Trees are great. Even in a small space trees can be used to help add height, structure and interest to a garden. Now that we are in the middle of bare-root season there is a huge variety of trees available in garden centres and it can be hard to decide on a particular variety. When choosing a tree there are a number of questions that you should ask yourself, these include; how big will the tree eventually grow? Is the soil in my garden suitable for a particular variety of tree? Do I want a tree that flowers? And will the tree provide me with interest all year round? While the list of trees available at this time of year is endless, below is a short list of some of the most popular trees that will do particularly well in the gardens of Donegal.

Flowering Cherry (Prunus Kanzan)
The flowering cherry is probably the most popular flowering tree in Irish gardens. In late spring the cherry really makes a statement by producing masses of delicate pink flowers. These trees are particularly easy to grow and will tolerate most soil types. While in the first few years they will benefit from staking and feeding as they get older these trees require very little maintenance. Along with the short lived display of blossoms in the spring the flowering cherry also has great autumn colour with the leaves turning yellow and then bronze before eventually falling.

Red Thorn (Crataegus Laevigata “Paul’s Scarlet”)
While not as popular as the flowering cherry, the red thorn is a flowering tree that deserves a better reputation. These compact trees are very easy to grow and will tolerate almost any soil providing it is not waterlogged. In late spring the red thorn produces loads of double red flowers which usually stay on the tree a lot longer than the delicate blossoms of the cherry.

Flowering Crab Apple (Malus “John Downie”)
The flowering crab apple is one of the most popular ornamental fruit trees. Along with providing wonderful spring colour, the crab apple will also help to add interest to your garden in the autumn and winter months by producing miniature fruits that are both ornamental and attractive to wildlife. These trees will grow quite happily in almost any soil and will usually reach a height of about twenty feet.

Purple Beech (Fagus Sylvatica Purpurea)
While the purple beech may not be recommended for a very small garden, if you have a bit of space these distinctive trees can create a real impact. The leaves that appear in spring are a reddish purple and as the year progresses they mature to a deep purple before turning bronze in the autumn. These trees are quite slow growing but they are worth the wait. Wile they tolerate most soils, these trees will really thrive in well drained fertile soil.

Silver Birch (Betula Pendula)
The silver birch s a very easy tree to grow, especially if you have an area in your garden that is quite damp but not totally waterlogged. These are very quick growing trees which will reach a height of about eighteen to twenty feet. The bark of the birch tree is often silver in colour and this really stands out against the pale green of the foliage during the summer months.

Mountain Ash (Sorbus Acuparia)
The mountain ash is one of the hardier native Irish trees that is suitable for the garden. These trees will grow in almost any soil and will tolerate most of the weather conditions that Donegal’s climate can throw at them. The mountain ash can be used to create year round interest in the garden as the bright red berries that are produced in the late autumn are great for attracting wildlife through the winter months.
© Copyright, Highland Landscapes, Letterkenny, 2008.