I think one of the hardest things to choose is a tree, more so if the garden is already planted. It’s very important to get it right because if you don’t then you will be looking at it for a long time. It’s worth looking around and doing a little research first.
A tree can be used for shade, or screen an unwanted view and give height as well as architectural beauty.
Some trees are better suited for damp, wet soils, others for dry. Foliage colour, shape and habit can beautifully contrast with other trees nearby, even autumn colour and of course whether it bears flowers, catkins, berries, fruits or not.
The planting distance from the house or building should be another consideration as well as any future maintenance.
Autumn is the best time to plant because they’re losing leaves, becoming dormant and shouldn’t need much care, giving it time to settle until spring when it can continue to grow.
Another good reason is that there’s more choice as well as the bare rooted trees in November which usually cost considerably less than container grown trees.
I would love to have space to plant a few more trees; if I did it would be a birch tree. Not the common Silver Birch but one of more interesting varieties like Betula albosinensis ‘Fascination, its common name is Chinese Red birch or Betula utilis var jacquemontii ‘Grayswood Ghost’, commonly known as Himalayan birch. Both can grow up to fifteen metres high depending on conditions, so both would need space.
As B. ‘Fascination’ matures, its bark becomes a lovely rich chestnut-red colour slowly peeling to leave a creamy pink, then white trunk, whereas B ‘Grayswood Ghost’ will eventually have a striking silvery white trunk when mature. They both produce lots of yellow-brown catkins in spring and have green foliage that turns yellow in autumn before falling. B. ‘Grayswood Ghost’ also has the R.H.S. Award of Garden Merit. Both trees would look great all year round with those beautiful tree trunks.
There are other choices of Birch Trees each one having its own distinctive and attractive feature. For the smaller garden a multi-stemmed birch could look very attractive instead of a large shrub.