Columnar Plants

Smaller yards, tightly packed houses and the ever present need for privacy call for narrow plant solutions!  Here are a slew of options, from soft textured grasses to conifers to deciduous trees with beautiful fall color.  Speed of growth, ultimate mature size and habit (overall shape and angle/density of branching) can vary considerably depending on microclimate, soil type, sun (plus wind and cold) exposure, fertilizing, watering  and pruning. And remember - it is possible to control/limit the width of a plant (particularly shrubs) and still maintain a natural shape without overly compromising the structural integrity of the plant, like when topping or hedging, with a light annual pruning of side shoots towards the base/bottom of trunk.

* Denotes deer resistance

Grasses | Shrubs & Trees Under 10ft | Shrubs & Trees Over 10ft
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  Botanical Name

  Common Name


Grasses  *sizing includes inflorescence  
Calamagrostis 'El Dorado'   El Dorado Feather Reed Grass  4-5' H x 2' W, gold variegated, p.sun-sun   *
Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster'   Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass  5-6' H x 2' W, p.sun-sun, breaks dormancy in Feb!  *
Calamagrostis 'Overdam'  Overdam Feather Reed Grass  4-5' H x 2' W, white variegated, p.sun-sun *
Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal'  Heavy Metal Switch Grass  4-5' H x 2' W, blue w/gold fall color, delicate seed heads, wildlife *
Panicum v. 'Northwind'  Northwind Switch Grass  6-7' H x 3' W, blue/green w/gold fall color, stiffly vase shaped *
Schizachyrium scoparium 'Standing Ovation'  Standing Ovation Little Bluestem  3-4' H x 18-24" W, blue w/burgundy highlights, red/purple fall color, very hardy, holds up well in winter, good for wildlife *
Shrubs and Dwarf Trees UNDER 10'
Berberis thunbergii 'Helmond Pillar' Helmond Pillar Barberry 6' H x 2' W, deep purple, buttery yellow flowers, thorns * 
Berberis t. 'Orange Rocket' Orange Rocket Barberry  4-5 ' H x 2-3' W, emerges vivid orangey-red, pale yellow flowers, thorns *
Buxus 'Graham Blandy'  Graham Blandy American Boxwood  8-10' H x 2' W,  dense, tolerates varied sun-shade *
Cephalotaxus harringtonia 'Fastigiata'  Fastigiate Japanese Plum Yew  8-10' H x 3-5' W, deep green, coarse texture, tolerates full shade *
Cephalotaxus h.'Korean Gold'  Golden Japanese Plum Yew  6-10' H x 3-4' W, golden new growth, shade *
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Ellwoods Pillar'  Ellwoods Pillar Lawsons Cypress 3-5' H x 12-15" W dense blue foliage, p.sun-shade 
Chamaecyparis l. 'Snow White'  Snow White Port Orford Cedar/Lawsons Cypress 5-8' H x 18-24" W, blue foliage, p.sun-shade
Fatshedera lizei 'Angyo Star'  Angyo Star Tree Ivy  5-6' H x 2-3' W, creamy variegation, takes full and dry shade *
Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil'  Columnar Japanese Holly 5-6' H x 18-24" W, glossy dark green, sun to shade 
Malus 'Golden Sentinel' & 'Scarlet Sentinel'  etc Columnar Apple  8-10' H x 18-24" W, needs another apple to pollinate, dwarf rootstock
Rhamnus frangula 'Ron Williams'  Fine Line Buckthorn  5-7' H x 2-3' W, dense, wispy texture, seedless, gold fall color
Taxus x media 'Beanpole'  Beanpole Yew 

6-10' H x 1' W, red berries (toxic), p.sun - shade

Shrubs and Trees OVER 10'  **sizing generally reflects 10-20+ year estimates    
Abies concolor 'Blue Cloak' Blue Cloak White Fir 10-15' H x 4' W, very blue, touchable, pendulous branches *
Acer palmatum 'Shishigashira' Lions Head Japanese Maple 8-15' H x 6-8' W, crinkled green leaves, quite dense, slow, golden-orange/red fall 
Acer palmatum 'Skeeters Broom' Skeeters Broom Dwarf Japanese Maple 6-8' H x 3-4' W, burgundy foliage, holds color well in summer & shade 
Acer platinoides 'Crimson Sentry'  Crimson Sentry Norway Maple 25' H x 15' W, burgundy foliage, gold in fall, p.sun 
Acer rubrum 'Armstrong' and 'Armstrong Gold'  Armstrong Columnar Red Maple  45' H x 15' W, gold-orange/red fall color 
Acer rubrum 'Bowhall'  Bowhall Columnar Red Maple  40' H x 15' W, uniform habit, gold-orange/red in fall 
Acer saccharum 'Apollo'  Apollo Sugar Maple 30' H x 10' W, dense, big leaves, gold-red in fall 
Betula platyphylla 'Fargo'   Dakota Pinnalce Birch 40' H x 15' W, white bark, gold fall color 
Carpinus betulus 'Frans Fontaine' Frans Fontaine Hornbeam  35' H x 15' W, small foliage, low branched
Cedrus atlantica glauca 'Fastigiata' Columnar Blue Atlas Cedar 25-35' H x 12-15' W, blue, more stiff/dense than species *
Cedrus deodara 'Karl Fuchs'  Karl Fuchs Himalayan Cedar  15-30' H x 6-10' W, super hardy, thin/wispy, layered, pendulous branches *
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Gracilis'  Slender Hinoki False Cypress 8-15' H x 4-6' W, tiered/sculptural branching, p.sun-shade 
Chionanthus retusus 'Tokyo Tower'   Tokyo Tower Chinese Fringe Tree  20' H x 10' W, slow, peeling bark, fringy white blooms late spring, blue fruit, gold in fall 
Cupressus arizonica v. glabra 'Chaparral' Chaparral Arizona Cypress 10-12' H x 4-6' W,  sage green, SW native, SUN, xeric
Cupressus arizonica v. glabra 'Sulphurea' Yellow Arizona Cypress 15' H x 4-6' W, golden tips, FULL sun, little-no water once established
Cupressus macrocarpa 'Wilma Goldcrest'  Wilma Goldcrest Monterey Cypress  10-15' H x 2-3' W, lemon scented gold-lime green foliage, protected spots are best, sun-shade *
Cupressus sempervirens 'Compacta' Dwarf Italian Cyrpress 20-25' H x 3' W, slow growing dwarf 
Cupressus s. 'Glauca'   Blue Italian Cypress 30'+ H x 3' W, blue/green foliage 
Ginkgo biloba 'Princeton Sentry'  Princetone Sentry Gingko  40' H x 15' W, seedless male, gold in fall, unique leaf * 
Juniperus scopulorum 'Blue Arrow'  Blue Arrow Rocky Mountain Juniper 12-15' H x 2' W, improved blue form, more uniform and tight * 
Juniperus scopulorum 'Sky Rocket'  Sky Rocket Rocky Mountain Juniper  15-20' H x 3' W, blue/green, drought/heat tolerant *
Liriodendron tulipifera 'Fastigiata'  Fastigiate Tulip Tree  50' H x 15' W, fast, golden/orange/green cup shaped flowers late spring, great for pollinators, golden fall color, tulip leaf shape 
Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem'  Dwarf Southern Magnolia  15-20' H x 7-10' W, evergreen w/fuzzy brown indumentum, compact habit, fragrant ivory flowers, low branched *
Parrotia persica 'Persian Spire' Persian Spire Persian Ironwood 25' H x 10' W, purple margins on new growth, dense, low branching, rainbow fall color, p.sun-sun
Parrotia p. 'Vanessa' Vanessa Persian Ironwood 28' H x 14' W, narrow vase shape, slow, orange/red fall color 
Picea pungens glauca 'Blue Totem'  Blue Totem Blue Spruce

12-15' H x 2-3' W,  dwarf, very blue, dense *

Picea p.g. 'Fastigiata'  Fastigiate Blue Spruce 15-20' H x 4-5' W, consistant blue color, slow * 
Pinus cembra 'Glauca Nana'  Dwarf Swiss Stone Pine 8-10' H x 4-6' W, soft blue/green needles, p.sun * 
Pinus nigra 'Frank's Columnar'  Franks Columnar Austrian Pine 10' H x 2-4' W, slow, very tight/dense, shorter needles than species * 
Pinus n. 'Green Tower' Green Tower Austrian Pine 10-15' H x 2-3' W, bright green, long neeedles  * 
Pinus parviflora'Cleary' Cleary Japanese White Pine  10-15' H x 3-6' W, soft, short blue/green needles, tiered branching, fancy pinecone clusters  *
Pinus sylvestris 'Fastigiata'  Fastigiate Scotch Pine 20-25' H x 6-8' W, fast, blue/green needles, reddish bark  * 
Podocarpus macrophyllus 'Maki'  Shrubby Japanese Yew 8-15' H x 4-5' W, loose/pendulous w/out pruning, protected sites reccomended, p.sun-shade
Populus tremuloides Quaking Aspen 30-40' H x 15' W, light grey suede-like bark, fluttering leaves, gold in fall, WILL colonize, likes water
Populus t. 'Summer Shimmer' Summer Shimmer Aspen 30-40' H x 15' W, disease resistant w/clean, larger summer foliage, vigorous, but less likely to sucker/colonize, gold in fall
Populus tremula 'Erecta' Swedish Columnar Aspen 40' H x 10' W, Euro species, seedless, less prone to suckering, gold-rusty orange in fall 
Prunus x cerasifera 'Crimson Pointe' Crimson Pointe Flowering Plum 25' H x 10' W, burgundy foliage, pink buds/white blooms spring, 1" red fruits, fast, reddish fall color 
Prunus serrulata 'Amanogawa'  Amanogawa Japanese Flowering Cherry  20' H x 6' W, semi-double pale pink flowers spring, bronze in fall 
Pyrus calleryana 'Chanticleer'  Chanticleer Flowering Pear 40' H x 15' W, tolerates clay, fireblight resistant, white spring blooms, mini asian pear-like fruit clusters, rusty-red fall color
Rhamnus frangula 'Columnaris'   Tallhedge Buckthorn  12-15' H x 3-4' W,  tiny black berries, gold fall color, pollinators/birds!
Quercus 'Crimson Spire'  Crimson Spire Oak   45' H x 15' W, dense, low branching, rusty-red fall color, holds leaves 
Quercus robur 'Fastigiata'   Skyrocket English Oak  45' H x 15' W, dense, low branching, great windbreak, wildlife 
Styrax japonica 'Evening Light' Evening Light Japanese Snowbell 15' H x 10' W, dark purple foliage, white flowers late spring, grey/green berries, p.sun 
Taxus baccata 'Stricta' Irish Yew 10-20' H x 3-5' W, p.sun-shade, red berries, larger needles, p.sun
Taxus x media 'Hicksii' Hicks Yew 10-20' H x 3-6' W, often kept shorter, red berries (toxic), p.sun-shade
Taxus x media 'H.M. Eddie' H.M. Eddie Yew 10-15' H x 3-4' W, fruitless, p.sun-shade 
Thuja plicata 'Atrovirens'  Atrovirens Western Red Cedar 25-30' H x 4-8' W, coastal native, p.sun-sun, tolerates wet soils, bronzes up in colder months 
Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd' Emerald Green Arborvitae 15' H x 3-4' W, p.sun, very dense, sensitive to heavy soils/wet 
Zelkova serrata 'Musashino' Musashino Japanese Elm 45' H x 15' W,  very dense/upright branching, yellow fall color