A well placed tree, creates shade, adds privacy and compliments the house and yard increasing, the value of the property. A poorly placed specimen, one that is too big for the yard, or too close to the house, will detract from the house while dreviewuing the property. A tree that is placed on sewer or utility lines is just plain expensive.
Often homeowners plant trees that will eventually dwarf the yard. Another common mistake is to plant too many trees. These mistakes are not noticed for a number of years, but become apparent once the plants start to reach a mature size. When the yard becomes crowded the only solution is to cut down trees. Unfortunately, any remaining trees are often mishaped.
To avoid these costly mistakes plant fewer trees choosing ones that are relatively small at maturity. There are many attractive trees that are naturally small as well as new dwarf hybrids. The dwarf hybrids tend to cost more as they grow slowly, but they are a good investment.
A Hawthorn (Crataegus) is small and works in any sized yard. At maturity the Hawthorn is 10 -15 ft (2.7-4.5 m) in height, 6-8 ft. (2-4 m) in width. It can be trained to be single or multi-branched tree. Either way the branches are very dense, with long thorns making the tree hard to penetrate.
In late May or early June the Hawthorn is covered with a mass of white blooms that mature into small red fruit. Expect the leaves to turn yellowish orange in the fall.
Although the Hawthorn grows well in partial shade it prefers full sun. Plant it in well drained soil as Hawthorns hate having wet feet.
Another small tree that can be ideal for a small yard is the Amur Cherry (Prunus Maaki). It reaches 20-25 ft (6- 7.5 m) in height, 16-20 ft (5-6 m) in width at maturity. The white flowers are bore in June with small black berries maturing mid-August. In the fall, the leaves turn a soft yellow. This tree adds interest to the winter landscape with its graceful oval shape, and bronze bark.
Plant the Amur Cherry in part shade or in full sun. The branches are well placed and need very little pruning making asset to any yard.
A Dwarf Mountain Ash (Sorbus) ‘Tangerine Treasure’ is now available. It reaches 6 ft. (2 m) at maturity. The multi-stemmed tree produces white flowers in the spring and orange berries in the fall. Plant ‘Tangerine Treasure’ in a shrub bed or as a specimen tree. It grows best in full sun with moist soil.
While deciduous trees change with the season, evergreens add color to the landscape all year.
The Norway Spruce (Picea albies) is not as well known as other spruce trees, but should be. Norway Spruce trees are rated zone 3 for hardiness but are often found in colder areas. They look similar to the White Spruce, with the exception of the branch ends. They sweep downwards swaying in the breeze. Common Norway Spruce trees are huge but there are a number of dwarf varieties available. Choose one that suits your garden. ‘Acrocona’ grows to 20 ft. (6.1m) tall with graceful hanging branches. The unusual purplish pink cones are very attractive. ‘Cupressina’ is another Dwarf Norway Spruce with more upright branches.
Blue Spruce (Picea pungens) is known for its blue color, although some are green, and its symmetrical shape. The species tree has a long life and can reach 100 ft (30 m), and a width of 35 ft. (11 m). A tree half this size will crowd an average town lot but there are dwarf varieties available.
The Globe Spruce is very slow growing blue spruce. At maturity it reaches 30 ft. (9 m) with a width of 20 ft. (6m).
The Montgomery Spruce also has very blue needles which make a great backdrop for other shrubs and flowers. Expect this slow growing tree to eventually reach the height of 9 ft. (2.6M) and similar in width.
The Columnar Blue is a tall, narrow tree. It will eventually reach 30-60 ft (9-18m) but will only be 15-20 ft wide (4.6- 6.1m)
Spruce trees do well in most soils. They grow in partial shade but have a better color in full sun.
All varieties of dwarf trees are propagated because of their size and shape. The shapes are always attractive but might be different from the regular varieties. Know what the mature plant will look like before purchasing it.