Last time we started a conversation about what we were calling upright trees, for use in smaller spaces, and we continue with more specifics on different cultivars that are classified as fastigiate, columnar, and pyramidal.

As we mentioned, fastigiate trees have an upward reaching structure, with long branches nestled closely together, virtually straight up, which makes them narrow compared to the species.  Columnar trees are similar in that they are much taller than wide, though a central leader is common and short side branches are what make this form narrow.  We also have narrow pyramidal trees as they can be tall enough to create a screen and narrow enough at the base to maintain a low profile.

Mariani Landscape Pyramidal European Hornbeam

So where would we use these narrow choices?  The image above is a perfect example of a city space, a rooftop to be specific, that benefits from a row of cornelian cherry dogwood (Cornus mas), the ‘Golden Glory’ cultivar.  Here as a single-stemmed tree, it will fill out over time while maintaining that upright habit.  It offers exactly what is needed to soften this cityscape.

Mariani LandscapeIn the next two images you see Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’, the pyramidal European hornbeam.  It works well in city settings where architecture can be narrow and vertical, and planting spaces quite tight.  It is also used as an accent to match the height of stately homes without overpowering the landscape.

There are maples in narrow forms, Acer saccharum ‘Newton Sentry’, a sugar maple cultivar, being the most narrow, only reaching about 15 feet wide at maturity.  Fagus sylvatica ‘Dawyck’, the Dawyck beech, can grow 80 feet tall with only a 10 foot spread.  And it has year-round interest with its form, bark, and color, with ‘Dawyck Gold’ and ‘Dawyck Purple’ cultivars.

Mariani Landscape

We showed you the Kindred Spirit® ‘Nadler’ oak last time, and there are other oak cultivars to choose from, most of which are English oak (Quercus robur) or genetic crosses of English oak.  Make sure you choose a specimen that is bred with mildew resistant and offers fall color, as these characteristics are not assumed in all cultivars.

We also love narrow conifers as they make great screens and walls of green all year long.  Very narrow cultivars are almost spire-like in that they are many times taller than wide.  The narrowest of the firs is Abies concolor‘Pyramidalis’, the pyramidal white fir, though still up to 20 feet wide.  Picea abies ‘Cupressina’, the columnar Norway spruce, only grows up to 10 feet wide, and at 20-30 feet tall it is a lovely option.  Similar in habit is the columnar Douglas fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii ‘Fastigiata’.

If you thought pine trees were too large for your space try the columnar Swiss stone pine, Pinus cembra ‘Stricta’, growing 20 feet tall and only about 6 feet wide.  And there are many arborvitae to choose from, Thuja occidentalis‘Smaragd’, the emerald arborvitae, and Thuja plicataSpring Grove®, the Western red cedar, at the top of the list as they remain green all winter.

We close with an image of another grand design that incorporates pyramidal evergreens at the perimeter and a fastigate Liriodendron tulipifera, the ‘Arnold’ cultivar, on the terrace.  Liriodendron tulipifera ‘Fastigiatum’, the fastigiate tulip tree, is an incredible choice, as it has wonderful flowers.

We hope these options will help you will find a place for trees in your landscape.  You’ll find more images of trees on our PinterestTrees board.  As always, any questions please leave a comment.  We endeavor to bring you valuable information each week and if there is a topic you wish to learn more about let us know.  And join us again, here, in the garden.

Mariani Landscape

Click here to visit the Mariani Landscape website.Comment »

Contact Seattle Rockeries


Review us on Angies List

Read Unbiased Consumer Reviews Online at

About Seattle Rockeries

Seattle Rockeries creates hardscapes and landscapes using stones, boulders and concrete structures.

Hardscaping creates structures that can be used on slopes and hills to prevent erosion and create water barriers or drainage.