Cambridge Tree Project
Cambridge Tree Project

Shade Trees

 

Available by request

 

Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum)

A tree of southern swamps that also happens to prosper in our area…ornamental attributes are numerous: delicate sage green needles that turn a soft orange in autumn and fall from the tree (similar to our native tamarack trees) to reveal attractive, reddish-brown fisured bark...trees planted throughout Cambridge in 2007 have averaged 14 inches of annual growth in poor and compacted soil…the tree pictured above (located on the 300 block of North Street), planted in good soil, has averaged an impressive 25 inches of annual growth…with time becomes a large uniformly pyramidal tree reaching 60 ft. high but stays narrow, to only 20 ft. wide…one of the few trees that will grow in standing water; conversely, it also tolerates dryer soils...a recently-discovered baldcypress tree in NC tree was found to be over 2500 years old.

 

 

 

Beech, American (Fagus grandifolia) Native

A tree of great beauty which many people claim as their favorite...distinctive smooth silvery bark (see picture immediately above)...attractive dark green leaves that turn golden bronze in the fall and persist throughout winter…one of the best trees for climbing given the strongly horizontal branching pattern…an added bonus: beechnuts are edible and good tasting…our early data suggests that you should expect around 12" of annual growth from a young tree...beeches require good soil and grow slowly, but with time they become majestic specimens: the current state champion near Manitowoc is just over 100 ft. high.

 

 

 

Birch, River (Betula nigra) 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...13 street trees planted locally are averaging 27 inches(!) of annual growth without supplemental watering

 

 

 

Birch ‘Whitespire’ (Betula populifolia)  

The best white-barked birch for suburban lawns…pure white bark and glossy green leaves that turn 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, at just over 24" annually for our two street trees. 

 

 

Birch, Yellow (Betula alleghaniensis) Native

An interesting large shade tree that has the essence of wintergreen in its twigs...it also has exceptional clear yellow fall color...the ornamental bark, pictured 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 in Cambridge average 13 inches of growth each year...this tree will grow in sun or shade and prefers cool and moist conditions.

 

 

 

Buckeye, Ohio, Red and Yellow (Aesculus glabra, flava and pavia) 

Buckeyes are great choices for shady areas as they're adapted to the forest understory...palmately-compound leaves (see picture above) stand out among other trees...subtely 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 9 inches annually in Cambridge and yellow buckeye produces 14 inches growth; however: a red buckeye that is regularly watered has averaged 18 inches of growth each year...leaves generally produce a nice pumpkin orange fall color…Yellow buckeye will grow 60 ft. high tall or more whereas Ohio is usually shorter than that; red buckeyes are great patio trees as they reach only 10-15 ft. high.

 

 

 

Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)

The white flowers, at close inspection, are said to be the most beautiful of all American flowering trees (see photo above)...large leaves (up to 12 inches) have a pleasant medium green color during the summer months…long cigar-type seed pods will arrive in about ten years...incredibly fast-growing: 31 inches annually taking measurements from our 13 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.

 

 

Cherry, Manchurian (Prunus maackia)

Beautiful, shiny cinnamon brown bark (pictured above) is a year round attraction...additionally, white flowers are displayed in great profusion during the month of May though they are somewhat muted as they arrive with the leaves...easy to grow in all soils with good drainage...cold hardiness to -40...we've planted six Manchurian cherries in Cambridge and they've averaged a respectable 15 inches of annual growth...reaches 40 ft. tall and 25 ft. wide at maturity. 

 

 

Coffeetree, Kentucky (Gymnocladus dioicus) Native

Similar to honey locust, Kentucky coffeetree'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...28 trees planted along Cambridge streets in poor soil (gravel, in some cases) are averaging 14 inches annually...trees planted in better soil are averaging considerable growth: 24 inches annually over the past ten years 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. 

 

Crabtree: see 'Ornamentals' tab at top of page

 

Dogwood, Pagoda see 'Ornamentals' tab

 

 

Elm, American (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 that are commonly found in recently-developed subdivisions...another plus is fast growth: the tree pictured above was planted on Park Street in 2008 and is now over 35 ft. high...19 elm cultivars planted throughout Cambridge are averaging 24 inches of annual growth, those planted in better soils are averaging 3 ft. of growth annually...fall color can be a good yellow, and the leaves have a nice glossy surface that provide visual interest throughout summer.

 

 

 

Ginkgo (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 of them fall within a 24 hour time period in the autumn, reducing the fall rake-up hassle considerably…regarded as one of the most trouble-free trees available: no insect or disease issues and trees are extremely hardy once established…growth is slow: 30 trees planted throughout Cambridge are averaging only eight inches of annual growth...growth to 12" annually can be achieved with regular waterering...trees in China are known to be over 1,000 years old.

 

 

 

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) Native

A tough buster for difficult sites...tolerates exposed areas with poor soils including those that are gravelly and sandy...some ability to withstand slow-draining compacted clays...save for interesting warty bark (see pic above) ornamental attributes are wanting, and some trees develop an unsightly malady called witches broom, though we don't see this on the dozen hackberries in our Village forest...we've found hackberry growth on tough sites to be 12 inches annually...trees will reach 60 ft. and higher and endure for decades even under the worst circumstances.

 

 

 

Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) Native

a great tree if you don't like raking leaves: because the leaves are so small they quickly decompose and fertilize your lawn...also the best tree for a filtered sunshine that encourages the growth of turf grass...a tough tree that performs well in suboptimal soil conditions: too wet, too dry, compacted, etc...we've planted 26 honeylocust throughout Cambridge and they're averaging 21 inches of growth each year, despite being located in less than ideal conditions...fall color can be a good yellow...will reach 60 ft. high and 40 ft. wide.

 

 

 

Hornbeam, American (Carpinus vinginiana) Native

A fine-textured understory tree with smooth silver bark similar to American beech...vibrant red fall color locally (see above)...excellent choice for patios and in front of larger trees as it reaches only 20 ft. high and wide under landscape conditions…happily grows in sun or complete shade...we've recorded reasonably fast initial growth of the eight younger hornbeams planted throughout Cambridge: 16 inches annually...native along rivers and streams...also known as musclewood.

 

 

Horsechestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

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 in flower (see pic above taken on Main St.)...also features interesting palmately-compound leaves and buckeye nuts which fascinate kids and squirrels...we also carry a seedless version, the 'Baumann' horsechestnut...horsechestnut seedlings have averaged 14 inches of growth annually here in Cambridge.

 

 

Horsechestnut, Red Flowering

(Aesculus x carnea 'Ft McNair')
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 the summer...a tree planted on the 300 block of North St is averaging over 15 inches of growth annually with regular watering...without regular watering Ft. McNair red horsechstnuts average eight inches of annual growth...this tree will eventually reach 30-40 ft. high.

 

 

 

 

Ironwood (Ostrya vinginiana) Native

Common small understory tree that can be introduced as a graceful element to your home landscape...interesting features include hop-type fruits (pictured above) and broken, irregular bark...wood is extremely hard and was used for tool handles during frontier times...happily grows in sun or complete shade...we've recorded surprisingly robust initial growth of the eight ironwoods planted throughout Cambridge: 20 inches annually, though this rate will slow considerably over time.

 

 

Katsura Tree (Cercidyphyllum japonica)

Considered by tree snobs to be one of the most beautiful and desirable specimen trees...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 turn a nice amber-orange color (see above, pictured at the old red school)...only liability is a need for regular watering when young...a katsuratree growing in the Nakoma neighborhood in Madison is 65 ft. high...we are seeing 13 inches annual growth from the 12 katsuratrees planted throughout Cambridge, mostly in shady conditions, where growth rates are suppressed...growth in sunny areas with regular watering can yield up to two ft. of growth annually. 

 

 

 

Larch (Tamarack) (Larix laricina and Larix decidua) Native

Larches are deciduous conifers that drop their needles in the fall after displaying a golden yellow color...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.

 

 

Linden, Silver (Tilia tomentosa 'Sterling Silver')

As shown above, silver lindens feature dark green, shiny leaves with contrasting silver undersides that stand out among other trees...another big plus: Japanese beetles don't feed on their leaves; something quite unusual for a linden...also, smooth light gray bark on branches up to ten inches diameter provides visual interest...a formal, pyramidal habit is very similar to our native linden, as are fragrant spring flowers that are so popular with local bee populations...prospers in all soils except those that are frequently saturated...reaches 50 ft. high and 30 ft. wide at an an average rate.

 

 

London Planetree (Platanus x 'Exclamation')

Hybrid of our native sycamore and the oriental plane tree...common in European and American cities because it grows well in stressed, urban conditions...shown above is the familiar bark, as mosaic of tan, brown and white...a very fast growing tree: 36 London planes planted throughout Cambridge in compacted clay/gravel/garbage soil are averaging 36 inches(!) of growth annually...tough and trouble free...reaches 60 ft. high with time...the cultivar we offer 'Exclamation' was developed by 'Chicagoland Grows' and is well-suited to our area.


 

Magnolias see 'Ornamentals' tab

 

 

 

 

Maple, Red (Acer x 'Red Sunset') Native

Red Sunset: This larger-growing red maple has several advantages over the commonly available Autumn Blaze maple: a more formal pyramidal form; better branch distribution and stronger branches that are less likely to break from wind, snow or ice...it also colors earlier and produces an electric red/orange color (see pic above)...grows to 45 ft. high and wide...prospers in virtually any soils including the compacted clays found in new subdivisions.

 

 

Mulberry, Red (Moris rubra) Native

An uncommon forest tree that shouldn't be confused with the invasive white mulberry...large, juicy fruits are edible, messy and highly valued by many bird species...large dark green leaves in various shapes that, at best, turn an understated yellow in fall...reaches 40 ft. tall in landscape conditions with an open habit..grayish-brown ridged and furrowed bark...requires good garden soil and will grow in sun or part shade.

 

 

 

Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)

While known as a southern species, we carry pecan trees from northern seed sources that perform well in our area...a ten year old tree in Westside Park (pictured above) started producing pecans in the fall of 2018...pecan trees are self fertile and our 4-5' tall trees begin producing nuts about six years after planting...pecan trees planted locally have managed an impressive 21" of annual growth over the past ten years...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.

 

 

 

 

Persimmon: (Diospyros virginiana)

A tough and interesting 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 picture above) on both young and older trees...persimmons also have lustrous dark green leaves that turn a purplish red in the fall...we've planted nine of them throughout Cambridge (most of them in poor soil) and they've averaged 14 inches of annual growth; also, none of them have died suggesting they do well on difficult sites....the bright orange colored fruits (see top picture immediately above) are edible but require male and female trees for pollination...a seven year old persimmon on Lawn Street has already begun fruiting...the largest persimmon in Wisconsin, located in Shorewood, is 45 ft. high. 

 

 

Oaks: (various Quercus) Native

All of the following 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 (8 inches annually on average for our seven trees)...when planted in the sun we're recording 18 inches of annual growth...very easy to grow and a nice red fall color.

 

Bur Oak handles tough conditions better than nearly any other tree: wet, dry, compacted, gravel, rocky, clay soils, take your pick!...an excellent choice for newer subdivisions...even under terrible conditions bur oaks average 8 inches of annual growth locally...in good soil we've found bur oaks will grow over 20 inches annually within the first few years of planting.

 

Chinkapin Oak is the fastest growing oak we offer; nine trees planted throughout Cambridge are averaging 24 inches of growth annually without supplemental watering...features serrated leaves and edible acorns.

 

Shingle Oak once grew as far north as Rock County and has interesting lustrous leaves like a magnolia (no lobes)...a shingle oak planted nine years ago on the 300 block of North St has averaged a respectable 23 inches of annual growth.

 

Redbud, Eastern see 'Ornamentals' tab at top of page

 

 

Redwood, Dawn (Metasequoia glyptostrbiodes)

Similar to baldcypress in many ways but faster growing: our seven trees in Cambridge average 26 inches of annual growth without supplemental watering...withstands wet soil but also performs well in dryer soils...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.

 


Serviceberry see 'Ornamentals' tab at top of page

 

 

 

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

All parts of this tree are interesting and aromatic...the roots were once used to make root beer and are still used to make tea...the leaves, pictured above, come in four shapes (ghost, football and both left and right-handed mittens) all of which feature exceptional orange and red fall color locally...color also appears in spring, in the form of yellow flowers...we planted a sassafras in our front lawn six years ago and it's grown 21 inches annually with regular watering...this tree needs full sun and good soil to thrive.

 

 

 

Smoketree, American (Cotinus obovatus)

Considered by some to have the best fall color of any American tree, see picture above to decide for yourself...similar to the purple-leaved smoke bush but grows to 25 ft. high in the form of a tree...flowers that truly look like smoke..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.

 

 

 

Sweetgum: (Liquidambar styraciflua x 'Moraine')

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 St...we offer the 'Moraine' cultivar which withstands our coldest winters and provides lustrous green leaves throughout summer...we’re seeing annual growth of 19 inches on the nine sweetgums planted throughout Cambridge…tolerant of wet areas and poor soils.

 

 

Sycamore: (Platanus occidentalis) Native

Numerous sycamores were planted in lousy soil throughout Cambridge in 2007 and have proven to be one fast growing tree: averaging 27 inches of growth annually without supplemental watering...the fastest growing tree we've ever measured in Cambridge, a sycamore located on the 200 block of North Street in good soil, is now over 45 ft. tall and has averaged 48 inches of growth annually (see picture above)...no other tree we have planted in Cambridge has achieved this level of growth...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 pruning due to nicely defined central leader.

 

 

 

Tuliptree:

(Liriodendron tulipifera)

Fast growing, spring flowering, majestic member of the magnolia family...street trees planted in Cambridge are averaging 25 inches of annual growth...trees planted in residential lawns throughout Cambridge are growing up to 36 inches annually...leaves have the interesting tulip shape and remain disease free (Japanese beetles won’t touch this tree) well into autumn when they turn an excellent yellow color...not a good choice for areas with poor soil, especially new subdivisions...a massive tree with time, reaching 80 ft. tall and 40 ft. wide...specimens to 200 ft. tall are known in the Smokeys.

 

 

Yellowwood, Pink: (Cladrastis kentukea 'Perkin's Pink')

A tree with numerous beautiful attributes: pink flowers (shown above) hang from branches like wisteria in early June; distinctive yellow-green leaves that stand out in the landscape; soft yellow fall leaf color and smooth silver bark...we've found yellowwoods are fairly fast growing in Cambridge, averaging 20" annually without supplemental watering...a great choice for areas with poor soil as long as drainage is good...tops out at 30 ft. tall and wide.

 

 

 

Zelkova: (Zelkova serrata 'Village Green')

Closely related to elm trees, zelkovas feature attractive leaves, bark and a vase-shaped habit...leaves are elm-like and not fed on by Japanese beetles...with age the bark exfoliates to reveal gray and warm brown patches...we've recorded 29" inches of annual growth on the zelkovas planted in Cambridge...they will grow in nearly any soil except those that are continually wet. ..quickly reaches 60 ft. tall and 40 ft. wide.

 

Profits from our tree sales have gifted and established 1000 additional living trees in Cambridge since 2006

 

Print Print | Sitemap
Contact us: infoatcambridgetreeproject.org