Small Trees


Shorter trees are required when planted underneath wires or other obstructions. The table below lists various trees that should do well in these special circumstances.




  • Beautiful two-week show of flowers in May.
  • Some can be prone to diseases such as scab, fire blight, rust, leaf spot, and powdery mildew.
  • Cultivars listed here are more disease-resistant, and many will hold their fruit throughout the winter.


Common Name
Scientific Name
Centurian Crab Malus 'Centzam' Pink flowers with 5/8" fruit. Excellent disease resistance. Height: 15-20'.
Donald Wyman Crab Malus 'Donald Wyman' Pink/white flowers with ½" persistent fruit. Excellent disease resistance. Height: 20'.
Indian Summer Crabapple Malus x 'Indian Summer' Rose-pink flowers. Excellent disease resistance. Height: 18'.
Indian Magic Crab Malus 'Indian Magic' Rose-pink flowers with ½" fruits. Excellent mildew and rust resistance. Height: 20'.
Red Splendor Crab Malus 'Red Splendor' Pink flowers with ½" fruits. Fruit persists for wildlife. Toxic for human consumption. Rust resistant. Height: 20'.
Spring Snow Crab Malus 'Spring Snow' White flowers and no fruit. Rust resistant. Height: 20-25'.
Cardinal Crab Malus x 'Cardinal' Purple foliage. Flowers red, fading to pink. Excellent disease resistance. Height: 10-18'.
Thunderchild Crab Malus 'Thunderchild' Rose pink flowers with ½" fruits. Purple summer foliage. Very winter hardy. Height: 15-25'.

Description Sources: NDSU Woody Plant Improvement Program, Morten Arboretum, and Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District.



Tatarian Maple

Tatarian Maple
  • Small tree native to western Asia
  • Adaptable to a variety of soils, better alkaline tolerance than amur maple.
  • Excellent choice for xeriscaping. (needing little to no irrigation)

Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Hot Wings Tatarian Maple
Acer tataricum 'GarAnn'
Yellow to red fall color. Tolerant of alkaline soils. Very showy samaras. Height: 15-25'.
Pattern Perfect Tatarian Maple
Acer tataricum 'Patdell'
Orange and red fall color. Showy samaras. Drought tolerant. Height: 20'. 

Description Sources: Colorado Springs Utilities, Missouri Botanical Garden, MN Department of Natural Resources, and Ron Paul Garden Center.



  • Has white flowers in spring and leaves turn orange or red in the fall.
  • Tolerant to alkaline and acidic soils, but is sensitive to salt.
  • Tolerant of drought conditions and air pollution.
  • Red fruit persists through the winter.

Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn
Crategus crus-galli var. inermis
Thornless. White flowers. Good fall color. Tolerant of alkaline soils. Height: 25'.
Crusader Hawthorn
Crategus crus-galli var. 'Cruzam'
Thornless. Multi-stemmed. Height: 25-35'.
 Snowbird Hawthorn
Crataegus x mordenensis 'Snowbird'
 Very hardy. White flowers in spring, good disease resistance, but has thorns.

Descrption Sources: Morton Arboretum, Missouri Botanical Garden, and TLCGarden Plant Finder.


Autumn Brilliance ServiceberryServiceberry Tree

  • Serviceberries can be grown as shrubs, multi-stemmed trees, or single-stemmed trees.
  • White flowers in spring, fruit is edible.
  • Fruit can be used in jams, jellies, and pies.
  • Attractive to pollinators and other wildlife.
  • Does best in soil pH 5.5-7, but can tolerate higher pHs.
  • Native.

Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry
Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'
Reddish fall color. Rounded growth habit, red fall color, and drought tolerant. Height: 25'.

Description Source: University of Minnesota Extension.


Princess Kay PlumPrincessKay

  • Small tree with pretty flowers.
  • Prefers slightly acidic soil.
  • Not very drought tolerant.
  • Native to Canada and Minnesota.

Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Princess Kay Plum
Prunus nigra 'Princess Kay'
Double white flowers in May. Will not produce fruit. Height: 10-15'.

Description Sources: UMN Agricultural Experiment Station and The National Gardening Association.


Pink Flair Sargent CherryPink Flair Sargent Cherry

  • Hardy and attractive.
  • Tolerates acidic and alkaline soil as well as road salt.
  • Sensitive to drought conditions, poor drainage, and air pollution.
  • Native to Japan and Korea.

Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Pink Flair Sargent Cherry
Prunus sargentii
Red-orange fall color. Height: 25'.

Description Source: The Morton Arboretum.


Pear TreesPrairie Gem Flowering Pear

  • Introduced from northeastern Asia.
  • pH adaptable, but not tolerant of salty soil.
  • Should be protected from rabbit and mice browse.
  • Some of the first trees to flower.

Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Prairie Gem Pear
Pyrus ussuriensis 'Mordak'
White flowers. No fruit unless another pear is near to pollinate. Hardiest of ornamental pears. Tolerant of urban pollution. NDSU introduction. Height: 25'.
Mountain Frost Pear
 Pyrus ussuriensis 'Bailfrost'
Ornamental tree. White flowers. Burgundy fall color. Bears fruit. Height: 30'.
Korean Sun Pear
 Pyrus faurei 'Westwood'
Ornamental tree. Red fall color. Fruits are inedible. Height: 20'.

Description Sources: NDSU Woody Plant Improvement Program, Gertens, and Gardening Know How.


Ivory Silk Japanese Lilac Lilac Tree

  • Tolerant of urban conditions.
  • Clusters of white flowers.
  • Attracts pollinators.

Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Ivory Silk Japanese Lilac
Syringa reticulata 'Ivory Silk'
Showy white flowers. Rounded crown. Adaptable tree for a variety of uses. Height: 20-25'.

Description Source: The Morton Arboretum.


Nannyberry (Tree Form) Nanny Berry Flowers

  • Prefers alkaline soil, moist and well-drained.
  • Small tree or mult-stemmed shrub.
  • Adaptable to full sun or partial shade.
  • White flowers later turning to edible berries in fall.
  • Caterpillar and larvae host of spring azure butterfly.
  • Native to Minnesota.

Scientific Name  Comments 
Viburnum lentago
Multi-stemmed height:14-16', single-stemmed height: 30'. Berries persist into winter.

Description Sources: Missouri Botanical Garden and The Morton Arboretum.


Pagoda DogwoodPagoda Dogwood

  • Loved by pollinators and birds.
  • Tiered branching structure.
  • Prefers well-drained, moist, acidic soil.
  • Grows 15-25 feet tall.
  • Native to Minnesota.

Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Pagoda Dogwood
Cornus alternifolia
Can be a small tree or a shrub. Most dogwoods have an alternate leaf pattern, but pagoda has an opposite leaf pattern.

Description Source: The Morton Arboretum.