Our pick of trees to plant this autumn
Trees offer us shade and oxygen, store carbon and stabilise soil, support our wildlife and have been proven to reduce human stress levels and that’s just for starters.
Although the majority of us have not got the space for giant specimens like maple, oak or sycamore in our gardens, a smaller tree works well in most spaces.
With autumn’s equinox starting around the 21 September, there has never been a better time to think about planting a tree on your plot.
Find a roundup of unusual suspects to try this year below.
Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Witch Hazel has a long history as a medicinal plant and water diviner.
Best planted from October through to early spring, this low maintenance, deciduous plant will bring fragrant flowers and structural interest to your garden throughout winter.
Technically more of a shrub than a tree, these babies need a bit of space as they can grow up to seven metres high. Plant in a sunny, spacious position and, if needed, up your soil's acidity to keep your witch happy.
Maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba)
The last living species of its kind, with roots dating back to the Jurassic period - that's 170 million years ago for those of us whose dinosaur dates are a little hazy. Time to move the dietary supplements to one side and meet the tree.
Architecturally stunning with fan-shaped, ruffled leaves, ginkgo biloba may be a non-native species, but it is one to find room for in your garden.
Opt for a dwarf variety that will happily flourish in a container if you lack space for a bigger tree. Plant late autumn until early spring and enjoy a living fossil in your backyard. The ginkgo biloba is a low maintenance tree.
Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina)
Clusters of red, velvety ‘staghorn’ type fruit give this tree its name and make it easily identifiable.
This is a beautiful and useful addition to the garden. The fruit from the Staghorn sumac can be harvested and used in hummus, pasta or meat dishes to add a tangy, lemon zest flavour so often found in Lebanese and Arabic cooking.
Plant this sun loving, compact specimen in a sheltered position between autumn and spring and take advantage of everything this easy to care for plant has to offer. It is also drought tolerant.
Twisted or corkscrew hazel (Corylus avellana contorta)
More of a shrub than a tree, this deciduous delight offers ornamental interest year-round with its fuzzy catkins and yellow blooms. The contorted branches make for beautiful flower arrangements or bauble hangers come Christmas and Easter time.
Growing approximately eight metres high and wide this is another plant that needs little time or attention. Perfect for screening an area with its architectural good looks. This hazel will attract wildlife and compliments in equal measure.
Plant in a shady sunspot and rock a wild, windswept look.
Monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana)
A living fossil, the monkey puzzle tree has been around since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, but is now on the edge of extinction in the wild.
Got a large, sheltered patch and a penchant for conserving nature? Then this is the tree for you. Keep in mind that this evergreen can grow over 12 metres high with spiney foliage reminiscent of a dinosaur’s skin. Definitely not a tree for a child to climb or even a monkey, but as a talking point and an ornamental treasure it’s a standout specimen.
Word of warning - it can take up to 40 years for the tree to mature and produce seed pods. Ambitious gardeners will need patience.
No outdoor space, no problem. Bring a natural air freshener into your home in the form of a citrus tree.
Lemon, orange and lime trees will thrive in well-drained soil inside terracotta pots. These pots are ideal for mediterranean species that detest waterlogged environments as they are porous and won’t hold onto moisture.
Pop in a sheltered spot on your balcony or terrace throughout the summer months, but protect with a cover or bring back indoors when the cooler seasons arrive.
Our gardens offer one of the last spaces where we can make a positive change, address issues and take positive small steps to aid and abet the environment around us. One tree will not change the world, but it’s not a bad way to begin.
Help Luxembourg’s Nature and Forestry Agency better design and manage our urban forests by taking part in their local survey. Available online until the 31 October.