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From the team at Gardeners' World Magazine
Fiery acer leaves in autumn

Six trees for every garden

Published: Saturday, 5 October, 2019 at 4:09 pm

Give your garden a green boost by planting one of our top trees for every garden.

There's a tree to suit every garden, no matter its size and style.

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Autumn is generally the best time to plant a tree, allowing it plenty of time to establish a strong, healthy root system ready for the following growing season. You can buy trees at various sizes and ages – discover the pros and cons of each, plus what you can expect to pay in our guide to tree sizes. There are plenty of excellent trees for small gardens.

Once you've bought your tree, follow the simple steps in our tree planting guide to get it in the ground.

If you're specifically after small trees for small gardens, check out our feature dedicated to 20 of the best small trees.

Discover six of our favourite trees for every garden.

1

Bark and catkins: Betula jacquemontii 'Jermyns'

Birches are understandably popular and 'Jermyns' has very white bark and long catkins. Although it makes a medium-sized tree, its light canopy of small, dainty leaves makes it an elegant tree, especially when the leaves turn to gamboge in autumn.

H x S 18m x 10m

Rate of growth fast

White-barked birch 'Jermyns'
White-barked birch 'Jermyns'
2

Blossom and fruit: Malus x zumi 'Golden Hornet'

Crab apples are among the most outstanding trees for flower and fruit. 'Golden Hornet' will be thick with blossom in spring and laden with amber-yellow fruit in autumn. Fruits will often remain on the tree well into the new year.

H x S 10m x 8m

Rate of growth average

Yellow fruit of crab apple 'Golden Hornet'
Yellow fruit of crab apple 'Golden Hornet'
3

Wildlife, berries and autumn colour: Sorbus commixta 'Embley'

Rowan trees (Sorbus aucuparia) are perfect for a small garden. This variety has vivd orange-red berries and its foliage, in common with many rowans, turns to flaming red as the berries ripen. There are lots of other varieties with berries in a wide range of colours.

H x S 10m x 7m

Rate of growth fast

Brilliant-red rowan berries
Brilliant-red rowan berries
4

Shape and autumn colour: Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki'

Its bright green, spring leaves become more opaque as the year goes on and, as the nights get colder and days shorter, they turn a brilliant red. On a mature 'Osakazuki', the bark is attractively striated and its silhouette a matrix of fine, twiggy growth.

H x S 4m x 4m

Rate of growth average

Fiery acer leaves in autumn
Fiery acer leaves in autumn
5

Spring and autumn colour, plus scent: Cercidiphyllum japonicum

A delight at every time of year. Its young spring foliage is almost translucent and flushed pink and in autumn it turns amber, pink and russet. When temperatures fall, the leaves emit an unexpected fragrance of caramelising sugar.

H x S 20m x 15m

Rate of growth fast

Rosy-tinged, heart-shaped leaves of Cercidiphyllum japonicum
Rosy-tinged, heart-shaped leaves of Cercidiphyllum japonicum
6

Blossom and wildlife: Crataegus monogyna

In May, hawthorn festoons hedgerows far and wide with its frothy blossom. It also makes a wonderful standalone tree, needing little or no care. Its winter branches bear dark-crimson fruit that persists for months – a real boon for wildlife.

H x S 7m x 7m

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Rate of growth average to fast

White hawthorn blossom
White hawthorn blossom

Save money with bare-root trees

Autumn also marks the start of the bare-root season, which usually runs from late autumn to early spring. Bare-root trees tend to be cheaper than potted trees, while offering a well-developed root system. Find out how to plant a bare-root tree with Monty Don's help.
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