My garden has an ash tree that is about 7 meters high, and I would like to replace it.

The issue with the current tree is that:

  • It has been planted too close to the neighbour's garden. For this reason, the previous owners pruned it so that branches don't grow over their garden but leaving it all protruding into our garden. This has resulted it in having an ugly shape.
  • Over the years, it has been poorly pruned, and the branches seem to be all grooved close together.
  • It's also growing too close to our house with branches growing against walls and windows.

I'd like to cut it down and replace it with a new tree in a better position in the garden. I'd like the new tree to be:

  • Ideal for German climate
  • Native to Germany/northern Europe
  • Possibly without fruits
  • Deciduous (so it can let light through in winter /shade in summer)

Any suggestions? Or are there apps/websites out there that can be used to filter through some of my criteria?

Ash tree

  • 1
    Nice that you still have an ash tree, mature ones are gone from my area due to the emerald ash borer
    – kevinskio
    Aug 9, 2022 at 10:46
  • @Ecnerwal I've edited the question. Those bullet points were taken from some notes that I had and what I meant was actually "no fruits". I've also removed the point that it should reach a specific height - it's actually not that important. The diameter of the foliage shouldn't be an issue as I can simply plant the tree more centred in the garden. Hopefully, that allows for more options, including smaller trees.
    – Martin
    Aug 9, 2022 at 11:50
  • If you have the space (in a different location) that opens up many options, though other than (presumably non-native) things like ornamental cherries that only bloom and don't fruit, there's few trees that don't make some sort of effort at seeding, albeit we might not consider the result to be "fruit" as such.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 9, 2022 at 12:11

1 Answer 1


Have you considered silver birch (Betula pendula)? To quote the RHS:

An elegant medium-sized deciduous tree with slender drooping twigs. Bark white, becoming black and rugged at base. Leaves ovate, yellow in autumn. Flowers in catkins.

And Wikipedia:

The silver birch grows naturally from western Europe eastwards to Kazakhstan, the Sakha Republic in Siberia, Mongolia, and the Xinjiang province in China, and southwards to the mountains of the Caucasus and northern Iran, Iraq, and Turkey.

And - drumroll - if it gets too big, you can can cut it down to ground level and it should (no guarantees, but I've done this and it did) regrow as a multi-stemmed tree.

  • 1
    @Martin check if you have birch borer or birch leaf miner in your area. Those pests can kill a lot of birches
    – kevinskio
    Aug 9, 2022 at 20:24

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