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Grow with KARE: Trees for small spaces

Bobby and Laura have some picks for trees that fit under power lines along boulevards and in the smallest of gardens.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn — Sometimes it’s not possible to plant big beautiful trees like oaks, maples and pines. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a tree for your small space!

Here’s Bobby and Laura’s list of great trees for small spaces. These require minimal to no pruning for boulevards, under power lines or within a small garden space.

There’s a great tree for every space!

  • Alleghany Serviceberry (15 to 25 feet) This is a tree with a long season of interest that starts with beautiful spring flowers, followed by edible berries in the summer (if you can get them before the birds do), and great fall color.
  • Amur Mackia (12 to 20 feet) This tree is adaptable to many sites and provides good drought tolerance. It’s a slow grower with flowers that give way to seed pods with a rounded shape. The shiny bark that peels in patches gives winter interest too!
  • White Fringe Tree (12 to 20 feet) This is a stunning specimen and a unique choice for your small space. The elongated white petals of the flowers clearly reference the name fringe tree. Deep green, shiny foliage looks good all summer long and winter buds provide interest in the off season. This tree may take a little extra care when first planted but once established, is extremely tolerant of salt and drought.
  • American Smoketree (20 to 30 feet) Whether you prune this favorite as a tree or large bush it’s a stunning specimen. Rounded leaves provide some of the most intense fall color of any small tree. Delicate flowers are a clear representation of the trees name.
  • Common Witch Hazel (10 to 20 feet) This underutilized tree/shrub is a standout in fall with scented, bright yellow blooms on it’s crooked branches. Native to Minnesota, witch hazel is a great choice if you have a bit more room horizontally but not upward.
  • Crabapple (15 to 25 feet) You can’t go wrong with a crabapple. The hard part is picking a variety! We recommend a visit to the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to check out their collection and find your favorite. Flowers range from white all the way through pink to deep red. Berries feed birds and give winter interest. Some are even yellow! Crabapple jelly anyone?
  • Japanese Tree Lilac (15 to 25 feet) Bobby’s favorite on our list, the Japanese tree lilac is full of scent with its creamy ivory flowers in early summer that resemble the purple fan favorites of spring. Long-lived and cold tolerant, this tree can handle whatever weather comes its way.
  • Nannyberry (12 to 18 feet) A Minnesota native, Nannyberry is a viburnum that give showy white flowers that give way to multicolored berries. Grow Nannyberry in any soil type as a bush or tree form.


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