Larry the Tree Guy

Russian Hawthrone

Russian Hawthorns are one of the most drought-tolerant trees on our list.  Again, establishing these trees with two seasons of normal watering will get their root systems healthy and strong enough to withstand dry conditions.

Susan, one of Tagawa’s Nursery Professionals, highly recommends Russian Hawthorn.  It was the first tree she nominated for our list!

Russian Hawthorns mature at 15 to 20 feet tall and wide with an upright oval form and slightly spreading lower branches.

These hawthorns have beautiful, finely-cut, dark green leaves, turning yellow in the fall.  The white flowers emerge in clusters in late spring.  They mature into richly-colored dark red berries late in the season.

The tree’s bark is a golden yellow that exfoliates or peels naturally.  The bark, combined with the berries, create excellent “winter interest.”   The tree is a great addition to any landscape, even after the leaves have fallen for the season.

Russian Hawthorns are a medium-fast grower.  They do have some thorns, as their name implies.

Japanese Lilac

Syringa reticulata (Japanese tree lilac;[1] Chinese: 暴马丁香 bao ma ding xiangJapanese: ハシドイ, romanizedhashidoi) is a species of Lilac, native to eastern Asia: in northern Japan (mainly Hokkaidō), northern China (GansuHebeiHeilongjiangHenanJilinLiaoningNei MongolNingxiaShaanxiShanxiSichuan), Korea, and far southeastern Russia (Primorye).[2][3][4]

Syringa reticulata is a deciduous small tree growing to a height of 39' (12 m), rarely to 49' (15 m), with a trunk up to 11.8" (30 cm), rarely 15.7" (40 cm) diameter; it is the largest species of lilac, and the only one that regularly makes a small tree rather than a shrub. The leaves are elliptic-acute, 1"-6"(2.5–15 cm) long and 1/2"-4" (1–8 cm) broad, with an entire margin, and a roughish texture with slightly impressed veins. The flowers are white or creamy-white, the corolla with a tubular base 0.16"-0.24"(4–6 mm) long and a four-lobed apex 0.12"-0.24" (3–6 mm) across, and a strong fragrance; they are produced in broad panicles 2"-11" (5–30 cm) long and 1"-8" (3–20 cm) broad in early summer. The fruit is a dry, smooth brown capsule (15–25 mm long), splitting in two to release the two winged seeds.


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The genus has a large genetic diversity, and can grow from 15–50 m (49–164 ft) tall, with trunks up to 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) in diameter.

Male catkins of 

Populus × canadensis

The bark on young trees is smooth, white to greenish or dark grey, and often has conspicuous lenticels; on old trees, it remains smooth in some species, but becomes rough and deeply fissured in others. The shoots are stout, with (unlike in the related willows) the terminal bud present. The leaves are spirally arranged, and vary in shape from triangular to circular or (rarely) lobed, and with a long petiole; in species in the sections Populus and Aigeiros, the petioles are laterally flattened, so that breezes easily cause the leaves to wobble back and forth, giving the whole tree a "twinkling" appearance in a breeze. Leaf size is very variable even on a single tree, typically with small leaves on side shoots, and very large leaves on strong-growing lead shoots. The leaves often turn bright gold to yellow before they fall during autumn.