Garden Notes

Choosing what tree to plant

Published on 17 March 2009

AcerFed up with the news? Cheer yourself up and plant a tree. What could be more positive than to plant a special specimen, which you will enjoy for years to come and which is symbolic of the enduring hopefulness of nature and regeneration. Even if you hope to move in the near future, a tree will enhance a garden tenfold, giving it structure, acting as a focal point and providing either evergreen screening or seasonal interest.

Now is the ideal time to plant a tree whilst the soil is moist and not yet frozen. There are a huge variety of small garden trees, which will not create a lot of unwanted shade.

For permanent screening and winter interest a Cotoneaster cornubia is lovely, with small, evergreen, glossy leaves. It produces a rounded head, small white flowers and lots of lovely bright red berries, lasting well into the winter. A smaller tree, Cotoneaster hybridus pendulus is ideal for a front garden, and can be pruned into a small standard.

BirchTrees that provide a light canopy and movement are the family of Birches. Betula utilis var jaquemontii has one of the whitest of trunks and is stunning, particularly in winter if under-planted with a bright contrasting ground cover, like red leaved Bergenias or red stemmed dog woods.

Acer griseum has unusual peeling copper coloured bark which is beautiful when lit by winter sunshine and which also has the benefit of beautiful, orange, red and yellow autumn colour.

For big spring impact the cherries have it. For limited space Prunus Amanogawa grows into a small poplar like shape, with typical pink cherry blossom and autumn colour. Prunus Kiku-shidare Zakura (or Cheal’s weeping cherry). is covered in blossom in the spring and grows to a maximum of 4 metres.

CotoneasterAll of these trees are readily available at your local garden centre. For further advice on planting or care contact either myself or speak to the nursery from which you purchase.

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