Wednesday, April 16, 2014


As backyards become increasingly smaller and concern over liability grows for Councils and developers, the need for trees that perform in small urban spaces - without root, maintenance and safety issues - becomes greater.

Breeders are introducing improved selections of popular native landscape trees with attributes such as better performance and structure, enhanced aesthetic appeal, low fruiting and disease resistance.

A good example is Ozbreeds' Tristaniopsis laurina 'DOW10' LUSCIOUS Pbr. Featuring extra broad, lustrous leaves and burgundy bark which peels to reveal a smooth, pale trunk, LUSCIOUS, to 7m high, is ideal for streetscapes, courtyards and small lots.

[Pictured Left Tristaniopsis laurina LUSCIOUS].

Acmena smithii 'BWNFIR' FIRESCREEN Pbr is a real performer, boasting wind and coastal tolerance in conditions ranging from heatwaves to -2 deg. Fast growing yet long lived, Firescreen responds brilliantly to pruning which fires it's dense copper-red new growth. This low-fruiting selection makes a great hedge from 1.2m or a tall privacy screen to 6m in full sun to part shade. When grown clear-trunked Firescreen is a lovely low-mess compact tree to 6m ideal for containers, topiaries, pleaching and roof top gardens.

[Right Versatile Acmena smithii FIRESCREEN]

For narrow spaces ie; screen plantings in part shade down the sides of buildings, Elaeocarpus eumundii ( pictured below )

and Ozbreeds' Acmena smithii 'BWNRED' RED HEAD Pbr will grow taller and narrower, staying from 1.5 - 2m wide and can be cropped at the height desired. Acmena smithii are in a class of their own when it comes to longevity of container life, making them ideal for pots, topiary, planter boxes and roof top gardens (where they also respond beautifully to pruning, if desired.)

[Right Tight Spot? - Acmena RED HEAD Pbr]

There are many attractive flowering smaller native trees including Elaeocarpus bancroftii, a highly ornamental tree up to 6-9m with large glossy leaves and clusters of white bell shaped flowers in summer and Randia fitzalanii or Native Tree Gardenia to 5m with large dark glossy leaves and smaller fragrant white flowers (for frost free areas). A whole range of grafted hybrid Brachychitons with cold tolerance are now available such as pink flowering 'Noel's Surprise' to 5m high, 'Jerilderie Red' to 8m and crimson flowering 'Clarabelle', which is reported to have excellent coastal tolerance, to 6m [Pictured Below] to name a few.

So choose wisely - the rewards are functionality, beauty and practicality...after all, good things come in small packages!