Small Trees

Normally we refer to small trees as those less than 25 to 30 feet in height. Many small trees are comparatively very fast growing providing the new landscape with quick shade; yet, many small trees are comparatively short-lived (15-25 years). Small trees are ideal for informal groupings as they require much less room than larger specimens. Many small trees provide major interest and accent with seasonal bloom, seed pods, and fall color, thus making excellent specimen plantings. They are best used as secondary plantings with larger trees on the homegrounds. There is no perfect tree. All have good and bad qualities.

MimosaAlbizzia julibrissin35 ft. x 35 ft.-deciduous
-summer blooms
-fast and easy growth
-fine texture
-good climbing tree for kids
-messy with bloom, seed pod and foliage droppage
-old strains susceptible to wilt disease
RedbudCercis canadensis20 ft. x 20 ft.-deciduous
-rich pink or white blooms in spring before foliage
-yellow fall color
-fast growth
-short lived (15-20 yrs.)
-demands loose, organic soil
-susceptible to leaf disease
DogwoodCornus florida30 ft. x 30 ft.-deciduous
-white blooms in early spring before foliage
-medium fast rate of growth
-interesting branching
-deep red fall color and berries
-attracts birds
-short-lived (15-20 yrs.)
-demands acid, loamy soils in partial shade and summer moisture
American HollyIlex opaca30 ft. (conical form)-conical evergreen
-red berries in fall and winter (on female only)
-rather slow growth
-susceptible to scale, sooty mold and white-fly
-prefers acid, loamy soil--may yellow due to a lack of iron
YauponIlex vomitoria15-20 ft. (narrow and upright)-evergreen--leggy form
-red berries in fall and winter (female only)
-easy culture
Dahoon, Cassine HollyIlex cassine15-20 ft.-good evergreen specimen
-rich red berries
-rather slow growth
Golden Rain TreeKoelreuteria paniculata25 ft. x 25 ft.-deciduous
-yellow flowers in late summer and fall
-seed pod in late fall
-fast growth
-yellow fall color
-short lived (15-20 yrs.)
-may be injured by severe winter cold
-susceptible to minor insects and diseases
Crape MyrtleLagerstroemia indica15-20 ft. (leggy)-deciduous
-summer flowers (red, pink, purple or white); long period of bloom
-leggy, upright form
-vivid fall color
-easy culture--fast growth
-prefers sunny locations only
-susceptible to scale and white fly
-susceptible to mildew (near east variety mildew resistant)
Japanese Magnoliasvarious varieties15-25 ft.-deciduous
-abundant bloom in early spring before foliage
-low branched
-grows in sun or shade
-good in mass plantings or as a single specimen
-difficult to transplant
-prefers acid soils which are loamy and well-drained
-susceptible to scale and mildew
-late cold may injure early blooms
Wax MyrtleMyrica cerifera15-20 ft. x 15-20 ft.-neutral evergreen
-fast rate of growth
-easy culture--sun or shade
-will stand moist or wet areas and salt conditions
-may be pruned to form leggy trunks
Parkinsonia, Jerusalem ThornParkinsonia aculeata25 ft. x 25 ft.-deciduous
-fine, graceful texture
-open character
-yellow flowers all summer
-fast growth
-very thorny
-difficult to transplant
-prefers sun and dry soil
-may be injured by hard freeze
Japanese Black PinePinus thunbergii20 - 25 ft.sun or shade-evergreen sculptural form
-slow growing
-typical pine foliage and growth habit
-an excellent accent plant
Lombardy PoplarPopulus nigra italica30 ft.-deciduous
-fast growth
-narrow, upright form
-demands moisture
-short-lived (10 yrs.)
-highly susceptible to borers
-damaging, fiberous root system
-weak wooded
Cherry LaurelPrunus caroliniana25 ft.-small upright evergreen
-fast growth
-fruit attracts birds
-easy culture--sun or shade
Chinese TallowSapium sebiferum30 ft.-deciduous
-excellent fall color
-rapid rate of growth
-easy culture
-attractive seed pod in fall
-seed pod may be messy
-severe cold may injure
SassafrasSassafras varifolium30 ft. (upright character)-deciduous
-flowers and interesting branching in early spring
-easy culture--sun or shade
-excellent fall color
-rapid rate of growth
-suckers badly
-may be difficult to obtain
Japanese Plum, LoquatEriobotrya japonica15-20 ft.-small evergreen
-rapid rate of growth
-coarse, large textured foliage
-flowers and fruit
-easy culture--tend to prefer shade or semi-shade
-susceptible to fireblight disease
-does best in poor soil
-prefers shady conditions
ChinaberryMelia azedarack20 ft. x 20 ft.-deciduous
-lavender late summer blooms
-oriental character or effect
-colorful yellow fruit in late summer and fall
-messy with droppage of fruit and twigs
-susceptible to scale
CrabapplesMalus varieties20 ft.-deciduous
-abundant spring flowers--pinks and whites
-attractive fruit depending on variety
-medium-fast rate of growth
-susceptible to fireblight and other common apple diseases
-prefers sun
-demands reasonable cold winter to flower and perform well
Red BuckeyeAesculus pavia10-15 ft.-deciduous
-striking red spikes of blooms in late spring
-fast growth
-attractive foliage
-poisonous seed pod
-prefers acid soil of loamy texture and semi- or partial shade
-may be difficult to obtain
Eucalyptus, Silver Dollar TreeEucalyptus varieties
suggested: E. polyantheme, E. cinerea
15-25 ft.-evergreen
-attractive silver-gray foliage
-upright, graceful form
-may be injured by severe cold--needs protection
-needs staking as may become top heavy
Japanese Red MapleAcer palmatum atropurpureum12-15 ft.-deciduous
-rich wine leaf color
-outstanding fall color
-very good tub or pot specimen
-expensive and sometimes difficult to obtain
-slow rate of growth
-prefers light shade, yet colors best in sun
Moraine HoneylocustGleditsia triacanthos 'Moraine'15-20 ft.-deciduous
-attractive, fine textured, yellow-green foliage
-attractive yellow fall color
-fast growth
-weak wooded
-sometimes susceptible to borers
-demands sun
Ornamental Pear, Callery PearPyrus calleryana25-30 ft.-deciduous
-spring pear blooms
-yellow-green foliage
-medium-fast rate of growth
-attractive shape or form
-yellow fall color
-droppage of small and abundant fruit
-slightly susceptible to fireblight disease
Purple-leaf PlumPrunus blireiana "Newport"15-20 ft.-deciduous
-rich wine leaf color
-attractive and edible fruit
-attractive accent tree
-susceptible to fruit tree diseases and insects
Deciduous Holly, PossumhawIlex decidua10-15 ft.-deciduous
-attractive red or orange berries (on female only) in fall-winter when plant is void of foliage
-easy culture, sun or part shade
-very adaptable
-susceptible to tent-caterpillars and aphids
Fringe Tree, Grancy-Gray BeardChionanthus virginicus10-15 ft.-deciduous
-attractive green foliage
-attractive silver-white panicles
-easy culture, sun or shade
-may be difficult to obtain
-slow growth
-only the female plant blooms
-prefers acid, loamy soils
Silver Maple, White PoplarPopulus alba25-30 ft. (upright)-deciduous
-fast growth
-silver-gray foliage
-suckers and sprouts badly
-susceptible to borers
-damaging fiberous roots
Fruitless MulberryMorus alba "fruitless"15-20 ft.-deciduous
-rapid rate of growth
-attractive foliage
-low branched for climbing
-susceptible to leaf diseases
-may sucker or send out sprouts
Vitex or Chase TreeVitex agnus-castus10-15 ft.-deciduous
-spikes of blue blooms in summer
-fast growth
-easy culture, prefers sun
River BirchBetula nigra30 ft.-deciduous
-rapid growth rate
-graceful branches
-bark peel off to expose interesting texture and color
-yellow fall color
-tall, upright form
-susceptible to leaf insects, aphids and caterpillars
Chinese Parasol Tree, Varnish TreeFirmiana simplex25-30 ft.-deciduous
-unusual upright form with no branching except at top--parasol shape
-rapid rate of growth
-large coarse textured foliage
-yellow fall color
-interesting seed pod in fall
-large leaves may be messy

| Home | Ground Covers | Vines | Small Shrubs | Large Shrubs | Large Trees |