A Tree for Every Season… and Garden
Choosing the right tree for your garden
No two trees are alike in shape, form texture and colour, and, at this time of year, many are putting on a final glorious display before the long winter months.
Now is the best time to plan a new tree for your garden
Trees of course are vital to our environment, put simply, they promote life. Planting a tree is a symbol of hope and belief in the future. Mundane as it may seem compared to solar panels and hybrid cars, planting trees is one of the most effective and affordable ways to make a personal difference for the environment, and now is the perfect time of year to consider which variety to plant. Bare root trees will soon become available in garden centres. As they are dug straight from the ground, bare root trees and hedging plants are much better value for money than pot grown specimens.
Before choosing a tree, there are various considerations to factor in. Think about the space available. You may well love the look of a glorious oak but if your plot is the size of a pocket handkerchief, your little sapling will eventually become an unwelcome intruder. It’s well worth investigating a tree’s eventual height and spread prior to making your purchase.
You should also give consideration to the function that you want the tree to perform. If you are overlooked, you may want a tree to give you some screening from neighbouring windows so something evergreen, that retains its leaves all year round, might work best for you. Once the preserve of grand estates, pleached trees, which are trained into various shapes and sizes have become a modern style statement and a great way to give instant screening without taking up too much space. Hornbeam lends itself to pleaching very well, but as the popularity for ‘hedges on sticks’ increases so the supply of various varieties, including evergreen species, has increased.
If you want a productive tree for your garden consider planting a fruit; Apple, Damson, Plum, Cherry, or Pears are all relatively easy to grow and give two seasons of interest, with lovely blossom in spring. Growing your own fruit is hugely rewarding as well as tasty. These trees can be trained as an espaliers or fan-shapes against a fence or wall, if space is at a premium. Or, for a really small space, try growing a step-over apple. As the name suggests, the step-over is a low-growing, horizontally-trained tree that can literally be ‘stepped over’. Step-overs can be planted along an edge of a path or a bed, and make an excellent divider on an allotment or fruit garden.
A carefully chosen tree can make a fantastic focal point and there are some stunning ornamental varieties to choose from. Even if you only have a small garden, it’s possible to find a suitable tree to fill a little space.