Small Trees for Small Spaces

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20170418A Daderot, WC

Kelly’s Gold box elder (Acer negundo ‘Kelly’s Gold’) is an example of a tree small enough for an urban lot. Photo: Daderot, Wikimedia Commons

Not every gardener has enough space for a large tree on their property. A full-grown oak, for example, can measure 75 tall and 75 feet wide: that’s enough to cover the average front yard!

And space is only one consideration. There are all sorts of other reasons for preferring a smaller tree: there may be electric wires you want to avoid, a view you’d like to preserve, or maybe a swimming pool where you want full sun. Whatever the reason, if you’re looking for a smaller tree, look no further. The following list will give you a lot of choices.

  1. Acer negundo ‘Flamingo’ (‘Flamingo’ box elder) H: 25 ft (8 m), D: 20 ft (6 m), Z6
  2. Acer negundo ‘Kelly’s Gold’ ( ‘Kelly’s Gold’ box elder) H: 20 ft (6 m), D: 12 ft (4 m), Z4b
  3. Acer palmatum (Japanese maple) H: 4-25 ft (1.2-8 m), D: 4-25 ft (1.2-8 m), Z6
  4. Acer pensylvanicum (snakebark maple) H: 15-22 ft (5-7 m), D: 15 ft (5 m) Z4a
  5. Acer spicatum (mountain maple) H: 20 ft (6 m), D: 12 ft (4 m) Z2
  6. Acer tataricum ginnala (Amur maple) H: 20 ft (6 m), D: 20 ft (6 m), Z2b
  7. Aesculus pavia (red buckeye) H: 10-20 ft (3-6 m), D: 10-20 ft (3-6 m), Z5
  8. Alnus glutinosa ‘Imperialis’ (cut-leaved alder) H: 25 ft (8 m), D: 12 ft (4 m), Z4b
  9. Amelanchier arborea (downy serviceberry) H: 22 ft (7 m), D: 12 ft (4 m), Z4a
  10. Aralia elata (Japanese angelica-tree) H: 20 ft (6 m), D: 20 ft (6 m Z4b
  11. Betula nigra ‘Little King’ (Fox Valley™ river beech) H: 10 ft (3 m), D: 10 ft (3 m), Z4b
  12. Caragana arborescens (Siberian peashrub) H: 12-22 ft (4-7 m), D: 12-20 ft (4-6 m), Z2

    20170418B Daderot, WC

    American hornbeam (Carpinus carolinana). Photo: Daderot, Wikimedia Commons

  13. Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbean) H: 25 ft (8 m), D: 22 ft (7 m), Z3b
  14. Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) H: 15-20 ft (5-6 m), D: 15-20 ft (5-6 m), Z6
  15. Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree) H: 12-20 ft (4-6 m), D: 12-20 ft (4-6 m), Z5b
  16. Cornus alternifolia (pagoda dogwood) H: 15-25 ft (5-8 m), D: 15 ft (5 m), Z3b
  17. Cornus alternifolia Golden Shadows™ (Golden Shadows pagoda dogwood) H: 15-25 ft (5-8 m), D: 15 ft (5 m), Z3b
  18. Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) H: 15-30 ft (5-9 m), D: 15-30 ft (5-9 m), Z6
  19. Cornus kousa (kousa dogwood) H: 15-30 ft (5-9 m), D: 15-30 ft (5-9 m), Z6
  20. Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree) H: 15-25 ft (5-8 m), D: 15-25 ft (5-8 m), Z4b
  21. Crataegus spp. (hawthorn) H: 15-30 ft (5-10 m), D: 10-30 ft (3-10 m), Z:variable, 2b-5
  22. Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive) H: 25 ft (8 m), D: 25 ft (8 m), Z2b
  23. Hamamelis virginiana (common witch hazel) H: 15-22 ft (5-7 m), D: 15-22 (5-7 m), Z4
  24. Heptacodium miconoides (seven sons flower) H: 12-15 ft (4-5 m), D: 10 ft (3 m), Z4b
  25. Maackia amurensis (Amur maackia) H: 22-30 ft (7-9 m), D: 20-25 ft (6-8 m), Zone 3b

    20170418C Jean-Pol GRANDMONT.jpg

    Loebner magnolia (Magnolia loebneri). Photo: Jean-Pol GRANDMONT, Wikimedia Commons

  26. Magnolia x loebneri (Loebner magnolia) H: 25 ft (8 m), D: 15 ft (5 m), Z4b
  27. Malus spp. (crabapple), H: 10-25 ft (3-8 m), D: 8-22 ft (2.5-7 m), Z4
  28. Prunus cerasifera ‘Newport’ (Newport purple leaf plum) H: 15 ft (5 m), D: 15 ft (5 m), Z5
  29. Prunus maackii (Manchurian cherry) H: 22 ft (7 m), D: 15 ft (5 m), Z2b
  30. Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’ (flowering cherry) H: 22 ft (7 m), D: 15 ft (5 m), Z6
  31. Prunus virginiana (chokecherry) H: 15 ft (5 m), D: 12 ft (4 m), Z2b
  32. Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’ (‘Chanticleer’ callery pear) H: 25-30 ft (8-10 m), D: 12-15 ft (4-5 m), Z6
  33. Salix discolor (American pussywillow) H: 15 ft (5 m), D: 6-12 ft (2-4 m), Z2a
  34. Sorbus decora (northern mountainash), H: 25 ft (8 m), D: 15 ft (5 m), Z2
  35. Sorbus x intermedia (Swedish whitebeam) H: 20 ft (6 m), D: 12 ft (4 m), Z4
  36. Syringa reticulata (Japanese lilac) H: 25 ft (8 m), D: 25 ft (6 m), Z2a
  37. Syringa reticulata pekinensis ‘Zhang Zhiming’ (‘Beijing Gold’ Peking lilac) H: 25 ft (8 m), D: 8 ft (78 m), Z2a

Shrubs Turned Into Trees

20170418E Wouter Hagens WC

This dappled willow (Salix integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki’) is not only grafted onto an upright trunk, but requires considerable pruning to maintain its rounded form. Photo: Wouter Hagens, Wikimedia Commons

The following “trees” are not really trees. They are instead shrubs either grafted at the top of an upright stem or pruned to resemble a tree. They are usually quite expensive (there’s a lot of work involved in creating them) and often short-lived, plus many of them sucker from the roots or need regular pruning, but this is also the group in which you find some truly miniature trees suitable for even the smallest yard or even for growing in a pot on a deck or balcony.

It’s up to you to decide whether their benefits outweigh their disadvantages!

20170418D Mat86, WC

Weeping birch (Betula pendula ‘Youngii’). Photo: Mat86, Wikimedia Commons

  1. Betula pendula ‘Youngii’ (weeping birch) H: 22 ft (7 m), D: 30 ft (9 m), Z2b
  2. Caragana arborescens ‘Pendula’ et ‘Walker’s’ (weeping Siberian peashrub), H: 6 ft (2 m), D: 3 ft (1 m), Z2
  3. Catalpa bignonioides ‘Nana’ (umbrella catalpa) H: 15 ft (5 m), D: 15 ft (5 m), Z5b
  4. Cotoneaster apiculatus (cranberry cotoneaster) H: 3 ft (1 m), D: 3 ft (1 m), Z5b
  5. Euonymus alata ‘Compacta’ (dwarf burning bush) H: 6-10 ft (2-3 m), D: 6-10 ft (2-3 m), Z4b
  6. Euonymus fortunei (wintercreeper) H: 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m), D: 2.5-3 ft (0,75-1 m), Z6b
  7. Ginkgo biloba ‘Mariken’ (dwarf ginkgo) H: 6 ft (2 m), D: 2.5-3 ft (0,75-1 m), Z3
  8. Ginkgo biloba ‘Pendula’ (weeping ginkgo) H: 25 ft (8 m), D: 12 ft (4 m), Z3
  9. Gleditsia triacanthos ‘Emerald Kascade’ (‘Emerald Kascade’ weeping honeylocust) H: 15-25 ft (5-8 m), D: 15-25 ft (5-8 m), Z5b
  10. Halimodendron halodendron (salt tree) H: 6-10 ft (2-3 m), D: 3-6 ft (1-2 m), Z3
  11. Hydrangea paniculata (panicle hydrangea) H: 6-8 ft (2-2.5 m), D: 5-8 ft (1.5-2.5 m), one 3
  12. Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’ (‘Wiltonii’ weeping juniper) H: 3-6 ft (1-2 m), D:3-4 ft (1-1.20 m), Z2
  13. Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’ (‘Blue Star’ singleseed juniper) H: 3 ft (1 m), D: 2.5 ft (0,75 m), Z5b

    EPSON DSC picture

    Umbrella catalpa (Catalpa bignonoides ‘Nana’)

  14. Larix decidua ‘Pendula’ (weeping larch) H: 3-10 ft (1 à 3 m), D: 3-ft (1 à 2 m), Z3b
  15. Malus sargentii ‘Tina’ (‘Tina’ Sargent crabapple) H: 3-6 ft (1-2 m), D: 3-6 ft (1-2 m), Z4
  16. Magnolia stellata (star magnolia) H: 5-9 ft (1.5-2.5 m), D: 5-12 ft (2.5-4 m), Z4b
  17. Morus alba ‘Pendula’ (weeping white mulberry) H: 6-12 ft (2-4 m), D: 12-25 ft (4-8 m), Z4
  18. Picea pungens glauca ‘Globosa’ (globe blue spruce) H: 3-6 ft (1-2 m), D: 3 ft (1 m), Z4
  19. Prunus triloba ‘Multiplex’ (flowering almond) H: 3-6 ft (1-2 m), D: 7-10 ft (2-3 m), Z3
  20. Prunus x cistena (purple-leaf sand cherry) H: 5-12 ft (1.5-3.5 m), D: 3-6 ft (1-2 m), Z3
  21. Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’ (weeping willowleaf pear) H: 15-30 ft (5-10 m), D: 15-30 ft (5-10 m), Z4b
  22. Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’ (Diabolo™ ninebark) H: 3-8 ft (1-2.5 m), D: 4 ft (1.2 m), Z3
  23. Robinia pseudacacia ‘Lace Lady’ (Twisty Baby™ black locust) H: 15 ft (5 m), D: 15 ft (5 m), Z4b
  24. Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Umbraculifera’ (umbrella black locust), H: 22-30 ft (7-10 m), D: 20 ft (6 m), Z4b
  25. Rosa x (hybrid tea tree rose), H: 3 ft (1 m), D: 1.5 ft (0.5 m), Z7 ou 8
  26. Rosa x (hardy shrub tree rose), H: 3-6 ft (1-2 m), D: 3 ft (1 m), Z4

    20170418F

    Kilmarnock weeping willow (Salix caprea ‘Kilmarnock’)

  27. Salix caprea ‘Kilmarnock’ (‘Pendula’) (‘Kilmarnock’ weeping willow) H: 1.2-10 ft (1.2-3 m), D: 3-6 ft (1-2 m), Z4b
  28. Salix integra ‘Hakuro-nishiki’ (dappled willow) H: 5-15 ft (1.5-5 m), D: 5-15 ft (1.5-5 m), Z4b
  29. Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’ (‘Paliban’ Korean lilac) H: 6 ft (2 m), D: 6 ft (2 m), Z3
  30. Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’ (‘Miss Kim’ Manchurian lilac), H: 6 ft (2 m), D: 5 ft (1.5 m), Z3
  31. Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’ (‘Pendula’) (Camperdown elm) H: 10 ft (3 m), D: 10 ft (3 m), Z4b20170418A Daderot, WC

 

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