Celebrating Arbor Day with Top Tree Picks

Celebrating Arbor Day with Top Tree Picks
Posted on 04/12/2019
Hands planting a tree

In addition to providing beautiful foliage andshade on warm days, trees play a vital role in our community. According to the National Arbor Day Foundation, trees increase property values, reduce
energy consumption, improve air quality and provide crucial habitat for wildlife.

We have been a proud Tree City USA community more than 30 consecutive years. We spend three times more on urban forestry per capita than required to meet the designation.

Plant a free sapling

After the Mayor signs the annual Arbor Day proclamation at the April 16 City Council meeting, free redbud tree seedlings will be available in the lobby of City Hall, while supplies last. Take one and plant it in your yard!

Help us maintain the urban forest

Be a good caretaker of the trees on your property by learning about proper tree maintenance, including pruning in the right of way, and identifying diseases and pests. Useful tree care tips

Top tree picks

Are you planning to plant a sapling this spring? From stately street trees to backyard shade trees to stunning ornamental varieties, our stormwater staff have selected 10 favorite trees that are naturally adapted to the area to thrive in your landscape for many years to come.

  • Dawn redwood: H: 40–50' | W: 15–25'
    This fast-growing tree has a pyramidal shape, exfoliating bark and fine leaf texture. It's best used as an ornamental or street tree. Plant in moist soil.

  • Kentucky Coffeetree: H: 50–60' | W: 40–50'
    This tree is known for winter interest, with large, bean-like pods. It can be planted in any soil condition, wet or
    dry, but must receive full sun. Plant away from power lines, structures, sidewalks and sewers.

  • Redbud: H: 20–30' | W: 25–35'
    This very adaptable tree produces pink-purple flowers on bare branches in the spring, followed by heart-shaped leaves. Plant in a more protected area; a good understory tree.

  • Flowering Dogwood: H: 12–15' | W: 20–30'
    Grown mainly for spring flowers, this tree can also have spectacular fall color. The horizontal branches give it a
    layered look. Use only in partial shade or as an understory tree.

  • Paw Paw: H: 20–30' | W: 15–25'
    This tropical-looking tree has thick, drooping leaves and
    reddish-brown flowers. Its edible yellow fruits taste like a banana. Plant in moist, rich soil in either sun or shade.

  • Shumard Oak: H: 60–70' | W: 40–50'
    This is a great shade tree that tolerates drought, pollution
    and compacted soil. It displays vibrant red-orange fall colors and produces acorns.

  • Swamp White Oak: H: 60–70' | W: 30–40'
    This oak prefers sun and is good for acidic, moist, well-drained and wet soils. It is drought tolerant once established. Fall colors are yellow, bronze and red-purple. It produces acorns for wildlife.

  • Sugar Maple: H: 50–60' | W: 50–60'
    This slow-growing tree is worth the wait! Known as the perfect shade tree, it has gorgeous fall color, is heat tolerant and its leaf is tatter resistant.

  • Box Elder: H: 35–60' | W: 30–60'
    This drought-resistant native is an easy-to grow, very adaptable maple. It helps to shelter wildlife and stabilize stream banks.

  • Bald Cypress: H: 50–70' | W: 60–80'
    This stately tree likes water and will grow knobby "knees" at the base of its trunk in wet situations; it will tolerate dry locations, too. Its ferny leaves fall in autumn.

Think about these when planting a tree

Location: Where will the tree be planted? What is the sun/shade
situation? Is the area wet or dry? Is the area windy or sheltered? What type of soil will the tree be planted in?

Expectation: Do you want a tree that blooms? A shade tree? A tree with great fall color? What shape do you want?

Future care: What are the watering and pruning requirements? Are you going to maintain the tree? Will a lawn care company care for the tree?

Published April 12, 2019

Flowering Dogwood and RedbudPaw PawDawn RedwoodKentucky CoffeetreeSugar MapleBox ElderBald CypressSwamp White Oak and Shumard Oak

Flowering Dogwood and Redbud

Paw Paw

Dawn Redwood

Kentucky Coffeetree

Sugar Maple

Box Elder

Bald Cypress

Swamp White Oak and Shumard Oak