Suitable tree for small yard 20 x 20 feet of planting space


Would a Ginkgo Biloba ‘Goldspire’ be a good choice for a small garden south-facing, part-sun?
We cannot have a wide-spreading tree in such a small space and no fruit trees as do not want to encourage raccoons and rats. Thank you!


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.

Before choosing a tree it is important to assess the location. You have mentioned your space and the lighting but you need to also consider your soil type and drainage; is this a well drained dry area or does it stay wet or sit in water in the spring. What type of soil do you have? What growing zone are you in and is the space prone to winds? Is it near the road or a swimming pool? You also need to consider what is available at your local nursery.

I believe the zone for the Ginko is around 5 and it grows 2 m wide and 5 m tall (~7ftx17ft) and needs well drained soil. Many trees will grow bigger than the estimate so be sure you have some extra space in case this happens. Columnars have branches and leaves starting quite low on the trunk so it will take up the 7 feet across from just above ground level. If you want a bit more space under the canopy you may prefer a small tree with standard canopy.

There are many columnar and  small trees available for Ontario.

Visiting your local local nurseries is a good first step. It is worth wandering through some nurseries to see what is available and what appeals to you. Before buying you will need to look into all the requirements of the tree and make sure they match your location. The best time to plant is in the spring or fall so you have some time to research.

Another possibility is to contact LEAF.They are a nonprofit group in Toronto whose goals is reforestation of the city. They have arborists who will give recommendations. They have the trees and will even plant for you.

I am including articles from our library that talk about different small trees for the GTA. I am also including our guide for tree planting for when you get to that point.


Choosing a tall columnar tree to form a privacy hedge

Trees for small spaces

Planting a Tree: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide