Topiary Trees and the Environment
Image by LilipilySpirit via Deviant Art

Topiary Trees and the Environment

Topiary gardening involves growing and trimming shrubs, trees, and other plants into specific shapes and has been a well-known garden style for many centuries. However, while topiary has been a popular practice for a long time, people don’t necessarily understand how topiary trees can impact the environment.

As this article will show, topiary trees can have an incredibly positive effect on the natural world. Simultaneously, topiary tree farms can follow plenty of sustainable practices that minimize environmental harm, which you’ll learn about as well. Read on to learn how topiary trees can be not only beautiful but also entirely ecologically friendly at the same time.

How Do Topiaries Impact the Environment?
Image by Joe Wolfvia flickr

How Do Topiaries Impact the Environment?

Although the environmental impact may not be the top concern for many topiary enthusiasts, the plants within a topiary garden can deliver some fantastic eco-friendly benefits. Admittedly, the environmental benefits of topiary are not much different from those a typical garden that includes shrubs would provide, but they are worth pointing out, nonetheless.

Perhaps the most significant positive environmental impact a topiary garden can impart is an improvement in overall air quality. As is true of other plants, topiary shrubs absorb carbon dioxide and release clean oxygen back into the air we breathe. Since increasing levels of carbon dioxide correlate to higher global temperatures, topiary gardens can help reduce the impact of worldwide climate change to a small degree.

But while the global impact is important, the local effects of topiary gardens are even more noticeable over the short term. For instance, a strategically placed topiary hedge can help reduce noise pollution by absorbing sound waves. This creates a more peaceful environment in which humans and wildlife can enjoy solitude, even when cars and other loud machinery operate nearby.

Speaking of wildlife, the creatures in your local ecosystem may also appreciate it if you plant a topiary garden. The reason is that the shrubs that comprise these gardens are excellent at providing shelter for small animals. This gives those animals a better chance of surviving and reproducing, leading to a more vigorous and biodiverse ecosystem.

Lastly, another environmental benefit of topiary gardens is that they simply make the landscape more attractive than it likely was before. While the overall aesthetic appeal of a landscape does not automatically imply that it is environmentally friendly, it can have a more subtle impact. The underlying reason is that when people see a landscape is clean, attractive, and well-tended, they are more likely to value it and adopt an environmentally minded approach as they care for it themselves.

The Sustainability of Topiary Tree Farming
Image by Mangrove Mikevia flickr

The Sustainability of Topiary Tree Farming

By now, it’s clear that a topiary garden can provide some amazing environmental impact. However, you might be wondering if the topiary tree farming industry is environmentally friendly as well. Each topiary tree farm will follow different environmental guidelines, but fortunately, many grow, harvest, and sell their trees sustainably.

The most sustainable topiary tree farms follow a few common practices to ensure their operations do not cause undue environmental harm. One of the best of those practices is the planting of native species. Planting native species helps the local environment and reduces minimizes the spread of invasives whether you run a tree farm or not.

Along with planting native species, the way farms care for their trees also plays a big role. For example, sustainable tree farms typically use organic fertilizer rather than synthetic fertilizer. While synthetic fertilizers are effective, they often leech harmful chemicals into the soil. By contrast, organic fertilizers like compost and manure rely on natural materials to enrich the soil without causing any long-term harm.

Another important aspect to consider when determining if a topiary tree farm is sustainable is how they use water. Of course, trees need water to survive, but the way you provide water determines how much you waste and how much of an environmental impact your watering habits have. The best sustainable topiary tree farms follow water conservation tactics so that their trees get the moisture they need while wasting as little excess water as possible.

Additionally, running a topiary tree farm requires some amount of energy. While it’s possible to get that energy from fossil fuels, the most environmentally friendly tree farms do their best to operate using renewable energy sources, including solar and wind.

How to Choose Eco-Friendly Topiary Trees

The level of eco-friendliness that your topiary garden achieves is not only a matter of choosing plants from a sustainable nursery. It also relies on your planting decisions as well. Mainly, it is best to choose eco-friendly topiary plants whenever possible.

At times, it can be difficult to determine which plants are more eco-friendly than others. Since that’s the case, we decided to make your plant selection process a little bit easier by listing a few of the most environmentally friendly topiary tree options that you can use:

Of course, there are plenty of other eco-friendly topiary tree options for you to choose from. But if you don’t want to take time to do the research on your own, the list above gives you plenty of topiary plant options that you can start growing today.


There is no doubt that topiary tree gardening results in some incredibly attractive plant displays, but you now know that it can be environmentally friendly as well. Like most plants, topiary trees have some inherent benefits that they provide to the ecosystem. However, much of the overall sustainability of the topiary trade comes down to how farms grow and care for the trees they sell. With that said, there are efforts you can make as well to ensure your topiary garden is sustainable. As we mentioned above, by buying trees from reputable nurseries and choosing eco-friendly topiary species, you will be doing your part to ensure that your topiary contributes to a healthier and more vibrant world in the future.