Flowers fade to fruit that adds winter interest. Wildlife - including songbirds, turkeys, and deer -come to feast on crabapples in my yard. If you want a low-maintenance version, look for fruitless varieties. Be sure to choose a variety that boasts disease resistance to apple scab.
Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
About the time crabapple peaks, Eastern redbud trees begin to fade. These early risers signal spring's arrival with pretty pink blooms, which cluster along branches before leaves appear.
This native tree can soar to 30 feet, but usually reaches 10 to 15 feet in home settings. Leaves burnish gold in fall, accented by small, dangling seedpods.
Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis)
Actually a shrub, this spring showpiece grows 6 to 10 feet tall and easily fills the role of small tree in a landscape.
Its branches drip spring flowers after crabapple blooms fade. Growth tends to be vaselike - narrow at the base and gracefully arching at the top. The thickly branched interior beckons nesting birds.
Small Trees with Great Foliage
Some small trees stage a spectacular show without flowers, including:
- Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)—‘Bloodgood’ (8 to 10 feet tall), with red leaves all season. ‘Dissectum Atropurpureum’ (6 to 8 feet tall) with seasonally shifting leaves: reddish-purple in spring, purplish-green in summer, orange in autumn.
- Tricolor beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Tricolor’)—Purple foliage with rose edges give a pink effect to the landscape. Trees slowly reach 25 feet.
- Japanese hornbeam (Carpinus japonica)—Trees grow in sun or shade and slowly reach 20 feet; fruit resemble hops.
Do you plan to plant a tree this year? Or maybe your yard already hosts a terrific small tree. Tell me about it below.