Ornamental Weeping Dwarf Trees
The form and texture of a weeping tree is an unusual garden accent. Dwarf trees are not hard to obtain and come in a variety of species and ornamental fruits. The trees branches are trained in a downward sweep and the drooping habit presents a charming shape. Dwarfs are usually 10 to 12 feet tall but come in many of the same species as standards. Dwarf ornamental trees come in deciduous fruit and flowering, or evergreen, and need the same regular care that their full-size counterparts require.
Two types of weeping tree are available. Some are grafted, where the bud from a weeping species is grafted to the rootstock of a dwarf species. This gives the smaller stature but pendulous form that the dwarf weeping trees are known for. The other type of tree is a natural weeping tree. These grow in a graceful drooping habit and they may be naturally small or may be quite large like the weeping willow. In response to home gardeners and landscapers, more weeping cultivars are being developed every year.
Flowering trees give a spectacular spring show and are worth growing at any size. But some yards are too small for full-sized trees or the planting location may not accommodate a large tree. Dwarf weeping dogwood is an attractive little tree that flowers just like its bigger cousins. Snow fountain weeping cherry is strictly ornamental in that it flowers but produces no fruit. The advantage is obvious: When the floral display is over there will not soon be messy fruit all over the place. The dwarf weeping pussy willow gets the same little catkins and fuzzy buds that the larger version gets and then fills out with delicate foliage. Chansonette weeping camellia is an acid-loving dwarf of only 2 to 3 feet tall with full-sized winter blooms.
Niagara Falls is a weeping white pine. It is low-growing and drooping in habit with the full needles and color the large white pine is known for. Aurea weeping boxwood is a variegated European boxwood that has arched branches and dark foliage with golden accents. For added drama, false cypress Gold Mop is a bright golden color year-round. Other weeping evergreens are Threadleaf arborvitae and Clarendon spreading holly, whose bright berries attract birds and add much-needed winter color.
Weeping fruit trees can have either edible or ornamental fruits. Some actually don't fruit at all, but produce blossoms in spring. Some spectacular species to try are the weeping cherry and plum specimens. Both grow on rootstock and need careful pruning when the tree is dormant to maintain both height and form. The Red Jade, a form of weeping crabapple, is a bird attractant even though the fruits are not tasty to humans. It has a twisted trunk which adds to its appeal.
Weeping trees need much the same maintenance as their parent plants. Water, site considerations, drainage, acidity, and fertilization will be the same. Pruning is the most important part of keeping the tree dwarf and weeping. A dwarf may revert to a standard if not pruned down every season. This depends on the variety of rootstock it is grafted to. The weeping habit can be hard for a tree to sustain as it grows, so tip pruning and staking can be useful in helping the tree remain in a cascading shape.