We have talked previously about the dangers of non-native plants and trees, and how much planting native species benefits the local ecosystem. But how do you know what the native species are? Below we list some of the native tree and shrub species for Delaware and Pennsylvania, to enable our community to more easily plan for native planting, as well as avoid some native species that can cause their own problems for homeowners, such as those prone to disease or vulnerable to pests like the emerald ash borer.
Native Trees and Shrubs for Delaware Properties
As you drive down the streets of our communities in Delaware, you see a wide variety of trees and shrubs, including evergreens that lend year-round color, and other trees that are beautiful in spring and fall. A few trees that are native to Delaware and which are particularly showy are:
- Sassafras (Sassafras albidum), which grows up to 40’ and boasts orange/red leaves in the fall
- Red Maple (Acer rubrum), a 40-60’beauty, sports red/orange leaves in the fall
- Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), which grows to a magnificent 60’ or more, exhibits yellow/orange trees in the fall
The Pin Oak (Quercis palustris) and the White Ash tree (Fraxinus Americana) are also beautiful showy trees, but the first is prone to the fatal bacterial leaf scorch, and the ash is vulnerable to the destructive emerald ash borer. The River Birch (Betula nigra), whose bark adds interest year-round, and grows up to 40-60’ tall, but the appealing bark itself attracts the bronze birch borer.
If you enjoy evergreen trees, you might want to consider the native Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana), with its blue/gray fall coloring, or the American Holly (Ilex opaca) with its deep green leaves and red berries in the winter).
Some beautiful native shrubs that will add interest to your landscape are the Red Bud (Cercis canadensis), Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) and the Winterberry (Ilex verticillata). These examples are just a few of the choices you have when considering native trees and shrubs for your Delaware landscape.
Native Trees and Shrubs for Pennsylvania Properties
Some of the same trees that are native to Delaware can also be found in Pennsylvania, as we are close neighbors.
Some particularly attractive varieties are the:
- Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) with its bright pink burst of color in spring
- Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra) is showy in the fall with brilliant red leaves.
- Shingle Oak (Quercus imbricaria) holds its leaves late into the season and has pretty leaves in the summer.
Some evergreen native varieties, are the Black Spruce (Picea mariana), Yellow Pine (Pinus echinata), and the tall Red Pine (Pinus Rinosa).
The Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra), which can reach 70’ in height, is impressive, but is prone to the bacterial leaf scorch, like the pin oak. Black Cherry (Prunus serotina), with its weeping branches is showy and smells good, but is often afflicted with fall webworms or tent caterpillars. The Pennsylvania state tree the Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), is native to the area, but unfortunately, wooly adelgid, a pest native to Asia targets the tree, and without treatment, can starve the tree in 3-10 years. In its native habitat, the insect is controlled by environmental factors.
Native Pennsylvania shrubs include the fragrant Carolina Allspice (Calycanthus floridus) and the Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia). If you are looking for something to stabilize a bank, one good choice is the Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia), which has a brilliant color in the fall.
According to the Lancaster County Planning Commission, whose site has a more extensive list of native PA trees and shrubs, Pennsylvania has more than 2,100 native plant species, so if you are looking to plant native, you have lots of choices.
Stein Tree Offers Skilled Tree Care for Residents of Pennsylvania and Delaware
Stein Tree Service’s professionals are passionate about tree care and about preserving our native environment. Our certified arborists and other tree care specialists are trained and have a great deal of experience with determining if your trees and plants are healthy. We are certified to treat for emerald ash borer in Pennsylvania and Delaware, and we provide whatever tree care service is needed to preserve the vitality of your plants and trees, from inspection, to tree removal and stump grinding. Contact us for more information about native trees or to schedule a free tree care consultation.