Why We Like Small Trees

When you think of trees you probably think of large soaring ones that are great for shade and tire swings, or of the evergreen Christmas tree variety. Trees come in all shapes and sizes and with all kinds of leaf shapes, colours and varieties. Some flower, some give us fruit, but all of them serve a purpose. If you love trees but have a lot in your yard already, perhaps you’d like a smaller one (or three) to add texture and colour. Here are just a few of the great little trees out there.

The Paperback Maple is an interesting tree as the cinnamon coloured bark peels off during the year. It adds dimension and texture as well as a talking point for your yard and this tree does great in all types of soil although it does like well drained soil, thanks all the same. It’s mature height is anywhere from 20-35′ but it is still considered a small tree and since its so undemanding, what are you waiting for? This tree is great for folks living in zones 4-8 across the country.

Ah, the Japanese Maple. What can we say about this beautiful tree? It’s graceful, it’s colourful and it’s a wonderful addition to any yard. It even comes in different varieties like weeping and upright so it can go almost anywhere. It is a great small shade tree and at it’s most mature it won’t grow more than 30 feet tall and wide, and the pretty leaves! Such pretty leaves. The Japanese Maple does best in zones 5-8.

If you are looking for a tree that has something to offer year round then you’ve found it in the Washington Hawthorne. In late spring you will get lovely white flowers. In the summer you get the texture and colour of dark green leaves and once fall hits, you can expect red and orange leaves to grace its branches. It’s not done then though, as deep into winter you will still see clusters of red berries against the graying sky. The one downfall is that yes, it has thorns, but that’s a small price to pay for all that interest. This tree does best in zones 4-8.

The Eastern Redbud opens spring with an explosion of pink flowers and it is adaptable to a wide range of soils. It’s great for yards within zones 4-9 and at full height it will only be around 30 feet. What a great way to decorate your yard!

Small Trees

Maybe you are looking to add more trees to your backyard but don’t know what to pick. Maybe you are scared of starting a forest as trees tend to grow, and grow, and grow. Maybe you just want some little accent to a deck area or around a pool. Well, you’re in luck because there are plenty of little trees to choose from that won’t go totally rogue on you in a few years and that will be pretty additions to your yard.

First up is the Fernleaf Fullmoon Maple, yes, it’s a mouthful, but this native Japanese species gives any yard a hit of colour and texture with its dense leaves. The medium green colour gives way to beautiful red, orange red or orange yellow leaves come fall, depending on the variety you choose, and while some can grow as much as 30 feet, there are smaller versions available too. These trees do well in zones 5-7.

The Crape Myrtle is another smaller tree that gives plenty of mid to late summer flowers, so you’ll have a pretty tree long after the others have stopped flowering. The trunk on this tree is varied in colour so it adds interest to your yard and there is a wide range of sizes available. You can also pick from a wide variety of flower colours with the Crape Myrtle, with choices that range from pink, lavender and rose to red or white. This type of tree does best in zones 7-9.

If you’re looking for a little tree with a wide canopy look no further than the Amur Maple. This can be grown as a large shrub or a small tree and will be the first to show it’s leaves come spring so your yard will have the first hit of colour on the block! It’s mature size is between 15-18 feet and it’s a great addition to yards within the zones 3-8.

The Fringe tree gets its name from the tons of white fleecy looking flowers that it produces each spring. It looks like a fringe with its dangling offering and of course, like with many species, there are many different varieties available. The fringe tree can tolerate a wide range of soils and is great for yards in zones 4-9 depending on the variety you choose.

So you don’t need a towering tree to have some impact on your yard. Sometimes the prettiest trees are also some of the smallest.