6 Uncommon Smaller Ornamental Trees That Wow!
With the onslaught of winter storms this year, many people lost trees. Trees are a valuable part of any property. They provide curb appeal, shade, space for wildlife, and many even bloom providing additional interest!
If you are considering planting a tree this season, whether due to storm loss. or just to beautify your property, here are 6 trees worth considering.
1. Cornus Kousa (Flowering Kousa Dogwood). Kousa dogwoods are beautiful trees. These
beautiful trees have a delicate looking exterior, but they are really tough as nails. These trees have year-round interest which is a great feature in any tree. They have lovely spring color. Their crisp, white "petals" aren't actually petals at all. They're modified leaves called bracts that surround the small, greenish-yellow flowers. It's the white bracts that give this tree it's beautiful spring color. The flowers that are surrounded by the bracts are fairly insignificant. This tree has lovely, layered branches that form a beautiful canopy that provides light shade. In the fall, the tree is graced with bright red color, and if all that weren't enough, it's lovely bark resembles a jigsaw puzzle so it adds winter interest to your landscape. If white isn't your thing, Kousa's can also be found in several shades of pink, from a pastel pink to a deep rose.
2. Cercis Canadensis (Eastern Redbud). Eastern Redbuds are a colorful addition to any
garden. Native to North America, these trees have delicate blossoms early in spring before they leaf out. This tree is beautiful all year long with a unique and irregular branching pattern, their trunk commonly divides close to the ground and creates a unique profile even during the winter. One of my particular favorites is 'Hearts of Gold'. All Redbuds have heart shaped leaves, but 'Hearts of Gold' takes it to the next level with foliage that emerges orange-red, matures to a bright gold and finally turns chartreuse as the summer progresses. All 3 colors can often be seen on the tree at the same time. I lost a tree to the storm in my yard this year and this is what I'm going to replace it with. Definitely a tree worth considering!
3. Amelanchier (Shadbush, Shadblow or Serviceberry). The Amelanchier, like all the trees in
this blog, is considered a smaller, understory tree. This tree gets to be about 15-25 feet tall and wide. Covered in white blooms in April, the blooms give way to small, edible fruits about 3/8" in diameter. The fruits resemble blueberries and can be used in jams, jellies and pies, but you'll have to be quick if you want them because the birds absolutely adore them! Finely-toothed, ovate leaves emerge a bronze color in the spring and mature to a dark green during the summer, before turning a brilliant red to orange-red in the fall. Smooth bark and a layered branching structure creates an interesting silhouette in the winter.
4. Stewartia pseudocamellia (Japanese Stewartia). This is an incredible tree. Multi-stemmed,
deciduous tree with serrated foliage that emerges bronzy purple in the spring and develops to a deep green by summer. This tree boasts small white camellia-like flowers that open in random succession and are followed by interesting, pointed brown seed pods. Brilliant fall color gives way to stunning exfoliating bark in strips of gray, orange and reddish brown once the trunk is 2"-3" in diameter. This tree can reach up to 40 feet tall, but I consider it a small tree because it matures very slowly. This makes an excellent specimen tree and has a visual appeal in every season, so it's definitely worth considering.
5. Acer Griseum (Paperbark Maple). This tree is another one of my favorite trees. I really want to find a spot for this in my landscape! This tree has unbelievable bark! Cinnamon in color and
gently exfoliating with an open, airy canopy. Even the smallest branches on this tree peel. I find the exfoliating is not overstated. Personally speaking, the river birches are just a hair too much for me. They're still a beautiful tree, but I find the exfoliating on the maple is a bit more delicate. The foliage on this particular maple is also attractive. Three lobed leaves as is typical of most maples, they are not as dissect as the Japanese Maple, and not as large as the typical Sugar Maple. The delicately textured leaves warm up to brilliant red and orange tones in the fall. As you all know from my blogs I am a huge fan of winter interest, so this is a choice tree for me! Unfortunately (or fortunately) I am a better landscaper than I am a photographer. This image does not do this tree justice, so you can get a better idea just by googling "Paperbark Maple". Trust me, you won't be sorry you did!
6. Betula Jacquemontii (Himalayan Birch). This is another outstanding tree, and one that I
proudly boast I have in my own landscape. This is kind of a cross between your typical white Paper Birch and the River Birch. This tree comes in clump form (multi-stem) or single stem, but personally I prefer the multi stem. This elegant tree is crisp white like the Paper Birch, yet it exfoliates like the River Birch. Beneath the delicately peeling white bark, pale orange hues subtly peek through. Deep green, ovate, glossy leaves fade to a warm golden yellow before shedding in the winter. I find the exfoliating bark on this tree to be a bit more delicate than it's cousin, the River Birch. The crisp white bark also appeals to me. The River Birch can be a light beige which I find appealing, but sometimes they get too dark for my taste. This Himalayan Birch is a vigorous, fast growing tree that is low maintenance. Like all birches, it can be damaged by heavy wet snow (like the nasty winter storms we suffered this past winter) so it's a good idea to go clean it off a few times during a storm like that. Even the young branches on this tree have gently exfoliating bark. It's a real treat in the landscape!