RECOMMENDED URBAN TREES​

How do you decide what to plant?  Beyond selecting a tree that will be happy with the available space, sunlight, soil, and moisture level in your yard, you might consider what purpose you’d like the tree to serve, such as shade, spring flowers, bird nesting, understory tree, food for pollinators, or sturdy limbs for climbing or a swing. The following list groups trees according to size. Trees are listed by common name followed by Latin name and are native to U.S. unless indicated otherwise. 

Large Trees (40-80 ft) 

  •  ‘October Glory’ Red Maple (Acer rubrum ‘October Glory’) 

  • ‘Red Sunset’ Red Maple (Acer rubrum ‘Red Sunset’) 

  • River Birch (Betula nigra). Should not be planted too close to house. Very fast grower. 

  • European Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) (non-native) 

  • Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) 

  • Thornless Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos var inermis) – a thornless variety; ‘Christie’ (Halka) produces few pods. 

  • Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus) 

  • Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) – a fast-growing, tall tree, best grown in a lawn as it needs plenty of space 

  • Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor) 

  • Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea) 

  • Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

  • Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) 

  • American Linden/American Basswood (Tilia americana) 

  • Littleleaf Linden (Tilia cordata) (non-native) 

  • ‘Princeton‘ American Elm (Ulmus americana ‘Princeton’) – fast-growing variety with resistance to Dutch Elm Disease; vase-shaped canopy 

  • Zelkova ‘Green Vase’ (Zelkova serrata ‘Green Vase’) (non-native) 

Name/Description of tree

Classification (big, medium, small)

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Name/Description of tree

Classification (big, medium, small)

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Medium Trees (30-40 ft) 

 

Small Trees (less than 30 ft) 

  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier sp.) 

  • Crabapple ‘Prairifire’, (Malus sp. – many hybrids) 

  • Hawthorn ‘Winter King’  (Crataegus viridis) 

  • Cockspur Hawthorn ‘Cruzam’ or ‘Crusader’ (Crataegus crusgalli var. inermis) – virtually thornless variety of the native species; a lower tree suitable for under overhead wires. 

  • Japanese Tree Lilac ‘Ivory Silk’ (Syringa reticulata) (non-native) 

  • Redbud (Cercis canadensis) 

  • Paper Bark Maple (Acer griseum) 

  • Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) 

  • Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) 

  • Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) 

 

Shrubs and Understory Trees (less than 25 ft). 

Suitable for planting in part-shade below a canopy tree. Note that some of the species listed below are shrub-like rather than tree-like in form. 

  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier sp.) 

  • Redbud (Cercis canadensis) 

  • Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) 

  • Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) 

  • Red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) 

  • Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) 

  • Sweet Pepper bush (Clethra alnifolia) 

  • Red twig dogwood (Cornus sericea)

  • Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) 

  • American Plum (Prunus americana) 

 

Additional information about these and many other species can be found in Trees, Shrubs and Vines for Low Maintenance Landscapes and at UConn Plant Database or NC State University Trees.  For further resources, click here.