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Skinny trees, 6-9 feet tall max?


I have a small east-facing patio with a flower bed on either side.  I would like to plan some small skinny trees to add a little structure.  I would love a leafy tree but I am not sure one exists, a smile evergreen might be more suitable.  It is a very tight space, ideally nothing that will grow between 6-9 feet?

Would really appreciate some recommendations, as I don't know much about gardening.

Thank you 


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,555
    edited February 2021
    No tree will stop at 6 to 9'.   

    You could have a look at columnar apples which have been bred to grow as one main stem with short side branches that have blossom and then fruit but you'd need to look into varieties to find ones suitable for that aspect and also to cross pollinate each other.

    You could plant a couple of fastigiate yews which would naturally tend to be columnar rather than spreading but they'd need regular trimming to maintain height and shape.

    Structure or form could be added by an obelisk or sculpture or a tall, slender pot.  otherwise you'd need to look at perennial plants that get that tall or else ornamental grasses.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 10,295
    I don’t know any trees that keep below 9ft.  I was going to suggest Prunus Amanagowa, as that keeps a columnar shape, but it gets to 4-8 meters, so thats no good.

    Have you thought about a shrub instead?  You could prune the lower branches to create a trunk effect, so it would appear like a tree.  
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,850
    You could grow a patio climbing rose up an obelisk... or there are some conifers which are very slim, and grow slowly so wouldn't outgrow your space too quickly.  I grew a golden-leaved, upright yew called Taxus baccata 'Standishii', and in 13 years it grew from 2ft to 6ft, remaining about 18" wide.
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,397
    There is a new variety of crab apple "Malus Appletini Gulliver" which I think is the size you want, I nearly ordered one the other day from a French site as I live in France, but then I thought it was too small for my garden.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 17,116
    I would have thought dwarf fruit trees designed for containers would be ok. Or an espalier tree, growing along a fence. Or a tree that you can prune hard when needed - a buddleia or sambucus nigra or any number of bushes that can be pruned into tree forms. I have crab apples trees forming into hedges.

    Whatever you choose, you would just need to make sure you are very on top of pruning to keep the height and the shape. Your aspect and soil type would determine what would grow best.
  • Wild_VioletWild_Violet ScotlandPosts: 137
    What about a Juniper Blue Arrow?  Skinny evergreen and supposed to have a maximum height of 2.5m which is about 8 feet?  Not much variety throughout the year though unlike some of the other suggestions. 
  • Everyone, thanks for all your help, it was really useful.  Based on your advice, maybe an evergreen shrub might be my best option. 
    Thanks again.
  • What sort of width are we talking? There are a couple of new Acer palmatum cultivars that are columnar, such as 'Twombly's Red Sentinel'. They would eventually get taller, but not for decades.

    Other ideas: an obelisk with a clematis or rose (or both); and yes to columnar apples, and indeed other fruit:
  • 'Twombly's Red Sentinel' - this is a beautiful tree :)   Stunning in fact!
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