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Types of Ornamental Trees

Cultivating an interesting landscape is an art form, but it also requires a great deal of science. 

This is especially true if you’re planting ornamental trees. Whether it’s for a park, front yard, or intricate garden space, you have a lot of options to consider.

Reflect on your space, needs, and vision carefully. For example, do you need a giant tree for a central focal point, or a small tree to fit into a tight space? Do you want an evergreen for year-long beauty, or a flowering tree that provides bursts of color? 

You should also consider potential resistances. Trees against the road, for example, will need to be resistant to road salt. Other trees can be sensitive to deer and other wildlife in your area. 

As you can see, plenty of research is necessary before making this investment. To get you started, here are some of our favorite ornamental trees. 

Red Dragon AKA Weeping Japanese Maple Tree 

This is a weeping tree with a beautiful cascading structure and leaves that range from deep burgundy to vibrant red. It is a dwarf of the regular Japanese maple, making it perfect for small spaces. It can grow between 6 and 8 feet tall, with a canopy about 5 feet wide. 

Make sure you water it deeply and regularly for the first two growing seasons, or until it is well established. It does not do great in direct sunlight and requires some pest maintenance.

Canadian Hemlock 

This clean and low-maintenance tree is among the most common evergreens to grow in eastern North America. These trees grow slowly, about 12 to 24 inches per year, and tend to live for a very long time. 

The beautiful two-toned needles also release a pleasant fragrance. They are hardy against unfavorable conditions and grow best in shade.

Hibiscus Tree

This beautiful ornamental tree is perfect for flower gardens. It grows a maximum of 8 feet tall and in the summer, it blooms beautiful flowers. Varieties include pink, red, lilac, purple, and white hues. These options mean they will match nearly any color scheme in your garden. 

Hibiscus trees prefer bright sunlight and plenty of water.

Pygmy Date Palm

Going for a tropical, oasis look? The Pygmy Date Palm is perfect for you. It is known for its arching, shaggy, fronds and spikey singly-stemmed trunk. It can grow up to 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide. 

As for care, this tree is fairly easy. It is able to adapt to a variety of growing conditions and is even draught-resistant. 

Sweet Gum Tree

These trees provide excellent shade and a beautiful fall color palette. It can reach up to 80 to 150 feet in height, eventually developing an oval-shaped crown. There are many varieties available, most of which are relatively low maintenance. 

They grow in almost any soil and need very little care upon maturity. But when it is getting established, you’ll want to provide plenty of water.

Irish Yew AKA Fastigiata 

This is a dwarf evergreen conifer with vertical growing branches. Its slim appearance makes it perfect for planting in a row to form a line of privacy or lawn separation. In 10 years, it reaches maturity at 10 feet. 

It has very little risk for pest or fungus infestations, but keep in mind it can be toxic for people, cats, dogs, and horses upon digestion.

Sugar Maple 

If your favorite season is fall, you’ll need a sugar maple in your yard. These trees turn to a vibrant orange shade every year, lighting up your whole lawn. 

In good conditions, they can grow up to 80 feet tall and 60 feet wide. They grow best in full sunlight and require more water as they grow taller.


This deciduous ornamental tree blooms white, red, or pink flowers. But the beauty doesn’t stop there, with even more gorgeous red and purple hues emerging every autumn. 

Dogwood trees can reach up to 30 feet tall. You’ll need to water the tree at least twice a week and more during dry spells.

Pussy Willow 

As the name implies, this tree has delicate hanging branches that blossom furry catkins in early spring. In the wind, the swaying of the white willow branches creates an ethereal beauty that is sure to be the envy of the neighbors. 

It can grow up to 25 feet tall and 15 feet wide but is often pruned into interesting shapes. The pussy willow requires regularly moist but well-drained soil. While they grow best in full sunlight, they are also mildly shade-tolerant. 

Eastern Redbud 

This dwarf, weeping cultivar grows only 5 to 10 feet tall, which makes it perfect for hedge lines and gardens. Varieties provide shapes of red and purple with a stunning spring floral bloom. 

This tree can grow just about anywhere as long as it has bright sunlight and water once a week.

Flowering Crabapple 

This tree is one of the most popular ornamental options across the US. It can grow up to 20 feet high and blooms trademark white or pink fragrant flowers. 

Bear in mind, however, that it requires a little pest and fungal maintenance. It does not require much water, just bright sunlight and nutrient-rich soil. 

Flowering Pear 

Last but not least, consider this beautiful tree that blooms with gorgeous snowy white blossoms in the early spring. They typically grow to be about 30 feet tall and add a perfect decorative touch. 

The upright growth creates an interesting oval shape when it’s fully grown. It requires a bit of watering, especially in the spring months, and prefers well-fertilized soil. 

Ornamental Tree & Shrub Care in MD & VA

Do you want a beautiful yard, but you aren’t so great at tree care? East Coast Lawn can help!

We offer ornamental tree care, trimming, and pest prevention for all plant material under 20 feet in height. For 35 years, we have helped residents of Maryland, Virginia, and the Metro DC area fall in love with their yards.

Call now to learn more!

Great service, lawn looks very good, and my technician, Kevin, is very accommodating.
Scott Rodante