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Deciduous and coniferous trees in city gardens

Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Michel Tremblay)
Amelanchier canadensis

You have a small yard, but you’d like to plant a tree anyway?

Here are a few suggestions of species that won’t take up too much room.

Before deciding, you’ll need to think about your site conditions (exposure, type of soil, hardiness zone). Then read our planting tips.

Are you worried about tree roots damaging your foundations? You should know that roots can’t penetrate concrete. The only way they can get in is if your foundations are already cracked.

To be safe, when planting a tree near your home, it is a good idea to place it at least as far away as the height of the tree at maturity. On narrow lots, this makes species that stay small especially attractive!

To find out more about tree roots and foundations, consult our information sheet.

Full sun

English name Scientific name Height Width Hardiness zone
Crabapple Malus spp. 2 to 8 m* 1 to 7 m* 2 to 5*
English oak 'Fastigiata' Quercus robur 'Fastigiata' 15 m 3 to 5 m 4b
Japanese tree lilac 'Yvory Silk' Syringa reticulata ssp. reticulata 'Yvory Silk' 8 m 4 to 5 m 2b
Rocky mountain juniper 'Wichita Blue' Juniperus scopulorum 'Wichita Blue' 4 m 1.5 m 3b
Colorado spruce 'Fat Albert' Picea pungens 'Fat Albert' 5 m 3 m 3a
Swiss stone pine Pinus cembra 6 m 2.5 m 3a

Full sun or partial shade

English name Scientific name Height Width Hardiness zone
Norway maple 'Columnare' Acer platanoides 'Columnare' 15 m 5 m 4b
Amur maple Acer tataricum ssp. ginnala 6 m 6 m 3a
Serviceberry Amelanchier spp. 3 to 8 m* 2 to 3 m* 2 to 4*
Katsura-tree Cercidiphyllum japonicum 10 m 5 m 5b
Star magnolia Magnolia stellata 3 to 5 m 3 to 5 m 5a
Japanese larch 'Blue Rabbit' Larix kaempferi 'Blue Rabbit' 7 m 3 m 3a
Eastern white-cedar 'Techny' Thuja occidentalis 'Techny' 4 m 2 m 4a

Partial or full shade

English name Scientific name Height Width Hardiness zone
Eastern hemlock 'Summer Snow' Tsuga canadensis 'Summer Snow' 7 m 3 m 4a

Full sun, partial or full shade

English name Scientific name Height Width Hardiness zone
Japanese yew 'Capitata' Taxus cuspidata 'Capitata' 4 m 2 m 3a

* depends on species and cultivars


Based on an article in Quatre-Temps magazine, 2009, Vol. 33, No.2: Verdir la ville.

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