Trees are an asset in any garden. Even the smallest patch of ground can benefit from trees in containers where space is limited. They can bring height, fruit, bark and autumn colour into these small spaces.
Many factors must be considered if a tree is to establish, be healthy, grow to its full potential and offer optimal benefits for the planting location — The oldest individual tree in the world is thought to be in the United States, where a Great Basin bristlecone pine in California’s White Mountains has been aged at more than 5,000 years.
If you’re looking to plant a tree in your garden for privacy, shade or just a bit of a show piece then you’ll need to choose carefully.
Before you plant it is crucial that you find out the height and spread of the tree at maturity. Ask the seller or local nursery for help. Even smaller ornamental trees can reach 6-8m in height and require tree surgery to keep them in check.
You’ll also need to consider the location. Tree planting locations should always be one of the first and most important decisions when considering space allocation within your garden. Some species are slow growing and might initially fit very well in a small garden but over time could outgrow your space, blocking out light and potentially damaging yours’ and your neighbour’s property.
The right tree in the right place
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the benefits of tree planting, making tree planting increasingly popular. Trees are highly efficient at storing carbon, so planting trees is one of the best ways in which we can mitigate the impacts of climate change locally. In addition to storing carbon, trees can reduce air pollution, mitigate flooding, whilst also providing a wide range of environmental and social benefits.
If you want to be able to control the height and spread of your tree naturally without tree surgery, try planting smaller and slower growing varieties like the show-stopping Japanese Maple. Or if you’re an impatient gardener and want a faster growing tree for shade and privacy, then the Rowan is a fantastic choice providing great autumn colour, berries for the birds and pollen rich flowers for the bees. But be warned it can reach 15m in height (50ft) without tree pruning to keep it in check.