The idea of an avenue is one of the oldest landscaping concepts. Avenues are naturally comforting concepts, a passageway or pathway from point A to point B, neatly protected by a line of trees; almost like an organized forest.
Your choice of tree will depend on the type of the avenue you’re looking to create, whether it’s for an entrance to a building, lining a highway or street or perhaps for a park. Below are some popular trees for avenues, all of which we stock here in Just Trees!
The Liquidambar styraciflua or Sweet Gum tree is a deciduous tree originally found in warm and temperate southeastern areas of North America and tropical regions of Mexico and Central America. This hardwood tree can reach 15 – 21m in cultivation, with a medium to fast rate of growth. In the wild, the Sweet Gum can reach up to 45m!
Liquidambar styraciflua is also popular as an ornamental tree because of its incredible array of colours in Autumn, as the leaves change from green to yellow, red and orange, and can also transform into dark purples and rich browns. A large avenue of this tree would make for a magical, colourful tunnel if well cultivated!
In general liquidambars have an expansive root system, so they are very useful for erosion control however they shouldn’t be too crowded or planted too close to pavements and buildings as their root system can become quite aggressive and they need some space.
The famous Jacarandas in Pretoria are a perfect example of the ways in which trees can transform an area, giving a neighborhood or community a sense of identity with their sheer natural beauty. The Jacaranda mimosifolia certainly make a grand statement with their purple blossoms blooming from late September to November. Native to tropical and subtropical regions of Central America, South America, Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and the Bahamas, these trees have adapted to South African climates well. They are also fast-growers and tolerate drought well.
However, for cities and streets these blossoms require some maintenance in terms of clogging up drains, but the spectacular flower show makes it worth it! They also thrive with regular pruning. These large trees need space to grow as they can reach a height of 10 – 15m.
Podocarpus latifolius and Podocarpus henkelii
If you’re looking for a tree indigenous to South Africa, look no further – both the Podocarpus latifolius and the Podocarpus henkelii make for a wonderfully impressive avenue. The Podocarpus latifolius or the Real Yellowwood is in fact South Africa’s national tree and is highly valued for its timber. This slow-growing evergreen can reach up to 35m and is a long-living tree; its stature and beauty add a great deal of value to any landscape.
The Podocarpus henkelii (aka Henkels Yellowwood) is also a wonderful choice. Its beautifully tall appearance will add height to a flat landscape and the slender, drooping leaves also make this tree decorative and attractive. This evergreen is also very long-lasting and withstands conditions well once established.
Below you can see the lovely, rather imposing effect created by these yellowwoods. This incredibly long avenue can be found at Boschendal Farm and consists of both the Podocarpus latifolius and Podocarpus henkelii.