How To Choose The Right Tree For Your Garden

Now that Christmas is over we can turn our attention back to our gardens and more importantly our trees, we are now in the beginning of the tree planting season so now couldn’t be a better time to plant the tree you’ve always wanted. Trees are an enormous asset to any garden and require little maintenance from the gardener which is why we find that that many gardeners know little when it comes to trees.

Picking the right tree for you garden can be a challenging task, you need to ask yourself some questions, do you want bark in the winter, colour in the autumn, flowers in the spring or delicious fruit in the summer months – or do you want all of these things? Have you got the space for a grand specimen and more importantly do you have the patience to wait it grow? Do you have a relatively small garden and require a tree that won’t grow too large?

Trees can really take a seeming ordinary garden and make it somewhat magical: they provide windbreaks, screening, light, shade and food. It doesn’t stop there, trees also filter dust, generate materials for the garden, focal points, display the seasons wonderfully, provide great habitats -and, of course, great natural beauty.

Getting Started

We have put together some of the most important factors to consider when choosing the right tree for your garden.

  • Height and spread: First and foremost you need to work out how much space you’ve got, even seemingly small ornamental trees may, over times, reach a height of 6-8m. If this kind of height it too much we suggest you opt for a weeping form of tree, as these rarely increase in height. If you’re looking to plant your tree where space is restricted we recommend that you consider a columnar tree, as these do not spread like over varieties.   
  • Soil type: You must identify the condition of your desired location first and then find a tree to suit. Cherries thrive in alkaline soils, most willows (Salix spp) prefer damp conditions, Japanese maples (Acer spp) like more dappled shade conditions whereas the Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum) likes to have full sun.
  • What do you want: Do you have a specific season you prefer or when you want your tree to look its best? Think about when it/if it flowers, foliage, fruit and bark. If you have a restriction on space try choosing a tree with more than one season of interest such as, fruit, flowering and rich warm autumn leaves.
  • Location: We find that many people worry about planting a tree close to their property and for good reason too, there can be risks involved when planting trees near buildings. It must be noted that there are many trees that grow near building and, in most cases, such trees do not cause any damage. However, sometimes these trees can cause major problems, especially after long periods of dry weather. Subsidence is the main problem posed by trees, but there are also the physical threats caused by falling branches or a structural failure of the main trunk. Such structural issues can cause severe structural damage to buildings and the surrounding areas.  

Popular Tree Choices

Blossoming Trees

Prunus Cerasifera Nigra – Purple leaves with pale pink blossom in the spring.

Prunus Subhirtella Autumnalis – Pink buds in autumn that open to fragrant white flowers through to winter

Magnolia Stellata – White star-like flowers that emerge in March/April

Prunus Cerasifera Nigra

Wonderful Bark

Acer Griseum – Peeling cinnamon coloured bark that boasts orange and scarlet leaves during autumn.

Prunus Serrula – A shiny mahogany bark peeling in the winter months, followed by white flowers in spring, cherry fruits in autumn.

Betula Jacquemontii –  The silvery white bark is a must for magical winter gardens.

Prunus Serrula

Colourful Leaves

Amelanchier Lamarckii – White star-like flowers on beautifully bare stems in spring, followed by bronze leaves which turn orange and red in autumn.

Rhus Typhina – Usual large seed pods appear before the fine leaves turn a into an array of warms colours in autumn.

Acer Palmatum Osakazuki – Striking green leaves that turn a warm shades of orange and scarlet red in the autumn.

Amelanchier Lamarckii

Fruitful Trees

Corylus Maxima Red Filbert – With rich purple foliage and purple-skinned fruits, this tree provides both ornament and an abundant nut harvest.

Cydonia Oblonga Meeches Prolific – A small tree adorned with pink and white flowers in late spring which richen to large golden fruits (Quince) perfect for jellies and jams.

Eriobotrya Japonica – An evergreen tree with large leather-like leaves with white autumn flowers that may develop in yellow fruits (Loquat) the following spring, provided it is planted in a sheltered sunny position.

Malus Domestica (Apple Tree) – Boasting showy flowers in spring and ornamental or edible fruit in autumn the apple tree is a clear favourite in gardens across Britain.

Malus Domestica

So whatever your needs, there is a tree to cater for every desire and with little care a tree that will provide a lifetime of please in your garden.