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Talkback: Trees for small gardens

Could you be persuaded to list your 5 favourite very, very small trees sometime? Very small being up to 3 metres tall.


  • I have a sapling almond tree which I grew from a seed nut brought from Spain about three years ago. It is about four foot tall and in a container. It seemed very happy for a while, but now it's getting very thin and 'woody' looking, particularly on the side not facing the sun (it's a walled garden facing east I'm afraid) and some of the leaves fall off easily. There is new growth at the bottom, but it just doesn't look happy. I put bubble wrap around around the container to keep the roots warm which seemed to help for a time, but wonder what I should do next? Help please!
  • Hi Louise, most likely is bad drainage. Almonds do not like to have wet feet. Might be worth repotting with lots of grit - this will also give you a chance to make sure that it is not pot bound.

    Also, if it is looking better on one side than the other try rotating the pot occasionally so that each side gets an equal helping of light and sunshine.
    Hope that helps a bit.

  • Ref: Almond sapling (as above)

    Thanks so much for your earlier advice, have now spotted some new leaves that have a white mottling effect and even curling slightly in some places. I thought this might be due to pink aphids which I've been dealing with, but someone else thinks this could be red spider mite? Thanks again, Louise BP
  • Yesterday I planted a sorbus aucuparia and a eucalypus gunni next to each other infront of our fence to use as a screen. I am unsure about how far apart should they be planted and how far away from the fence? Could you advise me, please. Denise
  • hi there i am trying to take cutting from a butterfly bush whats the best method to do this thanx jinty
  • They are pretty simple. In the Autumn (which is disturbingly close at hand) take sections of wood about the thickness of a chopstick and about 30cm long. Cut just below a bud. Plant the stick in a corner of the garden with about half underground. Go away and come back in a year.
  • I like this list and have a challenge for you ... I have a courtyard, paved, on top of a thickish concrete base, on top of nice sandy loam probably very compacted as it was a farmyard, and I would like to plant a small tree in a 1m wide hole through the concrete. will any small trees like my courtyard or will they give up the ghost and stop growing when they try to get their roots under the concrete? I am very keen to try the Prunus autumnalis for its dappled shade or possibly an amelanchier. I would love some advice.
  • i read about louise's problems with her almond tree. i have one that is doing quite well but i am not sure about pruning. could you give me some advise on this matter please.
  • Caroline, provided that you dig a big enough hole (the 1m gap is easily wide enough but you need to loosen up the compacted soil) and incorporate enoughorganic matter then you should be able to grow pretty well anything. As well as the Prunus and Amelanchier look out for Malus tschonoskii which is a much more upright growing tree.

    Sylvia, your Almond should need minimal pruning except to cut out any crossing branches or to reduce size. If so prune in late winter/early spring when dormant.

  • Due to revamping my border I now have a few bare 6 foot high fence panels and would like to plant a tree in front of one of the panels. I don't want anything that will grow too big (but must grow higher than the fencing)or have too wide a spread. I am very keen on Eucalyptus and would love one in the garden. Any suggestions please.
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