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What type of trees are best for a smaller garden?

Trees are an essential component of any balanced, aesthetically-pleasing garden. But trees can be large, making some varieties unsuitable for those with limited space.

If your garden is on the smaller side, choosing suitable trees can be a challenge, so what can you do? First, it’s a good idea to consider the height of the tree. Regular trees can often achieve heights more than 30 metres - much too big for people with limited space. But even smaller, ornamental varieties can regularly exceed 8 metres which may still be too big if your neighbours overlook your garden.

Second, you need to decide whether you want evergreen or deciduous. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Evergreens will stay green and lush all year round, but they won’t produce the beautiful colours that deciduous trees do in the spring and autumn. Likewise, deciduous trees will bloom with beautiful colours, but you’ll have to put up with their dull appearance in the winter months.

Finally, you’ll need to consider which trees are suitable for your particular location. Some trees prefer certain soils to others. There are varieties of trees bred to grow well in containers, while others are more suited to wet soils.

Types of smaller trees

So, with that said, which small trees make a good choice for compact gardens?

Malus Domestica

Malus Domestica, or apple trees, are an excellent choice for small gardens. Apple trees do not grow tall, and yet they have a great profile, with long, rustic branches creating a low-level canopy over the surrounding lawn or bed.
What’s more, apple trees will fruit yearly between Autumn and October, depending on the variety of apple. Eating apples come earlier in the season, followed by cooking apples later in the Autumn.

Prunus Serrulata

Prunus Serrulata, or cherry tree, is another favourite for compact gardens. Cherry trees are famous for their beautiful pink bloom during the spring and their favourable growing profile. Regular varieties will tend to sprawl outwards horizontally, but if horizontal space is an issue (or you want to avoid the yearly prune), then there are varieties bred to grow more vertically, including Prunus Amanogawa.

Betula Pendula

Betula Pendula, or silver birch, is an ideal tree for small gardens, thanks to its tendency to form a single truck and maintain a compact footprint. What’s more silver birch looks great in the winter, thanks to its silvery-white appearance complementing the grey, snowy white, and frosty colours.

Silver birch fosters the growth of mushrooms. The mycelium - or underground component of mushrooms - has a synergistic relationship with the tree and will form rings around it, creating a beautiful pattern in the autumn.

Pyrus Calleryana

While regular pear trees can be quite large, ornamental varieties tend to be both short and beautiful. During the summer months, pear trees have silvery-green foliage which follows a bright spring blossom. Pear trees, especially those less than 30 years old, tend to occupy a small space in the garden and produce a stunning canopy. Pears form on the branches during the early part of the autumn.

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