Uses | Planting
Garden trees, such as flowering thorns, crab-apples, laburnum, hollies and cherries, are much smaller than forest trees and more suitable for gardens, especially those under 2000 square metres. Few kinds of garden trees reach more ten metres in height and width. Unlike the forest trees, which are mostly native, the garden trees are mainly from other parts of the world.
In small gardens, these smaller trees fill the same role as big trees in large gardens – they fill space; they are ornamental; they provide shelter and a good backdrop for other plants. Garden trees make the ‘backbone’ of the garden. Garden trees tend to be more fancy than forest trees; many of them are spectacular in flower, whereas forest trees, mainly, have inconspicuous flowers.
A choice can be made of garden trees to suit every small garden; there are those which tolerate shade, wind, urban pollution, damp soil, dry soil. With few exceptions, they are all hardy – not damaged by frost. No garden, however small, should be without its complement of trees, even one or two. They set the garden off, give scale to other plants, and they have a year-round presence.
Unlike forest trees, which are best planted small, garden trees do best planted as feathered trees or light standard trees, between 1.5 metres and 2.5 metres tall, bare-root but usually potted. Although more expensive, only a few trees are usually planted in a small garden and it is worthwhile to have well-grown quality plants.
Unlike the forest trees, which are thinned to select the best specimens, each garden tree will be expected to reach maturity. They can be planted closer to the house, within three metres, but be careful not to block the light of windows. To space neighbouring garden trees adequately, add together their expected heights and divide by two.
Considerable care should be exercised in choosing suitable small garden trees. They should be able to tolerate the conditions of the location, and not be likely to outgrow their position. Carefully plant into well-prepared, good soil. Staking can be necessary.
To provide instant effect in a small garden, semi mature trees up to six metres tall are available. Though more expensive than ordinary standard trees, semi-mature trees instantly lend an air of maturity to a new house, and cost less than a pair of curtains!