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Ball trees for the garden – care tips for malleable trees that are also perfect for front gardens.

Whether you want to beautify your private garden or are looking for an eye-catcher for the small front yard, a ball tree is definitely a really great choice. It impresses with a more unusual shape while saving space, making it suitable even for compact urban gardens or row house gardens. However, this is not a special type of tree, but those that we are already familiar with, which simply offer the best conditions for such a topiary due to their partly cultivated growth habit. Today we would like to introduce you to a few of these species, which are perfectly suitable as ball trees for the garden.

Moldable trees for small gardens

So the question of all questions is which tree species are suitable. Trees that stay small are obviously the best option, but pruning must also be done regularly to prevent the tree from sprouting. You have the choice between deciduous or evergreen varieties, which either naturally have a rather spherical tree crown and then only need to be trimmed or, as in the case of hedge plants , are very tolerant of pruning as solitaires and can thus be shaped into the desired form. Here is a selection of varieties that are best suited as ball trees for the garden:

Ball trees evergreen

  • Common boxwood
  • Spice laurel (not hardy, only in containers with overwintering)
  • Cherry laurel
  • Cork fir
  • Privet
  • Pug pine
  • Mock cypress
  • Holly
  • Wintergreen willow (not hardy, only in containers with overwintering)
  • Dwarf deciduous tree

Which deciduous tree to choose for front yard

  • Maple
  • Amber tree
  • Ash
  • Fanleaf tree
  • Field maple
  • Gingko
  • Globular plane
  • Robinia
  • Swamp oak
  • Trumpet tree
  • Large-leaved linden

Pruning ball trees for the garden

Ball trees for the garden - when and how to make topiary.

No matter which ball tree you choose, topiary should be done at the right time. The best time for this is late winter. Don’t be too radical in your pruning then, but don’t be too sparing either. By capping the tips of the shoots, branching is encouraged and the tree crown becomes denser. On the whole, you can consider pruning by 15 to 20 cm. The cut itself you always put in front of one of the so-called eyes. These are those thickenings on the branch, from which it will later sprout new shoots.

Trees for small garden – shape ball trees with these species.

Ball trees for the garden - tips on species and pruning

Whether you choose the tree for the garden or front yard, the right location is, of course, essential for the healthy and lush growth. For this reason, we have compiled a selection of the most popular ball trees for the garden and explain what requirements they have for location and care.

Maple ball tree

Ball maple turns yellow in autumn

Maples are trees that naturally already have a spherical crown. Therefore, if you ever miss the right period for pruning, it is absolutely no problem, because it is not so important. Nevertheless, it is recommended to thin it out every now and then, and also remove diseased or dead branches, as this has a rejuvenating effect. It is only with age that this ball tree acquires a flatter surface, making topiary worthwhile.

The tree grows quite large and therefore needs enough space (6 meters in height and 5-6 meters in diameter). Therefore, it is best suited as a specimen plant and a focal point in the garden, under which a nice shady place is formed. It is also perfectly suitable for the perimeter of the property. Choose a location in sun or partial shade, not having to worry about winds or soil conditions, as it is very hardy in this regard. In the fall, you can marvel at its bright yellow leaves.

Properly care for ball amber tree

Ball trees for the garden - ball amber tree is also called gumball


You can expect this specimen to reach a maximum height of 5 meters, which makes it a good choice if you are looking for globe trees for the garden that are compact. The amber tree is also called a gumball and impresses with its bright red foliage in the fall. It grows only about one to two feet tall and no wider than six feet and prefers a sunny location with sandy to loamy soil. Spherical crown is obtained by branching out the trunk, that is, removing the branches. This is how you get ball trees with a tall trunk.

Plant globe gingko in the front garden

Ball Gingko is low maintenance, small and perfect for the front yard

The globe gingko reaches a maximum height and width of 1.5 to 2 meters – it probably doesn’t get more compact than that. It is also perfect for containers and prefers a sunny to semi-shady place. Otherwise, the tree is very undemanding and easy to care for and ideal for small gardens and front yards.

Globular robinia as a ball tree for the garden.

Ball robinia planting in small gardens and front yards


A height and width of up to 5 meters, in turn, can reach the globe robinia. It feels most comfortable in the sun and prefers a well-drained soil, but it may be clayey. With a height of 4 meters and a width of up to 5 meters, the specimen is one of the relatively compact species that should be regularly pruned to maintain its beautiful shape.

Buy trumpet trees as spherical trees.

Trumpet tree with large leaves and flowers as a specimen plant

You only need to prune the crown of this specimen a little more (by about 20 cm) every 3 to 5 years. Otherwise, do this sparingly every year. The tree grows up to 7 meters high, with the same diameter and gets attractive leaves in the shape of hearts, which can grow a full 15 cm long and turn yellow in autumn. In summer, the trumpet ball tree again bears pretty flowers. Find him a sunny to semi-shaded place, protected from the wind.

Evergreen ball trees for the garden and front yard