LEAFLET NO: 637
Revised 9/94 -- Author Reviewed 4/96

SMALL AND INTERMEDIATE TREES FOR NORTH CAROLINA

M.A. (Kim) Powell
Extension Horticultural Specialist
Department of Horticultural Science
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
North Carolina State University

Small and intermediate size trees play an important role in the landscape. They can be quite functional and offer seasonal beauty. These trees are generally very easy to maintain and require a minimum of pruning.

The limited space in urban settings requires the extensive use of small and intermediate sized trees. This is especially true in street, mall, and plaza projects, where a pavement will completely surround the tree and utilities (telephone, electrical) wires are either above or below ground. One needs to choose a tree which will remain relatively small in stature but offer large aesthetic benefits.

Residential landscapes utilize many of these trees as "understory" trees in natural areas where shade is a factor.

Blooms, berries and foliage color are also strong assets for most of the trees in this group.

Several of these trees are native to North Carolina, i.e., Flowering Dogwood, Redbud and River Birch. Care must be taken to assimilate these environmental conditions so the trees will grow and mature with a minimum of problems.


BOTANICAL NAME:  
COMMON NAME:  
HARDINESS ZONE:  
GROUP:  
GROWTH RATE:  
EXPOSURE:  
TEXTURE:  
FORM:  
HEIGHT:  
SPREAD:  
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:

     
BOTANICAL NAME:  Acer palmatum     
COMMON NAME:   JAPANESE MAPLE 
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE:  part shade
TEXTURE:  medium to fine
FORM:  dense rounded top
HEIGHT:  15-25'
SPREAD:  10-15'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  excellent specimen tree; several varieties 
  with interesting habits     

BOTANICAL NAME:  Albizia julibrissin
COMMON NAME:  MIMOSA     
HARDINESS ZONE:  7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: rapid 
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  spreading low open
HEIGHT:  20-30' 
SPREAD:  20-30'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  relatively short-lived, good summer color    

BOTANICAL NAME:  Betula nigra
COMMON NAME:   RIVER BIRCH    
HARDINESS ZONE:   RIVER BIRCH 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: moderate 
EXPOSURE:  part shade
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  upright open
HEIGHT:  25-40'
SPREAD:  10-15'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  multi-trunk is desired - excellent, native 
  tree which can be transplanted   

BOTANICAL NAME: Betula pendula  
COMMON NAME:  EUROPEAN WHITE BIRCH 
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  umbrella crowned
HEIGHT:  25-40
SPREAD:  10-15'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  excellent for white bark and  yellow fall 
  foliage 

BOTANICAL NAME:  Carpinus caroliniana
COMMON NAME:  AMERICAN HORNBEAM    
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  irregular crooked stem with horizontal branches
HEIGHT:  25-35'
SPREAD:  20-25'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  very slow growing but should be planted more

BOTANICAL NAME:  Cercis canadensis
COMMON NAME:  EASTERN REDBUD  
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  wide spreading branches
HEIGHT:  20-30'
SPREAD:  15-20'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  good tree tolerant of adverse conditions

BOTANICAL NAME:  Cornus florida
COMMON NAME:  FLOWERING DOGWOOD    
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  moderate
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  broad crowned small tree
HEIGHT:  20-30'
SPREAD:  20-25'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  excellent landscape tree for good soils;
  many varieties to plant - CULTIVARS:  'Cherokee Chief' - dark  
  pink; 'Cloud 9' - white; 'White Cloud' - white; 'Rubra' - pink 

BOTANICAL NAME:  Cornus kousa 
COMMON NAME:   KOUSA DOGWOOD       
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: moderate 
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  horizontal branching habit
HEIGHT:  10-15'
SPREAD:  8-10'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  beautiful specimen landscape tree

BOTANICAL NAME: Cotinus coggyria 
COMMON NAME:   SMOKETREE      
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: moderate 
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  oval crown
HEIGHT:  10-15'
SPREAD:  10-12'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  'Daydream' - purple form very interesting 
  habit   

BOTANICAL NAME:  Crataegus phaenopyrum
COMMON NAME:  WASHINGTON HAWTHORN  
HARDINESS ZONE: 6, 7, 8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  moderate  
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  medium to fine
FORM:  dense, rounded top
HEIGHT:  25-30'
SPREAD:  20-25'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  nice fall color, berries persisting through 
  winter

BOTANICAL NAME:  Eriobotrya japonica
COMMON NAME:  LOQUAT 
HARDINESS ZONE:  7,8     
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade
TEXTURE:  coarse
FORM:  short trunk dense head
HEIGHT: 10-20' 
SPREAD:   8-10'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  excellent accent plant; fruits on coastal 
  areas   

BOTANICAL NAME: Halesia carolina 
COMMON NAME:  CAROLINA SILVERBELL  
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7     
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  moderate
EXPOSURE:  shade
TEXTURE:  medium to coarse
FORM:  rounded open crown
HEIGHT:  20-40'
SPREAD:  15-20'     
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  beautiful multi-trunk tree

BOTANICAL NAME:  Ilex cassine 
COMMON NAME: DAHOON HOLLY      
HARDINESS ZONE:  7,8     
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  medium
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade  
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  large shrub form, dense branches
HEIGHT:  20-30'
SPREAD:  
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  beautiful tree with green foliage, red 
  berries, gray bark

BOTANICAL NAME:  Ilex opaca
COMMON NAME:  AMERICAN HOLLY  
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: slow 
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  upright and conical
HEIGHT:  20-30'
SPREAD:  10-20'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  excellent native tree - must have both
  sexes for fruit   

BOTANICAL NAME:  Koelreuteria paniculata
COMMON NAME:  GOLDEN-RAIN TREE     
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: rapid 
EXPOSURE: sun to part shade 
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  upright open
HEIGHT:  20-30'
SPREAD:  15-20'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: interesting seed display in fall compound 
  leaves  

BOTANICAL NAME: Laburnum x watereri      
COMMON NAME: GOLDEN-CHAIN      
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  multi-trunked upright form
HEIGHT:  25-30'
SPREAD:  10-15'     
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: specimen tree, rather short lived

BOTANICAL NAME:  Lagerstroemia indica
COMMON NAME:  CRAPE-MYRTLE    
HARDINESS ZONE: 7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: moderate 
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  multi-trunk rounded crown
HEIGHT:  20-25'
SPREAD:  10-15' 
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: interesting in tree form, showy display of 
  blooms in summer, excellent fall color; CULTIVARS:  'Potomac' - 
  pink; 'Catawba' - dark purple; 'Flame' - pink; 'Natchez' - 
  white; 'Durant Red' - red   

BOTANICAL NAME:  Magnolia soulangeana 
COMMON NAME:  SAUCER MAGNOLIA 
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  moderate
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade
TEXTURE:  medium to coarse
FORM:  broad, spreading
HEIGHT:  20-25'
SPREAD:  15-20'     
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  frost often claims flowers

BOTANICAL NAME:  Malus spp.   
COMMON NAME:  FLOWERING CRABAPPLE  
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: moderate     
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  round spreading crown
HEIGHT:  15-25'
SPREAD:  10-20'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  very showy for short period of spring color;
  Cultivars:  'Adams'; 'Centurion'; 'Prairifire';  'Robinson'    

BOTANICAL NAME: Oxydendrum arboreum 
COMMON NAME:   SOURWOOD 
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE:  sun or shade
TEXTURE:  coarse
FORM:  slender trunk, upright branches
HEIGHT:  20-30'
SPREAD:  10-15'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  excellent native tree - interesting panicles 
  in fall
     
BOTANICAL NAME: Prunus caroliniana  
COMMON NAME:  CAROLINA CHERRY LAUREL    
HARDINESS ZONE: 7,8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: rapid 
EXPOSURE:  sun or part shade
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  dense rounded head
HEIGHT:  20-30'
SPREAD:  15-20'     
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  excellent green foliage, black fruit

BOTANICAL NAME:  Prunus cerasifera
COMMON NAME:  PURPLE LEAF PLUM     
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  vase shape, dense foliage
HEIGHT:  15-25'
SPREAD:  10-15
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  foliage is purple from spring to fall 
  'Atropurpurea'    

BOTANICAL NAME:  Prunus persica 
COMMON NAME:  PEACH
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: rapid 
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  spreading
HEIGHT:  10-20
SPREAD:  8-10'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  many varieties for excellent fruiting - good 
  for edible landscaping 

BOTANICAL NAME: Prunus serrulata 
COMMON NAME:  JAPANESE CHERRY 
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: moderate 
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  upright with spreading branches
HEIGHT:  15-25'      
SPREAD:  15-20'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  excellent for spring color and fragrance

BOTANICAL NAME: Punica granatum 
COMMON NAME:  POMEGRANATE     
HARDINESS ZONE: 7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE: sun 
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  wide spreading
HEIGHT:  10-20'
SPREAD:  10-15'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: good shrub-like plant tolerant of adverse   
  conditions   

BOTANICAL NAME: Pyrus calleryana    
COMMON NAME:  CALLERY PEAR    
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: rapid 
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade 
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  upright conical shape
HEIGHT:  20-40'
SPREAD:  20-30'     
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  excellent street tree; 'Bradford' - better 
  selection    

BOTANICAL NAME:  Salix caprea 
COMMON NAME:  PUSSY-WILLOW
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8  
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: rapid 
EXPOSURE: sun to part shade 
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  slender trunk, spreading crown
HEIGHT:  12-25'
SPREAD:  8-15'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  fast growing plant-tolerant of adverse 
  conditions   

BOTANICAL NAME:  Sorbus aucuparia  
COMMON NAME:  EUROPEAN MOUNTAIN ASH     
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  slender trunk, spreading crown
HEIGHT:  25-30'
SPREAD:  20-25'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  very interesting fruit in late summer

Published by
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service


Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Employment and program opportunities are offered to all people regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. North Carolina State University at Raleigh, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.