Columnar Tree Tips via Pretty Purple Door


I've written pretty extensively on my love of columnar trees here on the blog.  We have this stand of eight Frans Fontaine European Hornbeams (that you see some of above) and have this Weeping White Spruce that I picked up this season in our yard.  And I've posted multiple times about the columnar street trees of Tokyo over the years.  My love of columnar, narrow trees is something I've think I've well established here.  But, that doesn't mean that I  know everything about them!

Recently, I read a note from Amy in from Pretty Purple about her take on narrow trees and thought it was worth sharing here.   Those of you who read the blog might remember Pretty Purple Door from my post earlier this year talking about tulip bulb colors and how she outlined some of the ways to make colors work together (add yellow!).

In her post about narrow trees, she talks about how/why these trees work in suburban yards (space, duh!).  She includes some varieties that are probably known to you (they were to me!), but some that are good reminders and even a few that are new to me!

Her list includes these from her email newsletter:

Via Pretty Purple Door email newsletter

That list is good - although it doesn't include my favorite:  the Frans Fontaine European Hornbeam - the Top Dog of Columnar Trees.  (ahem....Amy....think about adding this beauty to your list!)

The first one that she includes on her list of good, columnar trees that I've seen, but is a good reminder:  the Goldspire Ginko.  I've been wanting/dreaming of adding a Ginko to our yard and the Goldspire is a good one.  We had a traditional Ginko in our yard in Elmhurst and I loved (like everyone!) the fan-shaped leaves and the gold color in the Fall.  I've had a list of "tree dreaming" posts here on the blog, so I'm going to include this on that list now!

The other tree on the list that I have been dreaming about is the Slender Hinoki Cypress.  I've been stalking this one online at Fast Growing Trees and hoping to come across it at the Garden Center for more than a year.  It checks a couple of boxes for me:  conifer and columnar.  Check and check.  If you see one that is priced fairly, you should buy it and plant it.

But, those two are trees that I needed a reminder about.  There's two trees that I have never come across before and these are the two most exciting ones for me.

First one on the list that is net new to me...is the Crimson Pointe Flowering Plum.  It is a pretty, maroon tree that gets some early Spring flowers that is followed by what they call "small ornamental fruit".   Let's go through my internal "Tree Sweet Spot Checklist":

Columnar tree.  Check.
Flowering tree.  Check.
Japanese tree.  Nope.  But, it is a tree that isn't GREEN.
Zone 4b hardy.  Yep.  She lists it Zone 4-9.  The Tree Center bills it as "Very Cold Hardy" - down to -30 degrees.

This one is going on my tree dreaming list now, too.  And, if I'm able to find it and buy it, it will be the second "Crimson-colored" tree on the property.  Back in 2017, I planted a Crimson King Maple tree in the far back reaches of the yard and it hasn't grown much (0" by my estimate this season!).  I like having a mix of colors back there and adding another few non-green trees will be a nice mix in the landscape.

The next "net new one" (to me, at least) that jumps out is the Japanese Flagpole Flowering Cherry Tree.  Look at this beauty from her site:

Not my photo (above).  Via Pretty Purple Door's post on Columnar Trees.

I had never heard of this tree before I read this list.  And...I lit up!  Just looking at the photo and going through my internal "Tree Sweet Spot Checklist":

Columnar tree.  Check.
Flowering tree.  Check.
Japanese tree.  Check.
Zone 4b hardy.  Nope.  Zone 5-8 is what she lists it.

Womp. Womp.


Won't work for us.

I guess I can dream about both of them. But, only think about buying the Crimson Pointe Flowering Plum.

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