5 Best Trees to Plant in Richmond, VA

Virginia is at a bit of a weird spot in terms of climate. We sometimes get the worst of the weather and other times it really doesn’t seem that bad. When you think about planting trees and plants, however, it can be a little tough because of the variance that we get. Don’t fret. There are plenty of trees and plants that you can grow in your yard that will overcome any type of weather that gets thrown at us – from blizzards and hail to droughts.

Trees are an important part of every year because they add color, scents, textures, and make the air cleaner. Unfortunately, trees do fall over, die, and get too tall and need to be replaced. If you find yourself at that point you might be asking where to go next. The obvious answer is also the best one: replant another tree to replace what has been lost. If this is your first time planting a tree you might feel like you have so many options you don’t know how to choose. Instead of being overwhelmed, start with the basics:

5. Washington Hawthorn

The beautiful leaves and berries on a Washington Hawthorn.

Credit: K M on Flickr!

  • Doesn’t require watering
  • Prefers full sun in order to grow
  • Grows at a medium pace throughout the year

The Washington Hawthorn tree is a beautiful smaller tree that is a favorite for landscaping because it is interesting throughout the entire year. In the spring, you get reddish leaves that then sprout bright, white flowers. In summer it changes to dark green. Eventually, the leaves turn into a beautiful bright orange and purple mixture that is quite unique.

Often spreading as wide as it is tall, this is certainly a canopy tree that will bring birds and other wildlife into your yard to eat the bright red berries. While one tree looks nice, experienced gardeners enjoy playing a few to create a more private space.

Unfortunately, you can’t eat the berries according to The Spruce, but they are great for centerpieces, crafts, and look beautiful just on the tree.

4. Eastern Redbud

A young Eastern Redbud tree.

Credit: Greg Hume

  • Typically doesn’t require watering
  • Requires partial to full sun
  • Resistant to storm damage because of deep root systems

Flowering trees are extremely popular and surprisingly hardy, so it shouldn’t come as a shock that yet another one is on our list. The Eastern Redbud is one of the first trees to flower every year so they tend to get a lot of attention. People adore the ornate pink flowers that grow in large clusters. Some trees look like they are entirely made out of these flowers. However, there are dark green glossy leaves behind them, equally gorgeous and unique.

The Eastern Rosebud is a great option for smaller yards or lots that have a lot of tight places. Of course, planting a few in larger yards is also beautiful. When properly taken care of, the trees will take on a dense, round shape and reach a height of 20-30 feet.

Note that this tree does have deep roots, which makes it hardy but can also be damaging to sidewalks or roadways, according to the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.

3. American Beech

Fully grown Beech tree.

Credit: Marqqq

  • Rarely requires watering
  • Requires at least partial sun, especially in the summer months
  • Somewhat difficult to clean up because of late drop

The American Beech tree is another favorite in suburban and rural settings. It requires a nice amount of space to grow, making it perfect for larger yards where you only want one tree planted. Note that you do have to watch for offshoots of the original tree and eliminate them, though this doesn’t note take a lot of work when they are caught young, according to Penn State.

Native to the Virginia area, these trees can grow up to 120-feet tall and have a dense crown that creates shade. It has low branches, making them the perfect option for decorations, tree houses, or climbing if you are careful and wait until they are older. The male trees are in higher demand because they produce the prettier flowers and less mess.

Another thing to note is that the leaves from this tree are quite large.

2. Willow Oak

A Willow Oak tree at full height.

Credit: Berean Hunter

  • Requires watering, especially in warmer months
  • Ideally, needs full sun
  • Attracts many different kinds of wildlife

The Willow Oak tree, which isn’t related to Willows at all and is instead an oak tree, is a perfect combination of a shade and ornamental tree. It is one of the most beautiful trees to put in a Virginia yard because it wears each season well. It will truly shine during the winter months.

For yards that have a lot of landscaping, the bark and leaves of this free will go along with almost every other type of plant out there because they are smooth and simple. Great for near the city as well, pollution doesn’t seem to both their growth. If you want a tree that has already started growing, the Willow Oak has a fibrous root system, which makes them easy to transplant as well.

When planting this tree, ensure that you have the right kind of soil. You have to be careful about the pH level, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.

1. Black Gum

A beautiful Black Gum tree starts to change colors.

Credit: Famartin

  • Rarely requires watering
  • Performs better in full sun
  • Attracts butterflies to your yard

Beautiful and stately, the Black Gum tree grows at a medium pace but is well worth the wait. When it first starts to grow, you will notice a distinct pyramid shape, but that gives way to a straight trunk and rounded crown. It is one of the earliest trees to start changing colors into fall, and it is a good thing too because it is truly one of the most beautiful trees of the season. Depending on the tree and the conditions, you can get yellow, red, orange, or purple leaves – or all of them.

Another benefit is that the Black Gum tree attracts many butterflies as well, as they feed on the nectar produced by the flowers, according to the University of Kentucky. Birds too love the berries found on the tree. Even during the winter months, this tree is a stand-out amongst the others due to its unique construction and alligator skin bark.

It is important to note that the Black Gum tree can grow almost anywhere and it adjusts to wherever it is planted. It is really surprising to use that this tree isn’t planted more often, but hopefully, that will change soon as it is truly gorgeous and effective.

At the end of the day, how well your trees grow and react in your yard depends on how well they are taken care of and how quickly you act if there are problems. At the first sign of any issues or if you have any questions about tree care, contact Ridgeline Tree Service at  (804) 378-2900.

Photo courtesy of Brian Omura on Flickr!


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