Whether with a compact, flowery crown or a particularly decorative autumn colour: trees are among the jewels in the garden from spring to winter. Here you can find out which species are particularly suitable and what you should pay attention to when choosing, locating and caring for them.
- Small trees – a definition
- This is what to consider when choosing your tree
- Planting small trees correctly
- Small spherical trees
- Small trees with drooping crowns
- Small trees in the shape of columns
- Small tall trunks
- Proper care for small trees – 6 tips
Small trees – a definition
Trees are divided into a total of three groups according to their height: In addition to large trees and medium-sized trees, there are the so-called ‘small trees’, also known as ‘third-order trees’. These have a height of between two and a maximum of ten meters and are therefore on the border with the large shrubs when designing the garden. Among the small trees, you will find species that grow directly tree-like as well as those that initially develop into a shrub and only grow into a multi-stemmed tree over time.
Due to their slow growth, small trees are also well suited for front gardens, small gardens or rock gardens. But beware: So that your tree does not literally grow over your head, you should keep an eye on the final growth height and width when planning the garden.
This is what to consider when choosing your tree
- Location Does your tree need a sunny or shady location? Does the soil condition suit his needs?
- Growth height vs. overall picture Regardless of whether it is large or small, the tree should generally not be higher than two-thirds of the width of the property.
- Desired crown shape (see info box below)
- Close to the house Should the tree be used as a shade provider on the terrace or stand away from the house?
- Distance to neighbor How big and wide will your tree be? Sooner or later, will he move too close to the property line to the neighbor? Also, as a precaution, check the regional regulations of your city or municipality.
Different crown shapes
- Columnar trees, as a rule, are slender contemporaries. They don’t take up much space and cast little shadow. However, their appearance may change over time.
- Spherical trees are particularly impressive due to their broad crown. They are suitable for symmetrical arrangements at house entrances or paths.
- Small trees with overhanging crowns tend to grow in width rather than height and therefore need more space to grow. On the other hand, they are particularly impressive as soloists and invite you to linger as shaders.
Planting small trees correctly
It is best to plant a tree in autumn or spring, with autumn being particularly suitable: this allows the tree to form new roots in winter and requires less water the following year. The planting hole in the ground should be about twice the size and depth of the root ball itself. To avoid waterlogging later, you can loosen the soil a little all around before planting. Now place the root ball in the planting hole and fill it with soil. To stabilize the trunk, a stake is suitable, which you hammer into the ground on the windward side and tie to the tree. Finally, the small sapling is watered and the planting site is covered with a layer of bark mulch.
Tip: Particularly small or slow-growing trees can also be planted in large pots that you place on the terrace or in the garden.
Trees for small gardens
Small or narrow gardens benefit from small trees that either do not take up much space due to their size (maximum 3 meters), or grow very slowly, such as the ball maple or the ball robinia.
For narrow gardens, columnar trees such as the columnar hornbeam or the columnar mountain ash are particularly suitable.
Small spherical trees
Among the spherical trees, there are many varieties that, due to their slow and low growth, are particularly suitable for small gardens as a small house tree. Note, however, that some spherical trees can form very wide crowns over the years, which quickly clutter up the overall picture if there is not enough space. Tip: Take a look at the ornamental apples. Small varieties are, for example, ‘Butterball’ or ‘Golden Hornet’.
More spherical small trees:
- Ball maple (Acer platanoides ‘Globosum’)
- Robinia (Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Umbraculifera’)
- Ball trumpet tree (Catalpa bignoides ‘Nana’)
- Redthorn (Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul’s Scarlet’)
- Blood plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’)
- Globe steppe cherry (Prunus fruticosa ‘Globosa’)
- Ball swamp oak (Quercus palustris ‘Green Dwarf’)
Small trees with drooping crowns
You have certainly already discovered classic representatives of this category in a small romantic garden: Due to their hanging crowns, they are decorative soloists that give your garden an enchanted character and offer an interesting play of light and shadow.
- Kitten willow (Salix caprea ‘Pendula’)
- European Hanging Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Purple Fountain’)
- Willow-leaved pear (Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’)
Small trees in the shape of columns
Space-saving and suitable for avenues and groups of trees: Many columnar trees grow slowly, cast little shade thanks to their narrow shape and give structure to the garden:
- Columnar ash (Sorbus aucuparia ‘Fastigiata’)
- Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’)
- Columnar hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna ‘Stricta’)
- Red Columnar Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Rohan Obelisk’)
- Columnar ornamental cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Amonogawa’)
Small tall trunks
So-called tall trunks are trees or ornamental shrubs whose crown base is at a height of at least 180 to 220 cm. In this way, tall stems remain compact in growth and require little space. Popular variants of short stature are, for example:
- Harlequin willow (Salix integra ‘Hakuro Nichiki’)
- Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata ‘Ivory Silk’)
- Almond tree (Prunus triloba)
Proper care for small trees – 6 tips
Trees are very easy to care for compared to other plants, but they are still happy to receive a little attention from time to time:
- Regular tree care is particularly important for young shrubs, because the growth time in the first few years determines the crown structure, resistance and vitality of your tree.
- Corrective pruning (for example, in the case of rotten or intersecting branches) should be made at an early stage. However, annual pruning is only necessary for fruit trees.
- Compost and a gradually rotting layer of mulch are the optimal fertilizer for the tree: both provide valuable nutrients, the mulch also inhibits the growth of weeds.
- Especially shallow-rooted trees should be watered regularly in summer.
- In winter, you can protect your small tree from frost cracks and other damage by smearing the trunk with lime paint. Alternatively, white plastic cuffs, which you attach around the trunk in the fall, will work.
- Do not throw away falling autumn leaves, but use them as a layer of mulch or winter protection for frost-sensitive plants and animals.