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Winter Wonderland

December 21, 2010

One of my favorite things to do in the winter is sit by my back windows and watch the bright blue birds eat the brilliant fruit off of my crabapple tree.

It's one of those trees that, despite losing its leaves and becoming a seemingly uninteresting skeleton, transforms into a gathering place for the birds, tweeting and twittering as they munch on the abundant red spheres on the branches. And the arrival of cold weather often adorns the tree in striking frost. The crabapple is truly a tree with incredible winter appeal that brings enjoyment to my whole family.

And what is a landscape if not a canvas for providing yourself with endless enjoyment in every season, regardless of what Mother Nature may bring in the form of harsh winds, sleet, snow and ice.

Here are some of our arborists' favorite winter varieties. If you have a favorite winter tree, we would love to hear about it!

  • Holly Tree. No one can ignore the spinous leaves and blood-red berries of the holly. With its silvery bark and glossy, dark foliage, it's a tree with traditional winter appeal - not to mention a great symbol of the happy winter holidays. Birds also take refuge in holly trees in the winter.

  • Blue Spruce and Fraser Fir. Amidst the gray-brown bare deciduous tree trunks and the true green evergreen varieties, the softer, silvery blue of the blue spruce brings another color to the winter palette. Another evergreen that gives the best of both green and blue worlds is the Fraser Fir. Its needles are softer than traditional spruce needles and they are deep green on top and blue underneath, giving just the right mix of each hue. These also make great Christmas trees because the needles tend to last through the holiday season and are soft enough on which little hands can hang ornaments yet sturdy enough to hold the weight.

River birch

  • River Birch & Paperbark Maple. With its multiple trunk structure and exfoliating bark, the river birch tree brings interest, texture and variety to the landscape during the winter months.  In a similar fashion, the Paperbark maple has a coppery bark that peels off in paper-like strips, also drawing winter attention.

  • Cleveland Flowering Pear. This is a simple tree that is very popular in various parts of the country. But it's a very unique tree for all seasons. It's one of the first to flower in the spring, boasting many petite white blooms. It holds its teardrop shape all summer in a wonderful, bright, shiny green. In the fall, its leaves go from emerald green to scarlet. And in the winter, the flowering pear retains its perfect oval structure in the form of bare branches.

Sure, it may be too cold to spend hours outside, but you don't have to miss the action. As long as you have a window and a view of some of these great trees, you can enjoy your backyard winter wonderland all season long.

"Think you're a big fan of trees? We'd love to hear about it. Send your thoughts to Dave or Daphne at blog@davey.com ."

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