Trees For Special Situation

Trees For Shady Places

Many kinds of trees will grow reasonably well in poor light conditions if they are carefully planted in good soil with plenty of organic matter. Here is a sampling:
American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)
Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)
Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
Hemlock (Tsuga species)
Holly (Ilex species)
Mountain maple (Acer spicatum)
Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
Serviceberry (Amelanchier species)
Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
Umbrella pine (Pinus pinea)
Yew pine (Podocarpus macrophyllus)

Trees For Wet Places

If you have a space in your yard where the soil is compacted and drains poorly, here are a few trees species that tolerate moist to saturated soils.
Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
Ash (Fraxinus species)
Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)
Black alder (Alnus glutinosa)
Eastern larch (Larix laricina)
Holly (Ilex species)
Red maple (Acer rubrum)
Sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
Sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
Willow (Salix species)

Trees For Alkaline Soil

While most trees prefer acidic soils (pH 5.0 to 6.5), some trees can tolerate alkaline soil conditions. These include the following:
Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas)
Hedge maple (Acer campestre)
Littleleaf linden (Tilia cordata)
Marshall Seedless Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica ‘Marshall’)
Russian olive (Eleagnus angustifolia)
Thornless honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis)

Trees For Privacy & Security

Many trees are available that can divide or separate a yard space, screen for privacy, or just to hide an unsightly air conditioner unit or liquid natural gas container. Evergreens are best for year-round dividers and screens. A few good candidates include:
English holly (Ilex aquifolium)
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus species)
Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
Juniper (Juniperus species)
Pines (Pinus species)
Poplar (Populus species)
Russian olive (Eleagnus angustifolia)
Spruce (Picea species)
Yew (Taxus baccata)

Trees For City Conditions

If you live in an urban area, consider planting trees that are considered tough and better able to withstand the harsher conditions found in most urban environments. They can tolerate dry, compacted soils, air pollution, salt contamination, limited light, and tight growing spaces.
Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’)
Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas)
Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus)
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
Golden-rain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)
Honey locust (Gleditsia triancanthos)
Japanese pagoda tree (Sophora japonica)
Lavelle hawthorn (Crataegus x lavallei)
Linden (Tilia species)
Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
Oak (Quercus species)
Saucer magnolia (Magnolia stellata)
Sweet gum (Liqidambar styracifolia)
Washington hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum)
American holly (Ilex opaca)
Austrian pine (Pinus nigra)
Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum var. distichum)
Deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara)
Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris)
White fir (Abies concolor)

Trees For Wildlife

Songbirds and other small animals need trees for protection from predators such as cats, owls, and hawks. Plant trees in clumps, hedgerows or thickets. They will offer more cover than trees that stand-alone. Trees such as the following are good providers of shelter and food:
Alder (Alnus species)
Black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)
Butternut (Juglans cinerea)
Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)
Hollies (Ilex species)
Oaks (Quercus species)
Red mulberry (Morus rubra)
Serviceberry (Amelanchier species)
Spruce (Picea species)
White ash (Fraxinus americana)
For more information see file on Choosing Plants To Attract Birds.

see all questions...

Do you have a gardening question? Ask Nancy