10 Trees for Urban and Small Space Gardens Include:
1. Shadblow Serviceberry
A slender, clumping tree that can grow to about 20 feet high.
It has small white flowers in early spring that turn into edible berries in early summer. The fall color of the foliage is a pleasing red-orange-yellow. It grows in full sun to shade and prefers moist, well-drained soil. Zone Hardy 3-7
A small tree that is known for its ornamental flower buds, camellia-like white flowers, fall color, interesting seed pods, and attractive, exfoliating bark in winter.
It is called the “Summer Dogwood” in the southern US due to its late spring into early summer blooming period. Stewartia requires consistent watering during its first year. Pick its location in your garden carefully as transplanting has a low survival rate. Zone Hardy 5-8
Also known as the Maidenhair tree, this tree has beautiful fan-shaped leaves that turn golden yellow in autumn.
They drop their foliage en masse in late November to dramatic effect. The trees are a good choice for urban locations as they withstand both street pollution and road salt spray. They are slow-growing and can take 30 or more years to mature. Ginkgo trees prefer to grow in full sun and in well-draining soils. Zone Hardy 3 – 9
4. Black Tupelo or Black Gum
This is a great native specimen tree that grows to about 30 feet.
The fall foliage is spectacular in many shades of yellow, orange, bright red, purple, or scarlet that may appear on the same branch. It prefers well-drained, acid soils, and full sun to partial shade. Zone Hardy 4 – 9
5. Japanese Maple
Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) has over 300 cultivars and generally stays under 20 feet tall.
Fall color depends on the cultivar, but most have a deep amazing red color. It prefers part-shade and moist, well-drained soil. It is insect and pollution-resistant. Zone Hardy 5-8
6. Fringe Tree
Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus) is native to the Eastern United States.
The “fringe” of this tree refers to the long, white, clusters of drooping flowers in late spring. They are mildly fragrant and give it its alternate common name of “Old Man’s Beard.” These trees prefer moist, but well-draining and fertile soil. It flowers best in full-sun to part-shade. It typically reaches between 12 to 20 feet tall. Zone Hardy 4-9
7. Kousa Dogwood
This Dogwood grows to 20 feet in a vase shape.
It is slow-growing, compact, and ideal for part shade. The fall foliage is an interesting purplish-red to scarlet. It also has red berries in fall and flowers in late spring. It prefers moist, well-drained, but can take dry, compacted soils. Zone Hardy 5-8
8. Katsura Tree
This tree can reach 20 feet in 20 years and matures to about 40 feet.
The foliage all growing season is colorful and unique then in fall, it turns a bright apricot-orange. The fall leaves also give off a pleasant spicy scent. Grows in full sun to part shade and prefers well-drained soil. Zone Hardy 4-8
9. Eastern Redbud
Eastern Redbud trees are deer-resistant, shade-tolerant, and the perfect size for even the smallest garden.
The flowers cover the tree’s bare branches in early spring and, on older specimens, even along its trunk. When they will leaf out this tree is just as pretty. The heart-shaped foliage also is spectacular in autumn turning a bright, clear yellow. These trees do fine in our heavy clay soils and do well in light shade. They appreciate some protection from the hot afternoon summer sun. Zone Hardy 4-9
10. Crape Myrtles
These trees are native to Asia and were introduced to the United States in 1790.
Crape Myrtles are known for their colorful, long-lasting flowers that bloom in the summer. One of the joys of the crape myrtle tree is its brilliant fall color and in the winter is its beautiful, exfoliating bark. Crape myrtle flowers most heavily in full sun. If planted in colder zones, they die back to the ground each winter, but with care and lots of mulching will regenerate new growth from their roots. Zone Hardy 7-10
Plant a few of these Urban Trees this season to give you viewing pleasure for years to come. Fall is a perfect time for planting, so what are you waiting for?
Written by: Kathy Jenz
Author: The Urban Garden: 101 Ways to Grow Food and Beauty in the City
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