Small Deciduous Trees

With increasing urbanization and smaller yards, small trees have become ever more popular. This collection showcases some of Art's Nursery's favourite and more readily available small trees for the garden. While some of these may turn into larger specimens over time, they also have a slow growth rate allowing them to stay smaller for many years or decades.

If you are considering planting a tree and you live in Surrey, BC, check out the amazing Surrey Tree Voucher offer from the city.

To give some context, small trees are defined as achieving at least 15-25ft at maturity. Here are our favourite small deciduous trees at Arts Nursery:

Paperbark Maple
Acer griseum

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Acer griseum, or Paperbark Maple is a very popular small to medium sized tree with multiple seasons of interest. Bright green new foliage emerges in Spring, gorgeous red fall colour appears in Autumn and cinnamon brown peeling bark accents the tree year round

  • Bright green new foliage
  • Blood red fall colour
  • Cinnamon-brown peeling bark year round
  • Full sun is prefered
  • Height and width 20-25ft

Eastern Redbud
Cercis canadensis

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A large tree over time, but relatively slow growing. Features green shaped leaves and lovely golden fall colour. Beautiful purple flowers appear on bare stems in spring. Spreading growth habit. 'Forest Pansy' is a lovely purple leaved variety.

  • Heart Shaped Leaves
  • Green or Purple leaves depending on variety
  • Purple flowers on bare stems in the spring
  • Golden yellow fall colours
  • Height and width differ by variety

Cornelian Cherry
Cornus mas

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Cornelian Cherry, or Cornus mas, is another relatively unknown tree in the Dogwood family the provides multiple points of interest. Masses of yellow flowers appear in early spring before leaves emerge. Bright red, cherry-like fruits emerge later in the season.

  • Very early blooming tree
  • Yellow flowers appear on bare stems in spring
  • Bright red, cherry-like fruits
  • Prefers full sun to part shade
  • Grows 5-15ft in height and spread

Kousa Dogwood
Cornus kousa

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Kousa Dogwoods are attractive small trees grown for their clusters of flowers surrounded by white, pink or creamy coloured bracts. Green leaves turn a reddish-purple in the fall. Strawberry-like deep pink fruit clusters follow the flowers

  • Attractive small tree
  • Grown for white, pink or cream coloured flowers & bracts
  • Fall colour is reddish-purple
  • Strawberry-like deep pink fruits
  • Prefers full sun to part shade

Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum

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Japanese Maples are always popular trees ideally suited for part shade, through they will tolerate more sun if kept somewhat moist. An amazing number of varieties are available ranging from upright to weeping types, maple-type or dissected leaves and leaf colours ranging from the usual red or green al the way to yellow, white or pink. Known for their amazing fall colour, Japanese Maples also provide a sense of peace, tranquility and are a mainstay of the asian inspired garden.

  • Upright or weeping varieties
  • Red, Green, Yellow or other coloured leaves depending on variety
  • Maple-like or dissected leaves
  • Amazing fall colour on most varieties
  • Height and width differs by variety

Golden Chain Tree
Laburnum x watereri

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This amazing tree needs to be seen to be truely appreciated. It is a small deciduous tree with green leaflets and bright yellow pea-shaped flowers in pendulous racemes. When the tree blooms in May, its masses of yellow flowers are breath-taking in the garden. All parts of this plant are toxic if ingested.

  • Attractive green leaves arranges in threes
  • Masses of pendulous yellow pea-like flowers
  • Blooms in late spring to early summer
  • Prefers full sun
  • Grows 12-24ft in height and spread

Star Magnolia Magnolia stellata

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Magnolia trees come in many shapes, sizes and varieties. The bush form Star Magnolias are excellent large shrubs or small trees with white to pink strap-like flowers in early spring. Flowers often appear before the leaves emerge.

  • White to pink strap-like flowers
  • Blooms in early spring, often before the leaves
  • Tree is slow growing with a broadly rounded habit
  • Prefers full sun to part shade
  • Grows 5-10ft in height and a little wider in spread

Crab Apple

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Beautiful underused small tree with profusions of white, pink or red flowers in early spring followed by somewhat edible small crab apple fruit in the fall. Many varieties are available.

  • Small tree with nice growth habit
  • Masses of white, pink or red flowers in spring
  • Somewhat edible small fruit in fall
  • Prefers full sun
  • Height and width differ by variety

Sourwood Tree
Oxydendrum arboreum

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Sourwoods are slow growing, small to medium sized trees with lance-shaped, glossy green leaves that turn a brilliant red in Autumn. Panicles of white flowers emerge in late summer.

  • Glossy green, lance shaped leaves
  • Panicles of attractive white flowers in late summer
  • Brilliant red fall foliage colour
  • Prefers full sun to part shade
  • Grows up to 30ft in height and 12-24ft wide at maturity

Flowering Cherry

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Flowering cherries are always a favourite amongst gardeners. Masses of white or pink blooms cover the tree in early spring eventually revealing green leaves underneath. Many also have attractive bark when larger. They are a shorter-lived tree but the annual spring flower show is worth it! A mainstay of the asian inspired garden.

  • Masses of pink or white flowers
  • Blooms in early spring
  • Green foliage
  • Prefers full sun
  • Grows approximately 12-24ft in height and spread

Flowering Plum

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Often lumped into the same group as Flowering Cherries, flowering plums offer the same amazing spring flower show but are further accented by dark purple to burgundy foliage. Also a short lived tree but is a mainstay of the asian inspired garden.

  • Purple to burgundy foliage
  • Masses of white to pink flowers
  • Blooms in early spring
  • Prefers full sun
  • Grows approximately 12-24ft in height and spread

Stewartia Tree
Stewartia pseudocamellia

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Stewartias are one of our favourite deciduous trees. While it ultimately grows quite large, its slow growth rate makes it ideal for residential gardens for many decades. Attractive green leaves produce white, camellia-like flowers in early summer. Leaves turn a brilliant range of orange and reds in fall. The entire tree is accented by a beautiful peeling, flaking bark.

  • Green leaves turn beautiful orange-red in the fall
  • White camellia-like flowers in the summer
  • Attractive peeling, flaking bark on the trunk
  • Prefers full sun to part shade
  • Ultimate height 35+ ft, spread to 24ft

Japanese Snowbell
Styrax japonicus

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Japanese Snowbell Trees, or Styrax japonicus, are a great choice for those looking for a small to medium sized tree. Spreading branches are filled with green leaves that turn yellow to orange in the Fall. Bell-shaped white, pendulous flowers are borne in profusion beneath the branches. Lightly fragrant too! While larger in time, it too is slow growing

  • Green leaves turn orange-yellow in the fall
  • Pendulous, lightly fragrant white flowers
  • Blooms in summer
  • Prefers full sun to part shade
  • Grows 24-36ft in height, but only 12-24ft wide

Vine Maple
Acer circinatum

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Vine Maples, or acer circinatum are a native tree in British Columbia. It is a smaller, spreading, bushy tree or large shrub white traditional maple-like leaves in tones of light to medium green. Foliage turns red and orange in the fall. Clusters of small purplish flowers are followed by red-winged fruits. A great understory tree for the part shade or woodland garden.

  • Attractive maple-like leaves
  • Red to orange fall colours
  • Great understory or woodland tree, Native to BC
  • Prefers part shade, but tolerates the sun
  • Grows 12-24ft in height and spread


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Another one of our favourites! Witchhazels or Hamamelis in latin, are beautiful large shrubs or small trees with a pronounced vase-like shape. Crinkled, papery flowers rangeing in colour from yellow to orange or red emerge in winter! Foliage is green turning a colourful mottled red, orange, yellow and brown in fall. Some varieties are slightly fragrant too.

  • Vase shaped large shrub or small tree
  • Beautiful yellow, orange or red flowers
  • Blooms in winter
  • Some varieties are lightly fragrant
  • Grows 8-16ft in height and spread


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Amelanchier, or Serviceberries are a large multi-stemmed shrub, sometimes grown as a small tree. White flowers are borne in early spring and are followed by attractive yellow to orange fall colour. Edible, blue-black fruit is known to attract birds.

  • Grown as large shrub or small tree
  • Attractive white flowers in spring
  • Yellow to Orange fall leaf colour
  • Edible blue-black coloured fruit that attracts birds
  • Grows 15-25ft tall

Fringe Tree
Chionanthus virginicus

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Fringe Trees, or Chionanthus are native to North America and are known for their pendulous, fragrant white blossoms that appear in late spring or early summer. Flowers resemble threadlike stems growing in clusters. Tree shape varies greatly depending on the specimen. Prefers full sun.

  • Pendulous white, fragrant flowers
  • Blooms in late spring, early summer
  • Great variability in tree shape
  • Prefers full sun and well drained soil
  • Generally trouble free, easy to grow tree

Fig Tree
Ficus carica

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This heat loving tree features large tropical looking foliage and delicious edible fruit (Figs!). Needs lots of sun and heat to produce a good crop. Spreading, sprawling growth habit.

  • Large tropical looking foliage
  • Spreading, sprawling growth habit
  • Edible fruit (Figs)
  • Needs lots of sun and heat
  • Grows approx. 10-15ft tall (or more)

Crape Myrtle

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Crape Myrtles are another smallish tree that are very common in the south and are legendary at producing massive displays of colourful flowers. However, the tree does need lots of heat and sunlight to produce its blooms. In the Pacific Northwest, you may not get a good show in cooler years.

  • Attractive green foliage
  • Masses of blooms in summer
  • Flower colour differs by variety, pink is most common
  • Needs lots of sun and heat to produce flowers
  • Height and width depends on variety

If you are looking for a small tree for your garden, visit us at Art's Nursery in person and we'd be happy to show you these and other options. As always call ahead to confirm availability as our selection is always changing. 604.882.1201

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