The Q&A Archives: Small Landscape Shade Tree

Question: We took an Amur Maple out that was in front of our house on the northwest corner of our house. It had been there 20 years, since we built the house. We really liked the tree but it was too big. When we bought it we thought we have a dwarf tree, but after it got 25 feet tall (after pruning it every year) we knew better. Now we want to replace it with a tree that won't get more than 15-18 feet, 12-15 feet would be o.k. too. Our house is located on a side hill, so 3 feet of foundation shows behind where the tree will be planted. I would like to plant perennials in the area of the tree. The area without grass for such planting is probably 15 feet wide, away from the house. What tree would fit my specs? Thank you for your reply.

Answer: For trees that will reliably remain under 20' tall, I recommend semi-dwarf apple trees, or an ornamental crab or cherry. They'll provide shade and color, and fruit as well. If you want to try evergreens, check out the smaller junipers and white cedars in local nurseries. They come in many different growth habits, so ask plenty of questions about the mature shape and height you can expect. Best of luck!

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