What to Consider When Selecting Trees
Where is the planting site located and what useful purpose will the tree serve?
- SPECIMEN - trees are selected for their unusually large size, showy blossoms, interesting foliage and fruit, or other unique quality.
- SHADE - trees block solar energy and provide relief from summer sun. Shade trees reduce energy demands of air-conditioned structures. They also provide homes for wildlife and enhance property values.
- BORDER -trees serve as screens and visual filters for unsightly urban activities. Border trees provide privacy, reduce undesirable wind, and absorb urban noise.
- STREET -trees provide beauty and aesthetic appeal for neighborhoods and business districts. Street trees reduce glare and reflection from sunlight and artificial light. They also reduce air pollution, noise levels, flooding, soil erosion and filter dust.
What are the site limitations for tree growth?
- SOIL TYPE AND MOISTURE - some trees grow best in rich fertile soils, while others may do fine in poor rocky soils. Consider the wetness or dryness of the site and how much moisture is available for plant growth.
- SPACE - growth varies with soil fertility, local rainfall, air temperature, tree age, and species.
During examination of the planting site, attention should be given to overhead utility lines, street lights, and business signs which may interfere with future tree growth. Oversized trees in such restricted spaces will require heavy pruning or unsightly topping. Good planning includes checking the planting site for space limitations on root, branch, and trunk growth and choosing the proper size tree for the planting site.
Consider DESIGN and AESTHETICS:
How well will the tree fit into the landscape? How will the tree affect the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch?
- COLOR - spring blossoms and fall-colored foliage provide visual attractiveness each season. Showy colorful fruits also add variety to landscape settings.
- FORM - upright branching allows pedestrian and vehicular traffic flow; low branching restricts this flow. Narrow-shaped trees are best in restricted growing spaces; broad-shaped trees are best for open areas with no space limitations.
- TEXTURE - bark may look or feel smooth, rough, scaly, blocky, peeling, or bumpy. Leaves may be large or small, simple or compound, soft or rough, thick or thin. texture provides variety and signifies formal or informal settings.
- APPEAL - fresh fruits, nuts, and berries are a bonus with many trees. Fragrant blossoms of the flowering trees are welcomed as opposed to the souring, smelly berries and fruits of a few trees.
(40' - 80')
|Ash, White||Lawn and shade||Fast||Deciduous||Grown best in moist, well-drained soils|
|Ash, Green||Lawn and shade||Fast||Deciduous||Disease resistant, upright form, non-fruiting (Marshall Seedless)|
|Baldcypress||Streetside and walkways||Medium||Deciduous||Suitable in poorly-drained sites, adapts to drought|
|Birch, River||Lawn and shade||Fast||Deciduous||Interesting peeling bark, lower branches droop|
|Blackgum||Lawn and shade||Slow||Deciduous||Pyramid shaped, oval leaves turn orange to bright scarlet in fall|
|Cedar, Deodar||Lawn and shade||Fast||Evergreen||Pyramidal form requires large planting area|
|Cypress, Leyland||Lawn and shade||Fast||Evergreen||Fast growing, makes excellent screen, useful as Christmas tree|
|Elm, Chinese(Lacebark)||Lawn and shade||Fast||Deciduous||Fast-growing and hardy, handsome ornamnetal with showy bark|
|Ginkgo||Streetside and walkways||Slow||Deciduous||May require 20 years to attain mature form, male preferred|
|Honeylocust, 'Skyline'||Streetside and walkways||Fast||Deciduous||Thornless and fruitless variety, subject to borers|
|Linden, American||Streetside and walkways|
Lawn and shade
|Medium||Deciduous||Drought tolerant, large shade tree|
|Magnolia, Southern||Lawn and shade||Medium||Evergreen||Maintain high organic content in soil, needs large growing space|
|Maple, Red||Lawn and shade||Fast||Deciduous||Protect thin bark on young plants from injury, hardy plant|
|Maple, Sugar||Lawn and shade||Medium||Deciduous||Recommended for planting in upper Piedmont and Mountains|
|Oak, Chestnut||Streetside and walkways||Medium||Deciduous||Drought resistant|
|Oak, Laurel (Darlington)||Streetside and walkways||Fast||Deciduous/Evergreen||Handsome shade tree, semi-evergreen|
|Oak, Live||Lawn and shade||Medium||Evergreen||Broad, spreading canopy, tolerant of soil compaction|
|Oak, Pin||Lawn and shade|
Streetside and walkways
|Fast||Deciduous||Hardy, easily transplanted, holds brown leaves through winter|
|Oak, Sawtooth||Lawn and shade||Medium||Deciduous||Excellent nut producer for urban wildlife|
|Oak, Scarlet||Streetside and walkways||Fast||Deciduous||Excellent multi-purpose tree, red fall color|
|Oak, Water||Lawn and shade||Medium||Deciduous||Sensitive to root disturbance, transplants easily|
|Oak, White||Lawn and shade||Slow||Deciduous||Majestic, long-lived specimen, handsome light grey bark|
|Oak, Willow||Streetside and walkways||Fast||Deciduous||Excellent multi-purpose tree, balanced shape|
|Palmetto, Cabbage||Streetside and walkways||Medium||Evergreen||Recommended for coastal areas to lower Midlands, tropical look|
|Pecan||Lawn and shade||Slow||Deciduous||Broad, open crown filters sunlight, brittle wood|
|Pine, Loblolly||Lawn and shade||Fast||Evergreen||Tolerates poor soil, use in mass as a buffer|
|Pine, Longleaf||Lawn and shade||Fast||Evergreen||Ice/snow accumulates on needles, suitable for dry sandy soils|
|Pine, White||Lawn and shade||Fast||Evergreen||Recommended for planting in upper Piedmont and Mountains|
|Planetree, London||Streetside and walkways||Fast||Deciduous||Hardy, tolerant of city conditions, creamy colored peeling bark|
|Redcedar, Eastern||Lawn and shade||Medium||Evergreen||Makes excellent buffer, tolerant of poor rocky soils|
|Sweetgum||Streetside and walkways||Medium||Deciduous||Seed-balls may be nuisance, easily killed by spreading fill dirt around trunk and roots|
|Sycamore||Streetside and walkways||Fast||Deciduous||Creamy white bark, leaf raking considered a nuisance|
|Tulip Poplar (Yellow Poplar)||Lawn and shade||Fast||Deciduous||Protect thin bark from injury, wood rots quickly, moist sites best|
|Zelkova, Japanese||Streetside and walkways||Medium||Deciduous||Short trunk, spreading branches, disease resistant|
|Cherry, Kwanzan||Streetside and walkways||Medium||Deciduous||Colorful double pink flowers|
|Cherry, Weeping||Lawn and shade||Medium||Deciduous||Graceful and airy, pink flowers|
|Cherry, Yoshino||Lawn and shade||Fast||Deciduous||Prolific flowering, most effective in front of evergreens|
|Crabapple, Flowering||Lawn and shade||Medium||Deciduous||Apples in late summer can be messy, white, pink, or red flowers|
|Crapemyrtle||Streetside and walkways||Fast||Deciduous||Multitrunked with white, pink, purple, or red flowers|
|Dogwood, Flowering||Streetside and walkways|
Lawn and shade
|Medium||Deciduous||Protect from bark damage, large white blooms, red berries|
|Dogwood, Kousa||Lawn and shade||Medium||Deciduous||White blooms in early summer, resistant to disease|
|Golden Raintree||Streetside and walkways||Medium||Deciduous||Showy, yellow flowers, requires well-drained soil|
|Holly, American||Streetside and walkways||Slow||Evergreen||Berries on female plants, spiny dark green leaves|
|Holly, Foster 'Hume #2'||Lawn and shade||Medium||Evergreen||Few spines on leaves|
|Holly, Foster 'Savannah'||Lawn and shade||Medium||Evergreen||Excellent fruiting|
|Holly, Foster 'Foster #2'||Lawn and shade||Medium||Evergreen||Strongly upright form|
|Loquat||Lawn and shade||Fast||Evergreen||Interesting espaliered plant, fragrant flowers in winter|
|Magnolia, Saucer||Lawn and shade||Medium||Deciduous||White to pink or purple flowers before leaves appear in spring|
|Maple, Japanese||Lawn and shade||Slow||Deciduous||Grows best in part shade, color may be green to purple|
|Plum, Pissard||Lawn and shade||Medium||Deciduous||Best growth in full sun, reddish purple foliage, light pink flowers|
|Redbud, Eastern||Streetside and walkways|
Lawn and shade
|Medium||Deciduous||Drought resistant, small purple flowers|
|Sourwood||Lawn and shade||Slow||Deciduous||White flowers in mid-summer, scarlet fall color|
|Sweetbay||Lawn and shade||Medium||Evergreen||Fragrant white flowers, thick green leaves|
|Waxmyrtle||Lawn and shade||Medium||Evergreen||Evergreen, combines well with junipers|
|Yaupon||Lawn and shade||Medium||Evergreen||Many red berries, hardy|