Oxydendrum arboreum

With its modest profile and year-round interest, Oxydendrum arboreum - sourwoodWith its modest profile and year-round interest, Oxydendrum arboreum – known commonly as sourwood – is one of the great trees for small spaces with a history of healing. The oval-shaped tree grows 20-25 feet tall.
The winter interest of many trees includes interesting bark and sourwood doesn’t disappoint. As the tree matures the bark becomes gray, ridged and scaly. Pioneers used to chew sourwood bark for mouth pain, draw its sap to relieve fever and brewed leaf tea for digestive maladies. Today sorrel leaf tea is widely used to slake the thirst of mountain climbers.
In spring the branches take a back seat to glossy green leaves 5-8 inches long and sour to the taste, hence the tree’s common name.bee on oxydendrum arboreum flowers
Summer ushers in drooping 4 to 8-inch clusters of waxy, fragrant white blooms very much like lily-of-the-valley. These are enticing to bees and in areas where the tree is endemic, sourwood honey is highly prized by locals.
oxydendrum arboreumThe flowers make their parting bows, making way for unusual fruit that looks like brown, wooden capsules and contain numerous pointy seeds.
Enjoyable as the year has been, the show really begins in fall as the tree’s generous leaves take on intensely beautiful shades of brilliant crimson, purplish-red and sometimes yellow.
Winter, spring, summer, fall: Oxydendrum arboreum shines as a lawn specimen, a garden feature, an ornamental addition to larger trees or as a clump in a wide open space.

Surround Yourself with Autumn Color!

Hello friends.  September is a transitional time for the garden. We are past the hottest days of the year so it’s a good time to think about fall planting. Whether you want to transform your landscape or just add a little color, fall is the perfect time to plant! The soil is warm, the air is cool and the rains are about to return.

Add a little spunk and pizzazz to your landscape this year with one of these fall beauties! Each one enhances the color and interest of your landscape. If you want these or any other new plants in your yard, give us a call. We can discuss placement and species and help you get the right plants for your landscape.

Contact Frontier Landscaping today to discuss some new plantings in your landscape!


Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba 'Fastigiata'

This is a gorgeous ornamental specimen with distinctive fan-shaped leaves. Ginkgo is a deciduous tree with a narrow, upright growth habit and attractive emerald green foliage that turns a brilliant golden yellow in the fall.

Oak Trees (Quercus species)

Quercus ellipsoidalis 'Shooting Star'  

Many oak trees look spectacular in the landscape in autumn. Their signature lobed leaves turn brilliant shades of purple and red, depending on the species. Oak trees are reliable stately specimens for shade and as a street tree.

Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

Sweet Gum

This tall, spreading tree has spectacular autumn color. It’s broad, palm-shaped leaves turn from green to incredible shades of bright yellow, orange, red and purple- practically a rainbow of autumn hues. This tree requires some regular maintenance and pruning to stay at its best but that color display is worth it.

Compact Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus “Compactus”)

Burning bush

This showy shrub is perfect for creating exciting hedges, border plantings and more. It grows in a dense, compact form with green, pointy leaves that turn a luminous rosy-red in the fall. The cherry-red leaves light up the fall landscape and are particularly stunning when several plants are paired together.

Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

Oakleaf Hydrangea

This delightful shrub stands out no matter what! The Oakleaf Hydrangea produces large clusters of panicle-shaped white flowers in the summer. In autumn, foliage turns a spectacular mix of reds, purples and auburns for a brilliant display.

Sumac (Rhus species)


This hardy shrub has a two-part showcase every autumn. Part one: summer flowers give way to interesting spikes of reddish-purple berries that persist into the winter. Part two: large fronds of compound leaves turn from classic green to brilliant shades of maroon and crimson. Both features bring the autumn landscape to life!

Purple Smokebush (Cotinus coggygria)

Purple Smokebush

Smoky ethereal beauty gives way to scarlet brilliance every fall in the form of the Purple Smokebush. Its billowy tufts of unusual leaves have a cloudy lavender-purple effect throughout the season, with a surprise red firework display of a finish in autumn.

Burgundy Hearts Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Greswan’)


This bold beautiful bush has incredible red-purple foliage that turns burgundy as it matures. Another transformation takes place each fall as the burgundy foliage takes on a golden yellow hue. This versatile and exciting shrub makes an excellent addition to just about any landscape.

Fall is a great time for planting all types of trees and shrubs! Contact Frontier Landscaping today to discuss some new plantings in your landscape!


Spring Flowering Beauty!

April showers bring…. flowering trees and shrubs to the garden! With the arrival of spring,  soil is warming, the birds are singing and the time is right to get some beautiful plants in the ground. If you have a new property you are trying to fill in or just an area you want to redo, we can help you find some gorgeous specimen plants to highlight your landscape. Call us today to discuss options for your yard. Here are a few suggestions for gorgeous flowers this year:


Azaleas and Rhododendrons: These flowering shrubs are gorgeous spring show-stoppers that produce reliable color, year after year. Most varieties are broadleaf evergreens and bloom every spring (though a few are even repeat bloomers). They like acidic soil and partial shade so they are ideal for planting under evergreen trees. Flower color varies wildly from reds and pinks to purples, yellows, oranges and even spotted varieties!


Hydrangeas: These fantastic shrubs produce absolutely enormous flower heads in a wide variety of colors and shapes. From full, round heads of purple and blue flowers to pink, white and mottled varieties, there are many to choose from. They grow well in our area, with proper care and pruning. They look great as entryway pieces in front of your home, with long-lasting blooms to welcome visitors.


Dogwoods: Spring-flowering trees and shrubs with bright, big flower bracts and lots of personality. Dogwoods flower with big, wide, showy bracts that range in color from rosy pinks to pure white. There are many varieties to choose from, ranging in color, size and growth habit so there are dogwoods to suit every landscape whether you want a bright specimen tree or a small, ornamental accent.

Contact us today to discuss new planting options for your landscape. We can help you plan and design your landscape and then we can order and install the perfect plants to suit your needs. We always take into account your soil, light needs and microclimate to make sure we choose plants that look beautiful and will succeed in your yard.

Contact Frontier Landscaping today!

Do you have any spring flowering favorites? Tell us in the comments below.

Featured Plant: The Beautiful Blue Spruce!

Featured Plant: The Beautiful Blue Spruce!

Height: 50 feet

Spread: 20 feet

The Blue Spruce is a vibrant, excellent specimen tree that works well in all types of landscapes. Because of its unusual blue-tinged foliage, it looks fantastic in winter and works well with a backdrop of more classically green conifers. The Blue Spruce has stout, large branches with short, pointy needles that range in color from bright green to a silvery blue. It is a hardy, sturdy tree that can handle areas of high wind and other harsh elements. It grows in a distinguished pyramidal form and requires very little pruning to keep this shape. It is a low-maintenance tree with few disease and pest issues. While it can reach up to 50 feet tall, it does grow quite slowly and has a fairly long life expectancy.

Plant Blue Spruces in full sunlight only. It is a very tolerant tree so plant it in your most difficult areas of high wind, low moisture and poor soil. It can tolerate urban pollution and does not require a specific pH. The only condition it does not handle well is standing water so make sure to plant it in an area of proper drainage.

Use Blue Spruce to freshen up your winter garden! Bring in some year-round interest! We can help you locate and plant these and any other plants. Winter is a fine time to plant trees and shrubs. Contact us today to discuss the possibilities.

Light up the Landscape with Autumn Blaze Maple!

Light up the Landscape with Autumn Blaze Maple!



We love the fall in the Pacific Northwest! The temperatures are usually mild and we can still enjoy our backyards most afternoons. The leaves are just starting to turn, making it the perfect time for evening walks around the neighborhood, to drink in the color. On your next walk, you may see one of our favorite trees for fall color: the Autumn Blaze red maple.



Acer x freemanii "Autumn Blaze" in fall (Photo courtesy of Northscaping.com)


Height: 50 feet

Spread: 40 feet


Autumn Blaze is a popular tree- and not just for its stunning fall color! It has an excellent growth habit and is tolerant of most urban conditions. It grows quickly and will provide shade and beauty to your yard for years to come. Autumn blaze has large, green lobed leaves throughout most of the year but when the temperatures cool off, they begin to turn a brilliant red until the entire tree looks aflame! This deciduous tree is wonderful to pair with other showy autumn trees. You can plant them en masse for a bright fiery grove or pair them with yellow and orange foliage like Katsura or Ginkgo.


It is popular among maple enthusiasts for its easy-going nature. Many red maples are fussy and intolerant but Autumn Blaze will often grow where other red maples will not. It will do well with a yearly pruning in the summertime but otherwise, it should give you no troubles. It grows in all types of soil, it tolerates pollution and other urban conditions, and it is not particularly susceptible to diseases and pests.


Autumn Blaze works well as a focal point or can be planted in groups for a dramatic affect. You can also use it as  your main shade tree or plant it on the street, for the whole neighborhood to enjoy. It should only be planted in full sunlight and prefers average watering, though is somewhat tolerant of drought and standing water.


Fall is the perfect time of year for new plantings! The soil is warm but the air is cool and trees just love it. To schedule your tree planting, contact Frontier landscaping here.




A Tree for Autumn Beauty: The Katsura

A Tree for Autumn Beauty: The Katsura




The Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) is timeless, dependable and just exquisite with color every fall. While this tree has many highlights, the autumn color display is by far the outstanding feature. New foliage appears bronze colored in the spring, turning blue-green in the summer (gorgeous, in itself). But once the chill returns to the air, its heart-shaped leaves turn bright hues of orange, yellow and gold- a bright, fiery rainbow for your landscape! Plant it with more red or purple-turning trees, like Japanese Maples, for a real wow factor in the garden. For an added bonus: take a deep inhale of the fallen leaves in autumn- they emit a lovely, caramel-like fragrance! The shaggy brown bark adds an interesting dimension to the landscape, as well.


This tree has a dense, pyramidal growth habit, especially when young. It grows slowly, maturing to 40-50 feet tall and 25-35 feet wide, rounding as it ages. It makes a wonderful shade tree and a stunning accent piece. It is easy to care for and is not overly susceptible to disease or other issues. It’s neat and tidy: a laid-back sort of tree.

Water the tree regularly, especially in its first season, and feed it in spring (after new growth begins) with a generous supply of all-purpose fertilizer. If you like the pyramidal form, help to keep it with a healthy pruning in late winter. Plant this bright beauty in the front yard, for all to see, or in medians and sidewalks strips. It works well in parks and golf courses and is an excellent choice to mark the entrance to a business or commercial building.

To get more recommendations on great trees and shrubs for your yard, look through our blog archive! If you have specific questions, you can leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.

(Photos courtesy of Northscaping.com)


Call us today for a free quote on all your landscaping needs!