Grow Statement Trees for Smaller Spaces

As the Chinese proverb suggests, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.”

“Now” is also the extra best time to plant trees, thanks to Fall’s cooling temperatures and the moisture landing in many parts of the country.

Plant trees now for privacy, shade, and wildlife habitat. Plant them to accentuate your architecture, ground the house and the landscape, and enhance your property value. And yes, please plant trees to help sequester carbon, too. Even small trees help make a mighty impact.

But, what about planting trees simply because trees grow beautifully?

Jade Butterfly Gingko

Dwarf, densely branched and vase-shaped with striking bright green leaves and lovely fall color. Fruitless (no mess). Slowly reaches 12′ to 15′ tall, and up to 10′ wide. Full sun. Zone 4   9.

Gingko photo via Leafland
All other photos: Doreen Wynja 

Grow Statement Trees Under 15' Tall

Statement trees under 15′ tall have so many uses! You’ll never grow wrong with a small statement tree in a large container on your patio, porch, or tucked into a flowerbed.

Plant a pair so they flank a walkway or offset a gate. You can also plant them to punctuate the end of a long mixed border. Plant a small statement tree for impact in a courtyard or near your entryway. Or, go for all the drama with an allée running along each side of a driveway or wide path. 

Double Weeping Rosebud Cherry 

One is spectacular, but when you plant in multiples or pair it to flank a walkway or the edges of a long border, this tree is a showstopper. Double pink flowers in late spring. 15 to 20′ tall and wide. Full sun. Zone 4 – 8.

Ruby Falls Weeping Redbud

Swoon for the maroon, heart-shaped leaves and its cascading habit that shines in all seasons. Lavender sweet pea-like spring flowers. A knockout in small spaces. Containers, too. Up to 8′ tall, 6′ wide. Partial to full sun. Zone: 5 – 9

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Catawba Crape Myrtle

Stun the neighbors with large clusters of magenta to dark purple flowers that last all summer. Foliage is bronze in spring, green in summer, and vibrant orange-red in fall. Naturally rounds into a dome as it matures. Up to 15′ tall, 14′ wide. Full sun. Zone 7   9.

Kilmarnock Willow

This charming umbrella-shaped tree explodes into yellow-white pussy willows in early spring before leaves emerge. It’s an unexpected, but perfect solution tree for wet areas. Up to 8′ tall, 6′ wide; larger with age. Full sun. Zone 4 8.

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Velvet Viking™ Japanese Maple 

Want understated elegance? This dwarf Maple’s red, lacy leaves and delicate form are tough and cold tolerant. Sophisticated in all seasons. Excellent where it can spill over a low wall or container. 3′ tall, 4’  5‘ wide. Partial to full sun. Zone 4 – 9.

Fragrant Fountain Japanese Snowbell

Weeping branches covered in fragrant white flowers are nothing short of amazing! Moderate growth rate makes this small tree ideal for smaller gardens or containers. Golden fall foliage. 6′ tall, 5′ wide. Partial sun. Zone 5 – 8.

Grow Statement Trees 15’ and Taller

Statement trees at 15′ or taller have the power to transform a landscape. Plant one as a singular statement tree in a space where it’s scale can be appreciated from all sides. It will be nothing short of spectacular.

You can also add a statement tree to an existing stand of trees, so the form and foliage draw awe and appreciation. Site one (not too close) to the corner of a building that needs a punch of leafy impact. Or, grow them in a grove of three, five, seven, nine… wherever you have the room.

Weeping Extraordinaire™ Double Flowering Cherry

Fluffy, frilly, and fantastically romantic springtime double blooms cluster on weeping branches. Blossoms sweep across copper-colored foliage in spring. Leaves turn glossy green in summer. Fall color is lovely, too. Up to 20′ tall and wide. Full sun. Zone 5 8.

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Variegated Stellar Pink® Dogwood 

Stellar, indeed! Each leaf is edged in white and turns a brilliant red-purple in fall. Seashell pink flowers smother the branches in spring, then pop with bright red fruit just in time for fall. 20’ – 24’ tall and wide. Partial shade to full sun. Zone 5 9.

Ryusen Weeping Japanese Maple

If you’re an Acer collector or just want a remarkable tree for a narrow space, this plant is your new favorite. Rapid growth shoots straight up, then weeps down. Fall color! Up to 20′ tall, 6′ wide. Partial shade to full sun. Zone 5 – 7. 

Purple Fountain Beech

Rich-purple glossy leaves cloak the cascading branches of this showy specimen. Slower growing and needs no pruning to maintain shape. Sculptural accent for modern landscapes or to highlight architectural features. Up to 25′ tall, 15′ wide. Full sun.  Zone 4 – 7.

Weeping Nootka Cypress

Buy a plant marker because everyone will ask about this unique tall and narrow North American native tree. Drooping branchlets of dark gray-green foliage drape from spreading and upcurved branches. Up to 45′ tall and 15′ wide. Partial to full sun. Zone 5 – 8.

Weeping Norway Spruce

Very cold hardy, and oh, those CONES! Trained in a staked form to feature its naturally pendulous shape, this small tree is a dramatic evergreen garden specimen. The effect is just magical. Up to 4′ tall, 15′ wide in natural form. Partial to full sun. Zone 2 – 8.

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