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tree heights

I have in my front garden a beautiful gleditsia which I have had for about 7 years . It has behaved impeccably until this year when it grew about 5 feet all over and the trunk thickened dramatically. The trouble is that I was told that it would only grow to 12-14 ft and its way beyond that now so it is going to have to go.I have gone to a great deal of checking up to find a tree to replace and was settled on a cercis siliquastrum(Judas tree) but have just discovered that it grows to 10 by 10 meters not the 3-4 I was told.Who is right some books say 3-4 metresand some say 10x10meters? And can you reccomend another to take the gleditsias place -Not Acers have loads in the back garden




  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 22,669

    Gleditsias grow to about 12 metres, so when you were told feet I think they meant metres. They are quite fast growing but it takes about 20 years to maturity. Judas trees are about the same size, which is small for a tree. Another similar sized tree is the rowan or mountain ash. What about a crab apple, flowers and fruit and you can get dwarf ones?

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,174

    Sometimes the projected height given is the height expected 'after 10 years' or some other stated period of time.  You have to look in the small print on the website or in the book.  The RHS website says 8-12 metres for gleditsia after a period of 20 - 50 years - so much depends upon growing conditions. 

    What about one of the eucalyptus cultivars?  Although they will grow into big trees, they take very well to being coppiced or pollarded and if this is done they retain the attractive immature leaves, rather than develop the mature ones, and you can control the height.  They also grow quite quickly so it wouldn't take too long before it replaces your gleditsia visually. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 22,669

    Here is a site about trees, which has a page on trees for small gardens. You can then look up the trees on Google.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • My Gleditsia is 30 years old and has also remained small until this year, when it has made more growth than usual. I put it down to the extra rain. However, I can still prune mine into shape. 

    My eucalyptus is a major problem. It is so huge. I really don't know what to do.

    Try Amelanchier. It is the best small tree (in my opinion). Beautiful leaves, which change colour throughout the year, covered in flowers in spring and red berries in June (it is called June Berry). It is a twiggy tree which grows very slowly but you can buy one of a reasonable size to start with.The Blackbirds, in particular, love it. This year they visited the tree in June in great expectation and showed visable signs of disappointment and anger because this year, due to the weather, for the first time in 30 years, the berries did not ripen until July! 

    Cotoneaster Waterii is another good one - still covered in red berries and is evergreen.

  • I have a Cotoneaster Waterii  and at over 20 years old is now at what must be it's maximum height of about 3.5 metres. Easy to keep pruned and in shape. I use its berries most years to augment the Xmas holly decorations when they have no berries of their own!

  • Thank you all for your advice and I have taken it on board so went to local garden centre and asked about various shrubs trees etc and found a cercis chinensis that was beutifully shaped in a large tub and HALF PRICE but noticed on the label that it said would grow to 1.5 metres- it was already that!, noone could help me find the right height until a lovely girl came armed with a mobile and emailed someone who told her 20 years 20ft and easily pruned .She said that most heights were wrong for plants and even if she looked them up they were contradictory.So again thanks I am going to try the cercis-now to get the gleditsia out from the middle of the shrubbery without hitting the car ,the caravan, our front bay, the bungalow roof ,next door's car...............

  • Hi

    My mum grew one from seed in her conservatory some 15 years ago, it is planted out in the garden at that time and is only 6 foot high now and is still twiggy, and has never been pruned or even trimmed. 

    Don't think we have the sun to make it grew 20 foot plus!

    So you should be fine!

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