Plant Smart

Trees & Forests:  Plant Trees

In a nutshell:


Know your trees before you choose

Whether you live in a rural, suburban or urban setting, there is always value in adding trees to your landscape. Trees increase property values, and add beauty, help to shade your home and protect it from wind. But not all trees are good for all settings.

• Learn to identify 62 of the most common trees you are likely to find in your neighborhood using DCNR’s publication Common Trees of Pennsylvania.

• Looking for great fall foliage color or a fast growing tree to complement your yard? Click here to find a list to help you refine your choices.

• Stick with native species. Botanists at the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania list 134 species of trees native to the forests of pre-colonial Pennsylvania. Native trees thrive best in Pennsylvania’s environment. They are more drought tolerant, more pest and disease resistant, and best define Pennsylvania’s natural character. Learn more about native plants and trees here.


Plant strategically

With so many choices, how do you decide which tree is right for you? A tree to line an urban sidewalk will probably be different from one planted on a two-acre lot. Some questions to ask yourself before selecting your tree:

• How big is the space where I am planting the tree? Do I need to worry about overhead wires? Will the tree be near sidewalks, patios or driveways? Are there other trees in the area? Are there barriers to future root growth, such as building foundations?

• Do I want the tree to perform a specific purpose—like produce fruit, shield the wind, add color to the yard, or cut cooling costs?

• Which type of soil conditions exist? Is the soil deep, fertile, and well-drained, or is it shallow, compacted, and infertile?

• How much care am I able to provide to this tree? Will I have the time or expertise to manage its growth?

Learn more about selecting the right tree for you.


Practice proper planting

Healthy, attractive trees enhance the beauty and value or your home. Successful landscape plantings depend on choosing the right trees, planting them properly and caring for them as they grow.

For more information about tree planting visit TreeVitalize.


Make your trees count!

If you plant a tree, we want to know. Be a part of TreeVitalize—a statewide effort to plant 1 million trees across the state, particularly in our metropolitan areas that could most benefit from trees.

Responding to an alarming trend of the loss of trees in Pennsylvania’s metropolitan areas, TreeVitalize is a public-private partnership to help restore tree cover, educate citizens about planting trees as an act of caring for our environment, and build capacity among local governments to understand, protect and restore their urban trees.

Record your tree today!