Introducing Our “Tree of the Week Series” on Ontario Trees

Ontario boasts hundreds of tree species for everyone to enjoy. Here at Dutchmaster Nurseries, we take pride in our gentle giants and love sharing our knowledge of Ontario trees to help our customers choose and plan the best ones for their properties. We are delighted to launch a “Tree of the Week” mini-series on our blog, featuring popular trees that grow well in Ontario. 

It’s easier to entice your customers to make them part of their property’s heritage when you can speak to the folklore, history, and stories surrounding particular tree species. Considering many trees live longer than people, it’s vital to help Canadians connect to trees that fit within a continuing legacy. 

In this blog, we’ll focus on the following trees:

  • Autumn Blaze Maple
  • Paper Birch
  • Common Hackberry
  • Kentucky Coffee Tree
  • Tulip Tree
  • Burr Oak

Keep reading to get to know each of these species a little better. 

Autumn Blaze Maple

The symbolism of maple trees is not lost on any Canadian. Furthermore, maple trees also figure prominently in Celtic mythology. Maple trees were consecrated to the Celtic fertility goddess, while the Chinese associate them with honour. 

The autumn blaze maple can survive Ontario’s harsh winters and resists many pests. Autumn blaze is part of the Freeman maples, named for Oliver Freeman, who created a hybrid between red and silver maple trees in 1933. The autumn blaze variety was introduced in the 1960s and is currently the most popular of these hybrids.

Autumn blazes grow to maturity quickly and reach up to 50 feet in height. These trees have an oval or rounded shape with a well-defined centre line. Further, its strong structure makes it resistant to storm damage. 

Here are some quick facts about the autumn blaze maple that you can pass on to interested clients: 

  • The tree has smooth bark in autumn. Young trees have white bark, which darkens with age. 
  • It grows well in almost any soil type, including clay, sandy soil, well-drained dirt, and loam. Slightly acidic soil enhances its fall foliage.
  • Autumn blaze maples grow well in shady or partly shady areas.
  • This hardy tree does well in freezing cold as well as heat and humidity. 
  • Like all maples, these trees have leaves with five lobes. Leaves are green in summer and turn an orangish colour during the fall, deepening to crimson late in the season.
  • These trees can grow up to 7 feet in a single year, which is ideal for homeowners and commercial property owners looking for trees that mature quickly. 
  • The tree blooms in spring, but its flowers aren’t readily noticeable. 

View Dutchmaster Nurseries’ selection of trees to order autumn blaze maples and species for your landscaping needs.

Paper Birch

The Ojibwe people tell a story about the paper birch and why its bark has burns. According to this story, a boy named Waynaboozhoo disguised himself as a rabbit to trick Thunderbird into giving him fire. While enjoying the hospitality of the Thunderbird, Waynaboozhoo stole away with a burning ember. As Thunderbird shot bolts of lightning at him, he took shelter behind a birch tree, which agreed to protect him. Unfortunately, though the boy was unharmed, the tree still bears the burn marks to this day.

Paper birches do better in rural rather than urban settings. They are sensitive to pollution and dry conditions. Generally, these trees fare well in cooler climates, but the branches break off easily in windy weather. The beautiful white bark of a mature birch stands out against a dark background, and they are sometimes called canoe birches. In its natural environment, birch trees grow beside lakes and stream banks. 

Nurseries most often grow these trees in clumps of three to help them maintain their structure. However, they are also grown as single stem trees as well. The tree has low branches just a few feet off the ground and develops golden yellow leaves in the fall. They provide an ever-changing landscape as the bark tends to peel away, and the leaves change colour throughout the year.

The unique bark has black and pink highlights, and clusters of catkins bloom in the early summer. Paper birch trees have light fall foliage, differentiating them from many other species. They attract several different birds, such as the yellow-bellied sapsucker, pine siskins, and tree sparrows.

You can incorporate paper birches into residential properties like HOAs and condominium complexes with moist beds and borders. Because they have a thin canopy, you can suggest growing other plants beneath birch trees. For properties that edge wooded areas, birch trees make a great transition from the forest to the yard. Therefore, your customers may request a transition or screen. 

Common Hackberry

Common hackberry trees produce flexible wood previously used for barrel hoops, and early pioneers used the tree for cabin flooring. The tree can trace its roots in North America back to the mid-1600s. It’s also called a nettle tree, beaver wood, or sugarberry tree.

This tough tree thrives in a range of temperatures, tolerates pollution well, and resists wind. Its durability makes it a natural selection for landscaping design. Additionally, your clients won’t have to water them.

Growing to quite a height with a canopy up to 60 feet, this fast-growing tree can add 13 inches to two feet each year. Hackberry trees like full sun. So, it’s a good idea to put them where they can get six hours of direct sunlight. Do remember to let your clients know that access to full sunlight can help these trees thrive.

The hackberry grows in several different soil conditions, including the following:

  • Acidic
  • Moist ground 
  • Alkaline
  • Sandy
  • Loamy
  • Clay 

Hackberry trees have spear-shaped leaves that grow between four inches long and up to two inches wide. The upper part of the leaves has small teeth edges. It develops a broad crown, and the trunk has warts and corky ridges. Additionally, it develops a vase-like shape when mature.

Winter birds feast on hackberry fruit, and it may attract mockingbirds, robins, and cedar waxwings. If you’re planning a landscape designed to attract butterflies, the hackberry may help you do the job. It’s an excellent choice for municipal areas such as parks, malls, and even school or hospital campuses. 

Download our pricing catalogue to begin creating a budget that includes your top picks. 

Kentucky Coffee Tree

In Ontario, the Kentucky coffee tree has protected status. However, it is a commonly produced species for the landscape, so hopefully that status changes soon. The government is actively trying to preserve this endangered species, jeopardized by generations of deforestation. This drought-resistant, pollution-tolerant tree does well in urban areas. Thus, it’s an excellent option for contractors building golf courses, parks, and other commercial or public spaces.  

The Kentucky coffee tree has been under the Endangered Species Act since 2008. The tree grows between 15 to 25 meters in height and has large leaves up to 90 centimetres long. They may have the largest leaves among all Canadian trees. Additionally, it forms small leaves with greenish flowers and has fruit with leathery, bean-like pods up to 25 centimetres long. 

You can often find the Kentucky coffee tree on moist, rich soil. It does well in flood plains but can also handle sandy or rocky soil. Unfortunately, it doesn’t grow well in shady areas. Therefore, when incorporating Kentucky coffee trees into your landscape plan, it’s essential to pick a lot where it can get plenty of direct sunshine.

You can spot the Kentucky coffee tree near the southern Great Lakes and throughout southwest Ontario. The female trees develop flowers with a rose-like scent, making the tree a pleasant addition to public and private property.

Tulip Tree

Here’s one of many great stories about the Tulip tree. Adam and Eve were leaving Eden behind after being banished for eating the forbidden fruit. Eve tugged on a Tulip tree, pulling out the central lobe of the leaf. From that day forward, the tree continues to grow without it.

This large tree grows quickly, reaching up to 35 metres in height. Tulip trees produce yellow-green flowers up to 5 centimetres long. They’re easy to spot with six petals and a strong resemblance to the shape of a tulip in bloom. Additionally, it has smooth bark that starts out dark green in young trees, turning brown and ridged as the tree matures.

In the natural environment, tulip trees grow on the southern shore of Lake Huron and the north shore of Lake Erie near the Niagara Peninsula. These trees require a lot of moisture throughout the summer and like full sun for optimal growth. For best results, plant them in sandy loam to allow their extensive root system to spread out. Tulip tree seeds provide the perfect snack for small mammals and birds.

Burr Oak

Burr oaks have symbolized many positive attributes such as strength, morale, and wisdom. With their towering trunks, it’s no wonder that people came to think of them as a storehouse of knowledge. These trees were also sacred to Irish druids or magical mystics that inhabit Irish folklore. Known as the king of the forest due to its tall stature, oak trees found their way into mythology throughout Europe. The Vikings linked oak trees to the God Thor, while the Greeks associated oak trees with the king of the gods, Zeus. 

Burr oaks have thick bark and deep roots, making them ideal for surviving forest fires. The tree has large leaves that grow between 15 and 25 centimetres long. They have a shiny top side and hairy texture on the reverse side of the leaf. Large acorns reach up to 3 centimetres long. The tree takes on different shapes depending on its environment. Typically, it has a straight trunk. However, oaks growing in the shallow ground may have narrow branches and twisted trunks.

This is the most common oak grown in Ontario. As a precaution, it’s important to avoid pipe systems when using burr oaks in landscaping maps. That way, you can prevent root incursion by the tree’s deep root bed.  

Choose Your Ontario Trees at Dutchmaster Nurseries

When choosing trees for Ontario properties, contractors, landscapers, and municipal managers come to Dutchmaster Nurseries for knowledgeable assistance on the selection, placement, and maintenance of popular trees in Ontario. Whether you offer comprehensive landscaping services or need to add one or two large elements to a client’s backyard, we urge you to check out our complete product line to find the best trees.Dutchmaster Nurseries offers all the trees listed above, so if you found one that you would like to carry in your inventory or use for a client landscaping project, feel free to reach out to us. Contact us online for more information about our entire product line, including shrubs, accessories, and other pl.

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