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Shrub or Tree what's the Difference?

The difference between shrubs and trees

The growth habit of a tree is usually dominated by a central stem, the trunk or bole, with a head of branches sprouting from the top.
A shrub does not develop this central stem, instead their many stems branch out at different angles and usually creating a rounded shape.

The overlap between shrubs and trees

There is however an area of overlap between shrubs and trees. For example, Birch, Holly, Hazel, Hawthorn, Maple and some Willows may develop into shrubs or trees, depending on their location, climate, soil conditions and how they are pruned and maintained. Beech for example, is often grown as a hedge. Leyland cypress is also clipped into shrub-like shapes to make hedging.

The height and size difference between shrubs and trees

The other difference between shrubs and trees is in height. Trees may offer as much ornamental value as shrubs, but most take up a great deal of space when they reach maturity, and become harder to maintain as they grow out of reach. They may take many years to reach full height, so some might seem to have shrub like proportions at first.

Some shrubs can grow tall and wide, but they do respond better to pruning and maintenance, enabling you to control their ultimate size. Shrubs will not attain tree like heights, as they range in height from 1ft / 30cm to 20ft / 6m.


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