By definition Ornamental Trees are those that primarily fill a decorative purpose in the garden. It could be great flowers, foliage, bark, autumn colour or a combination.
They shine at different times of the year, and this is the secret in selecting which variety to plant, and where to plant it.
Generally small to medium sized plants, Ornamental Trees and Shrubs are popular additions to the garden. Some of the top growers have listed their best, and these include both deciduous and evergreen varieties.
Of course the best suited ornamental will depend on the USDA Zone as well as the size of the space in the garden, the aspect and the application. Some ornamentals serve a dual purpose, perhaps as a hedge or screen as well.
The answer to the question of what makes the best ornamental tree for the garden depends on aesthetics as well as application as tree can be grown for a number of attractive features.
Pruning can play an important part in landscape designs, cloud pruned trees can add a new element to landscape design.
Choosing Ornamental Trees
When choosing the right tree for your garden it does come down to personal taste, however trees are a long term investment and it is always best to select a tree that other will see as suitable.
A number of characteristics can be investigated including :
- USDA Zone
If the tree will not grow in your climate zone then you will need to rethink.
Often seen as the pinnacle of ornamental trees, and some are fragrant as well
This can be a year round attraction or it can be seasonal, you might select for fall color alone
Some trees have wonderful ornamental bark, and in the right position this can be a major feature in itself.
Other trees have great shape and form
Perhaps overlooked a little, the texture of foliage can act as a strong architectural element.
Be it foliage, flower or bark color, this can be an important element.
- Fall color
Many tree produce wonderful color in fall, its just that some are mush better than others.
Best Ornamental Trees
Some of the best Ornamental trees for the Garden
- Deciduous magnolias for flowers : Zones 5 – 9.
- Dogwoods also for flowers : Zones 5 – 8.
- Japanese Maples, for foliage and for fall color. : Zones 4 – 9 depending on variety.
- Camellias for flowers : Zones 6 – 9
- Ginkgo Trees for foliage and form : Zones 3 – 8
- Arbutus for wonderful bark : Zones 4 – 9
- Betula utilis var. jacquemontii, wonderful white bark : Zones 5 – 9 depending on variety
- Conifers of various types for foliage and cones : Zones 3 – 9 depending on variety
- Cercis canadensis, for the spectacular rosy pink flowers : Zones 5 – 9.
- Crape Myrtle for flowers : Zones 7 – 9.
- Crabapple : Zones 3 – 8.