Ball trees have the advantage that, unlike other trees, they do not grow so big. Their size remains manageable. Depending on the species, there are trees that are up to 10 meters high with their crowns, but also smaller ones that rarely reach 4 meters. So you have to choose well. The expected final size and also the annual growth are important. The spherical shape and the manageable size are mostly the result of a head refinement. The crown sits on a trunk of a fast-growing species. This is common and also makes sense.

Sphere tree species and their care

There are numerous different species of spherical trees, deciduous trees and conifers. Some have a naturally round crown, others have to be cut into shape, as the crowns are a bit wider than spherical. But it’s easy and if you don’t mind not having an exact geometric sphere, you usually don’t have to cut at all. The trees differ somewhat in terms of care, but they are all not very care-intensive and are usually also suitable for beginners and people with little time.

Ball black locust – Robinia pseudo ‘Umbraculifera’

The black locust is also called the ball acacia because of its pinnate leaves, which are similar to those of acacias. The tree reaches a stature height of 3 to 4 meters, with a trunk height of about 2.50 meters. The tree is very fast-growing, especially at a young age. The trunk becomes thicker with age, but the trunk height remains the same. Only the crown grows. It is easy to cut and can be cut back to any desired size. The tree impresses with its beautiful autumn color. Unfortunately, the beautiful flowers of the normal black locust do not appear on the black locust. With them it would be the ideal ball tree. For that he smells kind of good.

  • Location – sunny and sheltered from the wind. Can handle extreme heat.
  • Soil – dry to moist, well-drained, acidic to alkaline and rich in nutrients
  • Can be planted all year round except when there is frost
  • From October to April – bale goods – often cheaper than container goods
  • Water only freshly planted trees – until they grow
  • Fertilizing – compost in the spring
  • Sufficiently hardy
  • Cut – easy to cut, although no cut is required. The crown grows round. But tolerates a radical cut. Due to the rapid growth, the crown is large and round again after a year. In later years, a crown pruning is recommended for rejuvenation. If possible, don’t leave any stumps!
  • The best time to cut – the end of winter.
  • Propagation – head refinement
  • The unfinished base often has runners. They have to be removed!
  • Pests – lice, locust miner moth
  • Diseases – leaf spot disease – fungal disease, shown by small spots on the leaves. Do not leave leaves lying around after they have fallen. Collect and dispose of all

Ball maple – Acer platanoides ‘Globosum’

The spherical maple is one of the most popular spherical trees. It is 4 to 6 meters high and 5 meters wide and is probably the most ideal garden tree for small gardens. Even without a cut, the crown remains round and becomes a little wider than it is tall with age. With an early winter cut you can always keep the crown in shape. The tree blooms in April, usually before the leaves have sprouted. The bright yellow autumn color is particularly interesting. The spherical maple is very easy to care for and, once it has grown, usually gets by with almost no care.

  • Location – sunny to partially shaded
  • Soil – fresh, moderately dry, rather slightly moist, loose and slightly calcareous substrate
  • Water well after plants
  • Pouring edge is cheap
  • Fertilize unnecessarily, maximum compost in the spring
  • Sufficiently hardy – protect young trees a little
  • Cut possible, but unnecessary. Only cut in winter because of “bleeding”. Radical cuts are also possible to rebuild the crown.
  • Propagation through head grafting (on Norway maple)
  • No serious pests
  • Diseases – red pustular disease, Verticillium wilt, and powdery mildew

Kugel-Esche – Fraxinus excelsior ‘Nana’

The ball ash is a small-crowned house construction for sufficiently moist garden areas. The tree can grow to be 4 to 6 meters high and 2 to 3 meters wide. The crown develops rather like an umbrella, not really round. The tree looks very elegant and grows very slowly. The spherical ash does not bloom and the autumn color is not as pronounced as in other spherical trees. Ash dying is a problem. It is spreading a lot. In some countries, up to 90 percent of all ash trees are affected.

  • Location – sunny to partially shaded, tolerates a lot of wind, loves warmth
  • Soil – fresh and slightly damp, deep. Not suitable for dry and compacted soils.
  • Fertilizing with compost
  • Good winter hardiness in older trees, somewhat endangered by late frost when young
  • Unusual cut, but quite possible. A larger pruning should be spread over several years.
  • Pests
    • Ash beetle – an infestation can lead to the death of the tree
    • Rush cicada – can cause great damage
    • Ash leaf nest louse and ash branch louse
  • Diseases
    • Ash cancer – infested with bacteria and fungi
    • Ash dieback – dead spots on trunks and twigs without the flow of mucus, withering and falling off of the leaves, withering of the point and top shoots up to the death of the crowns, especially on young trees

Ball Sweet Gum – Liquidamar styraciflua Gumball

The spherical amber tree is an impressive wood. Especially in autumn it is a feast for the eyes. Hardly any other tree offers such a leaf color. The spherical sweetgum tree is about 3 to 7 meters high and 3 to 5 meters wide, depending on the trunk height. The trunk height is usually around 2.50 meters. The height of the tree depends on the level of refinement. The crown grows wonderfully spherical, even without a cut. The trunk stays at the same height, it just gets thicker. The flowers and fruits are rather inconspicuous. The foliage and growth habit are convincing. The tree is undemanding, insensitive and robust.

  • Location – sunny and sheltered from the wind to avoid wind breakage
  • Soil – loose, slightly acidic, humus-rich and moderately rich in nutrients
  • Loves open ground and should not be underplanted.
  • Watering when dry
  • Avoid waterlogging
  • Fertilize with compost in spring and / or autumn
  • Older trees are reliably hardy. Protect young trees for the first three years. Wrap the trunk with fleece.
  • Cut possible, but mostly unnecessary. It is advisable to perform a crown cut for rejuvenation in later years
  • Propagation – head refinement
  • Diseases and pests almost unknown

Kugelplatane – Platanus hispanica ‘Alphens Globe’

The spherical plane is a 3 to 4 meter high tree with a spherical, evenly growing crown. The tree is reminiscent of the plane trees of southern countries. The flowering in May is rather inconspicuous. The bristly, spherical fruits that hang on the tree in autumn are more decorative. The leaves are also a great ornament, especially in autumn when they turn yellow ocher. The ball-shaped crown can reach a diameter of up to 6 meters.

  • Location – sunny to partially shaded and not too humid, heat-resistant
  • Soil – normal garden soil, but prefers deep and well-drained soil
  • Easily transplanted
  • Pour only in the case of prolonged drought and in the time until it grows
  • Fertilize in May with an NPK fertilizer
  • Cut – very cut compatible, but you only cut older and diseased specimens (topiary, crown care)
  • Well hardy
  • Propagation – head refinement
  • Diseases – fungal diseases, mainly in spring – pruning back into healthy wood (affected branches turn brown, the wood decomposes. Massaria)

Round Marsh Oak – Quercus palustris ‘Green Dwarf’

The globular swamp oak is a not so common, small globular tree, which is weak-growing and particularly shines with its intense autumn color. The wood is a good alternative to the typical spherical trees that can be found in many gardens. The small crown stays nice and round even without a cut. It is not uncommon for it to only reach a diameter of 1.5 meters. The trunk height is about 2.5 meters. In addition to the autumn color, the brown acorns and the gold-colored catkins should also be emphasized.

  • Location – sunny to partially shaded
  • Soil – deep, fresh and moist, acidic to slightly alkaline. If the soil is too dry – powdery mildew
  • Water if necessary, the soil must not dry out. But avoid waterlogging.
  • Only fertilize with compost
  • Cut – cut back in autumn (round cut) promotes the growth density (branching)
  • Sufficiently hardy
  • Propagation – head refinement
  • Diseases – oak powdery mildew, leaf spot disease, oak dieback and white rot from oak fire trunk
  • Pests – oak gall wasp, oak moth and oak processionary moth

Ball Trumpet Tree – Catalpa bignonioides ‘Nana’

The ball trumpet tree is enjoying increasing popularity. This is certainly due to its interesting appearance, but also because it is very easy to care for and does not get too big. It is an ideal house tree for smaller gardens, but a reliable shade tree for small seating areas. It also offers birds many hiding places and nesting opportunities. The large leaves of the tree lie on top of each other like roof tiles and thus form a closed, shade-giving spherical crown. The ball trumpet tree is 3 to 4 high and just as wide. With age, the crown widens increasingly, but retains a very beautiful shape, actually looks better than so round. It gets a beautiful autumn color in bright yellow.

  • Location – sunny to maximum partial shade and sheltered from the wind, tolerates great drought, likes sheltered locations
  • Soil – nutrient-rich and moist, but it can also be dry
  • Can be kept in a bucket at a young age, but winter protection is then necessary
  • Water and fertilize sufficiently
  • Sufficiently hardy, only young trees are somewhat sensitive to frost and should be well protected.
  • Can be pruned, but uncommon when pruning from February to March
  • From the point of refinement, leave about 1/3 of the crown. The tree sprouts again quickly.
  • In the case of older specimens, it is sufficient to thin out
  • Propagation through crown refinement
  • Diseases – Verticillium wilt, burn crust fungus
  • Pests – lice

Kugelsteppenkirsche – Prunis fruticosas

The globular steppe cherry is a rather small tree with a crown diameter of about 2 meters. The crown is nicely twisted. The trunk becomes wider, but its height does not change. It’s a grafted tree. Many of the trees are offered with a trunk height of 2.20 meters. The tree does not get much higher than 4 meters with the crown. The numerous small, white flowers that appear from the end of March until May are very beautiful. The dark red, but inconspicuous fruits are partly edible. The autumn colors are particularly beautiful here again. The leaves turn from green to dark red and then yellow.

  • Location – sunny to partially shaded, loves warmth
  • Normal garden soil, but likes to be rich in nutrients, loamy and neutral to alkaline. Heavy soil is not tolerated. No soil compaction
  • Water and fertilize sufficiently
  • Well hardy
  • Cut – Round cut in autumn promotes branching and thus the growth density. However, a cut is not absolutely necessary.
  • Propagation – head refinement
  • Diseases and pests are rare. Fungi can occur, especially at the sensitive finishing point

Ball Ginkgo – Ginkgo biloba Mariken

The spherical ginkgo is a small, slow-growing, compact to spherical wood. The spherical shape of the crown is retained even without a cut. The tree becomes 3 to 4 meters high and about 80 centimeters wide. The flowers and fruits are inconspicuous. The ginkgo is popular because of its beautiful fan-shaped leaves and its great, bright yellow foliage in autumn. The tree is very robust and easy to care for.

  • Location – from sunny to shady
  • Soil – suitable for any soil. No soil compaction. A nutrient-rich substrate is ideal.
  • Suitable for keeping in a bucket
  • Water and fertilize normally, do not let the soil dry out completely.
  • Well hardy, but young plants need good protection (sticks). Hibernate potted plants frost-free (can also be dark, as they shed deciduous trees)
  • Incision – not necessary to preserve the crown, but possible. Well tolerated by cutting. Crown cutting recommended for rejuvenation in older years.
  • Propagation – head refinement
  • Diseases and pests occur very rarely and then mostly only in weakened trees. The ginkgo is one of the least susceptible woody plants.

There are a lot of different spherical trees. When choosing, you can largely concentrate on your personal taste. They are all not particularly large and are also suitable for small gardens. Most of them don’t even need to be trimmed to get the spherical crown. So it depends on whether you are looking for a tree that blooms, that bears fruit, has beautiful foliage in summer or autumn, or unusual leaves. If you are looking for a place in the shade for your garden bench, you have to take a tree with a slightly larger crown, such as the ball trumpet construction. That is not served with a ginkgo. In the end it is often a question of price, because there are quite a few differences.

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