20170712A RGBStock.com.jpg
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: RGBStock.com

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

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “Garden-Friendly Trees

  1. Pingback: Gardeners: Beware of Shallow-Rooted Trees! – Laidback Gardener

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