The Q&A Archives: Specimen Tree for Full Sun

Question: I am looking for a small specimen tree or large shrub tall enough to shade a second story bedroom window during the summer. The location is the SW corner of our lot, near the street and gets full sun all day. I would prefer something that has 3 season appeal and does not need a lot of water once it is established. I've been thinking of a silk tree or a redbud. Any other suggestions? Thanks!

Answer: There are a lot of great small trees to consider. Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) is an excellent choice, becoming broad spreading with distinctive horizontal branching and great fall color. Another dogwood to consider is Cornus mas or cornelian cherry dogwood with its wonderful bright yellow flowers, which open on bare stems in March. Its fruit ripens in July and is eaten by the birds. "Variegata" has variegated foliage, while "Elegantissima" sports pink shading on its young leaves. There are many species of Hawthorn (Crataegus) with showy spring flowers and red berries, which are loved by robins in early spring before the worms become available. Both Washington and Winter King are popular varieties; Winter King has showy bark in winter. Many new varieties of crabapple have small fruit that are persistent on the tree through the winter and will not create the mess as some of the old fashioned crabs did. For example Malus 'Adirondack" is a narrow upright tree only 12' tall with disease resistant leaves, white flowers, and red fruit that persists into winter. Serviceberry (Amelanchior) will grow to 25 feet with white flowers early in spring and black berries that are quickly devoured by birds in summer. The fall color is outstanding. White fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) also has white flowers in spring which give this native tree its common name "Old Man's Beard". It grows to about 20'. An evergreen suggestion is Ornamental Pear. This tree retains most of its leaves all year around, produces attractive flowers in the spring, and has a narrow, upright growth pattern which is perfect for small yards.

Hope one of these suggestions is just right for your landscape.

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