Many of us have fully developed gardens or limited space available for adding new trees into our garden. This prompts me to consider the options available to plant small or dwarf trees that are suited to our region and which will be pretty or productive in our gardens. What do I mean by small or dwarf trees? My definition would be that they grow no bigger than 5m high when mature. Some of the trees I mention below would normally grow bigger than 5m, but they are available grafted on to dwarf root stock which will typically halve their mature height.
The following small evergreen trees are suited to our region. Magnolia cultivars Teddy Bear and Little Gem are attractive, evergreen, flowering trees growing to 3-5m. There are a wide range of small conifers that are compact and have foliage that contrasts beautifully with other shrubs and trees. Some examples are the dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea glauca conica), several Thuja cultivars (including Orientalis aurea with gold tipped foliage; and Samaragd) and Junipers such as Spartan and Skyrocket.
Also, don’t forget our Australian natives such as Grevillias, Banksias, Callistemons and Leptospermums, each of which have cultivars that grow to no more than 2 to 3m and which produce lovely flowers that attract little birds to your garden. As for small deciduous trees, there are lots of options for trees less than 5m and which produce either, eye catching foliage and/or spring flowers, or both! Some examples are the crepe myrtles (cultivars Acoma-white flowers, Tonto-red, Zunilavendar), crabapples (cultivars Ballerina,
Gorgeous, Tom Matthews), dogwoods, forest pansy and Japanese maples (check out Atropurpureum and Bonfire).
Finally, there is a range of dwarf fruit trees. You will find dwarf citrus trees (limes, mandarins, lemons), apple trees such as Pink Lady and Granny Smith, peaches and nectarines-these produce normal size fruit and can be grown in pots or confined spaces in your garden.
Millthorpe Garden Nursery