12 Great Columnar Trees for Your Landscape

12 Great Columnar Trees for Your Landscape

Columnar Trees deliver vertical impact

Columnar Trees add a powerful presence to the landscape. A single spire-like specimen can anchor a planting bed and provide a pleasing contrast of form to rounded or wide-spreading plants. Thoughtfully sited, a pair of svelte Columnar Trees can elegantly frame a doorway, gate, or a pretty view. And a row of slim Trees marching along your fence line can make an attractive declaration of your property boundary, while creating a fine windbreak, noise buffer, or privacy screen as well.

Narrow Trees with their crisp, clean, columnar outlines tend to be formal in appearance. Many appear to have been meticulously pruned, even though the shears may have never left the shed. Their stand-at-attention posture fits seamlessly into the formal areas around your foundation beds, entryway garden, or patio plantings, and their tiny footprint ensures that they can always squeeze themselves in wherever some structure is needed. These neat, formal Trees also complement natural landscapes by adding structure and definition to areas dominated by fine-textured grasses and wildflowers.

Here are 12 of our favorite Columnar Trees to bring some vertical impact to your landscape:

Deciduous Columnar Trees

The Slender Silhouette Sweetgum (60’ × 6’ at maturity) is a whiplash-inducing Columnar Tree that grows like a cell phone tower. This tough, adaptable Southeastern native is clothed in star-shaped foliage that turns every color of the rainbow in fall. With regular water and fertilizer, Slender Silhouette is a fast-growing tree.

Kindred Spirit® Oak (30’ × 6’) may be the tall, dark, and handsome Tree your landscape has been dreaming of! This striking Tree attracts attention, but with its narrow, tidy habit, it is never overbearing. In fall, its silver-backed foliage takes on gold and golden-brown tones before dropping to expose a sculptural framework of upswept branches. Kindred Spirit® is fast-growing in youth and long-lived. Its brother, the Regal Prince® Oak (45’ × 18’), is the one you want if you’d rather have an upright Oak that isn’t so skinny.

The Red Obelisk European Beech (50’ × 12’) is a magnificent Columnar Tree to plant for now and for posterity. Each spring you’ll look forward to the shimmering red young leaves emerging to usher in the new growing season. Over time, this choice selection attains the size and grandeur of a monument, yet its naturally narrow shape keeps it in bounds.

The Crimson Pointe® Purple Leaf Plum (20’ × 6’) also gives you red foliage on a slim framework, but this this trendy Tree will treat you to an annual show of lovely, fragrant white flowers in spring as well. Use it as an exclamation point in the landscape, or plant a row of Crimson Pointe® Plums to create a quick, colorful privacy screen.

Apple Trees may not spring to mind when you’re searching for a columnar accent for the garden, but svelte novelty forms like the Golden Sentinel™ Apple Tree (12’ × 3’) or the Scarlet Sentinel™ Apple Tree (12’ × 3’) could fulfill that role. These pole-type Trees not only lend structure to the landscape but present you with beautiful Apple blossoms in spring and plenty of sweet, healthy snacking in fall. Plant another Apple or Crabapple Tree nearby for good pollination and fruit set, or buy one of each variety and they will pollinate each other.

Evergreen Columnar Trees

The Columnar Colorado Blue Spruce (25’ × 7’) is a spire of steely blue foliage that you can slip into any sunny spot in your landscape without worry of it eventually overwhelming the space. This stiff, upright grower maintains its tight, formal habit with no pruning. The evergreen Columnar Blue Spruce adds a welcome pop of year-round color to foundation beds, mixed borders, patio plantings, and entryway gardens.

The Columnar Norway Spruce (30’ × 10’) rises like a sentinel in the landscape, eventually standing tall and proud, but remaining just a fraction of the size of a regular Norway Spruce Tree. Its forest green needles make a wonderful backdrop to other plants’ flowers and foliage during the growing season, and they bring a welcome dose of rich color into the bleak winter months. The Columnar Norway Spruce has an understated elegance that suits nearly any landscape style.

Although the Weeping White Spruce (30’ × 6’) has pendulous branches, its central leader grows straight up to the sky, giving this unique evergreen Tree an appearance of great strength and grace. It can make a big impact in large and small gardens alike—in time, Weeping White Spruce can reach 30 feet or more in height, but at only 6 feet in width, it has an impossibly small footprint!

Emerald Green Arborvitae (12’ × 4’) is the first choice of many landscapers and homeowners when a columnar evergreen is needed in a tight space. A row of closely planted Emerald Green Arbs makes an effective and attractive living privacy screen that holds its bright green color throughout the year. Native to the northeastern U.S. and Canada, this tough Tree adapts to many garden situations, and it can be utilized in all but the hottest and driest regions of our country.

The Dragon Lady® Holly (15’ × 6’) may have a standoffish name, but this special evergreen Tree is a sleek, stylish pyramid of loveliness. Its prickly, rich green foliage is punctuated with red berries in winter to add extra eye appeal. Dragon Lady® naturally assumes a neat, formal shape, though it responds well to pruning if you wish to make it perfectly symmetrical.

Columnar Trees project strength and confidence

In the language of Trees, Columnar Trees communicate strength. They rise like sentinels in the landscape, growing straight and true and projecting confidence. Columnar Trees stand guard like sentries at our gates and doorsteps. Lined like soldiers along our property lines, they protect us from wind and noise and prying eyes. These are the Trees that lend structure and definition to our borders and provide a pleasing contrast of form to the many rounded shrubs and flowering plants at their feet. When designing your own outdoor living spaces, don’t forget about the about impact that Columnar Trees can have on the landscape, and be sure to explore the many varieties of special, narrowly upright Trees that can get the job done with style.

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