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; “Maidenhair Tree”)

    • 20-50ft height, 25-35ft spread at maturity
    • Plant in full sun/partial shade
    • Medium growth rate
    • Unique, fan-shaped leaves that turn golden yellow in fall; can live for thousands of years
    • Resistant to most pests and diseases
    • Maintenance level: Low
Sweetgum
American Sweetgum

    (Liquidambar styraciflua)

    • 60-75ft height, 40-50ft spread at maturity
    • Medium/fast growth rate: 13in. – 24+ in. per year
    • Plant in full sun
    • Distinctive star-shaped leaves; brilliant fall color; produces “gum balls” – woody burr-like fruit
    • Requires plenty of space for root system
    • Maintenance level: Low
Blackgum
Blackgum

    (Nyssa sylvatica; “Black Tupelo”)

    • 30-50ft height, 20-30ft spread at maturity
    • Plant in full sun/partial shade
    • Slow/medium growth rate: less than 1-2ft per year
    • Brilliant fall color, glossy leaves, produces small blue/black fruit
    • Maintenance level: Low
Shingle Oak
Shingle Oak

    (Quercus imbricaria)

    • 40-60ft height and spread at maturity
    • Plant in area of full sun
    • Shiny, green laurel-shaped leaves; produces acorns
    • Historically wood was used for making roof shingles
    • Maintenance level: Low
London Planetree
London Planetree

    (Platanus x acerifolia)

    • 75-100ft height, 80ft spread at maturity
    • Plant in area of full sun / partial shade
    • Excellent hardy urban tree – tolerates pollution
    • Characteristic brown, white and green mottled bark
    • Produces ~1in. seed balls yearly
    • Maintenance level: High
White Oak
White Oak

    (Quercus alba)

    • 50-80ft height, 50-80ft spread at maturity
    • Slow/medium growth rate: less than 1-2ft per year
    • Plant in area of full sun/partial shade
    • Beautiful fall color; produces acorns and catkins; can live for hundreds of years
    • Maintenance level: Medium
CHINKAPIN OAK

    (Quercus muehlenbergii)

    • 40-50ft height, 50-60ft spread at maturity
    • Slow/medium growth rate: less than 1-2ft per year
    • Plant in area of full sun
    • Good drought tolerance; produces acorns
    • Maintenance level: Low
American Beech
BEECH, EUROPEAN OR AMERICAN

    (Fagus sylvatica or grandifolia)

    • Prefers full sun
    • Develops a dense canopy
    • Produces beechnuts, making it appealing for wildlife
    • Beautiful golden-bronze fall color
    • Maintenance: Low
Shumard Oak
SHUMARD OAK

    (Quercus shumardii)

    • 40-60ft height and spread at maturity
    • Medium growth rate: 13-24in. per year
    • Plant in area of full sun
    • Dramatic fall color; produces small acorns (every 2-4 years) and catkins (yearly), tolerates pollution and compacted soil
    • Maintenance level: Low
Bur Oak
BUR OAK

    (Quercus macrocarpa)

    • 70-80ft height and spread at maturity
    • Slow growing: less than 1ft per year on average
    • Plant in area of full sun
    • Produces acorns with fringed caps
    • Adapts to a variety of soil conditions
    • Maintenance level: Low
Osage Orange
Osage Orange

    (Maclura pomifera; “Hedge apple”)

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

    (Zelkova serrata)

    • 24ft height, 18ft spread at maturity
    • Bright green, finely textured foliage; yellow fall color
    • Compact, dense form; requires pruning for ideal shape and structure
    • Drought tolerant, tough urban tree
    • Maintenance level: Medium
Katsura
Katsura

    (Cercidiphyllum japonicum)

    • 40-60ft height, 25-60ft spread at maturity
    • Plant in full sun/partial shade
    • Colorful year-round foliage, heart-shaped serrated leaves
    • Maintenance level: Low
American Hornbeam
American Hornbeam

    (Carpinus caroliniana)

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

    (Ostrya virginiana)

    • 25-40ft height, 20-30ft spread at maturity
    • Plant in full sun/partial shade
    • Produces catkins that look like hops (hence the name!)
    • Maintenance level: Low
Parrotia
Parrotia

    (Parrotia persica; “Persian Ironwood”)

    • 20-40ft height, 20-30ft spread at maturity
    • Plant in full sun
    • Year-round interesting foliage; exfoliating bark provides visual interest in winter
    • Maintenance level: Medium
Sourwood
Sourwood

    (Oxydendrum arboreum)

    • 25-30ft height, 20ft spread at maturity
    • Medium growth rate
    • Plant in full sun
    • Produces fragrant white flowers in summer; excellent fall color; yields a small oval-shaped fruit
    • Maintenance level: Low
ELM ‘EMERALD SUNSHINE’

    (Ulmus propinqua ‘Emerald Sunshine’)

    • 35ft height, 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
    • Maintenance level: Low
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
    • Maintenance level: Medium
Hardy Rubber Tree
HARDY RUBBER TREE

    (Eucommia ulmoides)

    • 40-60ft height, 30-50ft spread at maturity
    • Plant in full sun/partial shade
    • Dislikes wet soil
    • Highly pest and disease resistant
    • Female trees produce winged seeds; glossy leaves; no fall color
    • Maintenance level: Low
Japanese Lilac tree

    (Syringa reticulata)

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

    (Magnolia stellata)

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

    (Chionanthus virginicus)

    • 12-20ft height and spread at maturity
    • Plant in 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
    • Vibrant yellow leaves in autumn
Kousa Dogwood
Kousa dogwood

    (Cornus kousa)

    • 15-25ft height and 25ft spread at maturity
    • Slow/medium growth rate
    • Plant in full sun/partial shade
    • Flowers in May/June and foliage turns rich colors (scarlet and purple) in autumn
    • Produces pink/red fruit that attracts songbirds
Paperbark Maple fall color
PAPERBARK MAPLE

    (Acer griseum)

    • Typically grows to 15-25ft, can grow up to 40ft
    • Plant in area of full sun/partial shade
    • Slow growth rate
    • Attractive cinnamon-colored ‘papery’ bark, good fall foliage color
    • Maintenance level: Low
Serviceberry
SERVICEBERRY

    (Amelanchier arborea)

    • 15-25ft height and spread at maturity
    • Medium growth rate
    • Plant in area of full sun/partial shade
    • Blooms delicate white flowers in March/April; produces edible berry-like fruit in summer
    • Red and gold fall foliage
    • Maintenance level: Low
Forest Pansy Redbud
Eastern Redbud

    (Cercis canadensis)

    • Varieties include: ‘Pink Pom Poms’, ‘Appalachian Red’, ‘Rising Sun’
    • 20-30ft height, 25-35ft spread at maturity
    • Medium growth rate
    • Plant in full sun/partial shade
    • Heart-shaped leaves; bright pink/purple flowers in early spring; produces long, brown seed pods
    • Maintenance level: Low

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.

Get A Rebate

FIND OUT WHAT YOUR TREE IS WORTH

Download our Tree Tag and use the National Tree Benefit Calculator to determine the value of your tree's ecosystem services.

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METRO TREE TRACKER

Have you planted a new tree recently? Submit your tree to the Louisville Metro Tree Tracker to have it included in the city's official tree count!

Fill out the form

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..