Trees perform a variety of services in the garden and come in all sizes. Large trees will not fit in most home landscaping plans. Trees 100 feet or more in height would take up the whole garden, take the nutrients away from the smaller plants and create too much shade. Smaller shade trees and even smaller ornamental trees like these will do well in most medium-sized properties.
Silver linden (Tilia tomentosa) is a shade tree native to Japan, grows to a height of 30 to 40 feet and is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 7. Plant in full sun or light shade and a moist, fertile, well-drained soil. Dark-green leaves turn yellow in the fall, grow from 2 to 5 inches long and about the same in width. Light-yellow or cream flowers bloom from late June through early July, growing in hanging clusters of seven to ten. The flowers are followed by egg-shaped nutlets. Different varieties include “Sashazam, a variety that grows up to 50 feet with a spread of 40. This one has a good resistance to beetle infestations and diseases. Sterling Silver is one of the tallest, topping out at 90 feet. It is a good choice for an urban environment due to the fact it can stand up to pollution.
The monarch birch (Betula maximowicziana) is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 6 and likes full sun. This is another native of Japan. The tree grows from 40 to 60 feet tall starting out with a pyramid shape and maturing to a more rounded crown. Leaves grow from 3 to 6 inches long and up to 4 inches wide and yellow in the fall. Tiny, inconspicuous flowers arrive in April, with male flowers growing in hanging clusters 4 to 5 inches long and female flowers in hanging clusters up to 2 1/2 inches long, followed by nutlets in hanging, cylindrical-shaped clusters. Monarch birch is a rare tree with no cultivars or varieties, but it is well worth searching for due to the fact that it is resistant to the bronze birch borer, an insect that inflicts serious damage to other white-trunked birches.
Chickasaw plum (Prunus angustifolia) is a member of the rose family that can grow as a small tree up to 25 feet tall. Be careful of the sharp spines at the end of the twigs.The tiny, white flowers bloom in late winter or early spring, covering the whole tree, before the leaves put in their appearance. The flowers give way to oval, tart, red fruit. The plant likes any kind of soil as long as it is not alkaline. Plant in full sun and a soil that is moist to dry. Cut away the suckers to encourage the plant to grow as a tree instead of a shrub. Either way, it will attract butterflies, birds and other critters. This ornamental tree is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9.