Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - July 20, 2012

From: Washington, DC
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Lists, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Small Yard Tree for Washington DC
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

What do you suggest for a tree or shrub in my front yard? The yard is small; 9 ft x 12 ft. Thank you.

ANSWER:

  That's a tough one, but mostly because you haven't told us much of the place or the yard, other than its size.

 I use the "Recommended Species" lists to make recommendations.  The link is to the recommended species for Washington DC.  These lists are sortable, so when I select  "6-12" and "12-36" feet high, that still gives me a list of 43 possible trees or shrubs for your place.

I'm imagining you would want something in the 10-20 ft range and maybe some colorful aspect in the leaves or fruit to give it a seasonal highlight.  My list follows, but you could select your own by sorting the recommended species and applying your own preferences:

Asimina triloba (Pawpaw)
Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud)
Hydrangea arborescens (Wild hydrangea) would just fit nicely if you want a smaller shrub
Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle)
Sumac family: Rhus glabra (Smooth sumac), Rhus copallinum (Winged sumac), Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac)
Rhododendron family:  Rhododendron prinophyllum (Early azalea), Rhododendron maximum (Great laurel), Rhododendron catawbiense (Catawba rosebay), Rhododendron calendulaceum (Flame azalea)
Rhus typhina (Staghorn sumac)
Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis (Common elderberry)
Viburnum rufidulum (Rusty blackhaw viburnum)

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Smooth sumac
Rhus glabra

Staghorn sumac
Rhus typhina

Staghorn sumac
Rhus typhina

Rusty blackhaw viburnum
Viburnum rufidulum

More Trees Questions

Small trees for property edge in Katy TX
April 16, 2012 - By deed restriction, I must have five trees on the side of my small suburban lot just west of Houston, TX. Due to the lot layout, the trunks are only about 8-10 feet from the house, with the trees abo...
view the full question and answer

Quercus polymorpha botanical name for Mexican white oak
June 19, 2007 - What is the scientfic name for the Monterrey Oak?
view the full question and answer

Soapberry; monoecious or dioecious?
May 26, 2009 - I have a soapberry (Sapindus saponaria L., I believe) tree growing in my yard. I planted it 3 years ago hoping for soapberries, but have not seen any yet. It has flowered each spring, but has not set ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning guidance for Carolina buckthorn from Houston
October 23, 2012 - I have a Carolina Buckthorn in my back patio that I planted in fall 2001. The summer of 2003 the roofers dropped something off the back and broke the top 10-12 inches off. I have tried to train the la...
view the full question and answer

Is any part of Mountain Laurel poisonous to goats from Belton TX
May 02, 2013 - We are considering planting Mountain Laurel in a field where we keep goats. Will any part of the Mountain Laurel be poisonous if eaten by the goats? If it would be poisonous, could you suggest some o...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.