6 Best Small Trees For Your Landscape - Backyard Boss
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6 Best Small Trees For Your Landscape

Trees are essential for our environment. They absorb harmful pollutants in the air, prevent soil erosion, and attract birds and other wildlife! So having them in your yard can be a delight, even if you have little space. Yes, these seven small trees are perfect for landscaping small home gardens

Magnolia (Little Girl Series)

Magnolia trees
Image Credits: Koefbac via Wikimedia Commons

‘Little girl’ Magnolias are eight hybrids of magnolia trees – ‘Ann,’ ‘Betty,’ ‘Jane,’ ‘Judy,’ ‘Pinkie,’ ‘Randy,’ ‘Ricki,’ and ‘Susan.’ These are low-branched deciduous trees that grow about 8 to 15 feet high. Their flowers have a goblet-kind shape with 8 to 12 pointed, strap-like tepals and are about 4 to 6 inches in size. 

The hybrid magnolia trees bloom in mid-spring to late spring. Therefore, the late freeze that often occurs at the beginning of the spring season does not damage them. In fact, according to the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, these hybrids were specifically developed to protect against this kind of climate change.  

The ‘Little girl’ hybrids of magnolias thrive in zones 4 through 8. Grow them in well-draining, fertile soil and in a sunny location. They flower best in full sun. 

Crape Myrtle Dwarf Trees

Dwarf crape myrtle small garden trees
Image Credits: Famartin via Wikimedia Commons

The crape myrtle dwarfs – ‘Victo,’ ‘Centennial,’ ‘Ozark Spring,’ and ‘Hope’ are small hybrid trees suitable for home gardens. These particular varieties thrive in zones 6a to 9b and are resistant to powdery mildew. They grow around 2 to 5 feet tall with tiny flowers of about 1 to 3 inches in size that bloom in mid to late summer until fall.  

Like all crepe myrtles, the dwarf varieties are deciduous and shed their leaves in the autumn. But, their dwarf nature makes them suitable for small yards. You can even grow these in containers. Use the crepe myrtle dwarf trees for foundation planting or grow them around the fencing of your garden. Just provide them with full sunlight (about six hours a day). 


Planting Hydrangea bush on a flower pot.
Image credits: Erkki Makkonen via Shutterstock

You might have seen small, multi-stemmed hydrangea plants blooming in summer gardens, but they can be grown as small, single-trunk trees. Hydrangeas have showy pink, blue, or white flowers that can be as large as 6 to 8 inches. They bloom in summer (from July to September), change color to tannish brown in fall and eventually fall off in winter. 

Although hydrangeas are sun-loving plants, some afternoon shade is best for them in areas with the extreme summer heat. Generally, the hydrangeas reach a height between 8 to 15 feet but can grow as high as 25 feet (less frequently). You can even grow hydrangeas in containers! They thrive in zones 3 to 8. 

Oakleaf and ‘Mini Penny,’ and ‘Blue Danube’ hydrangeas are great dwarf varieties.

Camelot Crabapple

A dwarf crabapple tree with a height of around 10 feet and dashing white flowers, ‘Camelot’ is worth it for home gardens. This tree is known for its round shape and disease resistance. It has red buds that open in April and bloom into white flowers with pink tinges on the petals. The flowers mature into crabapples that are harvested in the fall — You can use them to make jellies!  

It has dark green leaves that can be up to 3 inches long. The leaves appear in spring with a burgundy shade and eventually turn green. Well-draining, acidic, loamy soils and full sun are best for growing ‘Camelot’ crabapple trees. These trees often attract birds and butterflies

Sargent Crabapple

Another crabapple cultivar tree that will blossom up your home garden in summer is ‘Sargent’ crabapples. It produces fragrant white flowers in May, with heavy blooming every other year. You can grow it as a multi-stemmed shrub or a single-stemmed tree. It has dense foliage with 2 to 4-inch long, oval-shaped leaves that have light green, medium to dark green, and then yellow color as they mature. 

‘Sargent’ crabapples grows to a height of 6 to 10 feet and is suitable for zones 4 to 8. It grows quite slowly but has dense foliage. Its pea-sized fruit (¼ inch in diameter) often attracts birds like robins, grosbeaks, and mockingbirds. 

Lace-leaf Japanese Maple 

The lace-leaf Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Seiryu’) is a small tree that grows upright, about 10 to 15 feet tall, and is very ornamental. The leaves of this tree are light green in spring with reddish-tipped edges. They turn to mature green in summer and gold with red and orange hues in fall. It also blossoms small, reddish-purple flowers. 

Grow the lace-leaf Japanese maple in well-draining, acidic soil and provide partial shade in the afternoons, especially in hot summers. This tree thrives in zones 5 to 8.

Add More Life to Your Garden

A small tree in your yard could be the highlight of your house. Moreover, with so many options available, lack of space will no longer be a problem for you. Plant small trees in your home garden, experience the beauty of summer bloom and shades of fall and invite birds and butterflies to your yard. It is like being a step closer to nature! 

What do you think? Do you have a tree in your home garden? Share your experience in the comments.