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

 

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

Size

(H x W)

50' x 40'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

sites

E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

  2, 4

Moths/ butterflies

393

Birch, Black or Sweet (Betula lenta)

Recommended Cultivars: None

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

Size

(H x W)

40' x 35'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

D, E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

   1, 4

Moths/ butterflies

393

Birch, River (Betula nigra)

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

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

Size

(H x W)

70' x 45'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

D, E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

   1, 4

Moths/ butterflies

393

Birch, Yellow (Betula alleghaniensis)

Recommended Cultivars: None              

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

Size

(H x W)

60' x 40'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

C, E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

   1, 2, 4

Moths/ butterflies

213

Elm, American (Ulmus americana)

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

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

Size

(H x W)

50' x 30'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

B, C, E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

   1, 2, 4

Moths/ butterflies

0

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

Recommended Cultivars: 'Autumn Gold'

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

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

E

Flowers/foliage

Tolerates

1, 3, 4, 5

Moths/ butterflies

37

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

Recommended Cultivars: None

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

Size

(H x W)

50' x 40'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

D, E

Flowers/foliage

Tolerates

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Moths/ butterflies

34

Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

Recommended Cultivars: 'Shademaster'

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

Size

(H x W)

50' x 30'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

E

Flowers/foliage

Tolerates

    1, 5

Moths/ butterflies

151

Linden (Tilia americana)

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')

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

Size

(H x W)

70' x 50'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

    3, 5

Moths/ butterflies

no data

London Planetree (Platanus × acerifolia)

Recommended Cultivars: 'Bloodgood'

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

Size

(H x W)

60' x 40'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

D, E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

    1, 5

Moths/ butterflies

271

Maple, Freeman (Acer rubrum × freemanii )

Recommended Cultivars: 'Autumn Blaze'

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

Size

(H x W)

40' x 40'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

D, E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

    1, 4

Moths/ butterflies

271

Maple, Red (Acer rubrum)

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

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

Size

(H x W)

45' x 45'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

None

Moths/ butterflies

271

Maple, Sugar (Acer saccharum)

Recommended Cultivars: 'Green Mountain' and 'Flashfire'    

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

Size

(H x W)

65' x 65'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

   1

Moths/ butterflies

462

Oak, Chestnut (Quercus montana)

Recommended Cultivars: None                  

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

Size

(H x W)

65' x 35'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

   4

Moths/ butterflies

462

Oak, Pin (Quercus palustris)

Recommended Cultivars: None                 

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

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

 1, 2, 3, 5

Moths/ butterflies

462

Oak, Red (Quercus rubra)

Recommended Cultivars: None

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

Size

(H x W)

70' x 45'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

  none

Moths/ butterflies

462

Oak, Scarlet (Quercus coccinea)

Recommended Cultivars: None         

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

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

D, E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

  1, 2

Moths/ butterflies

462

Oak, Swamp White (Quercus bicolor)

Recommended Cultivars: 'American Dream'

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

Size

(H x W)

65' x 65'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

  1, 5

Moths/ butterflies

462

Oak, White (Quercus alba)

Recommended Cultivars: None        

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

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

  1, 4, 5

Moths/ butterflies

28

Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

Recommended Cultivars: None         

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

Size

(H x W)

85' x 85'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

      E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

  2, 3, 4, 5

Moths/ butterflies

35

Sycamore, American (Platanus occidentalis)

Recommended Cultivars: None         

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

Size

(H x W)

70' x 40'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

D, E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

     4

Moths/ butterflies

17

Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

liriodendron.JPG

Recommended Cultivars: None         

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

Size

(H x W)

45' x 25'

Light exposure

Wildlife

value

Planting

site

B, C, D, E

Flowers/ foliage

Tolerates

1, 2, 4, 5

Moths/ butterflies

35

Tupelo tree or Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica)

nyssa sylvatica.JPG

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

 

Buckeye, Yellow  (Aesculus flava)

This tree has deep red fall color and a rounded form

Size

(H x W)

Light

exposure

Tolerates

40' x 20'

aesculus flava.JPG
sun part shade small.JPG

7

Moths/ butterflies

Wildlife 

value

bee.JPG

Flowers/ foliage

foliage and flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, B

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

1

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

35' x 30'

cornus mas.JPG
sun part shade small.JPG

117

Moths/ butterflies

Wildlife 

value

bee and bird and mammal.JPG

Flowers/ foliage

foliage and flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, B,C

Recommended Cultivars: None            

5

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

20' x 15'

malus royal raindrops.JPG
sun small.JPG

311

Moths/ butterflies

Wildlife 

value

bee and bird and mammal.JPG

Flowers/ foliage

foliage and flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, B,C

Recommended Cultivars: 'Royal Raindrops'            

3

Crabapple (Malus halliana)

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

Size

(H x W)

Light

exposure

Tolerates

20' x 10'

malus adirondack.JPG
sun small.JPG

311

Moths/ butterflies

Wildlife 

value

bee and bird and mammal.JPG

Flowers/ foliage

foliage and flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, B,C

Recommended Cultivars: 'Adirondack'            

5

Crabapple (Malus)

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

Size

(H x W)

Light

exposure

Tolerates

20' x 15'

malus red jewel.JPG
sun small.JPG

311

Moths/ butterflies

Wildlife 

value

bee and bird and mammal.JPG

Flowers/ foliage

foliage and flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, B,C

Recommended Cultivars: 'Red Jewel'            

 

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

25' x 20'

cornus florida.JPG
sun part shade small.JPG

101

Moths/ butterflies

Wildlife 

value

bee and bird and mammal.JPG

Flowers/ foliage

foliage and flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, B

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

 

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

30' x 25'

crataegus.JPG
sun small.JPG

159

Moths/ butterflies

Wildlife 

value

bee and bird and mammal.JPG

Flowers/ foliage

flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, E

Recommended Cultivars: 'Winter King'        

1, 3

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

30' x 20'

ostrya.JPG
sun part shade small.JPG

88

Moths/ butterflies

Wildlife 

value

bird and mammal.JPG

Flowers/ foliage

flower.JPG

Planting

site

A, B

Recommended Cultivars: None      

1, 4

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

25' x 20'

carpinus.JPG
sun part shade small.JPG

72

Moths/ butterflies

Wildlife 

value

bird and mammal.JPG

Flowers/ foliage

foliage.JPG

Planting

site

A, B, C

Recommended Cultivars: 'Autumn Fire'           

4, 5