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McKay Nursery Company

How to Create Depth & Interest to Your Yard

Apr 13, 2017 6:00:00 AM

Written by

McKay Staff

in Problem Solvers Gardening 101 How-to Guide


If you're looking to add some big and bold texture with some stand-out foliage in your landscape then this list is for you! 


Smooth Sumac



The Smooth Sumac is a valuable native plant throughout the northern United States. Very similar to Staghorn Sumac in form and function with the main difference being the smooth new growth on this species. This plant will colonize into small groupings of short, low branching trees. Wonderful for naturalizing in the landscape. Absolutely fabulous fall color! 10' tall x 10' wide. 

Smooth Sumac Quick Facts:

Bloom Time: June
Color: Green, Orange, Red
Plant Size: Around 10' tall x 10' wide
Fall Color: Red, Orange
Fruit: Berry Clusters
Sunlight: Full Sun 
Soil Conditions: Normal, Sandy, Clay, Acidic, Dry
Growing Zones: 3 - 9




Red Dragon Hazelnut



The Red Dragon Hazelnut is a small tree with curled and twisted stems and branches and dark purple leaves. Imagine a Harry Lauder's Walkingstick with purple leaves and you have a good idea how this small tree will perform in the garden. The leaves emerge a dark purple and fade to a dark green with purple undertones in the summer. Mature growth size is around 6' to 10' tall and wide. It's best if this small ornamental tree/shrub is grown in zones 4-9.

Red Dragon Hazelnut Quick Facts:

Bloom Time: May 
Color: Green, Purple
Plant Size: Around 6'-10' wide and tall
Fall Color: Orange
Sunlight: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Soil Conditions: Normal, Sandy, Clay, Acidic, Dry
Growing Zones: 4 - 9





Autumn Gold Ginkgo



The common name of this maidenhair tree refers to the resemblance of the fan-shaped leaves to maidenhair fern leaflets (pinnae). The 'Autumn Gold' is an all-male cultivar typically growing at maturity to 40-50' with a symmetrical, broadly spreading habit. The leaves turn a uniform golden yellow in autumn (spectacular when back-lit by early morning or late afternoon sun) and persist for several weeks. When the leaves do drop, they drop rapidly, forming a golden carpet around the tree. No insect or disease problems. Mature size is around 50' high x 30' wide. Hardiness zone 4.

Autumn Gold Ginkgo Quick Facts:

Color: Green, Yellow
Plant Size: Around 50' tall x 30' wide
Fall Color:  Golden Yellow
Sunlight: Full Sun 
Soil Conditions: Normal, Clay, Acidic, Wet, Dry
Growing Zones: 4 - 8




Adam's Needle 



Adam's Needle is a "cactus looking" type of deciduous shrub that has dense clumps of erect narrow green leaves. The creamy-white flowers are born on 3-5' tall spikes in mid-summer. The part of the plant that produces the flower will die out after the bloom is finished, and small plants around the main plant will take over. An excellent plant for rock garden or foundation planting. Needs a dry, sunny location. Remove old leaves or winter burned leaves in early spring and allow new leaves to develop from the center of the plant.

Adam's Needle Quick Facts:

Bloom Time: June
Color: Green, White
Plant Size: Around 3-5’ tall (in bloom) x 4’ wide
Flower Color: White
Fall Color: Green
Sunlight: Full Sun 
Soil Conditions: Normal, Sandy, Clay, Dry
Growing Zones: 4 - 9





Northern Pin Oak


The Northern Pin Oak is a native tree to Waterloo, Wisconsin. This tree is highly adaptable to heavier soils and more alkaline soils than Pin Oak. It is pyramidal in shape when young, attaining a height of about 60' and spread of 45'. It has glossy green leaves that turn red in fall. This works great as a specimen tree or for street trees. Hardiness zone 3.

Northern Pin Oak Quick Facts:

Color: Green, Red
Plant Size: Around 50-60' tall x 35-45' wide
Fall Color: Red
Sunlight: Full Sun 
Soil Conditions: Normal, Sandy, Clay, Acidic, Dry
Growing Zones: 3 - 6





Humpback Whale Hosta



The Humpback Whale Hosta is also known as the the BIG BLUES! That is what people want in a hosta! This monster sports gigantic heart-shaped, blue-green corrugated leaves. 'Humpback Whale' will perform as a beautiful specimen plant in your shade garden but can also be used for massing. Mature size is around 3' tall x 4-5' wide. The flowers are a pale white in mid-spring. Hardiness zone 3.

Humpback Whale Hosta Quick Facts:

Bloom Time: April - May
Color: Blue, Green, White
Plant Size: Around 3' tall x 4-5' wide
Flower Color: White
Sunlight: Partial Shade to Full Shade
Soil Conditions: Normal
Growing Zones: 3 - 7




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