Tree and plant descriptions
- Populus deltoidesEastern cottonwood is a large, fast-growing tree found growing along streams, rivers, and lowland areas. It is native to eastern North America through the Midwest and Chicago region. Due to its large size, weak wood, and penetrating roots, it is best used on large properties away from residential areas.
- Tsuga canadensisOne of the more shade-tolerant evergreens, the eastern hemlock has many uses as a specimen, sheared as a hedge, or planted for screening. Native to the eastern United States, the hemlock resembles a large Christmas tree with its broadly pyramidal, pendulous branches; fine, dark-green needles; and abundant brown cones that hang from branches like small ornaments.
- Juniperus virginianaEastern red-cedar is native to eastern North America. These cold-hardy, adaptable evergreen trees serve many purposes in the landscape, especially in sites that are dry, alkaline or windy. Because they are quite salt-tolerant, they can be used near roads, driveways, and sidewalks.
- Pinus strobusThe eastern white pine is a tree for landscapes with ample space. Its fine feathery needles, open canopy, and straight trunk get more picturesque with age. Trees are fast-growing and long-lived.
A number of elms are available that can resist the pathogen that causes the devastating Dutch elm disease. Since the disease first began mowing down American elms in the 1930s, scientists and breeders have been developing alternatives. Most of these trees are hybrids that cross various species of American, Asian and European elms. Some are selections of species that were observed to resist the disease. Not all these trees have the characteristic vase- or fountain-shaped arching branch structure of the beloved American elm, but some come close.
- Quercus roburEnglish oak is a long-lived oak with a broadly rounded to spreading habit with a short trunk. It is an excellent specimen tree or can be planted in a grouping in large open landscapes. The acorns form a valuable food source for several small mammals and some birds but trees may take up to 20 years to produce fruit.
- Cotinus coggygriaThe outstanding feature of Eurasian smoke tree is the large, airy, plume-like stalks that hold the small flowers. These pass through several color changes, often a smoky pink, and provide interest all summer.
- Fraxinus excelsiorDue to susceptibility to emerald ash borer (EAB), European ash is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually requires removal and/or replacement. Disease-resistant cultivars may exist. European ash is a large shade tree found throughout Europe which is hardy to the Midwest. Currently, ash trees cannot be sold in Illinois. Check with your state for quarantine restrictions.
- Fagus sylvaticaEuropean beech is a large, graceful tree appropriate for large properties like parks. This species has smooth silvery gray bark and a low branching pattern.
- Alnus glutinosaEuropean black alder has invasive traits that enable it to spread aggressively. This tree is under observation and may be listed on official invasive species lists in the near future. Review of risks should be undertaken before selecting this tree for planting sites.