What to Plant

Trees come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and even scents! Think about the kind of features you might like your tree to have -- do you want it to provide lots of shade? Great fall color? Edible fruit or fragrant flowers? Minimal maintenance? With these factors in mind, you'll be able to narrow down the perfect tree for your yard.

Below you’ll find a selection of trees that we recommend for our region.

Ginkgo
Male Ginkgo

    (Ginkgo biloba, aka Maidenhair Tree)

  • 20-50ft h, 25-35ft spread at maturity
  • Full sun/partial shade
  • Medium growth rate
  • Unique, fan-shaped leaves that turn golden yellow in fall; can live for thousands of years
Sweetgum
American Sweetgum

    (Liquidambar styraciflua)

  • 60-75ft h, 40-50ft spread at maturity
  • Medium/fast growth rate: 13in – more than 24”/year
  • Full sun
  • Distinctive star-shaped leaves; brilliant fall color; produces “gum balls” – woody burr-like fruit
  • Requires plenty of space for root system
Blackgum
Blackgum

    (Nyssa sylvatica, aka Black Tupelo)

  • 30-50ft h, 20-30ft spread at maturity
  • Full sun/partial shade
  • Slow/medium growth rate: less than 1-2ft/year
  • Brilliant fall color, glossy leaves, produces small blue/black fruit
Shingle Oak
Shingle Oak

    (Quercus imbrecaria)

  • 40-60ft height and spread at maturity
  • Full sun
  • Produces acorns
London Planetree

    (Platanus x acerifolia)

  • 75-100ft h, 80ft spread at maturity
  • Full sun / partial shade
  • Excellent urban tree – tolerates pollution
  • Characteristic mottled bark; produces ~1in seed balls yearly
White Oak
White Oak

    (Quercus alba)

  • 50-80ft height, 50-80ft spread at maturity
  • Slow/med growth: less than 1-2ft/year
  • Full sun/partial shade
  • Beautiful fall color; produces acorns and catkins; can live for hundreds of years
CHINKAPIN OAK

    (Quercus muehlenbergii)

    • 40-50’H, 50-60’ spread at maturity
    • Slow/medium growth: less than 1-2ft/year
    • Full sun
    • Produces acorns
American Beech
BEECH, EUROPEAN OR AMERICAN

    (Fagus sylvatica or grandifolia)

    • European
    • American
SHUMARD OAK

    (Quercus shumardii)

    • 40-60ft height, 40-60ft spread at maturity
    • Medium growth rate: 13-24in/year
    • Full sun
    • Dramatic fall color; produces small acorns (every 2-4yrs) and catkins (yearly), tolerates pollution and compacted soil
Bur Oak
BUR OAK

    (Quercus macrocarpa)

    • 70-80’H, 80’ spread at maturity
    • Slow growing (less than 1ft/year)
    • Full sun
    • Produces acorns
Osage Orange
Osage Orange

    (Maclura pomifera aka Hedge apple)

  • 35-60ft height and spread at maturity
  • Full sun/partial shade
  • If pollinated, will produce grapefruit-sized fruit (inedible)
  • Performs well in poor soil
Zelkova
Zelkova ‘City Sprite’

    (Zelkova serrata)

  • 24ft h, 18ft spread at maturity
  • Bright green, finely textured foliage; yellow fall color
  • Compact, dense, requires pruning for ideal shape and structure
  • Tough urban tree
Katsura
Katsura

    (Cercidiphyllum japonicum)

  • 40-60ft h, 25-60ft spread at maturity
  • Full sun/partial shade
  • Colorful year-round foliage, heart-shaped serrated leaves
American Hornbeam
American Hornbeam

    (Carpinus caroliniana)

  • 20-35ft height and spread at maturity
  • Partial/full shade
  • Slow growth rate
  • Sometimes known as “musclewood” due to the rippled appearance of its trunk/branches
  • Good fall color
Hop hornbeam

    (Ostrya virginiana)

  • 25-40ft h, 20-30ft spread at maturity
  • Full sun/partial shade
  • Produces catkins that look like hops (hence the name)
Parrotia
Parrotia

    (Parrotia persica aka Persian Ironwood)

  • 20-40ft h, 20-30ft spread at maturity
  • Full sun
  • Year-round interesting foliage; exfoliating bark provides visual interest in winter
Sourwood
Sourwood

    (Oxydendrum arboreum)

  • 25-30ft h, 20ft spread at maturity
  • Medium growth rate
  • Full sun
  • Produces fragrant white flowers in summer; excellent fall color; yields a small oval-shaped fruit
ELM ‘EMERALD SUNSHINE’

    (Ulmus propinqua)

    • 35ft h, 25ft spread at maturity
    • Insect resistant, tolerant of heat/drought
    • Deep green, serrated oval leaves; yellow color in fall
    • New cultivar that is resistant to Dutch Elm Disease
Saucer Magnolia
TULIP MAGNOLIA

    (Magnolia x soulangeana, Saucer Magnolia)

    • 20-25ft height and spread at maturity
    • Full sun/partial shade
    • Produces fragrant, showy flowers in spring – available in many different colors
Hardy Rubber Tree
HARDY RUBBER TREE

    (Eucommia ulmoides)

    • 40-60ft h, 30-50ft spread at maturity
    • Full sun/partial shade
    • Dislikes wet soil
    • Highly pest and disease resistant
    • Female trees produce winged seeds; glossy leaves; no fall color
Japanese Lilac tree

    (Syringa reticulata)

  • 20-30ft height and 15-25ft spread at maturity
  • Plant in full sun
  • Produces very fragrant blooms in late spring; attractive bark
  • Attracts pollinator insects
Star Magnolia

    (Magnolia stellata)

  • 15-20ft height and 10-15ft width at maturity
  • Medium/fast growth rate
  • Full sun/partial shade
  • Produces an abundance of showy flowers in early-to-late spring
Fringetree
Fringe tree

    (Chionanthus virginicus)

  • 12-20ft height and spread at maturity
  • Full sun/partial shade
  • Good urban tree; tolerates air pollution
  • Slightly fragrant, spring-blooming flowers; produces clusters of olive-like fruits in summer – great source of food for wildlife
  • Yellow leaves in autumn
Kousa Dogwood
Kousa dogwood

    (Cornus kousa)

  • 15-25ft h, 25ft spread at maturity
  • Slow/medium growth rate
  • Full sun/partial shade
  • Flowers May/June; rich fall color (scarlet and purple)
  • Produces pink/red fruit that attracts songbirds
PAPERBARK MAPLE

    (Acer griseum)

    • Typically 15-25ft, can grow up to 40ft
    • Full sun/partial shade
    • Slow growth rate
    • Attractive cinnamon-colored ‘papery’ bark, good fall color
Serviceberry
SERVICEBERRY

    (Amelanchier arborea)

    • 15-25ft height and spread at maturity
    • Medium growth rate
    • Full sun/partial shade
    • Blooms delicate white flowers in March/April; produces edible berry-like fruit in summer
    • Red and gold fall color
Forest Pansy Redbud
REDBUD [NATIVE SEEDLING]

    (Cercis canadensis)

    • ‘Pink Pom Poms’
    • ‘Appalachian Red’
    • ‘Rising Sun’
    • 20-30ft h, 25-35ft spread at maturity
    • Medium growth rate
    • Full sun/partial shade
    • Heart-shaped leaves; bright pink/purple flowers in early spring
    • Produces long, brown seed pods

Plant a tree. Rake in some cash.

Ready to plant? Participate in TreesLouisville’s Tree Rebate Program and earn a 40% rebate (up to $80) on the purchase of a shade tree.

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It’s important to consider location and tree size when planting a tree to avoid interfering with overhead and underground utilities or building structures.

For information on Right Tree, Right Place, check out LG&E-KU’s guide for tree planting, and always be sure to call BUD 811 to inspect for underground utilities.

Trees are generally categorized into three size classes - A, B, and C. Class A trees are the largest, reaching 50+ feet at maturity. Class B trees generally grow between 25-50ft, and Class C trees are the smallest, staying under 25ft (making them great for small yards or below overhead utility lines).

10,000 trees planted..