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The Smoke Tree: A Low-Maintenance Choice For Small Yards

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Are you looking for a unique tree to add beauty to your small yard? Crabapples and lilacs are lovely, but everyone seems to have them. A more original, easy-to-care-for option may be a smoke tree. Here's a closer look at this tree variety, its qualities, and how to plant and maintain it.

What do smoke trees look like?

Smoke trees are named for their flowers, which are said to look like plumes of smoke. They're a dusty pink-brown in color and have a round, puffball shape. These flowers typically remain on the tree throughout the summer months.

The foliage of smoke trees is medium-green in color with a bluish tint. The leaves are known for their scent, which is similar to that of oranges or grapefruits. In the fall, the leaves turn yellow and then purple before tumbling to the ground.

Smoke trees are rather small in stature, reaching around 10 feet in height. They have a round shape that they maintain with minimal pruning.

How do you plant a smoke tree?

First, you need to find the right spot. Smoke trees will do equally well in a garden bed or directly in your yard. What's important is that the area you select is well-drained, as excessive moisture will cause the tree's roots to rot. Smoke trees can tolerate some drought, though if your yard is overly dry, you will need to water the tree while it is young. Also, make sure the site you choose gets full sunlight for at least half the day.

Once you've selected a spot, choose a sapling smoke tree from your local garden store. Look for one with a lot of foliage for its size, and one whose branches are straight and balanced. These are signs of good health.

Dig a hole that's twice as wide as the root ball, and bury the tree up to the point where the roots meet the stem. Water it in well, and cover the area around it with some wood mulch.

How do you care for a smoke tree?

During the first year, make sure you water the tree whenever the soil seems dry. After about a year, have the tree pruned to establish its shape. After this, having the tree pruned is optional. Doing so will help remove old growth, but it's not really necessary for maintaining its shape. Applying a new layer of mulch to the ground each spring will help seal in moisture and add nutrients back to the soil.

For more information or assistance with your yard care needs, consider contacting a tree service like Osorio Tree Service.