Consider Weeping Trees or Shrubs to add Interest in Your Garden – Part 2

By: Melanie Mathieson

The Gardening Guru

A previous column provided some background information on considering weeping Trees or shrubs to add Interest in your garden and listed some fantastic shrub species to look for. This column will focus on trees with the weeping structure.

As there are many species of weeping trees or shrubs to choose from, you can choose from coniferous or broadleaf and evergreen or deciduous varieties. Many local nurseries will carry at least some of the species of weeping trees I am recommending for your consideration below. When reviewing the tag if you see the name “pendula” in the variety name of the plant then you know you are purchasing a weeping variety.

Here is a list of some of the weeping trees that will work for you, in Zone 4.

Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica) grows up to sixteen metres tall and has a large, rounded crown. They demand plenty of room, so they are suitable only for large landscapes. They thrive along the banks of lakes, streams and rivers, or in any sunny location where the soil stays moist. It’s best to plant them far from your house otherwise, their roots will seek out and grow into your water pipes.

Weeping Larch (Larix decidua ‘Pendula’) is a weeping, needled evergreen with lots of texture and character. It grows only 1.5 to two metres tall and makes a lovely lawn specimen or accent. You can also use it as an informal hedge or in shrub borders. Weeping hemlock needs frequent watering during dry spells. Note: this is a deciduous coniferous tree like its cousin the tamarack so it will lose all of its needles every fall. The Gardening Guru isn’t terribly fond of this for the garden landscape as it will look like a dead tree for half the year.

Weeping Birch – There are a few varieties available Betula pendula ‘Youngii’ or Betula pendula ‘ Purpurea’ are great sepecvtiosn for our area. Youngii’ is dervived from the silver or warty birch, and is best known for its white peeling bark on the trunk. The twigs are slender and often pendulous and the leaves are roughly triangular with doubly serrate margins and turn yellow in autumn before they fall. The flowers are catkins and the light, winged seed get widely scattered by the wind. The silver birch is a hardy and easy to care for. Birches often need supplemental watering in times of low rainfall. ‘Pupurea’ is known as Purple Rain Birch because of its dark purple leaves. This is an excellent tree for flower beds as it is a wonderful focal point and can be pruned to be kept in scale to the garden. White bark on the trunk and more mature branches with dark purple/brown weeping branches look wonderful with or without leaves. This is a the Gardening guru’s all time favourite weeping species and she has one in her garden and had one in her Fort Frances garden as well.

Weeping White Pine (Pinusstrobus ‘Pendula’)

Best grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Pruning depends upon desired form. Generally tolerant of urban conditions, deer and rabbits.

Weeping Norway Spruce (Picea abies ‘Pendula’)

Like the weeping white pine, it isBest grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. The weeping spruce has a much denser branching and foliage than the white pine so it can be up to preference of aesthetics. Pruning depends upon desired form. Generally tolerant of urban conditions, deer and rabbits. The Gardening Guru has one in her landscape and it has survived in Thunder Bay beautifully and has tolerated my dry sandy soils very well.

Now that you are aware of both trees and shrubs with this special feature you can really add some impact to your garden with even just one shrub or tree. Take your time to look at all that is available and soon you will find a favourite.Choose what you think would complement your garden the most. Just don’t overdo it with too many added to the landscape. Less is more here saving the drooping look for special area you want to draw the eye. Obviously with a larger yard and garden you can go with a few additions, just make sure to space them out throughout the landscape.