Columnar Flowering Ornamental Shade Tree


I have a lot of questions!

We have a narrow yard, and wish to have some shade on an elevated deck without obscuring the view of the backyard. A tall, thin tree would work perfectly! Ideally it should grow to 5-8m tall and be no wider than 3m diameter. It’ll likely be planted about a meter from a fence, and we would want it to take up as little of the yard as possible, while being nice and shade giving up top (so 3m +)

We would also prefer, if we can, to have it flower in spring (white if possible) and gift us with fall foliage. It’s a well watered, well drained spot with a downspout nearby.

We had selected a Capital Pear originally as a perfect option, but it turns out to not be available, and now we understand there is a rust infection that is infecting the trees.

Do you have any suggestions that meet this long list of criteria? Of course, if we can get the shape we want, we can give up on other things :)

We are in mid-town Toronto if that helps. (Mt P and Eg)


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

How unfortunate that you are unable to find your tree of choice; however you are correct, all pear trees including ornamental pears are susceptible to a disease called pear trellis rust.

Pear trellis rust is cause by the fungus Gymnosporangium fuscum.  The fungus requires two alternate hosts to complete its life cycle.  It overwinters on the twigs of juniper species and in early spring it infects newly developed leaves of pear tree species.  The pear trellis rust fungus has been introduced to southern Ontario in recent years

As an alternative you may wish to consider the following trees:

Ivory Silk’ Japanese Lilac: This is an oval shaped, compact tree with large clusters of fragrant creamy-white flowers in late June.

Downy Serviceberry: Oval, upright head with masses of white flowers in May. Green foliage turns brilliant orange-red in October.

Dawyck Purple’ Beech or ‘Dawyck Gold’ Beech: Columnar tree with purple or bright yellow foliage

Seven Son Flower Tree ( Heptacodium miconioides): This plant can be found as a multi-stemmed, large shrub or small tree that develops a vase-shaped habit. Its thin, tan-coloured exfoliating bark provides wonderful winter interest.  Another bonus is the surprisingly late — and long — bloom period.  From the end of summer to fall the growing tips give rise to dense white clusters of sweetly scented blossoms. Depending on the length of the season, the fading flowers may be followed by a show of red fruit.

My suggestion before you decide on your tree of choice is to visit a number of nurseries and see what new varieties are available. With the increase in the number of smaller yards, there is an increase in the number of smaller plant varieties.

Good luck in finding your tree of choice.