Mature height 25 feet and taller
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A tree of southern swamps that also prospers here in the northern reaches of zone 5…ornamental attributes are numerous: delicate sage green needles that turn a soft orange in autumn (pictured immediately above, taken at Westside Park) and fall from the tree to reveal attractive, reddish-brown fissured bark...ten trees planted throughout Cambridge in 2007 have averaged 13 inches of annual growth in poor, compacted soil…the tree pictured at top, above (located on the 300 block of North Street) has averaged an impressive 26 inches of annual growth in better soil…with time becomes a large uniformly pyramidal tree reaching 60 ft. high but stays narrow to only 25 ft. wide…one of the few trees that will grow in standing water; conversely, it also tolerates drier soils...a recently discovered baldcypress tree in North Carolina was found to be over 2500 years old.
(Fagus grandifolia) Native
A tree of great beauty which many people claim as their favorite...distinctive smooth silver bark (see pictures above)...attractive dark green leaves that turn golden bronze in fall (pictured immediately above) and persist throughout winter…one of the best trees for climbing given its strongly horizontal branching pattern…an added bonus: beechnuts are edible and good tasting…our early data suggests that you should expect around 12 inches of annual growth from a young tree...beeches require good soil and grow slowly, but with time they become majestic specimens: the state champion near Manitowoc is just over 100 ft. high.
2-3 ft. tall: $38
The best white barked birch for suburban lawns…pure white bark and glossy green leaves that turn an attractive yellow in fall…grows to 30-40 ft. high with a dominant central leader and narrow habit, to around 20 ft. wide…over 30 years 'Whitespire' has averaged 14 inches of annual growth at the UW Arboretum...early growth is faster, though, at just over 24 inches annually for our two street trees along Madison Street in Cambridge.
(Betula nigra 'Heritage') Native
The best all-around birch for suburban lawns given its graceful form and just right size of 30-40 ft. tall...grows in poor, compacted soils including those that are seasonally wet in spring...ornamental features include exfoliating salmon/cream colored bark (pictured above) and a beautiful clear yellow fall color...14 street trees planted locally are averaging 30 inches(!) of annual growth without supplemental watering.
(Betula alleghaniensis) Native
An interesting large shade tree with the essence of wintergreen in its twigs...it also has exceptional clear yellow fall color...the ornamental bark, pictured at top above, is a beautiful shiny gold...this is the largest of our native birches (60 ft. high) and is logged for flooring, trim and furniture...two yellow birches planted on Cambridge school grounds in 2012 are averaging 13 inches of growth each year...this tree will grow in sun or shade and prefers cool and moist conditions.
Buckeye, Ohio and Yellow
(Aesculus glabra, pavia and flava)
Buckeyes are great choices for shady areas given their adaptation to the forest understory...palmately compound leaves (see picture above) stand out among other trees...attractive flowers arrive in June and in fall buckeye nuts appear only to be quickly swiped by local squirrel packs...growth rates for most species of buckeyes are slower: Ohio buckeye averages only eight inches of growth annually in Cambridge and yellow buckeye produces 13 inches growth; however: a red buckeye (see complete description on 'Ornamentals' tab at top of page) that is regularly watered has averaged 18 inches of growth each year...Ohio buckeye leaves produce a nice pumpkin orange fall color while deeper reds appear some years (pictured above)…Yellow buckeye will grow 60 ft. high tall or more whereas Ohio is usually shorter than that; red buckeye is a great patio trees as its reaches only 20-25 ft. high.
1-2 ft tall Ohio Buckeye: $18
The white flowers, at close inspection, are said to be the most beautiful of all American flowering trees (see photo at top above)...massive leaves (up to 12 inches) lend a tropical appearance (some would say coarse) and provide a pleasant medium green color during the summer months…long cigar shaped seed pods will arrive in about ten years...incredibly fast growing: 34 inches annually taking measurements from our 16 trees in Cambridge...grows nearly anywhere including saturated, dry and compacted soils...with time a very large tree: one in Wauwatosa is 106 ft. high.
(Gymnocladus dioicus) Native
Similar to honey locust, this tree's fine leaves provide a light shade under which grass grows nicely...it's also one tough tree: able to grow successfully in virtually all soils except those that are consistently wet...33 trees planted along Cambridge streets in poor soil (gravel, in some cases) are averaging an impressive 17 inches annually...trees planted in better soil are averaging considerable growth: 26 inches annually over the past decade without supplemental watering...sparse looking when young but with age becomes a bold, picturesque tree...exceptional yellow fall color (see above)...attractive, highly textured scaly bark is a year round attraction...on female trees large purple seed pods turn dark brown in the fall and persist through winter...this tree is late to leaf out in spring...reaches 50 ft. tall and 40 ft. wide.
2 ft tall: $18
(Ulmus x 'Accolade') Native
Contemporary elm cultivars offer disease resistance plus the classic vase shape that historically lined streets throughout America...they're also durable trees for tough conditions, including slow draining clay soils commonly found in newer subdivisions...another plus is exceptionally fast growth: a nine ft. tall 'Accolade' elm tree planted on Park Street in 2009 is now over 38 ft. high...21 elm cultivars planted throughout Cambridge along our streets are averaging 30 inches of annual growth, those planted in better soils are averaging between three and four ft. of growth annually...fall color isn't guaranteed but can be an attractive yellow; the leaves also have a nice glossy surface that provide visual interest throughout summer.
Discernably rugged, flaky bark (see immediately above) and formal, pyramidal shape (pictured at top, above) define this unusual shade tree..dark green leaves hold up well to insect pests including Japanese beetles...grows 12 inches annually locally in areas with poor soil...reaches 40 ft. high and 30 ft wide.
8 ft. tall: $78
(Gingko biloba x 'Princeton Sentry' and 'Windover Gold')
A favorite of Frank Lloyd Wright, ginkgo trees feature what might be the most distinctive leaf (pictured above) of any deciduous tree: they're shaped like a fan; they also consistently display clear yellow fall color and (as an added bonus) nearly all leaves drop within a 24 hour time period in fall, reducing your fall raking hassle considerably…regarded as one of the most trouble free trees available: no insect or disease issues are known and trees are extremely hardy once established…growth is slow: 40 trees planted throughout Cambridge are averaging only eight inches of annual growth...growth to 15 inches annually can be achieved with regular watering and a little luck...trees in China are known to be over 1000 years old.
'Saratoga' (male): 3 ft. tall: $38
(Gleditsia triacanthos 'Street Keeper') Native
If you dislike raking leaves, this is your tree!...its leaves are so small they just disappear into your lawn, quickly decomposing and adding nitrogen to the soil...it's also one of the best trees for filtered sunshine which encourages the growth of turf grass...this is a tough tree that performs well in suboptimal soil conditions: too wet, too dry, compacted, etc...we've planted 28 honeylocust throughout Cambridge and they're averaging 22 inches of growth each year, despite being located in less than ideal conditions...fall color is a solid yellow nearly every year...the seedless cultivar we carry ('Street Keeper') will reach 45 ft. high and 20 ft. wide.
The European cousin of our domestic buckeye trees are classic white flowering shade trees that you can find in most older downtown areas...a real attention grabber when flowerering (see pic above taken on Main Street)...also features interesting palmately compound leaves and buckeye nuts which fascinate kids and squirrels alike...horsechestnut seedlings have averaged 13 inches of growth annually here in Cambridge.
Horsechestnut, Red Flowering
(Aesculus x carnea 'Briotti' )
One of our most requested trees...reddish pink flowers in May/June that everybody will notice and ask you about...no fall color to speak of but the leaves look great throughout summer and early fall...a tree planted on the 300 block of North Street is averaging over 15 inches of growth annually with regular watering...without regular watering ten red horsechestnuts average ten inches of growth annually in Cambridge as street and park trees...expect this tree to reach 30 to 40 ft. high with time.
(Ostrya vinginiana) Native
Common smaller understory tree that can be introduced as a graceful element to your home landscape...interesting features include hop-type fruits (pictured at top above) and broken, irregular bark (immediately above)...wood is extremely hard and was used for tool handles during frontier times...happily grows in sun or complete shade...fall color has not been noted locally...we've recorded surprisingly robust initial growth of the eight ironwoods planted throughout Cambridge: between two and three ft. over the first five years, though that rate slows considerably over time...expect 18 inches of growth annually over the first decade...35 ft. tall at maturity.
2-3 ft. tall: $38
Considered by tree snobs to be one of the most beautiful and desirable specimen trees...extremely long lived, low maintenance and attractive in all seasons...leaves have an interesting round shape that flicker in the wind throughout summer, remaining disease free (Japanese beetles won’t touch this tree) well into autumn when they can turn a golden yellow color (see above, pictured at the Old Red school)...only liability is a need for good garden soil and regular watering when young...a katsura growing in the Nakoma neighborhood in Madison is 65 ft. high...we are seeing 14 inches annual growth from the 21 katsuras planted throughout Cambridge, mostly in shady conditions, where growth rates are suppressed...those planted in sunny locations have averaged 20 inches annually over the past ten years locally.
(Larix laricina) Native
A deciduous conifer that drops its needles every fall after displaying a solid golden yellow fall color (see top pic above)...decorative small cones (to one inch) are violet colored when young (see photo directly above) before turning light brown...grows well in saturated soils and under normal lawn and garden conditions...fast growing when young, up to 24 inches annually...tall and narrow profile, to 50 ft. tall and 20 ft. wide.
2-3 ft. tall: $18
(Platanus x 'Exclamation' and 'Rockford Road')
Hybrid of our native sycamore and the oriental plane tree...commonly found in both American and European cities because it grows so well under urban conditions...shown above is the familiar camo bark: a mosaic of tan, brown and white...a very fast growing tree: 42 London planes planted throughout Cambridge in compacted clay/gravel/garbage soil are averaging 31 inches of growth annually...reaches 60 ft. high with time...one of the cultivars we offer ('Exclamation') was developed by Chicagoland Grows and is well suited to our area...'Rockford Road' has smooth white bark instead of the more common camo theme.
6-8 ft. tall 'Rockford Road' $68
Magnolias see 'Ornamentals' tab above
(Acer rubrum 'Red Sunset') Native
‘Red Sunset’ maple has many advantages over the commonly available 'Autumn Blaze' cultivar: starting off is the exceptional fall color: it realiably produces an electric red/orange (see pics above) that arrives earlier and stays around longer…also features a more formal pyramidal shape; better branch distribution and stronger branch angles that are less likely to break from wind, snow or ice...grows to 45 ft. high and wide...prospers in virtually all soils including the compacted clays found in new subdivisions...the average annual growth rate of eight Red Sunset maple street trees planted in Cambridge subdivisions has been 12 inches.
(Quercus rubra and Quercus macrocarpa) Native
These oaks are beautiful and easy to grow:
Red Oak is our go to tree to plant in the shade of larger trees locally, though it won't grow as fast in that setting (eight inches annually on average for our seven trees)...when planted in sunny locations we're recording over 20 inches of annual growth...very easy to grow locally...nice red fall color most years (see picture above, taken at Pleasant and Main Streets)...reaches 60 ft. tall and wide.
Bur Oak handles tough conditions better than nearly any other tree: wet, dry, gravelly, rocky or compacted clay soils, take your pick!...an excellent choice for newer subdivisions...even under terrible soil conditions bur oaks average eight inches of annual growth locally...in good soil we've found bur oaks will grow over 20 inches annually within the first five years of planting...with time a massive tree, up to 75 ft. tall and wide.
3-4 ft. tall: $38
While known as a southern species, we carry pecans sourced from northern locations that perform well in our area...a ten year old tree in Westside Park (pictured at top, above) started producing pecans in the fall of 2018...pecan trees are self fertile and our 3-4 ft. tall trees begin producing nuts about six years after planting...three pecan trees planted locally have managed an impressive 21 inches of annual growth over the past decade in less than ideal soil...they're also tough: able to withstand compacted clay and seasonally wet soils...reaches 70 ft. tall and 40 ft. wide...we've seen a nice yellow fall color locally about every other year.
4-5 ft. tall $54
A tough and interesting shade tree that's performed well for us here in Cambridge despite its natural range extending no further north than central Illinois...most prominent feature is handsome and easily recognized blocky bark (see top picture above) on both young and older trees...persimmons also have lustrous dark green leaves that turn a purplish red in fall...we've planted nine throughout Cambridge (most of them in poor soil) and they've averaged 13 inches of annual growth; also, none of them have died, suggesting that they do well on difficult sites...the bright orange colored fruits (see middle picture above) are edible and require male and female trees for pollination...a street tree on Lawn Street in Cambridge began fruiting in 2017, eight years after it was planted; interestingly, the closest male tree was more than two blocks away...the tallest persimmon in Wisconsin, located in Shorewood, is 45 ft. high.
5-6 ft. tall $54
Similar to baldcypress in many ways but faster growing locally: our seven trees in Cambridge average 21 inches of annual growth without supplemental watering...they withstand wet soil but also perform well in drier areas...small (to only one inch) and attractive dark brown cones...drops its leaves in the fall revealing attractive reddish brown, fissured bark...will grow quickly to 70 ft. high and a narrow 25 ft. wide.
One of the few trees with showy flowers in mid to late summer...creamy white flowers arrive in late July and last for several weeks into August...trees begin to flower only several years after planting...lustrous soft green leaves (middle picture above) suffer from no insect damage or pathogens and look great well into October, though no fall color has been noted locally...14 scholartrees planted in Cambridge are averaging an impressive 23 inches of annual growth without supplemental watering...reaches 50 ft. tall and wide...this tree needs full sun and good soil to thrive.
6-7 ft. tall: $78
Considered by some to have the best fall color of any American tree (see picture at top above and decide for yourself!)...extremely hard to find in the nursery trade - we are thrilled to finally be offering it for sale...similar to the purple leaved smoke bush but grows larger, to 25 ft. high in the form of a tree...flowers that truly look like smoke (see immediately above)...also features unique scaly, silvery bark...leaves have a blue/green hue that also stands out...native to dry soils in the south central states but fully hardy in our area...growth is slower, perhaps 12 inches annually...needs full sun to thrive.
(Liquidambar styraciflua x 'Moraine' and 'Slender Silhouette')
The best fall color festival of any tree in Cambridge...sweetgum leaves from the same tree pick a brilliant color and really run with it...keep in mind that each of the above leaves were part of the same tree on High Street just south of Main Street...unusual corky bark on smaller diameter branches (see top photo above)...we offer the 'Moraine' cultivar which withstands our coldest winters and provides lustrous green leaves throughout summer (see middle picture above)...we’re seeing annual growth of 18 inches on the 11 sweetgums planted throughout Cambridge…sweetgums eventually (20 years or longer) develop woody one inch diameter seed pods that fall over winter months...tolerant of wet areas and poor soils.
4 ft. tall 'Slender Silhouette' $48
5 ft. tall 'Moraine' $68
(Platanus occidentalis) Native
Numerous sycamores planted in lousy soil throughout Cambridge have proven to be extremetly fast growing trees: averaging 29 inches of growth annually without supplemental watering...one of the fastest growing trees we've ever measured, a sycamore planted in 2007 on the 200 block of North Street in good soil, is now 56 ft. tall and has averaged 47 inches of growth annually (see picture immediately above)...drought tolerant and tough, sycamores will grow in virtually any setting: wet, dry, clay, gravel...we've lost very few sycamores which is really saying something given the conditions we plant them in...they also rarely need formative pruning due to nicely defined central leader and even lateral branching...mature size is massive, up to 100 ft. tall and wide.
Fast growing, spring flowering, majestic member of the magnolia family...16 street trees planted in Cambridge are averaging 25 inches of annual growth over the past decade...trees planted in residential lawns are growing up to 36 inches annually over the same period...leaves have the interesting tulip shape and remain disease free (Japanese beetles won’t touch this tree) well into autumn when they consistently turn an excellent yellow color...not a good choice for areas with poor soil, especially new subdivisions...a large tree with time, reaching 80 ft. tall and 40 ft. wide...specimens to 200 ft. tall are known in the Smokeys.
Exceptionally vivid red fall color on glossy leaves is nearly impossible to beat on a clear fall day...pictured above is a celebrated specimen growing next to the McKay Center at the UW Arboretum: note the unique horizontal branching pattern...will grow in poorly drained areas given a tolerance of anaerobic soils...growth of our three tupelo trees in Cambridge has been slow, at 14 inches annually...reaches 30 ft. tall and wide locally...native only to Kenosha County in Wisconsin, but fully hardy in our area.
Proceeds from our tree sales have gifted and established 1000 additional living trees in Cambridge since 2006