Trees for limited space

Even the average sized gardens of this country can rarely accommodate a large tree, so many of our customers are looking for what we call a 'small garden tree'. By this we mean trees that grow up to about 10 metres (30 ft) maximum (often smaller), which won't need to be pruned or cut down once they reach their mature size.

For instant impact, it might be tempting to plant a tree that will grow larger than this, knowing that it might  be a couple of decades before it starts to be an issue. As we think that planting trees is an investment for the future, we advise against this, and instead would direct you to the types of tree listed below, which generally have a lot to offer - especially important when there's only space for one tree.

Some favourites are given here, but there are many more to choose from, so just ask if you have any special requests!

Clockwise from left: Amelanchier lamarckii, Prunus 'Accolade', Malus 'Evereste'
Clockwise from left: Amelanchier lamarckii, Prunus 'Accolade', Malus 'Evereste'

Snowy Mespils (Amelanchier)

A. lamarckii - the perfect small garden tree, with masses of understated, starry white blossom in early spring, swiftly followed by foliage which opens bronze, darkening to green. Birds love its summer berries (which are edible for humans, too). Autumn brings a pretty display of ochre and crimson leaves. Available as a single or multi-stemmed tree. H: 7m

A. grandiflora 'Robin Hill' - similar to lamarckii, but with a neater, more upright crown, and a pink tinge on the flower buds. H. 7m

A. grandiflora 'Ballerina' - a daintier version of lamarckii, which doesn't get as tall. H. 5m

Flowering cherries (Prunus)

'Accolade' - light pink, semi-double flowers, come out in early April, making Accolade one of the earliest flowering cherries. The blossom fades to almost white before leaving a pretty carpet of petals on the ground. H: 8m

Lombardy cherry ('Amanogawa') - a very narrow, upright tree, with large pink flowers from late April to May. H: 6m

Cheal's weeping ('Kiku shidare') - a very small, weeping cherry tree, bearing deep pink, frilly flowers in may. H: 2.5m

'Shirofugen' - late to flower, but worth the wait, the large blossom on Shirofugen starts out white, turning purple with age. H: 8m

'Umineko' - a white flowered cherry with an upright, compact crown. H: 9m

Crab apples (Malus)

'Evereste' - one of our favourite crab apples for its pretty, pinky-white, late spring blossom and autumnal foliage later on, plus long-lasting, orange-red fruits. H: 6m

'Rudolph' - rose pink blossom; burgundy young leaves which turn green with a burnish of bronze; glossy little deep-orange fruits. H: 6m

'Harry Baker' - a small tree with super-sized, wine-coloured fruits. Cut them open and the flesh is also stained with pink. Great for crab apple jelly. H: 5m

Clockwise from left: frosted thorn, Cardinal Royal rowan, Japanese maple
Clockwise from left: frosted thorn, Cardinal Royal rowan, Japanese maple

Rowans (Sorbus)

S. aucuparia 'Cardinal Royal' - similar to the native rowan, with its feathery (pinnate) foliage and wonderful clusters of bright scarlet berries in autumn, but with a tidier, more upright crown, ideal where you don't want to cast heavy shade. Cream flower umbels in spring and pretty autumn hues are a bonus. H: 10m

S. hupehensis 'November Pink' - one of several Chinese varieties offering interesting pink berries, which birds don't like so much, hence they remain on the tree longer into winter. H: 8m

Hawthorns (Crataegus)

Frosted thorn (C. prunifolia 'Splendens') - a fantastic all-rounder offering pretty cream sprays of flowers in spring; dense, glossy foliage in summer on a naturally rounded crown; then bright berry clusters in autumn. Easy to grow, too, as needs little maintenance but takes well to clipping if needed. H: 7m

Crimson hawthorn (C. 'Crimson Cloud') - a really pretty version of our native hawthorn with the same distinctively lobed leaves, but crimson flowers with white centres, in abundance, in May. H: 7m


Japanese maples (Acer palmatum varieties) - well known for their stunning autumn colour and attractive, delicate foliage, Japanese maples are generally slow growing, so ideal for small spaces.

Weeping silver-leaved pear (Pyrus salicifolia 'Pendula' ) - a small, silvery-leaved tree with arching branches. Slow-growing and happy to be clipped. H: 7m

Silver-leaved whitebeam (Sorbus aria 'Lutescens') - the leaves on this whitebeam - large, silvery-felted ovals - emerge in late spring, accompanied by clusters of white flowers. The crown is a pleasing, broadly conical shape. H: 12m

Quick guide


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