PARK AND RESIDENTIAL SHADE TREES
According to the 1998 statistical survey [~4MB PDF] of the 24,000 trees bordering Arlington’s streets and sidewalks, the vast majority are Norway maples (40% of all street trees). At one time these were considered the ideal street tree, as they are tall, broad-canopied and very resilient. We have since learned, however, that they are highly prolific and are now considered invasive, meaning that they compete with and overwhelm native species in our natural areas. In consequence, Massachusetts and many other states have banned the sale of these trees.
Many of Arlington’s street trees were planted during the first half of the last century and are now nearing the end of life. As a result, many more trees are removed each year than are being replaced. If you would like to plant trees that will help make our community forest more varied and interesting, consider the species listed below. All are deciduous (lose their leaves in the fall), hardy in our climate, and are suitable for urban conditions. Some will better withstand the especially tough conditions of the tree strip; all will benefit from being planted in your yard instead. Even trees planted in the front yard, especially if they are within 20 ft of the pavement, will benefit both the environment and appearance of the streetscape.
Street Trees, currently recommended by the Tree Committee
This list will be augmented and updated periodically.
Common Name (Latin Name)
‘October Glory’ Red Maple (Acer rubrum ‘October Glory’)
‘Red Sunset’ Red Maple (Acer rubrum ‘Red Sunset’)
‘Princeton’ American Elm (Ulmus americana ‘Princeton’) – a fast-growing variety with good resistance to Dutch Elm Disease; develops the characteristic vase-shaped canopy with age.
Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba)
Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) – a fast-growing, very tall tree, best grown in a lawn as it needs plenty of space
‘Cruzam’ or ‘Crusader’ Cockspur Hawthorn (Crataegus crusgalli var. inermis ‘Cruzam’) – virtually thornless variety of the native species; a lower growing tree suitable for under overhead wires.
Other Recommended Urban Trees
European Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) (non-native)
Katsura Tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) (non-native)
Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentuckea ‘Lutea’)
‘Winter King’ Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’)
Thornless Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos var inermis) – a thornless variety; ‘Christie’ (Halka) produces few pods.
Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus)
Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor)
Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
American Linden/American Basswood (Tilia Americana)
Littleleaf Linden (Tilia cordata)
Green Vase Zelkova (Zelkova serrata ‘Green Vase’)
Additional information about these and many other species can be found in Trees, Shrubs and Vines for Low Maintenance Landscapes: