Looking for ideas for what to plant in specific spot

I had a really neat old sourwood tree that had been in significant decline for some years already and finally fell over with all the rain we got from hurricane Michael, and I’m looking to replace it now. The sourwood tree was in a convenient place for hanging things from branches that were just a little over head high, especially for killing and plucking chickens. I’m thinking I’d like to plant a tree that could serve in the same way in the future, something big enough to have decent size, fairly horizontal branches starting about head high and without any lower branches, but it would be nice to have a tree that would also yield some kind of fruit or nut, too. I’m a little nervous about really big trees because there’s a building to the east that I wouldn’t want it to fall on if it ever fell over (which, granted, probably wouldn’t happen in my lifetime), so I definitely want to consider slightly smaller options like a Chinese chestnut or Japanese raisin tree. Any other ideas for a productive medium-large tree with good horizontal branching for zone 7 North Carolina? I think of hickories as being more upright without large lower branches, even when grown in full sun, but is that true? Particularly of shagbark or shellbark? Are there any Asian persimmon varieties that could get up to 25’ tall in 20 years and have relatively strong horizontal branching? An American persimmon could be a nice size tree, but they don’t seem to have the right branching habit.
Anything else I could consider?

Jujube, Che, early golden persimmon , chestnut , pears etc would all be nice. Che etc. have really hard wood which would be better but the fruit are second rate according to many who have tried them. I would eat the fruit anyway.


Cercidiphyllum japonicum (Katsura) grows fast when young and then slows down. It’s a medium size tree on the smaller side when young (first 20-years) but ultimately continues growing like any other tree. An ornamental, of course.

Great tree.