Township of Lower Merion, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Lower Merion 5-17-1989 as Sec. 5 of Ord. No. 3155. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Natural features conservation — See Ch. 101.
Stormwater management and erosion control — See Ch. 121.
Shade trees — See Ch. 128.
The following plantings are recommended:
A. 
General.
[Amended 11-19-2003 by Ord. No. 3694]
(1) 
Street trees.
[Amended 11-21-2007 by Ord. No. 3830]
Height at Maturity
(in feet)
Scientific Name
Common Name
35
Carpinus caroliniana
Ironwood; American hornbeam
50
Ostrya virginiana
Hop hornbeam (native)
50
Oxydendrum arboreum
Sourwood
60
Quercus acutissima
Sawtooth oak
80
Quercus alba
White oak
60
Quercus bicolor
Swamp white oak
75
Quercus borealis
Red oak
75
Quercus imbricaria
Shingle oak
125
Quercus macrocarpa
Bur oak
70
Quercus phellos
Willow oak
90
Quercus prinus
Chestnut oak
130
Taxodium distichum
Bald cypress
90
Tilia americicana
American linden
90
Tilia cordata
Littleleaf or European linden
50
Ulmus parvifolia
Chinese elm
80
Zelkova serrata Village Green or Green Vase
Zelkova
(2) 
Shade trees.
[Amended 11-21-2007 by Ord. No. 3830]
Height at Maturity
(in feet)
Scientific Name
Common Name
75
Acer rubrum
Red maple
70
Acer saccharum
Sugar maple
Carya glabra
Pignut hickory
Carya ovata
Shagbark hickory
60
Cercidiphylium japonicum
Katsura tree
70
Fagus granifolia
American beech
60
Fagus sylvatica
European beech
60
Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis
Thornless honeylocust
80
Ginko biloba
Ginko/maidenhair tree
75
Gymnocladus dioicus
Kentucky coffeetree
100
Liquidambar styraciflua Rotundiloba
Sweetgum
100
Larix decidua
European larch
50
Nyssa sylvatica
Black tupelo
80
Platanus x acerifolia
London planetree
90
Platanus occidentalis
Sycamore
45
Quercus acutissima
Sawtooth oak
80
Quercus alba
White oak
80
Quercus coccinea
Scarlet oak
80
Quercus imbricaria
Shingle oak
80
Quercus marcrocarpa
Bur oak
80
Quercus montana
Chestnut oak
70
Quercus phellos
Willow oak
80
Quercus rubra
Red oak
80
Quercus velutina
Black oak
70
Taxodium distichum
Bald cypress
60
Tilia cordata
Littleleaf European linden
90
Tilia tomentosa
Silver linden
40
Ulmus parvifolia
Chinese elm
80
Zelkova serrata
Japanese zelkova
(3) 
Ornamental trees.
Height at Maturity
(in feet)
Scientific Name
Common Name
35
Acer campestre
Hedge maple
20
Acer ginnala
Amur maple
30
Amelanchier canadensis
Shadbush, serviceberry juneberry
75
Betula lenta
Cherry birch
70
Betula nigra
River birch
35
Carpinus caroliniana
Ironwood, American hornbeam
Cercis canadensis
Eastern redbud
30
Cladrastis lutea
American yellowwood
25
Cornus kousa
Japanese dogwood
25
Cornus mas
Corneliancherry dogwood
35
Cornus floridia
Flowering dogwood
Cotinus coggygria
Smoke tree
30
Crataegus cras-galli var. inermis
Thornless hawthorn
30
Koelreuteria paniculata
Panicled goldenrain
30
Malus floribunda
Japanese flowering crab
30
Oxydendrum arboreum
Sourwood
20
Prunus serrulata cv Kwanzan
Kwanzan cherry
30
Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis'
Higan cherry
30
Pyrus calleryana cv Bradford
Bradford pear
30
Pyrus calleryana cv Aristocrat
Aristocrat pear
30
Pyrus calleryana cv Autumn Blaze
Autumn blaze
30
Pyrus calleryana cv Chanticleer
Chanticleer
30
Pyrus calleryana cv Fauriei
Faurier
30
Pyrus calleryana cv Redspire
Redspire
30
Pyrus calleryana cv Trinity
Trinity
30
Pyrus calleryana cv Whitehouse
Whitehouse
(4) 
Evergreens
Height at Maturity
(in feet)
Scientific Name
Common Name
90
Abies concolor
White fir
70
Cupressocyparis leylandii
Leyland cypress
45
Ilex opaca
American holly
100
Pinus strobus
White pine
40
Pinus cv. Fastigiata
Pyramidal white pine
90
Pinus thunbergi
Japanese black pine
100
Pseudotsuga taxifolia
Douglas fir
50
Thuja occidentalis
American arborvitae
90
Tsuga canadensis
Hemlock
B. 
Planting materials for wet or dry conditions (recommended for use in and around stormwater management basins and related facilities).
(1) 
Wildflowers for wet meadows.
Scientific Name
Common Name
Asclepias incarnate
Swamp milkweed
Aster novae-angliae
New England aster
Aster puniceus
Purple-stemmed aster
Aster laevis
Smooth aster
Bidens aristosa
Bidens or tickseed sunflower
Bidens polyepsis
Bidens or tickseed sunflower
Eupatorium coelestinum
Mistflower
Eupatorium fistulosum
Hollow joe-pye weed
Eupatorium dubium
Joe-pye weed
Helenium nudiflorum
Purple-headed sneezeweed
Helianthus giganteus
Giant sunflower
Hesperis matronalis
Dame's rocket
Hibiscus palustris
Swamp rose mallow
Impatiens capensis
Jewelweed
Impatiens pallida
Jewelweed
Iris pseudacorus
Yellow iris
Lilium canadense
Canada lily
Lobelia cardinalis
Cardinal flower
Lobelia siphilitica
Blue lobelia
Ludwigia alternifolia
Seedbox
Monarda didyma
Bee balm
Penstemon digitalis
Beardtongue
Pycnanthemum virginianum
Mountain mint
Rudbeckia laciniata
Green-headed coneflower
Rudbeckia triloba
Black-eyed susan
Senecio aureus
Golden ragwort
Solidago gigantea
Late goldenrod
Solidago graminifolia
Lance-leaved goldenrod
Zizia aurea
Golden alexanders
(2) 
Wildflowers for wet edges.
Scientific Name
Common Name
Bidens aristosa
Bidens or tickseed sunflower
Bidens polylepis
Bidens or tickseed sunflower
Hibiscus palustris
Swamp rose mallow
Iris pseudacorus
Yellow iris
Iris versicolor
Blue flag
Lobelia cardinalis
Cardinal flower
Lobelia siphilitica
Blue lobelia
Monarda didyma
Bee balm
Scirpus acutus
Hardstem bulrush
Typha angustifolia
Narrow-leaf cattail
Typha latifolia
Common cattail
(3) 
Grasses for wet meadows.
Scientific Name
Common Name
Panicum virgatum
Switch grass
Sorghastrum nutans
Indian grass
Tridens flavus
Red top
Phalaris arundinaceae
Reed canary grass
(4) 
Shrubs for wet meadows.
Scientific Name
Common Name
Aronia arbutifolia
Red chokeberry
Aronia melanocarpa
Black chokeberry
Cornus amomum
Silky dogwood
Ilex verticillata
Winterberry holly
Salix spp.
Willow
Clethra acuminata
Summersweet
Clethra alnifolia
Summersweet
Viburnum lentago
Nannyberry
Viburnum trilobum
American cranberry bush
Cephalanthus occidentalis
Button bush
(5) 
Trees for wet soils.
Scientific Name
Common Name
Acer rubrum
Red or swamp maple
Amelanchier canadensis
Downy shadblow or serviceberry
Carpinus caroliniana
American hornbeam
Ilex opaca
American holly
Liquidambar styraciflua
Sweetgum
Magnolia virginiana
Sweetbay magnolia
Myrica cerifera
Southern bayberry
Platanus occidentalis
American sycamore, buttonwood
Quercus bicolor
Swamp white oak
Taxodium distichum
Bald cypress
Thuja occidentalis cv. nigra
Dark American arborvitae
Tilia americana
American linden
Betula nigra
River birch
(6) 
Wildflowers and grasses for dry meadows.
Scientific Name
Common Name
Andropogon gerardi
Big bluestem grass
Andropogon scoparius
Little bluestem grass
Asclepias tuberosa
Butterfly weed
Aster pilosus
Aster
Aster simplex
White aster
Elymus canadensis
Canada wild rye
Monarda fistulosa
Wild bergamot
Panicum virgatum
Switchgrass
Pycnanthemum tenuifolium
Slender mountain mint
Rudbeckia hirta
Black-eyed susan
Solidago nemoralis
Old field goldenrod
Solidago speciosa
Showy goldenrod
Sorghastrum nutans
Indian grass
Tridens falvus
Red top
Veronicastrum virginicum
Culver's root
(7) 
Shrubs for dry meadows.
Scientific Name
Common Name
Comptonia peregrina*
Sweetfern
Cornus racemosa
Gray dogwood
Diervilla sessilifolia*
Southern bush honeysuckle
Hamamelis virginiana
Common witch hazel
Myrica pensylvanica*
Northern bayberry
Rosa carolina*
Pasture rose
Rhus aromatic*
Fragrant sumac
Rhus copallina*
Shining sumac
Rhus glabra
Smooth sumac
Rhus typhina
Staghorn sumac
Viburnum lentago
Nannyberry
*NOTE: Dense, spreading shrubs appropriate for steep slopes.
(8) 
Trees for dry soils.
[Amended 11-21-2007 by Ord. No. 3830]
Scientific Name
Common Name
Acer rubrum
Red or swamp maple
Celtis occidentalis
Hackberry
Gleditsia triacanthos inermis
Thornless honey locust
Juniperus virginiana
Eastern red cedar
Liquidambar styraciflua
Sweetgum
Pseudotsuga taxifolia
Douglas fir
Quercus coccinea
Scarlet oak
Quercus macrocarpa
Bur oak
Quercus rubra (borealis)
Red oak
Robinia pseudo-acacia
Black locust
Sassafras albidum
Sassafras
Thuja occidentalis
Dark American arborvitae
C. 
Footnote: For plant sources and availability, applicants are encouraged to consult the following publications:
(1) 
Nursery Sources - Native Plants and Wildflowers, published by the New England Wildflower Society, Inc., Garden in the Woods, Hemenway Road, Framingham MA 01701; and
(2) 
The American Association of Nurserymen Plant Locator Guide.
A. 
Specifications for trees.
(1) 
All trees planted within the road rights-of-way shall be approved species and varieties and shall conform to the full requirements of the Shade Tree Commission in size and form.
(2) 
All trees shall be true to name, nursery grown, unless otherwise approved by the Township Arborist, and free of all injurious insect pests, plant diseases or unhealed trunk or basal scars.
(3) 
All trees or, at a minimum, representative samples of all trees shall be subject to inspection at the planting site prior to planting (it is recommended that representative samples of all trees be inspected, rather than all trees, in the event that any or all trees are rejected). Plantings will be approved or rejected for cause. All plantings shall conform to the standards of the publication American Standard for Nursery Stock, ANSI Z60.1 - 1980 of the American Association of Nurserymen, as amended.
(4) 
All plants must be dug with ball and burlap and shall conform with the ball diameter to depth ratio standards of the publication American Standard for Nursery Stock, ANSI Z60.1 - 1980, of the American Association of Nurserymen, as amended, i.e., one foot of ball for each inch of trunk caliper measured one foot above ground and shall be not less in depth than 2/3 of the ball diameter. Wire baskets which may be used to transport trees shall be removed prior to planting.
(5) 
Trees should be planted in elliptical planting holes rather than the traditional straight-sided holes (see Figure 1[1]). Holes should be dug at least two feet wider than the greatest width of the tree ball for trees of less than five inches' caliper and four feet wider for trees of greater than five inches' caliper. All trees shall be planted at the same depth as the ball. The tree shall be set on firm soil that has not been loosened or to which soil amendments have been added (this is to prevent future settling of the tree to below the point that the tree was originally grown naturally or in the nursery row). Check each tree for the start of the flair or the root system and plant at that depth. Untie the burlap on the ball and pull it down to the bottom of the ball. Plastic burlap, if used, shall be removed. Use good quality topsoil in planting. Firm up soil to ensure soil contact to root mass. Water the tree until the entire root ball is wet. Thereafter, keep the root system moist but not wet. Injured, diseased trees and trees with broken branches or double leaders should be pruned. With trees with double leaders, remove either one of the double leaders totally. Do not top the central leader. Stake the tree using flat strapping or webbing instead of wire, making sure the tree can move at least one inch in either direction. Double bracketing is best with a support on each side of the tree. Examine ties during growing season since trees can be girdled if they grow too quickly. Mulch saucer of tree but do not pile mulch on tree trunk. Leave three inches of bare soil adjacent to trunk. Maintaining a permanently mulched area around the tree promotes growth and helps prevent mowing injuries.
[1]
Editor's Note: Figure 1 is available for inspection in the township offices.
(6) 
Take customary precautions according to the standards of the American Association of Nurserymen in preparing plants for digging, moving, transplanting and planting.
B. 
Specifications for shrubs. Plant material should be balled and burlapped or container grown.
(1) 
Spacing. Unless a hedge is desired, give shrubs room to grow by providing proper spacing; place planting holes on centers that approximate the height of the shrub at maturity. If set against a building, shrubs should not touch walls or be planted in the building's dripline, where plants can be damaged by excessive runoff and falling ice and snow. Do not plant in areas that will have large piles of snow from plowing of parking lots or roadways.
(2) 
Planting.
(a) 
Dig a separate hole for each shrub. Add organic materials such as peat moss, leaf mold or compost to soil. Holes should be dug at least eight inches wider than the shrub and the same depth as the ball (see Figure 2[2]). Plants must be taken out of containers and plastic burlap must be removed. Natural fiber burlap may be left, but loosen the top and remove from shrub's stem.
[2]
Editor's Note: Figure 2 is available for inspection in the Township offices.
(b) 
Set the shrub at the same level as grown at the nursery; fill with mixture of soil and organic material until the hold is 2/3 full; water. Build saucer around shrub and finish filling, tamping to ensure good soil to root contact. Water and cover with mulch; do not pile mulch deeper than three or four inches. Prune out any broken branches. Maintain a watering schedule whenever rainfall is insufficient to keep the soil moist. A slow release fertilizer should be added early in the spring of the second year.
(c) 
Azaleas and rhododendrons and other ericaceous plants must be planted in soil with a pH value of between 4.5 and 6.5. These plants are fibrous rooted and grow within the upper 12 inches of soil. A mulch will keep the topsoil cool and aid in their growth.
(d) 
Mulch on all shrubs should be renewed yearly to keep down weeds, conserve water and increase soil humus.
C. 
Specifications for planting under wet and dry conditions (recommended for use in and around stormwater management basins and related facilities). In areas prone to flooding, a plan can be designed to create an ecosystem capable of withstanding occasional flooding, be aesthetically pleasing, biologically diverse and need limited maintenance. As each site is unique, each site needs an original plan based on site conditions.
(1) 
Wet meadows or basin floors.
(a) 
Clump-forming grass species should be selected rather than mat-forming grasses to allow space for wildflowers. Species used should be native or naturalized species, where possible, with a mix of annual, biennial and perennial and with a succession of blooming time.
(b) 
Soil tests of basin floors in stormwater facilities, including tests for organic content, should be undertaken and fertilizer added only if necessary. Where fertilizer is used, a slow-release variety should be used as seedlings are unable to absorb large amounts of nutrients and the possibility of nutrient-rich runoff may occur.
(2) 
Planting.
(a) 
In stormwater management facility construction, simply saving the topsoil of a biologically rich site, rather than burying it during construction, would preserve many of the rhizomes and seeds of native grasses and wildflowers.
(b) 
Seeds pressed into the soil by drills or roller seeders have better access to soil moisture. Drop or cyclone spreaders are effective, as is hand sowing. Lightly rake over the area or use tine harrow to ensure proper soil-seed contact.
(c) 
Seed can also be hydroseeded onto slopes, hard to reach or wet areas. For best results, do not mix the mulch in with the seed; spray the mulch over the seed in a separate application.
(d) 
Meadow species are mostly perennials and require several years for good establishment.
(e) 
Because most soil contains dormant seeds, it is not unusual to see weeds the first year. These can be mowed if they are in such quantities to cause a problem. Using a rotary mower is recommended as they mulch as they cut.
(f) 
The practice of allowing native species to mature before they are moved allows many to reproduce and survive. After the second year, one annual mowing either in late fall or early spring before April 1 will maintain the meadow. Woody invaders must be eliminated from the site, either by mowing or removal.