What small decorative tree won't drop messy seeds?

Val Bourne / 16 May 2018

A reader is looking for a decorative tree that won't drop messy seeds on the car. Gardening expert Val Bourne shares her recommendations.



Question 

I’d like to plant a tree in the corner of my garden. There are neighbouring houses and cars close by, so could you recommend a tree with a small root system that doesn’t drop messy seeds?

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Answer

I would normally recommend a small ornamental cherry tree for this position, such as ‘Kursar’. However in your case this doesn't seem suitable, because cherry trees have shallow roots that can damage hard landscape over time.

However you could plant a shrubbier cherry called Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’. This is covered in flowers in April and each tiny, white flower is encased in pink so it's extremely pretty. It's easily available and will reach 2m, once mature, and you can under plant this with spring bulbs such as miniature narcissi and muscari.

Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai
Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai

If it's a sunny spot the weeping pear, Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’, would be a good choice because this tree can be clipped into a tight shape to form an umbrella, or rounded lollipop, thereby adding an architectural element to your garden. The narrow, willow-like leaves are grey green and the blossom is white, although when it’s clipped there won’t be any flower.

Another equally dense, small tree would be a Snowy Mespilus called Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Robin Hill’. Dark buds open to produce pale-pink flowers in spring, before fading to white, highlighted by dusky foliage. Tiny red berries follow in August, but these wouldn’t be a nuisance to your neighbours. You’ll also get fiery autumn colour, so this is definitely a tree for every season.

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The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.