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Choose and Plant Ornamental Trees

You may not have room in your yard for a huge majestic shade tree. The solution may be a smaller ornamental tree. Do not let their lack of size discourage you. Ornamental trees can be real attention-getters.

Planting Ornamental Trees

Ornamental Trees in Landscape Design

Ornamental Trees in Landscape Design

While any tree can be grown as and considered a specimen, the ornamental trees in this article are normally less than 25 feet tall. Ornamental trees are distinguished by one or more unique characteristics. Flowers, foliage, bark or the tree's form itself are features to consider. Many varieties bloom in spring before foliage appears. Nothing signals the end of the bleakness of winter better than a spring-flowering tree.

Specimen trees bring a viewer's focus towards them. Although there are many ornamental trees to choose from, one is usually enough for most homes. Unless you have a large landscape to work with, don't detract from your landscape design by getting carried away with too many varieties.

Always check the plant tag for growing requirements. The amount of sunlight required and the tree's mature size are important considerations.

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Caution

Before beginning any excavation, check for underground utilities. Call the North America One Call Referral Service at 1-888-258-0808 (or just dial 811) for a national directory of utility companies.

Selecting an Ornamental Tree

Selecting Ornamental Tree Chart

Fruit trees offer a double treat. Most begin the season with blossoms and, if taken care of properly, follow with fruit or nuts. Make sure the variety you select is what you thought you were getting. There are fruit-bearing and non-bearing (such as cherry, pear and plum) fruit trees. Before selecting a fruit-bearing tree check the tag to see if it's self-pollinating or not. If size and space are concerns, think about getting a dwarf or semi-dwarf variety. One last thing — unharvested fallen fruit can be messy. Think ahead about where to plant a fruit tree.

Depending on the zone you live in, some traditional shrubs may become trees. Azalea, hydrangea and lilac are capable of reaching tree size in warmer climes. Don't forget evergreens as ornamentals - there are dwarf varieties available.

The list of ornamental tree choices is long, but here are a few common trees and their characteristics.