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Margaret's Blog

 

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Laburnum-yellow

 

There are many trees widely available for smaller gardens, in all shapes and sizes, evergreen and deciduous. Given that many of us have limited space in which to garden, it becomes important that any trees chosen are right for their surroundings, in terms of proportion as well as for their decorative value.

 

Most trees growing near buildings cause no damage. Subsidence and structural damage can be caused by many other factors, including soil type and depth of foundations. This is why it is important for qualified professionals to carry out a detailed site assessment to determine the exact cause.

 

There are many factors to take into consideration when choosing a tree for a small garden. Here are some of the more important ones:

 

Height and spread: This is probably the most important factor. Even small ornamental trees may, over time, reach a height of 6-7m (20-23ft) or more. If this is too much, consider a weeping form, as these rarely increase much in height or even a large shrub. Spread is not normally such a problem, unless in a very restricted area, in this case consider a columnar tree, as these do not spread appreciably

 

Season of interest: Consider when you want your tree to look good, thinking about flowering time, foliage, fruit and bark. If you only have room for one tree ideally look for one with more than one season of interest such as fruit or autumn colour following on from flowers

 

Deciduous or evergreen: Both types of trees have their advantages, the obvious one for evergreens being that they keep their leaves. But you don’t get the lovely autumn colours with evergreen trees

Trees for specific locations: we have also provided the following profiles to help with growing trees in containers and trees for wet soils

 

Trees and buildings: many people worry about planting a tree close to a property, and there can be risks in doing so. To help you choose, you may find it useful to visit gardens where a good range of well-established and mature ornamental trees can be seen and evaluated.

 

My Top10 best trees for a relatively small garden are as follows

 

Amalanchiers

Malus

Sorbus

Japanese maples

Betula (Birches)

Crataegus 

Magnolias

Laburnum x vosu

Weeping cherries

Cotoneaster cornubia and Cotoneaster hybrid pendula.

 

Trees can be grown in large square containers. Nearly all trees can be grown in containers and this is a great way of keeping them at a smaller size. Imagine a wonderful tree on your patio – wouldn't it transform the whole setting?

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