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Ornamental tree in raised bed

Hi I have created a raised bed out of wooden sleepers measuring 900mm x 1500mm x 600mm deep and would like to plant a small ornamental tree with an eventual height of 2-3mts. Can anyone recommend a tree where the root spread is not likely to be restrained by or damage the sleeper walls. Quite like the look of ornamental cherry trees. Novice gardener so any expert advice would be most welcome. 


  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 3,821
    Hello, tell us a bit more - Is the raised bed open to the earth underneath? Roots are more likely to go deep and grow out into the soil underneath rather than penetrate your sleeper walls. Also, is the bed against a fence or in open ground? If against a fence, thats fairly narrow for a 3m high tree as you need to consider how wide the spread of the canopy gets, in which case a fastigate (columnar type) small tree might be best. As a general rule, the roots will spread out as wide as the tree canopy above. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,156
    That's quite a decent sized bed, unless I'm misreading it.
    I'm assuming it's open to the ground, and if so , there's plenty of small trees which would be fine. The ornamental pear Pyrus salicifolia is nice, and Amelanchiers are always good. They're bigger than 2   or 3 metres, but when you contain anything, you also contain the size to some extent. The Sorbus varieties [mountain ash] would also stay quite compact in those circumstances. 
    However, you may find shrubs would be better if you want something to remain that small. More easily pruned and shaped. 
    As @Nollie says - though, more info would help.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • The raised bed is buiilt off the existing soil and is in open ground so plenty of room for the roots to spread at a depth greater than 600mm from the soil level in the planter . 

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,156
    Is it to be a specimen tree then?
    Euonymous alatus is nice. 
    If the site's exposed, any tree will need to be well staked too. Whether there's shade, or sun too- that will make a difference to what you choose. These factors are all relevant.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • The site will get plenty of sun. Not too concerned if eventual height is a little more than 3 metres. Ideally I'd like to use a cherry blossom variety but the Amelanchier could be a good alternative.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 3,821
    Open sunny ground gives you lots more options and there are some fabulous ornamental cherries up to 3x3m  - have a look on here  Lots of other ideas on that site too. A small crab apple makes a fine ornamental tree and and gives you shiny little fruits in autumn as well as spring blossom and would probably be my choice. There are some particularly lovely weeping forms of both cherries and crab apples. Personally I find Amelanchier a bit boring to look at, but I know thats a minority view!
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