Selecting the Correct Tree to Plant

Tree Planting Selection

Planting a tree takes a lot of thought. We may have to consider if we want a tree that is:

  • Trees decorative throughout the year
  • Trees with outstanding inflorescences
  • Trees with exceptionally handsome foliage
  • Trees with decorative fruits
  • Trees with yellow or golden leaves
  • Trees with white, silver or yellow variegated leaves
  • Trees with blue (glaucous) and silver foliage
  • Trees with early flowers
  • Fastigiate trees

Lets read more about to assist in understanding these factors.

Trees decorative throughout the year

Decorative bark and good foliage color


ACER CAPILLIPES Young bark striated with white; young growths coral red, leaves turning crimson in autumn. A. davidii, young bark shiny green, striated with white; leaves usually turn yellow and purple in autumn. Long chains of keys striking. A. griseum, paper bark maple, the outer bark peeling in papery flakes to show the copper-coloured inner bark; opening leaves bronze coloured, turning red or orange in autumn. A. grosseri, A. g. hersii, young bark green or yellowish striated with white, leaves orange and crimson in autumn. A. pennsylvanicum, moosewood, young bark green striped and patterned with white, the large leaves pinkish on opening turning clear in autumn. A. rufinerve, bark green, with an elaborate pattern of greyish markings, persisting on old trunks; leaves red when young and usually crimson in autumn, when the long chains of keys are attractive.

BETULA PAPYRIFERA Paper-bark birch, shining white bark, the large leaves turning pale gold early autumn, making it more effective than other birches with coloured stems.

LIQUIDAMBAR STYRACIFLUA The American sweet gum has interesting corky bark in winter, the leaves usually turning purple and crimson in autumn.
PARROTIA PERSICA Particularly good if trained to standard form, the grey bark flaking away in a pattern resembling the London plane, while the leaves turn brilliant golds and crimsons (see also Early flowering trees).

PHELLODENDRON AMURENSE The grey, corky trunk is of picturesque form, and the handsome yellow leaves turn yellow in autumn.

SORBUS AUCUPARIA BEISSNERI This handsome cultivar of the mountain ash has red branchlets and a copper-coloured trunk, the large leaves with deeply cut leaflets turning old gold in autumn.

Conifers Many conifers with yellow, silver or variegated foliage (listed under those headings) give interest of form and foliage colour at all seasons. Some pines, when their lower branches are removed, also have interesting bark, P. bungeana, the lacebark pine, has bark which peels off to show white patches; P. nigra maritima, the Corsican pine, develops a striking erect trunk with pale scales between fissures in the dark bark. The Scots pine, P. sylvestris, with its smooth pink or red bark in the upper part of the tree, is singularly picturesque. The bark of the well-named redwood, Sequoia sempervirens, never loses its astonishing colour. Except P. bungeana, which is rare and slow-growing, these trees are only suitable for large gardens or parks.

Decorative bark in winter

In addition to the foregoing, the principal decorative distinction of the following is their bark, the coloring of their foliage not being exceptional.

ARBUTUS x ARACHNOIDES Hybrid strawberry tree. Trunk and branches cinnamon red.

BETULA Several birches have singularly beautiful colored bark, though this does not always show on young trees. Among the best are B. albosinensis septentrionalis, orange-brown with a grey bloom; B. ermanii, trunk cream-colored, the bark peeling off, the branches orange-brown; B. jacquemontiana, the whitest bark of all—the white can be rubbed off like chalk; B. lutea, the peeling, paper-like bark being yellowish; B. mandschurica, vars. japonica and szechuanica, have very white stems and branches; B. maximowicziana, the largest-leaved birch, the trunk at first orange-brown becoming white; B. pendula, the native British birch, varies greatly in the color of its stem and good white-barked seedlings must be selected.

CORNUS MAS Old trees of cornelian cherry have interesting trunks with attractive shaggy bark.

CORYLUS COLURNA The pale, corky, scaling bark on the Turkish hazel is attractive.

EUCALYPTUS Several species have interesting grey, peeling bark.

JUGLANS NIGRA The grey bark of this black walnut, deeply furrowed into a network pattern, is most striking. PLATANUS x HYBRIDA The peeling of patches of bark showing the greenish grey inner bark of the London plane is well known.

POPULUS ALBA The bark of the white poplar is smooth and grey, with black markings, except at the base of the trunk; P. canescens, the grey poplar, has bark of a distinctive yellowish-grey colour.

PRUNUS MAACKII The Manchurian bird cherry has smooth bark, brownish-yellow in colour, and peeling like that of a birch; P. serrula, the bark is shiny, mahogany coloured, from which the thin outer skin peels, the trunk of a mature tree having white circular scars around it.

QUERCUS SUBER The thick, ridged bark of the cork oak, not hardy in cold situations, makes it a distinctive tree. SALIX DAPHNOIDES The violet willow owes its name to the purple shoots covered with a bloom giving them in places a violet colour; S. purpurea, the purple osier, has reddish-purple slender branches.

ZELKOVA SINICA This remarkable tree has smooth grey bark which peels away in scales to reveal a rusty-coloured under bark.

Trees with outstanding inflorescences

AESCULUS CARNEA The red hybrid horse chestnut is very variable, the cultivar briotii should always be chosen. A. hipPocastanum, the common horse-chestnut, growing into a very large tree, is well known. The double-flowered baumannii is smaller and does not produce conkers. A. indica, the Indian horse chestnut, has the largest flower spikes of all, pink-flushed, in June and July; A. octandra, the sweet buckeye, a smaller tree, has flowers that are pale yellow; A. Pavia var. atrosanguinea is a small tree with crimson flowers in June. CATALPA BIGNONIOIDES The Indian

bean has many foxglove-like flowers in a pyramidal, erect spike in July and August. The individual flowers are white marked with yellow and purple. Does well in the heart of London.

CLADRASTIS TINCTORIA The yellow wood has pendent clusters of scented pea-like white flowers with a yellow blotch on the standard in June. Does not always flower but has handsome foliage.

CRATAEGUS The many-flowered inflorescences of the numerous thorns, mostly with white but sometimes red or pink flowers, are well known and very similar. A choice should be made from those that also bear showy fruits.

DAVIDIA INVOLUCRATA The pocket-handkerchief, or dove tree has its small flowers surrounded by two large white bracts, making it a remarkable sight in May.

FRAXINUS ORNUS In May the manna or flowering ash is usually densely covered with clusters of small, white flowers.

KOELREUTERIA PANICULATA The golden-rain tree or pride of India carries in August erect pyramidal spikes of many small yellow flowers each with a red spot at the centre. The foliage also is attractive.

LABURNUM By far the best, with the longest chains of flowers and the sweetest scent, is the hybrid L. x watereri.

MAGNOLIA Ofthe large tree magnolias, the following have large and magnificent flowers: M. campbellii (pink), M. delavayi (creamy-white), M. denudata (pure white), M. grandiflora (white), M.mollicomata (rose-purple), M. obovata (creamy-white), M. sargentiana (rose-pink), M. tripetala, umbrella tree (cream-coloured).

MALUS There are very many floriferous crab-apples, both with white, pink and rose-coloured flowers. It is best to choose those which also produce interesting fruit or have coloured foliage.

PAULOWNIA P. fargesii and P. tomentosa (syn. P. imperialis) have broad spikes of heliotrope foxglove-shaped flowers up to 30cm (lft) long which are not produced every year, because of winter frost damage to the flower buds. PRUNUS A selection from this very floriferous genus is best made when a second attribute, such as early flowering, decorative fruit, autumnal leaf colour or decorative bark is present. The Japanese cherries, with flowers ranging from white to shades of pink and even yellow, must be chosen on beauty of flower alone.

PYRUS The ornamental pears are with few exceptions not commonly planted other than for their foliage, as neither their flowers nor fruits are significant. SORBUS The rowans and service trees have decorative clusters, in some kinds large, of white or rarely pink flowers, but they are best selected by giving attention to the merits of their foliage and berries.

STYRAX S. japonica flowers freely in June, the bell-shaped flowers hanging from short shoots; S. obassa has similar flowers, fragrant, on spikes at the same season and in addition has large, almost round leaves that turn yellow in autumn.

TILIA The very many small clusters of pale yellow flowers that are carried by all species of limes in June and early July must be mentioned if only on account of their scent. T. cordata is the best for a small space, as it is slow growing.

Some deciduous trees with exceptionally handsome foliage

AILANTHUS ALTISSIMA The tree of heaven has pinnate leaves sometimes 60cm (2ft) long.

CATALPA The Indian bean-trees have heart-shaped leaves up to 25cm (10in).

GYMNOCLADUS DIOICUS The Kentucky coffee-tree has compound pinnate leaves which may reach lm (3ft) long and 60cm (2ft) wide.

JUGLANS SIEBOLDIANA The walnuts all have handsome pinnate foliage, but in this species the leaves may reach 1m (3ft) long.

MAGNOLIA DELAVAYI This evergreen tree has exceptionally handsome leaves about 30cm (lft) long. M. tripetala, the umbrella tree (so called because of the arrangement of its foliage) has very large leaves up to 50cm (20in) long. PHELLODENDRON All cultivated species of the cork tree have pinnate leaves 30cm (lft) or more long.

POPULUS LASIOCARPA This has typical poplar-shaped leaves up to 30cm (lft) PTEROCARYA The species of wing nut in cultivation all have pinnate leaves from 30-60cm (1-2ft) long, those on P. fraxinifolia being the largest.

RHUS TYPHINA The pinnate leaves on the stag’s horn sumach may reach 1m (3ft) long.

SORBUS HARROWIANA This tender species has the largest leaves ofay n mountain ash, 30cm (lft) or more long. S. sargentiana, is a mountain ash which has leaves up to 30cm (1 ft) long.

Some trees with good autumn color

It should be noted that autumn color may vary from year to year in every respect, and even from tree to tree of the same species. This list is by no means complete.

ACER CAMPESTRE The native field maple turns a good yellow; A. capillipes, deep crimson; A cappadocicum, yellow; A. circinatum, orange and crimson; A. davidii, variable, yellow and purple; A. ginnala, brilliant flaming scarlet; A. griseum, orange, bronze and fiery red; A. grosseri, also A. g. hersii, red and gold; A. japonicum, crimson and pink; A. negundo, clear yellow, early; A. nikoense, orange and red; A. pennsylvanicum, clear yellow; A. platanoides, clear yellow; A. rubrum, scarlet and yellow; A. rufinerve, crimson. AMELANCHIER All cultivated species turn shades of red or russet.

BETULA Most birches turn shades of greenish yellow, but B. papyrifera is a good bright yellow.

CARYA Species usually cultivated turn a good yellow.

CERCIDIPHYLLUM JAPONICUM Variable, but can be brilliant in yellow and reds.

CYDONIA OBLONGA The leaves of the common quince turn a good yellow. EUONYMUS SACHALINENSIS Yellow and red, early, with crimson fruits. FAGUS The copper colour of the British native beechwoods is glorious in autumn. FRAXINUS Most ashes turn shades of yellow before their leaves fall early in the season. F. oxycarpa `Raywood’, however, turns a distinctive purple. GINKGO BILOBA The maidenhair tree
turns a rich yellow.

GYMNOCLADUS DIOICUS The large leaves turn clear yellow.

LIQUIDAMBAR STYRACIFLUA Variable, but in good specimens can be brilliant, purple to scarlet.

LIRIODENDRON TULIPIFERA Leaves turn a good yellow.

MALUS Apples give little autumn leaf colour, an exception being M. tschonoskii, on which the leaves turn yellow and scarlet.

MESPILUS GERMANICA The large leaves of the medlar turn russet colour. NYSSA SYLVATICA The tupelo turns vivid scarlet.

PARROTIA PERSICA Colouring reliable, yellow through gold to crimson. PHELLODENDRON Species usually cultivated turn clear yellow.

PRUNUS This genus provides a few only species that colour well, though the Japanese cultivars mostly turn good shades of yellow; P. avium, the gean, most years turns a flaming red; P. sargentii, infallibly turns a brilliant red early in autumn.

QUERCUS BOREALIS The red oak is rather a misnomer as the colour is nearer to brown, but it can be effective. Q. coccinea, the well-named scarlet oak, retains its brilliant leaves far into the winter, the best form being the cultivar splendens. Q. palustris, leaves may turn scarlet, but not reliable; Q. phellos, yellow and orange; Q. velutina, var. rubrifolia is a good red.

RHUS TYPHINA Turns orange, red and purple.

SORBUS CASHMERIANA Pale gold, falling early. S. discolor, brilliant red; S. ‘Joseph Rock’, leaves turn a rich variety of colours; S. sargentiana, striking reds and golds; S. torminalis, the native wild service, colours in well in yellows and golds and sometimes scarlets.

STYRAX OBASSIA The large leaves turn a rich yellow.

Trees with decorative fruits

The following list is of trees whose brightly-coloured fruits are usually decorative for some time after the leaves have fallen. Birds soon attack and strip the berries on a number of kinds almost as soon as they are ripe, but the following are less severely attacked. With some trees, berries are only borne on female trees; in many instances nurserymen can select these.

CERCIS SILIQUASTRUM The Judas tree carries red and purple pods from late summer far into the winter.

COTONEASTER FRIGIDUS Heavy crops of clusters of rich bright red are borne in autumn and early winter.

CRATAEGUS All the thorns carry crops of haws, the more striking including C. durobrivensis with large red fruit lasting well into winter; C. lavallei has large orange-red berries that hang into the new year; C. mollis, the red haw, has very large red fruits which drop rather early to make a spectacular carpet under the tree; C. orientalis has large oval or yellowish-red fruits; C. prunifolia has large, red fruits, combined with crimson autumn foliage; C. punctata has large, slightly pear shaped dull crimson fruits; C. wattiana, the Altai Mountain thorn, has large, translucent, yellow fruit.

CYDONIA OBLONGA The common quince, has golden fruit which combine effectively with the yellow autumnal leaves.

EVODIA HUPEHENSIS Female trees bear clusters of scarlet berries.

IDESIA POLYCARPA Female trees carry bunches of bright red berries in autumn.

ILEX x ALTACLARENSIS I. aquifolium the hollies, are among Britain’s most beautiful berrying trees, though fruiting only on female trees. I. a. bacciflava (fructu-luteo) has yellow berries.

MALUS The crab-apples, mostly carry fruit. The best include the following:

M. x alden—hamensis, fruit numerous small, deep purple; M. eleyi, bright crimson; M. `Gibb’s Golden Gage’, waxy yellow fruit; M. ‘Golden Hornet’, bright yellow fruit hanging late; M. `John Downie’, large, narrow fruits, yellow with red flush, flavor good; M. prunifolia and its cultivars, Theal’s Crimson’, fastigiata, pendula and `Rinki’ have red fruits hanging long on the tree; M. purpurea has light crimson fruit; M. robusta, the cherry apple or Siberian crab, has heavy crops of long-lasting small fruits, the two cultivars being ‘Red Siberian’ and ‘Yellow Siberian’ ; M. Wisley Crab’ has large, deep-red fruit.

PRUNUS though some of this genus, eg, cherries, carry attractive fruit, they are eaten by birds even before ripening. SORBUS The mountain ashes and white-beams often have decorative berries, but on most species they are eaten at an early stage by birds. The following are usually exceptions: S. cashmeriana, large, glistening white, hanging late; S. esserteauiana, very large clusters of small scarlet, or in flava, yellow fruit, hanging late; S. hupehensis, large clusters of small white fruit, turning pink, and hanging late; S. ‘Joseph Rock’ has amber-coloured, long-lasting berries; S. sargentiana has great clusters of small, orange-red berries ; S. scalaris has bright red, small fruits.

Trees with yellow or golden leaves

Included here are some trees which do not retain their exceptional colour throughout the entire season, but are attractive during the early part of the summer. All are cultivars that must be propagated vegetatively since they rarely come true from seed. When suckers arise from ground level they should be watched, and, if they are not true, removed.

Broad-leaved trees

ACER CAPPADOCICUM AUREA Deep yellow leaves on opening and again in autumn. A. negundo auratum, golden-yellow foliage; A. pseudoplatanus corstorphinense, the golden sycamore, has leaves changing from pale through rich yellow to green in late summer, makes a large tree, worlei has soft yellow leaves until late summer.

ALNUS GLUTINOSA AUREA A golden-leaved form of the common alder. A. incana aurea, yellow leaves and young shoots with red catkins; it is a beautiful form of the grey alder.

CATALPA BIGNONIOIDES AUREA A small growing cultivar of the Indian bean tree with large golden leaves. FAGUS SYLVATICA ZLATIA A yellow-leaved beech.

FRAXINUS EXCELSIOR AUREA A large tree with yellow shoots and yellow leaves in autumn.

GLEDITSCHIA TRIACANTHOS ‘Sunburst’. This has bright yellow unfolding leaves.

LABURNUM ANAGYROIDES AUREUM The yellow-leaved laburnum. PTELEA TRIFOLIATA AUREA A yellow-leaved form of the hop-tree.

ROBINIA PSEUDOACACIA FRISIAThis has golden-yellow leaves throughout.

ULMUS CARPINIFOLIA SARNIENSIS A slow-growing form of the Wheatley elm with pure golden coloured leaves. U. glabra lutescens, a wych elm with pale yellow leaves; U. procera vanhouttei, a golden-leaved form of hedgerow elm.


CEDRUS DEODARA AUREA The golden deodar, smaller than the type, is the best golden cedar.

CHAMAECYPARIS LAWSONIANA LUTEA Has golden-yellow foliage; stewartii is a free-growing yellow form; C. obtusa crippsii is good deep yellow, slowly reaching tree size.

CUPRESSUS MACROCARPA `Donard Gold’. A deep yellow and lutea, paler yellow, both being of compact growth. JUNIPERUS CHINENSIS AUREA Young’s golden juniper is a small tree of rather narrow form.

TAXUS BACCATA ELEGANTISSIMA The golden yew; fastigiata aurea is the golden Irish yew.

Trees with blue (glaucous) and silver foliage


ALNUS INCANA Leaves grey underneath.

CRATAEGUS ORIENTALIS Leaves grey on both sides, deeply cut.

EUCALYPTUS The tree has numerous species, but their hardiness over a long period is doubtful; E. gunnii is the best known.

POPULUS ALBA The white poplar has white twigs and undersides of the leaves, the best form for the garden being the erect-growing pyramidalis. P. canescens has grey leaves and makes a large, vigorously suckering tree.

SALIX ALBA The white willow is a large tree unsuitable for most gardens but its variety sericea is a smaller, round-headed tree with whiter leaves. SORBUS ARIA The whitebeam and all its cultivars have a persistent vivid, white underside to the leaves; in lutescens the upper surface also is creamy-white.

TILIA PETIOLARIS This has silvery undersides to the large, drooping leaves; in T. tomentosa the underneath is quite white.


CEDRUS ATLANTICA GLAUCA A large tree with glaucous-blue, and in some specimens, almost silvery leaves. CHAMAECYPARIS LAWSONIANA Includes a number of glaucous-blue foliaged cultivars, including allumii, columnaris, elegantissima, erecta alba, fraseri, glauca (better known as ‘Milford Blue Jacket’), robusta glauca, `Silver Queen’ (the foliage turning green in late summer) and ‘Triomphe de Boskoop’ (tending towards blue).

CUPRESSUS ARIZONICA ‘Bonita’ has very grey-blue foliage; in pyramidalis it is somewhat bluer.

JUNIPERUS CHINENSIS PYRAMIDALIS Has markedly blue foliage; J. recurva coxii has blue-green leaves; J. virginiana glauca is silvery-blue.

PICEA GLAUCA A large spruce with bluish green leaves; P. pungens has grey-green leaves, the cultivar glaUca is smaller with grey-blue leaves and glauca moerheimii is an even more intensely coloured form.

Trees with white, silver or yellow variegated leaves

These are all sports, perhaps occurring originally on one branch only, of normal trees that have been propagated vegetatively as cultivars. Normally, seedlings revert to the usual form. Suckers arising may not be true.

The deciduous broad-leaved kinds are cheerful in urban areas where smoke pollution is not too bad, but the evergreen conifers on which the foliage persists for several years become drab. Most of these trees fit well into the normal colour scheme of a garden.


ACER NEGUNDO The box elder, provides excellent variegated foliage in elegantissimum, bright yellow and variegatum, conspicuously white. A. platanoides drummondii, leaves distinctively margined with white; A.pseudoplatanus leopoldii, leaves marked with cream and white.

BUXUS SEMPERVIRENS The following free-growing cultivars have variegated leaves : aurea maculata, leaves marked with gold and aurea-marginata, leaves edged with yellow.

ILEX AQUIFOLIUM A number of variegated leaved forms include argenteo-marginata, silver-variegated, berrying; flavescens, moonlight holly, yellow and gold, berrying; ‘Golden King’, wide yellow margins, berrying; ‘Golden Milkmaid’, gold with narrow green margins, not berrying; Handsworth New Silver’, dark green with white margin, berrying; laurifolia variegata, golden margins, not berrying; ‘Madame Briot’, leaves margined and blotched with gold, berrying; scotica aurea, spineless with lustrous, spineless leaves blotched with yellow, berrying; ‘Silver Queen’, bold creamy white margins, not berrying. LIRIODENDRON TULIPIFERA AUREA—MARGINATUM A tulip tree with yellow-margined leaves making a large tree.

ULMUS PROCERA ARGENTEOVARIEGATA A hedgerow elm having leaves mottled with white. U. procera argenteo-maculata, this species has leaves attractively mottled with white.


CHAMAECYPARIS LAWSONIANA ALBOSPICA The tips of branches creamy-white; ‘Silver Queen’, young foliage silver-white; versicolor foliage marked with creamy-white and yellow; C. nootkatensis argenteo-variegata has foliage variegated with creamy-white. SEQUOIA SEMPERVIRENS ADPRESSA The young shoots are greenish-white. TAXUS BACCATA DOVASTONIANA AUREO-VARIEGATA A golden variegated form of the weeping yew.

THUJA PLICATA ZEBRINA A fine tree, smaller than the type, variegated with bright yellow.

TSUGA CANADENSIS ALBO-SPICATA The tree has white tips to the shoots.

Red and purple foliage trees

Placing trees of these colours needs great care, but their colours mingled with the multitude of others in autumn are effective and of great beauty, they do not blend well with the normal greens, particularly if used in quantity. They should therefore be used sparingly in isolation at points where they will inevitably catch the eye.

A number have clear colours when the leaves unfold but gradually lose this quality and become sombre as the season progresses. Others, not included here, become normal green when the leaves are open.

ACER PLATANOIDES ‘Crimson King’ (`Goldsworth Purple’), a Norway maple with crimson-pui-ple leaves larger than the type.

BETULA PENDULA PURPUREA The purple-leaved birch is not a vigorous tree.

CORYLUS MAXIMA PURPUREA The purple-leaved filbert is a good colour though not often of tree size.

FAGUS SYLVATICA ATROPUNICEA The dark purple beech, cuprea copper beech; and purpurea, purple beech, are all well-known, reliable trees reaching a considerable size and quite unsuitable for other than the largest garden. Weeping forms of these coloured variants are also available.

MALUS The flowering crabs provide several kinds with red or purple foliage combined with gay flowers and decorative fruits. All are very hardy and adaptable, well suited to a small garden; M. x aldenhamensis, purplish leaves, rich red flowers and crimson fruit. M. eleyi is rather more vigorous than the last, the leaves bronze-green flushed with purple, the fruit hanging longer on the tree. M. purpurea has dark purplish-green leaves, crimson flowers and fruits, both tinged with purple. M. Wisley Crab’, larger than the foregoing in all its parts, the leaves bronzy-red, the flowers large, wine coloured, scented and large deep-red fruits.

PRUNUS Several plums have coloured leaves, the best including P. blireana (often a large shrub) deep copper with pink flowers. P. cerasifera atropurpurea, better known as P. pissardii, with crimson-purple leaves, suitable also for hedging; nigra has darker leaves.

QUERCUS PETRAEA PURPUREA Has reddish-purple leaves which becomegreen flushed with red. Q. robur fastigiata purpurea has young leaves the same colour.

Trees with early flowers

ACER OPALUS The Italian maple has yellow flowers in early April.

CORNUS MAS This has many small yellow flowers in February.

PARROTIA PERSICA This bears very numerous small scarlet tassel-like flowers in February.

PRUNUS ‘Accolade’ is a semi-double pink cherry flowering in March; P. conradinae is a cherry with scented white or pinkish flowers in late February; P. davidiana is a peach flowering in January, alba is a white form, rubra pink. P. Tundanzakura’ (semperflorens) with pink buds and white flowers from November to April. P. `Kursar’ a bright pink cherry flowering in March; P. `Okami’ a cherry with carmine-pink flowers in March; P. ‘Pandora’ is a single pink, very floriferous March-flowering cherry, giving good autumnal leaf colour; P. subhirtella autumnalis carries semi-double white flowers (pink in rosea) from November to March. SALIX CAPREA The goat willow has decorative catkins in March; S. daphnoides, the violet-willow, carries them even earlier.

Evergreen trees


It is as well to remember that these often drop their leaves untidily in summer. ARBUTUS All species and hybrids. BUXUS All species and cultivars. EUCALYPTUS All species.

ILEX I. x altaclarensis, I. aquifolium and their cultivars are evergreen hollies. LIGUSTRUM LUCIDUM A species of privet often reaching tree size, has handsome dark green, glossy leaves, and white flowers in late summer. MAGNOLIA DELAVAYI This and M. grandiflora are evergreens reaching tree size.

PHILLYREA LATIFOLIA A neglected, small evergreen tree with dense, dark-green, glossy foliage.

QUERCUS ILEX The holm oak and Q. suber, the cork oak, are handsome trees capable of reaching large sizes, the latter needing mild conditions. UMBELLULARIA CALIFORNICA The Californian laurel is usually a small tree with aromatic leaves.


All conifers are evergreen with the exception of Ginkgo, Larix (larch), Metasequoia and Taxodium (swamp cypress).

Fastigiate trees

To the botanist, the word fastigiate means ‘with parallel, erect, clustered branches’. It has !row become more widely used in a more generalized sense for trees with narrow crowns. All those mentioned are derived from natural sports and do not come true from seed (if that is produced). They are propagated as cultivars. They generally need careful pruning when young to ensure the necessary erect growth.

Their placing needs great care, as they inevitably have an unnatural look. Fastigiate conifers accord well when planted in the regular pattern of formal gardens—the use of the true cypress in the great Italian gardens of the Renaissance. Fastigiate trees can be skilfully used, too, for adding a steadying vertical element to a steeply sloping site. The planting of a pair one on either side of the introduction to a vista can be very effective. Some of the less erect-growing are excellent for planting in narrow roads, or, for example, at the centre of a lawn where space is limited.


ACER SACCHARINUM PYRAMIDALE An upright form of the silver maple, useful for street planting.

BETULA PENDULA FASTIGIATA This is an erect, slow-growing form of the common birch, resembling an erect besom.

CARPINUS BETULUS FASTIGIATA This is a valuable pyramidal rather than truly fastigiate cultivar of the hornbeam. CRATAEGUS MONOGYNA STRICTA This has a narrow, erect-growing crown. FAGUS SYLVATICA FASTIGIATA The Dawyck beech is a good erect tree. LABURNUM ANAGYROIDES PYRAMIDALIS This is an upright laburnum. LIRIODENDRON TULIPIFERA FASTIGIATUM A narrow-growing form of the tulip tree.

MALUS HUPEHENSIS ROBUSTA This has large white flowers and fairly erect growth. M. prunifolia fastigiata, the fastigiate Siberian crab.

POPULUS ALBA PYRAMIDALIS An erect-growing, very effective form of the white poplar; P. nigra italica is the common large-growing Lombardy poplar.

PRUNUS `Amanogawa’ A very fastigiate, small-growing cherry with double pink flowers; P. hillieri ‘Spire’ reaches 8m (25ft) with pink flowers and good autumn foliage; P. `Umeniko’ has single white flowers with leaves colouring in autumn.

PTELEA TRIFOLIATA FASTIGIATA An erect growing form of the hop tree. QUERCUS ROBUR FASTIGIATA The cypress oak, makes a broadly columnar tree of interesting form.

ROBINIA PSEUDOACACIA ERECTA A narrow form of the false acacia with few leaflets; pyramidalis has erect, spineless branches.

SORBUS AUCUPARIA FASTIGIATA A particularly narrow form of the rowan. ULMUS CARPINIFOLIA SARNIENSIS The Wheatley elm is a large tree of 1 flame-like form excellent for street planting; U. glabra exoniensis is a slow-growing erect form of the wych elm,the leaves often being distorted.


CEDRUS ATLANTICA ARGENTEA FASTIGIATA A narrowly pyramidal form of the Atlas cedar.

CHAMAECYPARIS LAWSONIANA This provides a number of narrowly erect forms, including the popular allumii with bluish foliage; columnaris very narrow, glaucous blue; erecta bright green; fraseri slender, grey-green; `Kilmacurragh’ , bright green; pyramidalis alba with white tips to the branches in spring; and wisselli a fine tree reaching considerable size.

CUPRESSOCYPARIS LEYLANDII This is a densely-leaved, quick-growing tree of large size and fairly narrow shape. CUPRESSUS ARIZONICA PYRAMIDALIS This is very narrow, of moderate size and with almost grey foliage. GINKGO BILOBA FASTIGIATA This is an upright-growing form of the maidenhair tree useful for street planting.


The Irish juniper is columnar, but needs supporting.

LIBOCEDRUS DECURRENS The incense cedar makes a distinctive, large columnar tree.

TAXUS BACCATA FASTIGIATA. The well-known Irish yew of churchyards, the golden-leaved form being fastigiata aurea.

THUJA OCCIDENTALIS FASTIGIATA A slow-growing, very narrow tree. THUJA PLICATA FASTIGIATA A narrow form of the western red cedar making a tall tree.

Weeping trees

Weeping trees are mostly natural sports that must be propagated as cultiv ars. They are difficult to place on account of their arresting form, and must stand in isolation since much of their beauty lies in the manner in which their branches sweep down to the ground. Nothing should be grown under them.

Few trees are more frequently planted in an unsuitable place than the weeping willow, attractive when it is a small, slender tree, but becoming mighty in
age, when its form often has to he damaged by savage pruning.

BETULA PENDULA TRISTIS A graceful form of the silver birch with steeply drooping branches; youngii is smaller, more compact and slow-growing. BUXUS SEMPERVIRENS PENDULA A good weeping form of the common box. CARAGANA ARBORESCEN PENDULA An attractive small weeping tree with yellow pea-shaped flowers and fernlike leaves.

CRATAEGUS MONOGYNA PENDULA A weeping hawthorn; pendula rosea has pink flowers.

FAGUS SYLVATICA PENDULA The weeping beech, making a big tree; purpureopendula is a weeping form of the purple beech.

FRAXINUS EXCELSIOR PENDULA The well-known weeping ash.


BUJOTI A honey-locust with pendulous branches,

ILEX AQUIFOLIUM ARGENTEOMARGINATA PENDULA Perry’s silver weeping holly, berrying freely.

LABURNUM ANAGYROIDES PENDULUM A gracefully weeping laburnum.

MALUS The following crab-apples have pendulous branches: M. floribunda’ ‘Excellens Thiel’, a small tree with crimson buds and pink flowers, floriferous but no fruit; M. prunifolia pendula, the weeping Siberian crab, with numerous small, scarlet, persistent fruit; M. pumila pendula ‘Elise Rathke’, a weeping form of the native crab.

MORUS ALBA PENDULA The weeping white mulberry is a small tree with perpendicular branches, the fruit is insignificant.

PRUNUS PERSICA Windle Weeping’ A weeping peach with double pink flowers; P. subhirtella pendula, the weeping spring cherry, has very numerous pale pink flowers; in pendula rubra they are deeper coloured. P. yedoensis perpendens is a very pendulous form of the early Yoshino cherry.

PYRUS SALICIFOLIA PENDULA A very pendulous form of the silver willow-leaved pear.

SALIX ALBA TRISTIS The now common weeping willow, making a large tree; S. babylonica is rare and not satisfactory.

SOPHORA JAPONICA PENDULA A small arbour-like tree with slender branchlets falling perpendicularly. SORBUS ARIA A weeping form of the whitebeam. S. aucuparia pendula, a weeping form of the rowan. Both are small trees.

TILIA PETIOLARIS The weeping silver lime is a magnificent tree with a silvery sheen on the underside of the large leaves.

ULMUS GLABRA CAMPERDOWNII The smaller of the two weeping wych elms with very pendulous branches, pendula being larger and more spreading in form.


CHAMAECYPARIS LAWSONIANA INTERTEXTA A tall cypress of great beauty with drooping branches. C. nootkatensis pendula a handsome, rather large tree with long drooping branches. JUNIPERUS RECURVA COXII A moderate-sized, narrow tree with long, glaucous shoots drooping steeply.

LARIX LEPTOLEPIS PENDULA A weeping form of the Japanese larch. PICEA BRACHYTYLA This has slender, pendulous branchlets, the leaves blue and white underneath; P. breweriana, Brewer’s weeping spruce, is a sombre tree with very long branchlets that hang vertically; P. smithiana, the Himalayan spruce, is a large tree with steeply drooping branchlets and exceptionally long leaves.

TAXUS BACCATA DOVASTONIANA A yew with spreading branches from which the branchlets droop; aureovariegata is a golden-leaved form.

Why we plant trees

Free Garden Catalog