My Ten Favorite Trees

November 26, 2013

Why would you plant a particular tree instead of another kind? People often ask me what kind of tree to plant, and then I start asking questions. There’s a place for every tree and a tree for every place; you just have to narrow it down based on what conditions you have and what benefits you want from the tree. Here is my own personal “short list” of tree varieties we find ourselves recommending most often, and planting in landscapes we design.

“Emerald Queen” Norway maple: Fast-growing shade tree known for hardiness and shiny green foliage under tough conditions. Dense oval crown provides absolute shade. Very popular in the plains states where there is constant wind. 50 feet tall, 35 spread.

“Norwegian Sunset” Shantung maple: Dense, compact shade tree with shiny foliage and great fall color. Very rugged and hardy; perfect medium-sized shade tree for home landscapes, only thirty feet tall and wide. Similar to “Emerald Queen” but with showier fall color.

Maidenhair tree (Gingko): The oldest known tree still in existence. Very hardy and rugged, drought tolerant once established. Showy lemon yellow fall color. Slow grower to 30 feet wide, 50 feet tall. This tree has survived since pre-history!

Thornless Honeylocust: Ideal tree for filtered shade over paved areas; has almost no leaf litter, sap or fruit drop. Drought tolerant; can survive in a hole in concrete so it’s popular for street tree or parking lot shade. Tough wood resists breakage. Disease free. 35’ spread, 50 ft. tall

Norway Spruce: The best spruce for southern Ohio. Fast-growing privacy screen or windbreak tree. Well adapted to clay soils. Grows rapidly to 25’wide and 50’ tall.

“Fat Albert” Blue Spruce: Compact blue spruce prized for its stunning silver-blue foliage. Dense branching, wide spreading habit, Grows slowly to 15-20 feet wide and up to 40 feet tall.

“Bloodgood” London planetree: Non-fruiting cousin of American Sycamore, a creek-bank native. Tolerates extreme wet and dry conditions, clay soil. Handsome peeling bark, white trunk color. Fast grower to 50-70 feet. Our favorite fast-growing shade tree.

“Cleveland Select” Ornamental pear: Narrow, upright-growing form of ornamental pear ideal for driveways, street trees and small spaces. Showy white bloom, purple-red late fall foliage. Resists splitting. Hardy. Grows rapidly to 15’ wide, 25’ tall.

Willow Oak: Fast-growing pyramidal shade tree similar to pin oak in habit but with narrow oval leaves. Very popular park and street tree in the eastern and southeastern US. Grows to 70 feet tall and wide. The biggest willow oak at GoodSeed Farm gets more compliments than any other tree we have.

Bald Cypress: Problem-solver for shade in wet areas or next to ponds. Grows to a majestic 60 feet, 35 feet wide, can grow in standing water or on dry sites. Fernlike sage-green foliage similar to Dawn redwood.

There you have it. These are the trees we plant most often, and recommend most often. Chances are one of them will fit the exact situation you have.

Steve Boehme and his wife Marjorie own GoodSeed Nursery & Landscape, located at 9736 Tri-County Highway, near Winchester, Ohio. More information is available at or call (937) 587-7021.