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Find room for a tree in your garden; Garden Watch.

Even the smallest of gardens has room for a tree. As well as giving height, an established tree offers shade through the summer months and a place for wildlife to live and breed.

Late autumn and winter are the ideal time to plant trees, whether in containers or as larger, bare root specimens. Planting now will ensure that your new tree establishes through the spring, before watering could become an issue.

Pot grown trees will often establish and grow more quickly than those that have been lifted from the field - they can take a couple of years to reestablish their root systems. However, if planted into well prepared soil and staked securely, a larger bare root tree will offer instant height and impact in a new garden, or to screen an unsightly building or create a boundary.

When choosing an ornamental tree for a smaller space, consider the merits of different types and choose one that has more than one season of interest.

Flowering cherries (Prunus) often have show stopping displays of vibrant flowers in spring and then good autumn leaf colour later in the year.

Crab apples (Malus) are in the same family as cherries and have showy flowers in late spring, often followed by ornamental fruits that weigh the branches down in late summer and autumn, with some persisting on the plants until well into winter.

Some varieties such as Malus tschonoskii forego fruits for spectacular autumn colours of orange, scarlet and crimson, before the leaves drop to reveal silhouettes of upright branches through the winter months.

Many trees have winter interest of bark textures and colours, making them valuable additions to gardens when there is often less to enjoy. Acer griseum, the paper bark maple, is a slow growing tree ideal for a small garden.

The deep green leaves turn scarlet and orange in autumn, before falling to reveal flaking brown bark. This tree is slow growing enough to be grown in a large container on a patio in part shade.

The ghostly white bark of Himalayan birch is a stunning sight in winter when planted in a group against a dark background, or with evergreen ground cover to enhance their beauty. These trees also have excellent autumn leaf colours of gold and orange - especially good against a crisp clear blue sky.

Small trees can also add interest to a patio and there is plenty of choice for large containers, including the weeping Kilmarnock willow that is covered in fluffy catkins through the spring and has a very narrow habit, making a weeping column of rounded leaves through the growing season.

For something more unusual, why not seek out Caragana arborescens 'pendula' or 'walker'? Both of these small trees have a narrow, weeping habit and are covered with yellow, pea like flowers in May.

Whatever the size of your garden or patio, there are trees to suit. Why not visit your local garden centre soon and choose from the huge selection available? David Hitchman
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 17, 2013
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