Add some 'autumnal magic' to your site
Marcus C-Jones Senior Horticulturist - Trentham.
Laurence Gale recently descended on the gardens at Trentham in a whirlwind of infectious enthusiasm for this publication 'Pitchcare'. He talked voraciously, dished out cards and magazines, raced out questions at a fairly impressive rate of knots and finished off asking me to write 'something horticultural' that would be relevant to his magazine's readership. After a couple of days thought on the matter I decided to oblige. My first problem was deciding what on earth to write that could be of interest to those looking after sports facilities. I needed an angle of some description. After a couple of days scratching my chin, looking at local golf courses, driving past football and rugby pitches the answer just jumped out at me as being surprisingly simple. What many sites seemed to lack were interesting plants and plantings that could add to the amenity value of the place.
So, for this edition I've decided to recommend a selection of four excellent trees for autumn interest. These will all add some horticultural 'spice' to any location and of course enhance the quality of the landscape.
Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica).
· A slow growing, deciduous tree that is fully hardy in the British Isles.
· The foliage of this tree turns yellow, orange and red in the autumn.
· It grows to about 8 metres tall with a spread of about 10 metres.
· It prefers full sun, grows best in a fertile but well drained soil and will tolerate alkaline, neutral or acid soils but 'colours up' best in acidic conditions.
Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
· This tree is slow growing, hardy and originally introduced from the U.S.A.
· The striking foliage turns a beautiful butter yellow in autumn.
· This tree is large growing up to 30 metres with a spread of 15 metres.
· It requires full sun, although it will grow in semi-shade and prefers a deep, well drained soil.
Tupelo (Nyssa sinensis)
· A fairly quick growing deciduous tree.
· The foliage turns a brilliant crimson in the autumn, especially after a hot summer.
· It grows to about 10 metres with a spread of about 7 metres.
· It will grow in sun or semi-shade and prefers a moist, neutral to acid soil.
Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
· A medium vigour, deciduous tree with maple like foliage.
· The leaves turn orange, red and yellow in the autumn.
· This tree will grow to be 20 metres tall with a spread of about 10 - 15 metres.
· It will grow in sun or semi-shade but prefers a moisture retentive soil.
Editor's note:- we are now entering the tree planting season, so there is no better time to take Marcus's advice. Most reputable nurseries will have these species in stock.