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Columnar Trees

Columnar or fastigiate trees grow upright and tend to be narrow. These upright trees can be short or tall and are mainly selected for tight spaces in the landscape. They are also used in the home landscape for an upscale look. Planting Columnar Trees can increase your curb appeal and home value.

More Information

What are the Fastest Growing Columnar Trees?

The fastest growing columnar deciduous tree is the Lombardy Poplar. This columnar shade tree can grow 6 feet or more in a single year! Italian Cypress is a fast growing columnar evergreen tree with a yearly growth rate of 2 to 3 feet. Both of these trees are great for privacy and windbreaks. The Italian Cypress is ideal for tight spaces in your landscape and can be planted as close as 3 feet from your home.

What Evergreen Trees are Columnar?

The Italian Cypress is the tallest columnar evergreen tree that we carry. The Emerald Green Arborvitae, Blue Point Juniper, and Hicks Yew all tend toward an upright, narrow habit and grow to between 10 and 15 feet tall. For small columnar trees look to the Sky Pencil Holly and Vokel’s Upright Hinoki Cypress tree. The Hinoki Cypress is a dwarf columnar tree that stays under 5 feet tall. For additional choices, be sure to browse our online garden center.

How to Plant Columnar Trees

Dig a hole about twice the width of the root ball and almost as deep. Place your tree level in the hole. This is especially important with tall, narrow trees to maintain a clean, straight, upright look. Be sure the top of the root ball is slightly higher than the existing soil line and backfill with the existing soil. Water deeply until the water begins to pool. Apply 1 to 2 inches of mulch to help the soil retain moisture and reduce weeds.

How to Prune Columnar Trees

Fastigiate trees are generally chosen for their natural shape so pruning isn’t often necessary unless you are pruning for height control. It is important to note that topping an evergreen tree can slow upward growth and control height, but it will also result in a wider, bushier tree. Prune broken or dead branches when you notice them. Heavy pruning should generally be performed in late winter or early spring. A trim here and there or a minor shear to keep your tree looking neat can be done anytime except in mid to late fall (depending on your climate). Pruning stimulates new growth that is tender and can be damaged by freezing temperatures.

short columnar trees

Short Columnar Trees

These evergreen trees are great for small gardens and yards.

  • Blue Point Juniper
    Growing Zones 4-9
    Mature Size: 10 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide

    This pretty blue evergreen tree can get wider than most small columnar trees, but with its lovely color, uniform shape, deer resistance, and drought tolerance it should be a contender!

  • Emerald Green Arborvitae
    Growing Zones 3-8
    Mature Size: 12 to 14 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide

    This columnar Arborvitae tree looks beautiful in groups and privacy screens, but easily stands on its own as a nice specimen evergreen.

  • Hicks Yew
    Taxus x media 'Hicksii'
    Growing Zones 3-7
    Mature Size: 10 to 15 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide

    This cold hardy plant makes a nice privacy hedge or focal in a mixed bed. This tough columnar Yew tree is easy to grow and salt and pollution tolerant.

  • Sky Pencil Holly
    Growing Zones 5-9
    Mature Size: 6 to 8 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide

    This narrow holly is perfect for small spaces and containers. The Sky Pencil Holly is a broadleaf evergreen that offers an elegant look in a low maintenance plant.

  • Vokel’s Upright Hinoki Cypress
    Growing Zones 5-9
    Mature Size: 4 to 5 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide

    This dwarf columnar evergreen tree is funky and unique and ideal for a Zen or rock garden. Perfect in pots, low maintenance, and a great gift, this dwarf Hinoki Cypress tree is a top pick!

tall columnar trees

Tall Columnar Trees

These trees add beauty, privacy, and value to your home.

  • Italian Cypress Tree
    Growing Zones 7-10
    Mature Size: 50 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide

    This classic columnar tree is perfect for large homes and businesses. The fast growing Italian Cypress tree adds an upscale, polished look to your landscape and value to your home.

  • Lombardy Poplar
    Populus nigra 'Italica'
    Growing Zones 3-9
    Mature Size: 40 to 50 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide

    These deciduous columnar trees make nice windbreaks and privacy screens because of their low and dense branching. This upright poplar is easy to grow and very fast growing.

Browse Columnar Shrubs for more options for tight spaces in the landscape.