Average Lifespans for Garden Trees

Standard
20170827A ENG  Moriori, WC.JPG

Most garden trees will never reach an age even close to their maximum. Photo: Moriori, Wikimedia Commons

The typical homeowner doesn’t really have to think much about how long the tree they plant will live. The average time most of us live in the same home, according to the National Association of Home Builders, is only about 13 years … and just about any tree will live longer than that.

But maybe your plans are different: you might have found your dream home and intend to live there a long time. Or perhaps you’re thinking of planting a living memorial, say at the birth of a grandchild who, you hope, will live to be at least 90. If so, you might want to look for a tree that will likely outlive your need for it.

What follows is a list of trees and their average lifespan under home garden conditions. Yes, many of them do live longer (sometimes much longer!) under exceptionally good conditions, but in the average lot, where soil is often severely compacted, where lawnmowers damage trunks, where roots are dug up to repair pipes and foundations, and where trees in declining health are often removed decades before they’d topple over in the wild, you can expect a serviceable life of about the number of years cited below.

  1. Acer negundo (box elder, Manitoba maple) — 60 years
  2. Acer platanoides (Norway maple) — 100 years
  3. Acer rubrum (red maple) — 100 years
  4. Acer saccharatum (silver maple) — 100 years
  5. Acer saccharum (sugar maple) — 75 years
  6. Acer tataricum ginnala (Amur maple) —60 years

    20170827B aesculus-hippocastanum Pixabay.jpg

    Aesculus hippocastanum. Photo: Pixabay

  7. Aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) — 75 years
  8. Amelanchier canadensis (serviceberry) — 40 years
  9. Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch) — 75 years
  10. Betula nigra (river birch) — 70 years
  11. Betula papyrifera (paper birch) — 30 years
  12. Betula pendula (European white birch) — 30 years
  13. Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam) — 80 years
  14. Catalpa speciosa (northern catalpa) — 75 years
  15. Celtis occidentalis (northern hackberry) — 80 years
  16. Cercis canadensis (redbud) — 40 years
  17. Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) — 30 years
  18. Diospyros virginiana (persimmon) — 60 years
  19. Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive) — 50 years
  20. Fagus grandifolia (American beech) — 125 years
  21. Fagus sylvaticus (European beech) — 125 years
  22. Fraxinus americana (white ash) — 100 years (10 when the emerald ash borer is present)
  23. Fraxinus pennsylvanica (green ash) — 75 years (10 when the emerald ash borer is present)
  24. Ginkgo (ginkgo) — 100+ years
  25. Gleditsia triacanthos (honey locust) — 75 years
  26. Juglans nigra (black walnut) — 100+ years
  27. Juniperus chinensis (Chinese juniper) — 75 years
  28. Juniperus scopulorum (Rocky Mountain juniper) — 50 years
  29. Juniperus virginiana (eastern red cedar) — 50 years

    20170827C Larix decidua, Peter O'Connor, flickr.jpg

    Larix decidua. Photo: Peter O’Connor, Flickr

  30. Larix decidua (European larch) — 100+ years
  31. Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree) — 100 years
  32. Magnolia × soulangeana (saucer magnolia) — 50 years
  33. Malus domestica (apple) — 30–40 years
  34. Malus spp. (crab apple) —variable, some 30 years, others 50 years
  35. Metasequoia glyptostrobiodes (dawn redwood) — 100+ years
  36. Morus alba (white mulberry) — 100 years
  37. Nyssa sylvatica (black tupelo) — 100 years
  38. Picea abies (Norway spruce) — 75 years
  39. Picea glauca (white spruce) — 75 years
  40. Picea mariana (back spruce) — 50 years
  41. Picea pungens (Colorado blue spruce) — 75 years
  42. Pinus mugo (mugho pine) — 75 years
  43. Pinus nigra (Austrian pine) — 50 years
  44. Pinus ponderosa (ponderosa pine) — 75 years
  45. Pinus strobus (eastern white pine) — 100+ years
  46. Pinus sylvestris (scots pine) — 75 years
  47. Platanus × hispanics (London plane tree) — 75 years
  48. Populus balsamifera (balsam poplar — 60 years
  49. Populus x canadensis ’Robusta’ (Canada poplar) — 40 years
  50. Populus deltoides (Eastern cottonwood) — 70 years

    20170827D Populus_nigra-Italica Wikipedia.jpg

    Populus nigra ‘Italica’. Photo: Wikipédia

  51. Populus nigra ‘Italica’ (Lombardy poplar) — 20 years
  52. Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen) — 50 years
  53. Prunus avium (sweet cherry) — 25 years
  54. Prunus cerasus (sour cherry) — 25 years
  55. Prunus laurocerasus (cherry-laurel) — 50 years
  56. Prunus maackii (Amur cherry) — 30 years
  57. Prunus padus (bird cherry) — 50 years
  58. Prunus pensylvanica (pin cherry) — 20 years
  59. Prunus persica (peach) — 15 years
  60. Prunus serotina (black cherry) — 60 years
  61. Prunus serrulata (Japanese flowering cherry) — 30 years
  62. Prunus virginiana (chokecherry) — 30 years
  63. Pseudotsuga menziesii glauca (Rocky Mountain Douglas fir) — 100+ years
  64. Pyrus calleryana (Bradford pear) — 25 years
  65. Pyrus communis (common pear) — 50 years
  66. Quercus alba (white oak) — 100 years

    20170827E Quercus_palustris josh jackson, WC.jpg

    Quercus palustris. Photo:  josh jackson, Wikimedia Commons

  67. Quercus palustris (pin oak) — 75 years
  68. Quercus robur (English oak) — 75 years
  69. Quercus rubra (red oak) — 75 years
  70. Robinia pseudacacia (black locust) — 75 years
  71. Salix × sepulcralisChrysocoma’ (golden weeping willow) — 50 years
  72. Salix nigra (black willow) — 70 years
  73. Sequoiadendron giganteum (Sierra redwood) — 100+ years
  74. Sorbus aucuparia (European mountain ash) — 25 years
  75. Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) — 100 years
  76. Taxus baccata (European yew) — 100+ years
  77. Taxus cuspidata (Japanese yew) — 75 years
  78. Thuja occidentalis (eastern white cedar, arborvitae) — 100+ years
  79. Thuja plicata (western redcedar) — 100+ years
  80. Tilia americana (basswood) — 75 years
  81. Tilia cordata (little-leaf linden) — 75 years
  82. Tsuga heterophylla (western hemlock) — 100+ years
  83. Tsuga occidentalis (hemlock, tamarack) — 75 years
  84. Ulmus americana (American elm, white elm) — 30 years (100+ for varieties resistant to Dutch elm disease)20170827A ENG Moriori, WC
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