Everyone has their own mental list of go-to trees for fall color, but it’s not often that Pin Oaks are on them – especially the lesser-used cultivar Green Pillar. Pin Oaks usually do have burgundy-red foliage in the fall but this fastigiate form is known for fall color that is reliably more brilliant than the species – rivaling any of the Swamp Maples. Green Pillars will grow about 45′ high x 15′ wide. Its habit falls somewhere between European Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’) which is wider at maturity and Slender Silhouette Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) which is narrower. They hold their leaves often right through winter, something we feel is big plus! Why? Winter interest, pure and simple. The brown persistent leaves catch your eye whether against the gray December landscape, a screen of White Pine or Spruce or against a white palette of snow. Green Pillars are fantastic planted in a line as a screen and the winter leaf retention makes them a choice deciduous tree for hiding unwanted views.
Another Oak worth mentioning is Regal Prince (Quercus robur x bicolor). This has a softer yellow fall color and a columnar habit in youth growing upright and oval at maturity topping out about 45′ high x 18-20′ wide. It’s a cross between English Oak (Q. robur) and Swamp White Oak (Q. bicolor). It is a wonderful winter tree for its resistance to wind, ice and low temps. Plant them alone or in a row for a formal look. Both of these Oaks are great for tight spaces and as vertical design elements. Both these are grown right here in Connecticut at our tree farm and are available in 2″ and 2.5″ caliper.
Looking for a stately vertical accent? Check out the Rosehill English Oak (Q. robur). It’s another fastigiate Oak that is narrowly oval in habit growing 40′ high x 20′ wide. It has dark green glossy leaves and is adaptable to soil types and pollution tolerant – great for a street tree, single specimen and narrow spaces. Available in the larger size 5-6″ caliper.
Keep these in mind for fall color and winter interest – and for screening, give your customers something that goes beyond the over-popular Arborvitae!