Sanctuary For Rare or Endangered Trees


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I'll try to explain this the best I can. My family has bequeathed to us some land that was once an old homestead in the countryside. After years of reading books about all the weird and wonderful plants around the world, many that I will never be able to grow here except as a houseplant; I decided to go about creating a sort of sanctuary for some exotics. An Arboretum is probably not exactly the right word for it since the idea is to create actual wild breeding populations of certain endangered or primeval trees. Naturally, I would desire for the species used to be types that are suitable for the climate and terrain, if not ideally so. This region is characterized by harsh summers and very mediocre soil - PH neutral; most trees on my list prefer acidic. The soil is rocky and has some red clay content - this creates questions about the drainage issues. The winters here are fairly cold, but not the coldest either; I have wondered if this would hinder germination in species of spruce and fir. A few of the species I had in mind are not exactly endangered but, are somewhat rare in the wild (particularly locally) or are of exotic foreign origin. In no particular order of species, I have divided my list into the sure and uncertain categories...

Here is my list so far...

Sure Thing:
*Dawn Redwood
*Ginkgo Biloba - a dioecious gymnosperm
*Jeffrey Pine - there's nothing wrong with Loblollies and Shortleafs, I just feel that bigger and longer lived is better; "Gentle Jeffrey" is likely going to be my Yellow Pine of choice - similar to the interior Ponderosa, but even a little hardier in poorer sites.

To Be Determined:

*Canaan Fir - this variant of the more common Balsam Fir is reputed to be hardy in a variety of soil types, and it apparently holds up well to ambient summer temperatures. Generally the planter is called on to plant these trees on northward facing slopes. Some deer browsing is a concern.
*Serbian Spruce - this tree actually has a lot going for it. Though endangered in its native range because of its failure to compete with taller and faster growing trees, it is said to be one of the toughest spruces on the planet - able to withstand intense heat and drought once established. Deer reportedly don't much care for it either.
*Oriental Spruce - a native of the Caucasus Mountains in Eurasia. Many things said of the Norway and Serbian Spruces apply.
*Brewer's Spruce - somewhat resembling the Norway and Oriental with its pendulous, drooping habit. Thought to be one of the most ancient lineages of spruce, this species has gradually given way to giant Sitka Spruce and Douglas Fir in most of its former range. Its ability to adapt to poorer sites has extended the thread of its existence. This is one spruce tree that I would be very proud to add to my collection.
*Meyer Spruce - this tree has gained a lot of popularity as an alternative to the Colorado Blue in recent years. I'm almost certain that this one would grow here if planted but...would it ever go native?
*Korean Fir - based on my research about this tree, it sounds like it could handle the summer heat. Problem is, it sounds like it might need better soil than it will get here.
*Cryptomeria Japonica ("Japanese Redwood") - the only thing about these that really worries me are its probable soil requirements.
*Japanese Umbrella Pine - one of the strangest trees native to Japan. Apparently the sole surviving representative of its ancient lineage. Truly a botanical treasure. It's apparently rather finicky about soil drainage though.
*Lebanese Cedar (aka "Cedar of Lebanon") - truly one of the most beautiful and iconic trees of the ancient world. Sources seem to vary on its actual soil requirements though, making its inclusion uncertain.
*Modoc Cypress (aka "Baker Cypress") - a reclusive species native to Siskiyou and Modoc. This tree tolerates poor sites, and is one of the few true cypresses that can withstand both heat and cold. Unfortunately, it also depends on forest fires to open its cones.
*Sawara False Cypress - seems to be conflicting information about their soil requirements. Supposedly very deer resistant.
*Hinoki Cypress - same as Sawara.
*Carolina Hemlock - I haven't researched this species thoroughly yet but, it may just be the Hemlock best suited for this zone. Deer browsing is apparently one of the biggest dangers for Hemlocks. I think there is a species of woolly aphid that especially likes to feed on Hemlock too.
*Mountain Hemlock?
*Southwestern White Pine?
*Pinyon Pine?
*Elm?
*Turkish Fir (aka "Bornmueller Fir")?
*Spanish Fir?
*Chinese Douglas Fir??

Would-Be Additions:

* Golden Larch (no available streams or waterways)
 
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Twigs

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Maybe I missed it, what area do you live?

You did a good job describing the soil and temperature type but regional rains, zone, and weather is key.
 

JBtheExplorer

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I don't know if you'd like any suggestions, but I've got a couple suggestions for you.

If you're in or near the native range, I would highly recommend Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa). It used to be an extremely common tree, but many have been destroyed due to farming and development. It's a slow-growing but very long lived tree. They're often considered an ornamental tree, but are also very valuable to wildlife and one of the oaks that can be found in the rare oak savanna habitat.


I would also suggest Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) , also called Tulip Poplar. Not an uncommon tree, but i consider it a very interesting and unique tree. The leaves are unique, but it also produces large brightly colored flowers on it. The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly uses it as a host plant.
 
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I don't know if you'd like any suggestions, but I've got a couple suggestions for you.

If you're in or near the native range, I would highly recommend Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa). It used to be an extremely common tree, but many have been destroyed due to farming and development. It's a slow-growing but very long lived tree. They're often considered an ornamental tree, but are also very valuable to wildlife and one of the oaks that can be found in the rare oak savanna habitat.
I actually did not know that. That's very interesting. There was actually once an exceptionally large Bur Oak in the old gravel driveway. I have considered the possibility of planting a new one nearby as a tribute to that particular one. Maybe I will need to plant more of them? I will take your suggestion under advisement.


I would also suggest Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) , also called Tulip Poplar. Not an uncommon tree, but i consider it a very interesting and unique tree. The leaves are unique, but it also produces large brightly colored flowers on it. The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly uses it as a host plant.
I actually like poplars, but I'm not sure that I will be getting any of this variety. I won't rule it out entirely but, the space in so many acres is finite; I can't have them all there. It will not be high on my priorities list. I must be selective in screening the possible candidates based not only on popularity, but on circumstances regarding its conservation status in the wild.
 
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Twigs

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Love your idea behind some rarer, more endangered trees. I see the issue with some of the trees vs. your soil mix.

Just brainstorming a long term project....
With the right friends/resource, over time, you could bring in some more rocky, sandy, soil. Think of it as an oversized raised bed.
Basically creating a small hill area that is more acceptable for some of your tree types, changing any drainage issues, giving you more ideal growing area for some of your favorites. Tap roots may find their way to clay, but your main rootball would be planted in the soil of choice.
You can’t change the weather, but with some creativity on planting (sun, shade, north, south facing) areas you may give some of your picks a good fighting chance.
 
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Love your idea behind some rarer, more endangered trees. I see the issue with some of the trees vs. your soil mix.

Just brainstorming a long term project....
With the right friends/resource, over time, you could bring in some more rocky, sandy, soil. Think of it as an oversized raised bed.
Basically creating a small hill area that is more acceptable for some of your tree types, changing any drainage issues, giving you more ideal growing area for some of your favorites. Tap roots may find their way to clay, but your main rootball would be planted in the soil of choice.
Well, if I were creating my own private botanic garden, that's probably what I would do. That wasn't really what I had in mind though. I mean sure, I could have all kinds of temperate weather trees and shrubs rated for this zone doing it that way, but then the populations would never expand their newfound pockets of distribution outward into the surrounding areas with poorer soil. Rather than to artificially create the soil conditions necessary for a handful of exotics that either couldn't grow here naturally or naturalize into the surrounding wilderness, I wish to select types that are already well cut out for this climate and soil. I don't just want my trees to survive, I want them to be able to thrive. Of course, I am aware that doing it naturally will limit my choices significantly, I think I can live with that though. Before all is said and done, many species will simply have to be checked off the list for this planting site. Right now, I am in the evaluation stage. As of the time of writing this, at least three, and possibly two other exotics would be nearly perfect for this biome. I love Noble Fir (Abies Procera), but I know that they would never make it because of moisture and soil requirements, and a New Zealand Kauri would never be able to survive the winters, though a Monkey Puzzle Tree almost could...almost.

You can’t change the weather, but with some creativity on planting (sun, shade, north, south facing) areas you may give some of your picks a good fighting chance.
This I can put to good use. :)
 
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Here are two different articles that list trees that the authors believe will tolerate clay. I'm not sure if all of their choices check out though. The one columnist for SFGate seems to think that the Nikko Fir is a synonym for the Western White Fir - I know better! This same columnist also makes the claim that the Cedar of Lebanon can tolerate clay; this could perhaps be true, I have seen a lot of Blue Atlas Cedars (a related species) planted as ornamentals in public places around here - I will wait until I am more certain of that. Another author makes the claim that American Douglas Fir can withstand clay soil - he didn't specify if he meant var. Menziesii (Pacific Coastal) or var. Glauca (Rocky Mountain). Pretty much every other source I have read on Douglas Firs state that they cannot stand clay soil at all. Having been planted worldwide, I know that the American Douglas Fir is far from endangered, though at one point I admit that I wanted some anyway (who doesn't). The same author of that article also claims that Hinoki Cypress and Sawara False Cypress can both tolerate clay soil; on these trees, most nurseries specify, "prefers moist well-drained soil." If we can get some qualified people in here who are knowledgeable enough to affirm or debunk these claims, that would be very helpful to me.

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/conifers-well-clay-soil-44275.html

https://www.flowerpotman.com/plants-for-soil-type-and-conditions/plants-to-grow-in-clay/
 

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