to our native fringetree. Leathery lustrous leaves, exfoliating bark. The flowers are born in white panicles on the ends of the shoots (early May).

NC Observations: Great from zones 6-8. Occasional late-frost injury. Very adaptable with few problems. One of the best small trees in the program.

Acer truncatum x platanoides Norwegian Sunset (Norwegian Sunset Maple). Mature Ht/Wd: 35'/25'. An interspecific hybrid. Oval form, dark green foliage, orange-red fall color. A J.F. Schmidt Nursery introduction. A hybrid tree designed to combine the greater fall color and heat tolerance of A. truncatum with the desirable form, greater size, and urban tolerance of A. platanoides.

NC Observations: One of the best and most consistent performers. Good in zones 6-8. Colors late in the Fall. Vigorous, dependable, with few problems.

Acer tuncatum x platanoides Pacific Sunset (Pacific Sunset Maple). Mature Ht/Wd: 30'/25'. Rounded crown, red fall color. A J.F. Schmidt Nursery introduction.

NC Observations: One of the best and most consistent performers. Good in zones 6-8. Colors late in the Fall. Vigorous, dependable, with few problems.

Acer x freemanii 'Jeffsred' Autumn Blaze (Freeman Maple). Mature Ht/Wd: 50'/40'. A hybrid between red and silver maple. Adaptable and fast growing. Leaves deeply lobed, rich green, with a spectacular orange-red fall color. Minor leaf spots.

NC Observations: Fast grower with good tolerance to poor drainage. Very good performer, zones 6-8. Fall color is variable.

Liquidambar styraciflua `Rotundiloba' (Fruitless Sweetgum). Mature Ht/Wd: 75'/50'. Unusual rounded lobes on the leaves. Fall color varies from yellow to burgundy. Original tree was discovered in the wild in North Carolina in 1930.

NC Observations: Consistently good from zone 6-8. Fast growth once established. Individual branches occasionally revert to star-shaped leaves with fruit. Some leaf spot.

Magnolia x 'Wada's Memory' (Wada's Memory Magnolia). Mature Ht/Wd: 35'/25'. One of the nicest of all magnolias. 'Wada's Memory' is a hybrid between M. kobus and M. salicifolia. This cultivar maintains the distinctly pyramidal form of M. kobus, but has large (6" diameter) fragrant white flowers before the leaves. Yellow fall color. Has good potential for a street tree.

NC Observations: Beautiful tree. Good specimens from zone 6 to 8 if given a good site. Occasional late frost injury.

Ulmus parvifolia (Lacebark Elm).  Excellent urban tree.  The species is quite variable and new selection have been made for foliage, bark, tree form, and cold hardiness. Destine to be a major player in the 21st century.  The species is resistant to Dutch elm disease.

NC Observations: Good adaptability and performance.  Hardiness varies by cultivar.  'Bartlett' was not reliably hardy in zone 6. Others are generally good in zones 6, 7 and 8.

Prunus x blieriana (Blireiana plum). Mature Ht/Wd: 20'/20'. A hybrid between P. cerasifera 'Autopurpurea' and a double form of P. mume. Reddish foliage with double, light pink, 1" diameter flowers in early March-April. Generally found to be more adaptable and tolerant of clay soils than many Prunus spp.

NC Observations: Promising small flowering tree with nice form and showy flowers. Should be used more. Japanese beetles were a minor problem. Good over zones 6-8.

Prunus serrulata 'Royal Burgundy' P.P. 6520 (Japanese Flowering Cherry). Mature Ht/Wd: 20'/20'. A purple foliaged form of 'Kwanzan' cherry.

NC Observations: Good performer from zone 6-8. Looks very promising. No particular problems.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Email: tom_ranney@ncsu.edu

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Updated September 15, 2006