Backyard with Trees Landscaping Ideas
Apple trees usually grow up to 20 feet tall while dwarf varieties grow 6′ – 8′ tall. Many varieties are available, all producing beautiful early spring blossoms. Although some varieties are self-pollinating, many several other apple trees nearby to be able to produce fruit. Plant while dormant in full sun in slightly acidic soil. Most types of apple will fruit in three to five years. Ask at your local nursery to find the variety of apple tree best suited to your area.
Tree-form flowering almond is a variety of flowering almond that grows 12′ – 15′ tall and wide with a rounded crown. Pink or white flowers bloom in early spring before the leaves emerge. Plant in full sun or partial shade in moist, rich, acidic soil. If you want to prune for shaping, do so right after flowering. Some pruning will increase next season’s flowers. (Zones 4 – 8.)
Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) grows to 10′ or 12′ tall and produces lavender-purple flowers in early or mid-spring. The flowers give off a spicy aroma and the leaves smell faintly of sage. Shaping by pruning may be necessary. Grows best in well-drained soil. Flowers emerge from new shoots, so prune lightly at the end of winter. (Zones 7 – 9.)
Some flowering cherry trees can grow to be quite tall, so check your local gardening center for a smaller variety. “Snow Fountain” grows up to 12′ tall, while Sargent cherry grows 20′ – 30′ tall. Plant in full sun, in moist, well-drained soil. Weeping forms are available. (Zones 2 – 8, depending on the variety.)
Cherry laurel (actually an evergreen cherry, Prunus laurocerasus) has evergreen, deep green leaves and fragrant white flowers. It grows 18′ – 20′ tall and wide. Flowers bloom mid spring and the tree produces dark berries. Plant in full sun in cool areas, or partial shade in warmer areas, in moist, well-drained soil. (Zones 7 – 8.)
Crabapple produces abundant, beautiful flowers in white, pink, or red, blooming mid-spring. These slow-growing trees rarely reach over 20′ tall, while dwarf varieties grow between 8′ and 15′ tall. Crabapples are self-pollinating, so they will fruit even if you only plant one. Plant in full sun in well drained soil. Crabapples produce hard little fruits that some people find attractive but others may feel are a nuisance.
Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia) is a tall, beautiful shrub that can stand in as a small tree, growing 15′ – 30′ tall. It blooms in mid- to late summer with long-lasting white, pink, red, or lavender blooms. Planting in shade or semi shade may reduce the amount of blooms. The foliage turns yellow, orange, or red in fall. Attractive, exfoliating, patchy bark creates interest in winter. Prune away low-growing branches to create the look of a tree.
Avoid Langerstroemia speciosa, a giant form if you want to keep it small. In the South, some Crape myrtles will grow larger than expected.
If you want the type that features the most dramatic exfoliating bark look for “Natchez” with its beautiful cinnamon and cream bark; “Apache” or “Choctaw” with cinnamon and brown bark.
Crape myrtle grows best in US Zones 6 – 10.
Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) is a small, cold-tolerant variety of dogwood that reaches 20′ to 30′ tall. Flowers range from creamy white to pink. Red fruits appear in fall.
Red osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera or sericea) is a shrubby species that grows 7′ – 9′ tall. Red stems provide winter interest when young, but older branches fade to gray.