8 Interesting Dwarf Trees for Small Yards in USDA Zone 7

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Written By Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

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Home » USDA Zone 7 » 8 Interesting Dwarf Trees for Small Yards in USDA Zone 7

Gardeners with limited space on their property can struggle to find trees that are the right size for their landscape.

Since many of the most popular US landscaping trees are medium to large-sized species, such as oak or maple, finding a petite tree to fit a small backyard or garden can be a chore.

But depending on the USDA hardiness zone you live in, you’ll have a very different range of dwarf tree varieties to choose from.

Below we’ve compiled a list of the eight best dwarf trees for zone 7 gardeners.

8 Compact Dwarf Trees For Zone 7

1. Crimson Queen Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’)

If you’re looking for effervescent color in a small package, the crimson queen Japanese maple is an ideal dwarf variety for zone 5.

This Japanese maple cultivar is exceptionally pretty, with bright red foliage from spring to summer that turns a deep crimson in fall. Its lobed leaves have a very fine, lacey quality that also adds texture to the landscape. It’s a guaranteed attention grabber no matter where you plant it.

The crimson queen is a compact and shrubby dwarf variety, with a spread that is slightly wider than it is tall. Its size means that it is often used to fill in gaps between trees, but it can also be planted as a single specimen in an open space. To really maximize the effect of its color, plant it in spaced-out rows along a street or driveway.

Plant the crimson queen in rich, moist, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH with full sun or partial shade.

Other Common Names: Laceleaf Japanese Maple “Crimson Queen”

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 8-10 feet tall, with a 10-12 foot spread

Flowering Season: Mid-Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

2. Sargent Crabapple (Malus sargentii)

Sargent Crabapple - Grid 2 Square
Images via Fast-Growing-Trees and Nature Hills, Combined by Lyrae Willis for Tree Vitalize

For a colorful dwarf tree that is a little less intense than the crimson queen, consider the sargent crabapple.

This dwarf crabapple variety offers four seasons of interest, starting most notably with its profuse and extremely showy clusters of white spring flowers. It also has a distinctive zig-zagging branching pattern and dark red late-season edible fruits that stand out in winter, as well as bright yellow fall foliage.

The sargent can be grown as a multi-stemmed shrub or single-trunked small tree and looks perfect planted beside courtyards, patios, and in a foundation planting. It can be planted in rows as a privacy screen or backdrop, and in large planter boxes and containers.

Highly adaptable, the sargent can be grown in areas with average-quality soil, and fruit and flower production are unlikely to be affected by imperfect conditions. However, it does require full sunlight and prefers moist, well-draining soil.

Growing Zones: 4-7

Average Size at Maturity: 6-8 feet tall, with a 9-15 foot spread

Flowering Season: Mid-Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

3. Little King River Birch (Betula nigra ‘Little King’)

Little King River Birch Tree
Image via Nature Hills

Often sold under the commercial name Fox Valley, the little king is a dwarf cultivar of the river birch, an extremely popular landscaping tree. River birches are best known for their bark – this species has a trunk covered in reddish brown exfoliating outer bark that peels back to reveal salmon-colored inner bark. This adds a unique splash of color and texture in every season.

This tree is also topped with bright green diamond-shaped leaves that turn the classic yellow fall color that birch trees are so well known for. True to its name, the little king river birch grows best in cool, consistently moist soil, and it is most practical to plant it near a water feature on your property.

Acidic soil in a location with full sun or partial shade is also recommended. If the soil is not consistently moist, make sure to water the little king deeply every week.

Other Common Names: Fox Valley River Birch

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 8-10 feet tall, with a 10-12 foot spread

Flowering Season: Early Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

4. ‘Belle of Georgia’ Peach Tree (Prunus persica ‘Belle of Georgia’)

Belle of Georgia Peach
Image via Nature Hills

Gardeners in zone 7 are blessed with excellent options for fruit tree growing. And one of the best fruit tree cultivars for the zone 7 climate is the Belle of Georgia peach. It comes in both standard and dwarf varieties, with the dwarf variety growing to only 10 feet tall.

The Belle of Georgia not only produces delicious white-fleshed freestone peaches in summer and fall, but it is a particularly pretty tree that provides extra decorative appeal. Its delicate spring flowers grow in profuse, fragrant clusters, and its yellow fall foliage is also quite lovely. It works wonders as a specimen tree or focal point in smaller landscapes.

Plant this peach tree in loamy or sandy well-draining soil in a location with full sun. It is not immune to pests or disease, so keep an eye out for signs of aphids, scale, bacterial canker, silver leaf, and brown rot.

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 8-10 feet tall, with a similar spread

Fruiting Season: Late Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

5. Dwarf Korean Lilac (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’)

Dwarf Korean Lilac
Image by F. D. Richards via Flickr

Though zone 7 is near the end of its warmest temperature range, the bright and elegant dwarf Korean lilac still grows very comfortably in this hardiness zone.

And zone 7 gardeners could hardly ask for a more beautiful addition to their property – with its vibrant violet blooms that dominate its form in spring, and its delightful lavender fragrance, this flowering shrub is quite the showcase. What’s more, on occasion it will even re-bloom in late summer according to the University of Minnesota Extension.

The Korean Dwarf Lilac is an excellent container tree, specimen, accent, or even a colorful privacy screen. Due to its size, this petite dwarf variety is also perfect for filling in space in a small garden or yard.

This tree prefers neutral, well-draining soil with exposure to full or partial sunlight throughout the day. It needs very little pruning and will do well in an urban garden due to its high tolerance to pollution.

Other Common Names: Meyer Lilac, Korean Lilac

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 4-6 feet tall, with a 5-8 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

6. Dwarf Chestnut Oak (Quercus prinoides)

Quercus prinoides
Arnold Arboretum Daderot – Public Domain Mark 1.0

While most oak species are famously tall, majestic trees that can fill even the widest landscapes, there are still some oak options for gardeners with minimal space on their property.

The dwarf chestnut oak is a dwarf oak species native to the US that can grow as a shrub or small tree, but most often grows in multi-stemmed clumps or thickets, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

This dwarf oak has an open, rounded canopy made up of dark green scalloped leaves that turn rich tones of copper and gold in fall. It is a most effective landscaping tree planted as a privacy screen, shelterbelt, and windbreak, though it also looks good planted in a border. It is also used for erosion control and to provide food and shelter for local wildlife.

For best results, plant your dwarf chestnut oak in a location with full sun and well-draining soil. As long as drainage is adequate these hardy trees can withstand even the poorest quality soil.

Other Common Names: Dwarf Chinquapin Oak, Scrub Chestnut Oak

Growing Zones: 6-9

Average Size at Maturity: 6-18 feet tall, with a 6-12 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Available at: Nature Hills

7. Blue Point Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’)

A compact evergreen perfect for flanking a doorway or property entrance, or for cornering off a border planting, the blue point juniper is a great option for a more formal zone 7 landscape.

This dwarf juniper variety has a pyramidal growth habit that remains neat and uniform even without pruning, and its feathery blue-green foliage adds color to the landscape in every season.

The blue point juniper is also an ideal lawn specimen, privacy screen, and patio tree. Though it does not generally need to be pruned, it takes very well to shaping and can form practically any shape you like! They are deer resistant too, so any unexpected grazing is unlikely to affect its appearance.

The most important things your blue point juniper needs to thrive are full sun exposure and well-draining soil. Otherwise, it grows quite well in the majority of soil types.

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 12-14 feet tall, with a 6-8 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

8. Royal Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’)

No matter the landscape you can’t go wrong with the magnolia, a classic flowering tree guaranteed to add a touch of beauty and elegance to your garden. The Royal Star magnolia is a particularly popular dwarf cultivar, growing most often as a multi-stemmed shrub.

It’s a favorite for small gardens due to its masses of large white flowers with unique ribboned petals that appear before its leaves, filling the space with color.

Even amongst other magnolia varieties, it is unique due to its appearance and versatility. Use the royal star as a specimen plant, in foundation planting, and as a hedge or privacy shrub, amongst many other landscaping possibilities.

Despite its elegance, the Royal Star is a surprisingly hardy and adaptable tree. It grows best in rich, moist, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH, in a sheltered location with access to full sun or partial shade.

Other Common Names: Stellata Royal Star

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 10-20 feet tall, with a 10-15 foot spread

Flowering Season: Early Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

Add Color To Small Spaces With These Dwarf Trees

From the stunning crimson queen Japanese maple to the endlessly useful blue point juniper, these trees prove that there is no shortage of excellent dwarf varieties for small yards in zone 7.

Even if you’ve got plenty of space to plant in, these trees can still be used to great effect in border planting, as hedgerows and screens, and to fill in space between larger tree species. They may be small, but the utility of a carefully chosen dwarf tree should not be overlooked.

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Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

Shannon has always loved looking after trees and plants since as long as she can remember. She grew up gardening with her family in their off-grid home and looking after her neighbor's plant nursery. As a child she also participated in native tree replanting, and as an adult has volunteered in reforestation programs in northern Vietnam. Today, she puts her horticultural efforts into tending her vegetable and herb gardens, and learning about homesteading and permaculture. When she’s not reading, writing, and gardening, she’ll be out fishing and foraging for edible flora and fungi in the countryside around her home.

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