Plant Maintenance: Size and Shape

We have a small garden with little space, but would like a tree to emphasise the vertical dimension. What would you suggest?

A fastigiate form – that is, narrow in growth habit – would be best, and one of the following might be suitable: Prunus ‘Amanogawa’, a flowering cherry with double-pink flowers and good autumn colour; the maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba) in its fastigiate form, the leaves of which are larger versions of those of the maidenhair fern, and turn yellow in autumn; a blue-grey form of Lawson cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Allumii’); and the yew Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’.

We have a large pool in the garden and would like to grow a moderately sized weeping tree (but not a willow) next to it. What can you recommend?

The following grow to about 3-4.5 m (10-15 ft): Cotoneaster ‘Hybridus Pendulus’, an evergreen with red berries, the weeping ash (Fraxinus exce/sj’or’Pendula’); and Cheal’s weeping cherry (Prunus’Kiku-shidare Sakura’), with double pink flowers. All form umbrella-shaped heads of foliage, reaching to the ground.

Can you recommend a small to medium-sized tree which looks attractive all year round?

The strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) fills the bill: it has shining evergreen leaves, clusters of white flowers in autumn and early winter, and red strawberry-shaped fruits, which change colour slowly through the year until they mature the following autumn; it grows to a height of 3.7- 4.5 (12-15 ft). It needs a mild climate, but will withstand gales.

The ornamental crab-apples (Malus), which grow to 3.7-6 m (12-20 ft), are hardy, easily-grown, and attractive for most of the year, with crimson, red, pink, or white spring flowers, yellow or red fruit, and good autumn colour with purple leaves in some varieties.

What is a standard tree?

This is a small tree whose trunk measures about 1.8 m (6 ft) from the ground to the point at which the main branches originate to form the ‘head’ of the tree. A half-standard is a tree with a clean trunk about 1.2 m (4 ft) tall; and a ‘bush’ tree has a short main stem about 600 mm (2 ft) tall.

31. October 2013 by admin
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