Trees are crucial aspects to any lawn or property, they make excellent focal points throughout your property by drawing attention to themselves and their surroundings, but selecting the right tree may not always be an easy undertaking. You might not have a blank canvas to design the garden of your dreams and you’ll be restrained by having to work around design elements already in place. Choosing the right tree to fit your space doesn’t always have to be difficult.
The Red Obelisk makes those tough decisions much easier by combining two important elements, height and color. Their ability to reach heights of 40 feet or more can add a strong vertical element to landscape designs that may be at or below eye level. Because this birch species is tall and narrow, it doesn’t get much bigger than five feet in diameter, it is great for locations that have restrictive space. The leaves of the Red Obelisk emerge first as a dark red color. Their uniquely shaped leaves then turn to a darker purple coming into the summer months which bring a splash of color and contrast to their surroundings. During the winter season the purple leaves change to a coppery bronze color, allowing the Red Obelisk to stand out among its green colored counterparts and create an eye catching focal point in the winter months. The Red Obelisk also bears triangular shaped nuts within a bristled cupule. These are a great source of food for local wildlife and will help attract birds and smaller animals to your garden area.
The deciduous Red Obelisk is the result of a seedling crossed with two other varieties, the “Dawyck” what was pollinated by “Rohanii” and the Red Obelisk was born. The tree first appeared in Holland where it was raised until the late 1980s when it made its way to North America. It has since then become a popular addition to urban, suburban, and city gardens. Its tall columnar and sharp upright pointed branches allowed even the smallest garden to host such a tree. The Red Obelisk is also quite tolerant of soil conditions that may not be optimal. As long as the tree has adequate drainage and is not planted near standing water, it is able fare well in almost all soil types. This particular tree does prefer lots of sunlight though, so you will want to make sure that it is located in a position that it will benefit from most of the daylight hours. It is also tolerant of urban pollution; this plays a major role as to why it is chosen for many city landscapes. Red Obelisks are also tolerable of colder climates as they are able to handle temperatures down to about -30 degrees F. In the coldest of locations (Zones 4 and 5) you may want to think about the location of your tree to ensure that it will have some protection against the elements.
This particular species of birch is very easy to maintain. Unlike other trees that are subject to multitudes of insect pests and forms of rot and mildew, the Red Obelisk is resistant to many of the most common pest or plant diseases. While the tree is establishing itself in its new location, you will want to make sure that it is adequately watered without letting it get too dry or overwatered. The branches do tend to grow very low to the ground on this particular tree so mulching the base may not be necessary unless you are in a colder climate or expect long periods without rain. Mulching the base of the tree can help increase ground temperature to prevent frozen roots as well as help maintain an adequate level of moisture for the tree. As far as pruning, this is down to your own personal choice. You can prune the tree so that it maintains a more uniform appearance from top to bottom or you can let it grow naturally only removing dead branches or trimming back new growth that may look unsightly.
Overall, the Red Obelisk is a stunning tree that you simply cannot go wrong with. It is great for both smaller and larger landscaping projects, while being easy to maintain and resistant to many of the common pests and diseases. Wildlife will use its lofty upright branches to live and play in over the years as well. Welcome spring with a nest full of baby birds or sit back on cool summer evening watching squirrels dart back and forth. The tree’s beautiful and unique changing colors will definitely add depth and contrast to your existing landscape. However, using the Red Obelisk as a central design element also has its benefits. You can plan your garden by adding this beautiful example of what nature has to offer and build up your landscape around it, making it the most prominent tree on your land. As the Red Obelisk is capable of living for more than 100 years, it is sure to bring much enjoyment with its visual appeal to any location.