First-rate street trees possess strong divisions that resist breaking, so that they won’t drop into the street in terrible weather. They thrive in full sunlight and won’t litter the asphalt with moist fruit. Good street trees possess non-invasive root systems that extend to control soil erosion, but wo not crack the asphalt or harm underground pipes. Evergreen road trees also serve as year-round privacy displays.
Eye-Catching Leaves and Flowers
Some road trees have eye-catching leaf and blooms, including the flowering dogwood trees “First Lady” (Cornus florida “First Lady”) and also “Sweetwater Red” (C. florida “Sweetwater Red”). “First Lady” grows 20 to 25 feet tall with a canopy 25 to 30 feet broad. It’s variegated yellow and light green leaves that turn red in fall. “First Lady” bears large white spring blooms in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9a. “Royal Purple” grows 25 feet tall in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 8 with purple or red leaves and showy purple or red flowers in summer or spring.
Powerful Weeping Branches
Trees with strong, weeping branches add dramatic interest to your road. “Pendulus” smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria “Pendulus”), also known as pendulus wig-tree and pendulus smokebush, grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 5b through 8b. It grows 10 to 25 feet tall with a canopy 10 to 18 feet wide and provides blue or blue blue-green leaves that turn orange, yellow, red and purple for a showy fall screen. Apart from smoke trees with drooping branches suitable for street planting include daydream smoke tree (C. coggygria “Daydream”) and “Royal Purple” smoke tree (C. coggygria “Royal Purple”).
Wet Well-drained Sites
Street trees that flourish in moist, well-drained sites include heritage river birch Betula nigra “Heritage”) and the bridalveil tree (Caesalpinia granadillo). Heritage river birch likes any sort of acidic soil and grows 40 to 50 feet tall with a canopy 25 to 35 feet wide. Its leaves turn yellow in fall in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. Bridalveil features delicate fern-like evergreen leaf. It grows 30 to 35 feet tall, bears clusters of bright yellow flowers in summer or fall and grows in USDA zones 10 and 11.
High Tolerance for Drought
Select trees possess a higher tolerance for drought, including the evergreen “East Palatka” holly (Ilex x attenuata “East Palatka”). This tree also grows 30 to 45 feet tall with a canopy 10 to 15 feet wide in USDA hardiness zones 7 through 9. It bears shiny leaves and a bounty of bright red berries that add brilliant color to your fall and winter landscape, but don’t cause a litter problem. Other holly trees good for streetside planting include dahoon holly (I. cassine) and also “Calloway” American holly (I. opaca “Calloway”).