Resilient Trees for Your Yard

Trying to decide on a tree or two for your property? Greenfield Tree Committee has researched and assembled a list of mostly native, mostly climate resilient trees we recommend. Learn about trees' attributes and suitable sites for planting. Trees are listed alphabetically by common name under 'Larger Stature' or 'Smaller Stature' sections. Use this 'Key' for more info icons and categories. To dive a little deeper, click on the 'Learn More' buttons for each tree. To compare and contrast trees, use this chart.

LARGER STATURE TREES

 

Birch, Black or Sweet (Betula lenta)

An attractive tree for yards and parks, black birch host nearly 400 butterfly and moth caterpillars 

Size

(H x W)

50' x 35'

Light exposure

Tolerates

  2, 4

Moths/ butterflies

393

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

sites

E

Recommended Cultivars: None

Birch, River (Betula nigra)

A versatile tree with interesting bark, river birch hosts nearly 400 butterfly and moth caterpillars 

Size

(H x W)

40' x 35'

Light exposure

Tolerates

   1, 4

Moths/ butterflies

393

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

D, E

Recommended Cultivars: 'Heritage Select' or 'Little King'

Birch, Yellow (Betula alleghaniensis)

An elegant tree with beautiful bark, this tree hosts nearly 400 butterfly and moth caterpillars 

Size

(H x W)

70' x 45'

Light exposure

Tolerates

   1, 4

Moths/ butterflies

393

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

D, E

Recommended Cultivars: None              

Elm, American (Ulmus americana)

Fast-growing and adaptable with upright habit, this tree has excellent habitat value.

Size

(H x W)

60' x 40'

Light exposure

Tolerates

   1, 2, 4

Moths/ butterflies

213

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

C, E

Recommended Cultivars: 'Princeton' or 'Valley Forge' - 60' x 45; 'Jefferson' - 40'x 40'; New Harmony - 60' x 60'

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

A tough, adaptable tree with open branching, ginkgo trees have outstanding fall foliage.

Size

(H x W)

50' x 30'

Light exposure

Tolerates

   1, 2, 4

Moths/ butterflies

0

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

B, C, E

Recommended Cultivars: 'Autumn Gold'

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

A  handsome tree with silver bark, hackberry is tolerant of urban conditions and is climate resilient.

Size

(H x W)

50' x 45'

Light exposure

Tolerates

1, 3, 4, 5

Moths/ butterflies

37

Wildlife

value

Flowers/foliage

Planting

site

E

Recommended Cultivars: None

Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

A highly adaptable and resilient tree, honeylocusts provide dappled shade.

Size

(H x W)

50' x 40'

Light exposure

Tolerates

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Moths/ butterflies

34

Wildlife

value

Flowers/foliage

Planting

site

D, E

Recommended Cultivars: 'Shademaster'

Linden (Tilia americana)

Known as the 'bee tree', this stately tree has high habitat value. 

Size

(H x W)

50' x 30'

Light exposure

Tolerates

    1, 5

Moths/ butterflies

151

Wildlife

value

Flowers/foliage

Planting

site

E

Recommended Cultivars: 'Redmond' is 40'x20' and is also suitable for sites w limited canopy area. Also recommended: 'Boulevard' (50'x25') and 'Legend' (40'x30')

London Planetree (Platanus × acerifolia)

A cross between sycamore and planetree, this is a tree whose canopy provides abundant shade.

Size

(H x W)

70' x 50'

Light exposure

Tolerates

    3, 5

Moths/ butterflies

no data

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

E

Recommended Cultivars: 'Bloodgood'

Maple, Freeman (Acer rubrum × freemanii )

A sturdy hybrid maple, this tree has excellent fall foliage color.

Size

(H x W)

60' x 40'

Light exposure

Tolerates

    1, 5

Moths/ butterflies

271

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

D, E

Recommended Cultivars: 'Autumn Blaze'

Maple, Red (Acer rubrum)

A very cold-hardy maple, this red maple tree has exceptional fall color.

Size

(H x W)

40' x 40'

Light exposure

Tolerates

    1, 4

Moths/ butterflies

271

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

D, E

Recommended Cultivars: 'Red Sunset' and 'October Glory'

Maple, Sugar (Acer saccharum)

A rapidly growing tree with deep green foliage, this tree also has excellent fall color.

Size

(H x W)

45' x 45'

Light exposure

Tolerates

None

Moths/ butterflies

271

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

E

Recommended Cultivars: 'Green Mountain' and 'Flashfire'    

Oak, Chestnut (Quercus montana)

A low maintenance, long-lived tree, this oak is suitable for large lawns or parks. 

Size

(H x W)

65' x 65'

Light exposure

Tolerates

   1

Moths/ butterflies

462

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

E

Recommended Cultivars: None                  

Oak, Pin (Quercus palustris)

Widely planted in parks and lawns, this oak's leaves turn deep red in fall.

Size

(H x W)

65' x 35'

Light exposure

Tolerates

   4

Moths/ butterflies

462

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

E

Recommended Cultivars: None                 

Oak, Red (Quercus rubra)

Tolerant of salt, air pollution and other conditions, this is a good tree for more exposed areas.

Size

(H x W)

70' x 60'

Light exposure

Tolerates

 1, 2, 3, 5

Moths/ butterflies

462

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

E

Recommended Cultivars: None

Oak, Scarlet (Quercus coccinea)

Best suited for planting in yards and parks, this oak has great fall color.

Size

(H x W)

70' x 45'

Light exposure

Tolerates

  none

Moths/ butterflies

462

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

E

Recommended Cultivars: None         

Oak, Swamp White (Quercus bicolor)

A relatively adaptable tree and suitable for many sites, this oak also has great fall color.

Size

(H x W)

55' x 50'

Light exposure

Tolerates

  1, 2

Moths/ butterflies

462

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

D, E

Recommended Cultivars: 'American Dream'

Oak, White (Quercus alba)

A large shade tree, the white oak needs a large space to grow.

Size

(H x W)

65' x 65'

Light exposure

Tolerates

  1, 5

Moths/ butterflies

462

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

E

Recommended Cultivars: None        

Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

An excellent lawn or park tree, Sweetgum should be planted in a large area with room to grow. 

Size

(H x W)

60' x 40'

Light exposure

Tolerates

  1, 4, 5

Moths/ butterflies

28

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

E

Recommended Cultivars: None         

Sycamore, American (Platanus occidentalis)

Also known as the 'Buttonball tree', this is a large tree for a large space.

Size

(H x W)

85' x 85'

Light exposure

Tolerates

  2, 3, 4, 5

Moths/ butterflies

35

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

      E

Recommended Cultivars: None         

liriodendron.JPG

Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Also known as 'Tulip tree', this is a large, stately tree.

Size

(H x W)

70' x 40'

Light exposure

Tolerates

     4

Moths/ butterflies

17

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

D, E

Recommended Cultivars: None         

nyssa sylvatica.JPG

Tupelo tree or Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica)

Beautiful, ornamental tree, the Tupelo tree is slow-growing and has excellent fall color.

Size

(H x W)

45' x 25'

Light exposure

Tolerates

1, 2, 4, 5

Moths/ butterflies

35

Wildlife

value

Flowers/ foliage

Planting

site

B, C, D, E

Recommended Cultivars: None         

Why plant trees?

 

Plant trees to help our climate! Trees are essential infrastructure in towns and cities. Trees reduce stormwater run-off, improve water quality, reduce the heat island effect, clean the air, and sequester carbon.

Plant trees to help wildlife!

Trees provide nectar for pollinators and food for birds and mammals. Trees are also essential sheltering and nesting sites for birds and mammals.

Plants trees to help people!

Trees help to improve mental and physical well-being. They also improve productivity and boost educational outcomes.

Plant trees to help our community! Trees reduce cooling costs, increase property values, reduce traffic accidents, and improve local economies.

Learn more about the benefits of trees at https://bit.ly/3447d96.

Choose the largest tree a site allows. Larger trees provide more ecological benefits.

Why plant natives?

 

Greenfield Tree Committee strongly endorses planting native tree species.

Native tree species, insects, birds and mammals have evolved together. Native trees provide food for pollinators, insects, birds and mammals. Native maples, for example, sustain up to 300 species of moths and butterflies. Non-native Norway maples sustain only 7 species. And chickadees need over 70% of trees near their nests to be native in order to find enough insects to raise their young.

 

Find out what native trees your favorite butterfly depends on at www.nwf.org/NativePlantFinder/ and learn more about birds and their habitat at desireelnarango.weebly.com/research.html.

Choose a native tree every time the opportunity arises!

Note that a number of native trees are excluded from this list due to disease and/or insect infestation (hemlock, beech and ash). Others are excluded because they are not climate resilient, are not suitable for planting near streets or sidewalks, and/or are not available to purchase locally.

Also note that there are a few non-native species we have included because they are very tough (ginkgo) or because they support native pollinators and provide other wildlife benefits (crabapple and Cornelian cherry).

 

Where possible, remove invasive non-native trees (Norway maple, amur maple, Callery pear ‘Bradford’, Japanese tree lilac and tree of heaven). Learn about invasive trees and plants: https://bit.ly/39zS407.

Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs was a primary source of information for this list.

Note: This list is subject to change as more trees become available locally and as climate change data is updated.

SMALLER STATURE TREES

 
aesculus flava.JPG

Buckeye, Yellow  (Aesculus flava)

This tree has deep red fall color and a rounded form

Size

(H x W)

Light

exposure

Tolerates

Moths/ butterflies

40' x 20'

sun part shade small.JPG

1

7

Wildlife 

value

Flowers/ foliage

bee.JPG
foliage and flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, B

Recommended Cultivars: 'Homestead'  Note: Other cultivars are much larger and are not appropriate for small sites. 

cornus mas.JPG

Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas)

Not a true cherry, this dogwood produces clusters of long-lasting, small yellow flowers in early spring.

Size

(H x W)

Light

exposure

Tolerates

Moths/ butterflies

35' x 30'

sun part shade small.JPG

5

117

Wildlife 

value

Flowers/ foliage

bee and bird and mammal.JPG
foliage and flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, B,C

Recommended Cultivars: None            

malus royal raindrops.JPG

Crabapple (Malus transitoria)

This upright, crabapple has magenta flowers in spring and burgundy foliage in the growing season.

Size

(H x W)

Light

exposure

Tolerates

Moths/ butterflies

20' x 15'

sun small.JPG

3

311

Wildlife 

value

Flowers/ foliage

bee and bird and mammal.JPG
foliage and flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, B,C

Recommended Cultivars: 'Royal Raindrops'            

malus adirondack.JPG

Crabapple (Malus halliana)

A small, upright tree, 'Adirondack' crabapple produces white blossoms tinged with pink in spring.

Size

(H x W)

Light

exposure

Tolerates

Moths/ butterflies

20' x 10'

sun small.JPG

5

311

Wildlife 

value

Flowers/ foliage

bee and bird and mammal.JPG
foliage and flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, B,C

Recommended Cultivars: 'Adirondack'            

malus red jewel.JPG

Crabapple (Malus)

A white flowering crabapple, 'Red Jewel' has persistent red fruit valued by birds.

Size

(H x W)

Light

exposure

Tolerates

Moths/ butterflies

20' x 15'

sun small.JPG

 

311

Wildlife 

value

Flowers/ foliage

bee and bird and mammal.JPG
foliage and flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, B,C

Recommended Cultivars: 'Red Jewel'            

cornus florida.JPG

Dogwood, Flowering (Cornus florida)

'Cloud Nine' has abundant flowers and red fall foliage, while 'Spring Grove' has prolific white flowers.

Size

(H x W)

Light

exposure

Tolerates

Moths/ butterflies

25' x 20'

sun part shade small.JPG

 

101

Wildlife 

value

Flowers/ foliage

bee and bird and mammal.JPG
foliage and flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, B

Recommended Cultivars: 'Cloud Nine' and 'Spring Grove'        

crataegus.JPG

Hawthorn, Green (Crataegus viridis )

Profuse blooms, persistent fruit and silvery bark all make this thorn-less hawthorn a favorite.

Size

(H x W)

Light

exposure

Tolerates

Moths/ butterflies

30' x 25'

sun small.JPG

1, 3

159

Wildlife 

value

Flowers/ foliage

bee and bird and mammal.JPG
flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, E

Recommended Cultivars: 'Winter King'        

ostrya.JPG

Hophornbeam (Ironwood) (Ostrya virginiana)

A tough, small tree with beautiful birch-like leaves, Hophornbeam has attractive hop-like fruits.

Size

(H x W)

Light

exposure

Tolerates

Moths/ butterflies

30' x 20'

sun part shade small.JPG

1, 4

88

Wildlife 

value

Flowers/ foliage

bird and mammal.JPG
flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, B

Recommended Cultivars: None      

carpinus.JPG

Hornbeam (Musclewood) (Carpinus caroliniana)

Fall color and interesting bark make this small, understory tree a good choice for smaller spaces.

Size

(H x W)

Light

exposure

Tolerates

Moths/ butterflies

25' x 20'

sun part shade small.JPG

4, 5

72

Wildlife 

value

Flowers/ foliage

bird and mammal.JPG
foliage.JPG

Planting

site

A, B, C

Recommended Cultivars: 'Autumn Fire'           

magnolia virginiana.JPG

Magnolia, Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana)