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Help me choose two trees

cork gardenercork gardener Posts: 81
edited September 2021 in Plants
I'm going to plant 2 semi mature trees in my front garden this autumn. Photo and plan below (showing location of the two trees). 

I've narrowed it down to 2 possible trees for each location. The narrower tree on the left, either a Sorbus Autumn Spire or a Sorbus Fastigiata. The broader tree, either a multistem Malus Evereste or multistem Amelanchier. These choices are based on my research so far and availability at (and advice from) a local tree nursery.

The soil is fairly free draining. The narrow beds are 1.1m wide and open to the soil underneath. 

Any advice welcome. 




  • PerkiPerki Posts: 2,419
    edited September 2021
    Some nice choices but they are plenty more to pick from . is they anything specifically you want in the trees berries for wildlife / autumn foliage / flowers etc ? What size of tree are you think of .
  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,439
    Looking at the site, there is a lot of paving and you say the soil is free draining.  Be very aware that if planting semi-mature trees that you will need to water and water and water throughout the growing season for at least two years and sporadically in dry spells after that. I planted three quite large silver birches, maybe 2.5-3m each.  They took ages to settle down.  I thought I was going to loose them and they were planted in grass. Subsequently I planted more silver birches of a normal size  (about 1.5m) and they have caught up and some have overtaken the original three.
    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 8,190
    edited September 2021
    I would go for the crab apple over the amelanchier. I have both and find that the amelanchier blossom is over very quickly - especially if it's windy. The crab apple blossom is denser, lasts much longer and my Evereste trees are absolutely smothered in blossom each spring (much more than the other malus I grow - John Downie and Red Sentinel).

    Both trees are a bit boring through summer although the malus has the developing fruits. The amelanchier has nice spring and autumn leaf colour but (again) I find that interest can be a bit short lived.

    The Evereste fruits are very attractive and start to colour up mid to end of August. They stay on the tree for longer than the other 2 malus and I have known fruit to still be there at the end of Jan / beg of Feb - depends how hungry the birds are.

    ....on which note... do be aware that the birds (especially blackbirds and pigeons) love the Evereste fruits. If this tree will be overhanging your parking area and there are cars underneath it you may wish you'd gone for the amelanchier....💩

    Don't know the Sorbus so can't comment - sorry.
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • cork gardenercork gardener Posts: 81
    edited September 2021
    Thanks for the comments - to answer a few...
    Open to other suggestions. I'm looking for trees that stay relatively small. Particularly for the tree in the narrow border, I can overhang the road but not by too much and i don't want something that will grow to an oppressive height. For both I'd like berries, wildlife value and nice autumn colour. 
    Why I'm going for semi-mature over very young trees - I'd like immediate impact (impatience!). I'm conscious of the need to water and plan to set up drip irrigation system around the trees for a few years.
    re the malus (Topbird) - it will overhang the paving, but we don't park in that area. One thing I'm concerned about for this tree is whether it would significantly overhang my neighbour - is your's a multistem and what kind of spread would it have? 

    Also - for both trees, from my research online neither of these trees would be likely to lift paving but anyone have any experience of whether this would be the case?

  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 8,331
    Sorbus 'Autumn Spire' for me, and I'd  probably want 2 the same... if one isn't concerned about the falling fruits which can get dislodged by the autumn gales..

    I've grown Sorbus 'Joseph Rock' of which this is a fastigiate variant, and I've also had an Amelanchier [Ballerina]... and 2 Malus..   my issue with Malus are the crab apples which will be dropping, possibly onto your neighbour's driveway?..  

    ..  actually JR is quite upright in itself and I think one of the most beautiful garden trees available, so Autumn Spire would be similar, and I understand the need for narrow..

    So, Autumn Spire for me,.. knowing JR its autumn fruits and colours were spectacular together, it used to  take my breath away, even if only for a short time..
    East Anglia, England
  • Thanks Marlena - thats interesting, Autumn Spire was my choice for that up until recently (I've agonised over this to an unreasonable degree!!) but I thought I could get away with a slightly broader tree (but still relatively narrow hence the Fastigiata). I may reconsider.
  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 8,331
    ..just to add, I presume you're in Cork, Ireland?   I grew the Sorbus in Cornwall, about 1 mile from the sea, milder southern side but prone to gales... so at least you know it grows well in such a location maybe similar to yours..   go for the Fastigiate too, one of each.. up to you on that..
    East Anglia, England
  • yep - Cork Ireland so similar location I would think  (maybe a bit cooler)
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,924
    As long as rowans [of any variety] get enough water, they're fine. I would assume that would be the case for you there @cork gardener  :)
    It's worth adding plenty of organic matter though. 

    I'm slightly biased towards rowans, but I'd pick those for your site. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,562
    I agree about keeping on top of the watering.
    Most deciduous trees have most of the interest in spring and autumn, but you've got space to put in other plants for summer interest, and maybe some late winter/early spring bulbs too. And maybe dwarf evergreens for all-year interest.... can you see why my garden tends towards being rather crammed full? :D

    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
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