Decorate an entrance with patio-trees
Using patio-trees near an entry or in a courtyard helps to create space on the ground by opening up the base of the plant. This provides a place to plant ground covers or annuals for color. A shaped tree or standard, as we call it, shows a desire to control the atmosphere and looks clean to the eye. It also provides a verticle element for variety. Most folks want a patio or walk to be clear and clutter free, so these fit here nicely.
A perfect example of this is a tree rose. The rose tree is actually a rose plant grafted onto the trunk of another type of tree trunk. Maintenance and care for this is the same as a rose bush. I use these all the time in tight little planters and under larger palms or shade trees when they are near a patio.
Some patio-trees are shaped like a cork screw or double pom pom plant. These are usually done with a fast growing juniper plant and are extremely high maintenance. To keep them looking clean and full, the pruning must be done on a monthly basis. This is usually all it takes for most of my customers to cross corkscrew plants off of their plant list. Nobody wants to be tied to their yard work.
Plant growers train Photenia and Japanese Privot plants to a stake and then grow the plant at the top, to create a tall patio-tree. They sell these at a premium because all the hard work and waiting have already been done.
These mature espalier trees that have been raised by a nursury, tend to want to bend over and fall down when the stake is removed. It seems the stake used to train the plant into this form takes away the need for the trunk of the tree to be strong and support it's own weight.
It is a struggle to get these farm raised trees to hold their own. You will need to some stakes and guy wires to support a tree like this for the first couple of years. The end result is a nice clean evergreen tree that has a nice uniform shape and never looses its' leaves.
The best way to get a strong patio tree is to grow one yourself. For a multi-trunk tree simply start at the bottom of a large breed bush, like the red tipped photenia, or the coppertone loquat, as it matures and begin to trim off the leaves until the individual limbs are showing. Just do a little at a time and step back to see your progress.
Italian Cypress trees can be considered a patio tree if they are used that way. They have a verticle element and fit into a tight spot. Long term planning is required for the use of these, unless you select the tiny tower dwarf from monrovia. This new variety requires little pruning and never gets out of control. The cost is the only issue to contend with but the look they create is worth the price.
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