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Small tree - any ideas please?

cloud8cloud8 Posts: 103

Hi, I have a small square front garden (typical 1930's small semi) when I park my car on gravel but have managed to salvage some space around the edges for borders.  I'd like two small trees just for a bit of screening from the neighbours and for the birds to sit on.  

In the narrowest bit where I drive in I was thinking of prunus 'Amanogowa' or 'Spire' so we can walk past to the car.  Then for the corner where we're attached to next door I thought we could get away with something more spreading but not too big as to block out her light.  I was thinking of either sorbus commixta 'Embley', Gleditsia 'Sunburst' or amelanchier 'Ballerina'.


Any thoughts on whether these are suitable for a small garden would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks


  • jo4eyesjo4eyes Posts: 2,058

    For the corner position any Amelanchier would get my vote. Not too big, can be kept as a spreading bush by autumn pruning. I've kept mine to about 7-8ft high over the years. Lovely spring foliage, followed by pretty white flowers, which seem to cope with frost ok, berries about now  for which the blackbirds go mad- mine is shaking as I type- & finally great autumn colour. All in all, a great small tree.

    Am not familiar with the other choices. J.

  • auntie bettyauntie betty Posts: 208

    I'd probably choose the sorbus. There are also several birches that are columnar - I had some 'swedish birch' where the branches actually grew upwards from the trunk. Birds love em. At 15ft tall they were only 2ft diameter or so. Can be topped to keep them whatever height you like and are well-clothed in leaves so screen well.

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Cloud8, a couple of things, Prunus Amanogawa can grow to 10m or in my language thirty feet with a spread of 4m twelve feet.
    Sorbus can grow to from twenty to thirty feet with a good spread.
    Your neighbour would be within her or his rights to cut of any branches over hanging his or her garden throwing the waste back into yours, as I have seen in my locality that it causes some very lopsided trees.
    Amelanchier (Juneberry) can grow to 12 feet although you can keep it low with heavy pruning.
    Viburnum, Daphne, Spiraea, Deutzia al low and slow growing can be lightly trimmed, I would say step lightly when planting in a small front garden as neighbours move on.


  • Moonlit HareMoonlit Hare Posts: 153

    if you want something small and unusual we've got a lovely corkscrew hazel which doesn't take up much room and also give a few nuts come september.....


  • Abby2Abby2 Posts: 101

    I have a Prunus Amanogawa in my small front garden and was initially a bit worried when I saw how tall they can get.  However, I have seen lots of them in front gardens and where they have been kept pruned to a tidy and manageable column shape they look lovely! 

  • cloud8cloud8 Posts: 103

    Thanks for the advice, it doesn't really matter how tall they get, once they're past head height they can get as fat as they want.  Following the advice given by Paliaisglides I think I'll plant the prunus amanogawa in the corner to keep the neighbour sweet and have a further think about the area next to the car.

    I have read that the following are suitable for planting on residential streets: pyrus communis 'Beech Hill', prunus sargentii 'Rancho' and malus trilobata.  Any thoughts on these please?

  • LilylouiseLilylouise Posts: 1,013

    I love Amelanchier - I have one called Obelisk image

    Pam x

  • cloud8cloud8 Posts: 103

    Well that's that decided then.  I love amelanchier too but thought it would be too bushy - this one sounds greeat, thanks very much lilylouise.

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