The Q&A Archives: looking for small, compact ornamental trees

Question: I have 50 feet along one side of my house where I would like to plant 2 or 3 ornamental trees to give us a bit of a barrier from the street. We are looking for something that will not totally bathe the lawn in shade, but break the full sun that hits that part of the yard all day. What would be a good tree that would remain compact and neat looking and preferably not drop alot of fruit. One person recommended flowering pear, but someone else said that would spread out more than I wanted. Thanks!

Answer: Ornamental pears are attractive, compact trees. Cleveland Select, also known as Cleveland, Select, Chanticleer or Stone Hill is one of the best. It flowers beautifully, is less prone to winter damage, and is evergreen. Flowering crab apples are spectacular in bloom, although a few weeks later than the Bradford or Cleveland pear, and have the added advantage of bearing colorful fruit, which can be ornamental in its own right, and which can provide food for wildlife during the winter. The fruit of the shadberry (also called Juneberry or serviceberry) will never make it to winter: it's too tasty, whether you're a bird or an adventurous human. The graceful flowers are not born as profusely as those of the ornamental pears, but they have a lacy beauty all their own. Even the unfolding leaves are attractive, covered as they are in fine silvery down, and the whole plant provides a good show in autumn, as those same leaves turn red. The scientific name of the of this genus is Amelanchier. A final suggestion is Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), and is available as a number of cultivars, including the burgundy-leafed "Forest Pansy" and "Royal White".

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

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