Trees for UK Gardens

If you have a small urban garden you may not consider the addition of a large tree to be suitable, however there are plenty of smaller varieties and ornamental style trees that have are ideal for smaller gardens. Many varieties can also be grown in containers, which by restricting the root ball, helps to ensure they stay small.

Selecting a Tree for the Garden

When selecting a tree for a particular spot in the garden you will need to consider its ultimate height and spread. Then work out how much space you have to spare once the tree reaches its full size. A correctly selected tree should not need pruning in the future. If you do not have room for a tree with large spreading branches then you can choose a tall columnar tree or one with pendula/weeping branches to fit the space.

When choosing a tree for the garden it is best to investigate all of its attributes to ensure that it will provide as many interesting features as possible. For example you will need to consider if in has attractive foliage, colourful flowers or fruit, interesting bark, good autumn colour for deciduous trees or an evergreen that has a good shape in winter.

The following trees are suitable for domestic gardens in Great Britain (England/Scotland/Ireland).

Deciduous Trees Suitable for Domestic UK Gardens

sorbus red berries

Mountain Ash, Rowan


Amelanchier lamarkii
Snowy mespilus

Magnolia stellata


Japanese flowering cherry blossom

Japanese flowering cherry

robinia pseudoacacia

Rose acacia

Rhus typhina autumn leaves

Rhus typhina
Stag's horn sumach

Evergreen Trees Suitable for Domestic UK Gardens


Chamaecyparis lawsoniana
Lawson cypress

eucalyptus leaves

Eucalyptus gunnii
Cider gum

Ilex aquifolium

Ilex aquifolium
Common holly

Yew berries

Taxus baccata

bay tree leaves

Laurus nobilis

When is The Best Time to Plant a Tree?

Most trees sold in garden centers and nurseries are container grown. Container grown trees can be planted at any time of the year, provided that the soil is in a workable condition. Newly planted trees will need plenty of water during the first couple of years until the roots become well established. If you intend to plant your tree during the dryer summer months you will need to keep it constantly watered to ensure it does not dry out.

Soil Preparation and Planting

The planting and cultivation of trees is similar to that for shrubs, particularly with regard to soil quality and its preparation. In general trees require a deep, open and well drained loamy soil. Plenty of rich humus should be added, especially if the soil is shallow, sandy or gravelly.

Tall trees will also need staking to prevent rocking during high winds, however the trunk should not be stated too firmly, as some movement is required to help the tree become established. The lower trunk will also require protection against damage by rabbits and small deer, who will often strip the lower bark and quickly kill the tree.