I recently worked on a garden design for a home located in an area where the Asian Long-Horned Beetle has invaded. Many trees have been removed by both the municipality and local homeowners in an attempt to slow the spread of this destructive pest.
The last thing I wanted was for the homeowner to begin enjoying his new garden only to lose his beautiful new trees to the Beetle. In addition, it would be useful to know which trees in my own gardens would be susceptible should the Beetle spread this far, and when I plant trees in the future, which types would spare us the heartbreak of losing them to this pest.
One thing my client was interested in was to get some privacy in his back yard above the fence line, a common issue in many subdivisions. No longer will a few tall maples be effective for this job, as they are one of the trees most susceptible to the Beetles. I needed a deciduous tree with a pretty canopy that would not take up much of the usable area of the property.
I reviewed lists of Beetle-resistant trees and came up with the Honey Locust. When limbed to encourage an upward growth habit, this beautiful tree is graceful, tall and takes up little space below the height of its mature branches. It has pretty bark and, as long as the soil is kept healthy, other plants will thrive in its dappled shade. It also comes in a mid-green colour as well as a lighter, yellowy tone (“Sunburst Honey Locust”) which I was looking for, since this garden area seemed dark, and I like to get a little contrast in the foliage of any garden.
The Honey Locust was perfect, and, for evergreens, the property already had a couple of cedars. I looked them up, and noted with relief that the cedar family seems to resist this pest. Finally, I had hopes for one more deciduous tree to provide a little variety from the Honey Locusts, and thought of the oak and its hard and useful wood. All manner of oaks–Pin Oak, Bur Oak, White Oak and English Oak are, in fact, resistant to the Asian Long-Horned Beetle.
Next, I pondered something spectacular but not very large to anchor the front yard garden. Although a burgundy-leaved Japanese Maple would have been perfect, I know other people who were required to remove their full-grown Japanese Maple a few years ago as a precaution because it was in an infested area. Scrolling through the lists again, I settled on the Saucer Magnolia which is as good as fireworks in the spring garden. I would get my burgundy colouring from some other plant, and my show-stopping centrepiece from this one, whose soft, pinky blooms would, nonetheless, go with my colour scheme.
There is also a smaller tree next to the back patio along the south property line which the property owner wishes to remove. To strive for eventual privacy without immediately blocking the much-needed sun from the area, I considered smaller trees with a cultivated character to recommend for this spot. Flowering Crabapple
and Serviceberry are two that could work here, though I think I will opt for the former to avoid repeating the shrubby shape of the large lilac that sits in a nearby corner.
This post is not intended to provide an exhaustive listing of trees that are resistant to the Asian Long-Horned Beetle, but simply to highlight the fact that you can tailor your plantings to minimize this threat while still achieving all of your design objectives and ending up with a gorgeous property. The trees mentioned above sufficed for my purposes, but I found the following, much more detailed, lists useful:
The challenges of our environment are always changing. The outlook for protecting forests and urban trees from this scourge is very uncertain at this time; however, at least we can avoid planting to feed them, and plan so as to keep our little bits of paradise green.
(Note: Magnolia photo from http://www.centralpark2000.com/database_trees/magnolia_saucer.htm )
Did you find this post helpful? Follow by clicking the button in the right margin to receive emails of new posts in your inbox.