Garden-Friendly Trees


You’ll have little luck trying to plant at the base of this beech… but other trees have roots that are more garden-friendly. Photo:

Here are a few examples of trees that either have deep roots or roots that are at least not too dense, allowing you to grow plants at their base without too much hassle. These are ideal subjects for planting in flower beds or lawns or near sidewalks. The hardiness zone shown is the minimum the species can tolerate.

  1. Trident maple  (Acer buergerianum) zone 5
  2. Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) zone 6
  3. Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastnum) zone 4b
  4. Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.) zones 2 to 4, according to species
  5. American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) zone 3
  6. Sweet birch (Betula lenta) zone 4b
  7. Hickory (Carya spp.) zones 4 to 6, according to species
  8. Common hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) zone 3b
  9. Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) zone 6b
  10. Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) zone 4
  11. Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida, C. kousa) zone 6b
  12. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) zone 4
  13. Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) zone 4
  14. Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) zones 3 to 6 , according to species
  15. Walnut (Juglans spp.) zones 3 to 8, according to species
  16. Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) zone 7
  17. Magnolia (Magnolia spp., shrubby species) zones 4 to 10, according to species
  18. Crabapple (Malus spp.) zones 3 to 5
  19. Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) zone 5b
  20. American hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) zone 3
  21. Bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata) zone 4b
  22. Jack pine (Pinus banksiana) zone 2
  23. Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra) zone 3
  24. Limber pine (Pinus flexilis) zone 4
  25. Austrian pine (Pinus nigra austriaca) zone 4
  26. Red pine (Pinus resinosa) zone 3
  27. Cherry (Prunus spp.) zones 1 to 8 , according to species
  28. Douglas spruce (Pseudotsuga menziesii) zone 5
  29. Ornamental pear (Pyrus spp.) zones 3 to 5, according to species
  30. White oak (Quercus alba) zone 4
  31. Scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea) zone 4
  32. Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) zone 2
  33. Upright English oak (Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’) zone 4
  34. Red oak (Quercus rubra) zone 3
  35. Mountain ash (Sorbus spp.) zones 2 to 6, according to species
  36. Pagoda tree (Styphnolobium japonicum, formerly Sophora japonica) zone 5
  37. American basswood (Tilia americana) zone 3
  38. Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) zone 4

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