Small tree for Shady back yard

beckye_gardenerJuly 14, 2010

I am looking for a small tree or a shrub I can train to a small tree to give some height in my back yard. I would ideally like something that is 10-15 tall and about the same width. My yard is small with a 5' privacy fence around the perimeter. The yard is fairly shady little direct sun but not dark due to a neighbors elm.

I like Japanese Maple however the folks at Bachmann's and Gerten's have dissuaded me from this beautiful zone 5 tree. I wonder if I could train an elderberry to a tree form or if there is some other tree or shrub that would work.


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If your height requirement is a strict one, you'll probably need to be prepared to prune.

There are Korean maples that are more hardy and almost as beautiful as the J. ones.

One suggestion, depending on just how much sun you get: pagoda dogwood

Also, check on the online plant selector, linked below... (don't forget to pick 'woody' not 'herbaceous')

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant Elements of Design

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 12:12PM
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In my yard I've planted a few smaller trees. A Japanese Tree Lilac, an Amur Maackia and I also have Tiger Eyes sumac which will get 6-8 feet tall. I am not sure how they will perform in shade. Have you looked into some of the Magnolia's? The link below is from the U of M extension and cites a few of their recommended trees.

Here is a link that might be useful: Small Trees

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 1:45PM
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MN Redbud - an understory tree so will handle the shade, may get a bit bigger but talk to your nursery people and see what they think. Also Pagoda Dogwood.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 5:44PM
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rubybaby43(z4 MN/n. metro)

We have a Pagoda Dogwood that didn't fare so well in our sunny front yard (not because of the sun, I'm sure). But we had to cut one side of it back and it didn't look good. So we moved it to our very shady backyard. It's slow growing back there but blooms and has regained a beautiful shape. It's been there for about four years and is about 5 feet tall.

Kristy :)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 11:41PM
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Pagoda dogwood prefers part shade to full sun; it's more of an understory tree. In more sun it is susceptible to golden canker, which can destroy the tree, if not addressed. You can read about it at the U of MN Extension website or do a general search on .edu sites.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 3:59PM
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Bachmans and Gertens are conservative stores. I have the Japanese maple Emperor 1, planted in 2004, and it is now 12' tall. And I live in the suburbs, not as protected as in the city. I also have some healthy blue hollies.

Go to Highland Nursery on W 7th in St Paul where they have a more exciting selection of plants than the stodgy nurseries.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 11:33AM
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