How to - Gardening Resources

Skinny trees for tight spaces

Trevor Cole
Photography by

These slender specimens will squeeze into the tiniest garden

Slender evergreens
Skinny conifers with coloured needles-and green ones, too-add interest to the garden all year.

Lawson false cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana cvs.) 5 x 1 to 18 x 5Many forms; grows as narrow green-, gold- or silver-coloured column5
‘Fairview' Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Fairview')5 x 2Strong growing; dense, narrow, blue-green column4
‘Pencil Point' common juniper (J. communis ‘Pencil Point' a.k.a. ‘Sentinel')10 x 1.5Extra-slender; dense, bright green needles3
‘Skyrocket' Rocky Mountain juniper (J. scopulorum ‘Skyrocket')6 x 1.2Silver-grey needles; stays more slender on poor, dryish soils3
‘Blue Arrow' Rocky Mountain juniper (J. s. ‘Blue Arrow')4 x 1Steel-blue needles; denser form than ‘Skyrocket'3
Serbian spruce (Picea omorika)20 x 3Retains branches down to ground; pollution-tolerant3b
‘Elegantissima' white cedar (Thuja occidentalis ‘Elegantissima')5 x 1.5New growth tipped yellow, then turns green3
‘Fastigiata' white cedar (T. o. ‘Fastigiata')5 x 1.5Short, green sprays of foliage turn brownish in winter3
‘Unicorn' white cedar (T. o. ‘Unicorn')4 x 1Very small variety; dense, dark green; Canadian introduction3
‘Yellow Ribbon' white cedar (T. o. ‘Yellow Ribbon' )3 x 1 Keeps bright yellow colour throughout year3

Narrow green columns
There are times when you need a slender tree purely for its shape, not for the flower or foliage effect. The following will fit the bill.
Upright English oak (Quercus robur forma fastigiata)
15 x 5Dark green foliage; very slow growing5
Pyramidal American linden (Tilia americana ‘Fastigiata')
25 x 8Withstands harsh winters (original plant found in Rochester, New York)2b
‘Greenspire' littleleaf linden (T. cordata ‘Greenspire')
15 x 7Small, leathery leaves; straight trunk; fast growing; susceptible to winter sunscald3

Trees with coloured foliage
Used in moderation, coloured foliage can be an effective garden accent. These trees will provide it.
‘Crimson Sentry' Norway maple (Acer platanoides ‘Crimson Sentry')12 x 5Dense, dark red foliage throughout season; slow growing4b
‘Dawyck' European beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Dawyck')25 x 7Green foliage; brown in fall; persists all winter5b
‘Dawyck Gold' European beech (F. s. ‘Dawyck Gold')18 x 7Yellow foliage; brown in fall; persists all winter5b
‘Purple Fountain' European beech (F. s. ‘Purple Fountain')
18 x 7Purple foliage; brown in fall; persists all winter5b

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