I want to add some height to my garden and encourage more wildlife. I'm looking for a smallish tree that will tolerate clay soil on a south west facing garden. Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated.
TECHNICALLY IT'S A SHRUB RATHER THAN A TREE BUT VIBURNUM OPULUS, THE GUELDER ROSE, GROWS TO AT LEAST FIVE METRES TALL AND MAYBE THREE ACROSS.
CHEAP TO BUY, EASY TO GROW, NEEDS VERY LITTLE ATTENTION, HAS NICE FLOWERS AND EDIBLE BERRIES, DOESN'T CAST A LOT OF SHADE OR LEAVE A DESERT UNDER ITS SPREAD.
Hawthorns are lovely trees.Pretty leaves, masses of blossom in the spring for the bees, berries for the birds in the autumn and a blaze of colour from the leaves before they fall.
There are some lovely crab apple trees that don't grow too big too.
Last edited: 08 January 2017 20:46:42
Rowan, white beam
Thank you to both of you. I have been considering the crab apple,I might look at the gelder rose too, Have a lot of ugly fence to hide.?. Are they suitable for clay soil?
All absolutely fine on clay - use some compost/rotted manure when planting and if it's a very damp area and some grit will all be of help to get it off to a good start whatever you choose
Last edited: 08 January 2017 21:36:20
I'd go for hawthorn, too. Much as I love the native white crataegus (C. monogyna), there is a lovely cultivar of the other native, C. laevigata, one called 'Crimson Cloud', which is a vivid deep pink, but has single flowers and therefore has berries, too. It's a beauty.
Amelanchiers are lovely trees .... and happy on clay.
They have lovely spring flowers ... berries in autumn for the birds ... and great autumn leaf colour too.
Crab Apple is gorgeous for it's blossom & cherry 'Kanzan' is my absolute favourite but wouldn't specifically suggest it for wildlife. Anything that flowers and forms berries would be suitable. I have a holly shaped 'tree' that the birds also love in winter.
Hawthorn will get huge very quickly. Some sorbus varieties are good and will help wildlife.
Have a read of this article in teh Daily Telegraph - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/how-to-grow/the-best-trees-for-small-gardens/
I think the first thing I'd want to know is, what size is the garden? If my neighbour planted even a small tree like a Rowan, it would cast shade on the entire plot, whereas I could have several without any issue.
Having said that, Amelanchier will suit almost anywhere. A Rowan if you have a garden anything more than around 6 m by 6 m, as it won't remove every scrap of sun you get either. Any plot bigger than around that size - any of the other choices would probably be fine.