Many narrow planting beds within our cities require narrower trees. This segment showcases a variety of trees for use when space is limited, or when a narrow screen is necessary.

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Columnar Trees Fit Small Spaces

Houses are being built closer and closer together, and we often don’t have room for big, spreading trees. So narrow trees are good t use on narrow lots. There are lots of columnar options. And, I encourage people to look when they’re going to the garden center. Ask about columnar trees, and they’ll show you quite a few. We’re going to take a look at the trees here at the Sedgwick County Extension office.

One option is the Pyramidal European Hornbeam. It’s going to grow tall and narrow. It may get a little wider than this, but it will keep growing up in height.

Another option on columnar trees is the Bald Cypress. Shawnee Brave is a variety of Bald Cypress that is columnar. The interesting thing about cypress is that it looks like an evergreen during the summer, but then it turns bronze and looses it’s needles in the winter. So, we’re getting toward that fall color now.

Perhaps one of the most popular narrow trees in Kansas is the Fastigiate or Columnar English Oak. They’re adapted throughout the state. They’ll hold their leaves on into the winter and turn brown which is nice looking. One thing that’s fun on these is that you can pick up the acorns, and often they will come true from seed. So you can grow your own Columnar English Oak.

Behind me over here is another columnar, but this English Oak has been crossed with White Oak which will give you a red fall color. And, it’s called Crimson Spire. It’s very nice throughout Kansas.

One of my favorite plants for tall and narrow is the Taylor Juniper. This is just an Eastern Red Cedar that is known to grow tall and narrow. This plant will mature at only three feet wide and twenty-five feet tall. So in landscapes where you’re wanting an Italian Cypress-type look -- and Italian Cypress aren’t hardy here in Kansas -- this is the plant to grow with. It comes from southern Nebraska, where it was first found. So, it’s hardy statewide throughout Kansas. Another great aspect of this plant is that it never needs shearing. You don’t have to worry about getting out the ladder to maintain it at this look. This is how it grows.

This feature story prepared with Bob Neier, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Sedgwick County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

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