Tree Possibilities



I am looking for a tree to plant in my front garden. The space is very small – a bed about 6 feet wide by 5 feet long, surrounded by concrete. I have attached a picture, but please note that the trees pictured in the garden are no longer there. I’m starting with an empty space.

Ideally I would like a small tree – something that wont grow too high or wide and that won’t overpower the house – preferably one that blossoms or bears fruit. If that’s not possible, then something that is stunning to look at. A few I’ve seen and liked are flowering dogwood, sour cherry, apricot, and coral bark maple. I’m not sure if these trees are right for the small space, and I would really love your opinions! Thanks in advance.


All your suggestions sound suitable depending on the exposure of your front yard, the sun pattern, and wind exposure. I have added some details that might help in your decision:

Eastern Flowering Dogwood Cornus florida L. – Hardiness to Zone 5 (appropriate for Toronto)

Grows to 10 m high by 20 cm in diameter

Partial to full sun and moderate watering

Likes moist, fertile soils

White appearing flower; Leaves turn red in winter

Pagoda Dogwood Cornus alternifolia L. f. – Hardiness to Zone 3 (appropriate for colder areas)

Grows to 10 m high by 15 cm in diameter

Partial to full sun and moderate watering

Likes moist, fertile soils

White appearing flower; Leaves turn red in winter

Sour cherry Prunus cerasus L. – Hardiness to Zone 4

Grows to 10 m high

Enjoys full sun and moderate watering

Likes well-drained, slightly alkaline soil

Flowers in few-flowered tassel-like clusters form on previous year’s twigs

Apricot Prunus armeniaca L. – Hardiness to Zone 5

Grows to 10 m high

Enjoys full sun and regular watering

Suitable for sandy, moist and well-drained soil soils in semi-shade or no shade.

N.B. Both cherry and apricot trees are susceptible to the fungal disease black knot (Apiosporin morbosa), which produces large swellings on their branches, rendering tree unsightly, reducing the fruit yield and eventually leading to their death. They also require dormant oil spraying for insects.

For more information about suitbable cultivars, best location and growing requirements see also the online publication by OMAFRA ( the Ontario Ministry of Food and Agriculture) Fruit Trees in the Home Garden

Coral bark Japanese maple Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’ . – Hardiness to Zone 6b

Grows to 8 m high by 7 m in diameter

Likes partial sun sheltered from drying winds; prefers moist well drained soil but tolerates a range of soil types including sand and heavy clay.

Prized for its winter interest where the bark on new twigs turns bright coral red (almost fluorescent) after the leaves fall.

Depending on where you garden this tree might not be reliably hardy (Toronto is a zone 6a, which is harsher than 6b)

Highly susceptible to bacterial blight . Avoid this common problem by placing this tree in a site with good air circulation.

Hope this information helps with your decision!