The Top 5 Deciduous Trees for Small Prairie Yards
Are you a new residential homeowner looking for small trees to include in your landscaping? Or perhaps you are remodeling an existing garden that houses huge trees that have worn out their welcome over the past few years. This is especially true of large evergreens such as that six-foot Colorado Spruce that looked like the ideal tree to include in your new yard. It fit perfectly into the back corner. Suddenly its 20 years later – you are still in the house and so is your Colorado Spruce, but now its 5 to 10 times the size!
Here is my best recommendation. Buy a tree that once fully grown will fit nicely into your yard!
To follow are my top 5 deciduous trees that will fit into a residential back yard -even when they have grown to their full height and width! They are hardy, tough and, once established, will withstand extreme cold, heat, wind and drought. These trees will live for many years and you will save the cost of eventually paying someone to remove it, and the cost of a new tree to put in its place.
(Photo Credits to The Morton Arboretum https://mortonarb.org/)
Ivory Pillar Japanese Tree Lilac - Syrings reticulata ‘Williamette’
Mature height – 6 m. Mature width – 4 m.
Plant the Ivory Pillar Lilac in a full sun location. This tree has a narrow upright habit of growth and should be pruned only after flowering. The flowers are clouds of white to creamy white from late spring to early summer and will attract butterflies. Bonus: They smell great! The bark is a steel gray color.
Plant your lilac with an application of Mykes or 10-52-10 root stimulant. Make sure to regularly water this tree until the root system is well established. This usually takes the first year after planting.
Ivory Pillar will grow at a medium rate and live for fifty years or more. The foliage is a dark green and does not have any significant fall color. Spent flowers and seeds can be pruned after flowering.
Japanese Tree Lilacs of any cultivar are one of my favorite trees. They are very low maintenance and beautiful when in flower. Another favorite is the Ivory Silk Lilac which is a bit bigger at 8 m. tall x 5.5 m. wide at maturity.
Amur Maple (Tree form) - Acer ginnala ‘Jefum”
‘Tree form’ refers to a single trunk tree. There are other Amur maple varieties that are the bush form with multiple trunks.
Mature Height – 6 m. Mature Width – 5.5 m.
Lifespan – 60 years or more
Plant in a full sun to part sun location. This is a small, extremely hardy tree. Certainly, the hardiest of all maples.
The leaves are a dark green with an elongated maple leaf shape. It is not known for its significant flowers.
As it is a maple, the Amur should not be pruned until the summer when leaves have fully opened and matured. Late winter and early spring pruning will result in the tree bleeding sap which may attract insect pests and fungal growth to the wounds.
Plant your Amur Maple with an application of Mykes or 10-52-10 root stimulant. Make sure to regularly water this tree until the root system is well established. This usually takes the first year after planting.
This tree has the most amazing fall color with leaves turning to orange, red, and burgundy red. The seeds or ‘samaras’ can be colorful as well.
This is an excellent tree for a small yard and I highly recommend it.
The Royal Crown Amur Maple is another great small tree. Hardy to Zone 2. Height – 6 m. in height by 5 m. in width at maturity.
Amur Cherry - Prunus maackii ‘ Jefspur’
If you are familiar with the deciduous tree called Amur Cherry; this is a smaller version.
Zone – 2
Mature Height - 4 m. Mature Width - 2 m.
Lifespan - 50 years or more
Resistant to black knot.
Plant in full to part sun. The growth habit of this tree is very uniform with dark green leaves which turn yellow in fall. Clusters of mildly fragrant white flowers are followed by small black fruit which attracts birds.
Plant your Amur Cherry with an application of Mykes or 10-52-10 root stimulant. Make sure to regularly water this tree until the root system is well established. This usually takes the first year after planting.
The Goldspur is a medium rate grower with smooth red bark.
This is an excellent tree for very small yards.
Pyramidal Mountain Ash - Sorbus aucuparia ‘Fastigiata’
The Pyramidal Mountain Ash is the perfect tree for bird lovers with small yards.
The height of the tree is tall at 10 m. but fits into a narrow space with a 3 m. mature width.
Zone – 3a
Lifespan – 50 years or more
This is a very narrow, columnar tree with compound leaves that turn a lovely red in fall. The bark color is olive green. It is a medium rate grower.
Plant this tree in a well drained area as it cannot tolerate sitting in water for any length of time. Plant your Pyramidal Mountain Ash with an application of Mykes or 10-52-10 root stimulant. Make sure to regularly water this tree until the root system is well established. This usually takes the first year after planting.
Mountain ash trees are known as an ‘all-season’ interest tree as they not only have a red fall color but produce white flower clusters in spring followed by red berries that hang from the branches from early fall to late winter. While the berries are not edible for humans/pets, they are loved by many types of birds.
Chickadee Paper Birch - Betula papyrifera ‘Chickadee’
Like any other birch tree, the Chickadee does not like to dry out after planting. Plant in an area that has average to moist conditions or be prepared to water more often than the other trees listed above.
Resistant to birch borer attack. Deer and rabbits do not find this tree appealing.
The Chickadee Paper Birch has a dense, pyramidal form with green leaves in spring and summer turning bright yellow in fall. Prune this tree only in the summer after the leaves have fully matured. Late winter and early spring pruning will result in the tree bleeding sap which may attract insect pests and fungal growth to the wounds.
Zone - 2a
Mature Height – 15 m.
Mature Width - 5 m.
Lifespan – 80 years or more
Plant your Chickadee Birch with an application of Mykes or 10-52-10 root stimulant. Make sure to regularly deep water this tree to establish a strong root system.
As the tree matures it develops a beautiful white papery bark. It does not form significant flowers or fruit and is a medium rate grower.
Mulch around the base of the tree to help retain moisture. Remember to pull the mulch out about four inches from around the base of the trunk to avoid rotting the tree’s bark.
*Please note that the small trees chosen by the blogger may or may not be available at Floral Acres (spring and summer 2022).