Gardening Basics

Choosing the Best Small Tree

These beautiful, well-behaved trees won't take over your yard — or your neighbor's.

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Walkway With Japanese Maple
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Japanese maple (Acer palmatum). Few other trees add as much elegance to the landscape or come in as many sizes and silhouettes, from the shrubby types to the 10- to 15-foot weeping forms to the full-sized species that typically average 15 to 25 feet tall and wide. No matter their size and shape, Japanese maples offer structural qualities, fine texture and outstanding fall color.
Among the non-shrubby types, 'Ozakazuki' (15-20) has bright green leaves that turn crimson in fall; the leaves of 'Oshio Beni' open fiery orange-red, age to reddish-green and turn bright red in fall.
USDA Zones 5-8


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