5 Best Trees to Plant in New Jersey

We live in the Garden State, so it makes sense that we want our yards and gardens to be as beautiful as possible. However, if you look around at the trees, some of them need some serious help. Due to our difficult climate (especially at this time of the year when it goes back and forth between frigid and springlike), trees don’t always thrive. If they do grow, they aren’t as beautiful as they could be without a lot of work.

Trees don’t have to be that much work – instead, they should be fairly stress-free. If you pick the right trees, the kinds that will thrive in our climate, you will find that you can pretty much just let your trees be for about 90% of the year. The other 10% can be simple steps like trimming, watering, and cabling during storms.

How do you find those low maintenance trees? Here are five to choose from:

5. Dawn Redwood

  • Grows in all soil types
  • Extremely hardy
  • Requires watering during drought
  • Great for border walls

This is the perfect tree to put in that sunny part of your backyard. It thrives in areas where there are open areas, but it also gets along well with other trees. The reddish bark is beautiful, but it does fade as the tree grows and gets older. This one gets extremely tall, anywhere from 70 feet tall to over 100 feet tall. It gets extremely wide as well, as much as 25 feet wide. You have to have some serious space in your yard for it, but if you do you will be happy you chose this beautiful tree.

According to the Crescent Ridge Redwood Preserve, it does shed its needles in the winter, so don’t think it is dying. Fun fact: dawn redwoods seemed to attract a lot of dinosaurs, as many fossils were found near them.

Fun fact: Dawn Redwoods seemed to attract a lot of dinosaurs, as many fossils were found near them.

4. Sweetbay Magnolia

  • Grows in a variety of soil types
  • Requires little watering
  • Blooms late in the season
  • Hardy against frost

For a more versatile tree, consider planting the Sweetbay Magnolia tree in your yard. In New Jersey in particular, the fragrant white flowers have a long life, starting in May and lasting through June. These flowers have a scent that you will smell throughout your entire yard, especially when there is a light breeze. Throughout the rest of the year, it has gorgeous leaves that glint in the sun, making this tree almost sparkle.

The Missouri Botanical Garden suggests using this tree near patios and other structures because it doesn’t drop as much debris throughout the rest of the year. It also doesn’t grow that tall, only reaching about 20 feet tall and 10 to 20 feet wide. If you want a different shape, this tree is easy to prune.

Fun fact: Songbirds really love this type of tree and will gravitate towards it.

3. Golden Rain Tree

  • Requires light watering
  • Adaptable to different soil types
  • Blooms late in the season
  • Produces inedible fruit

With a beautiful name, this tree won’t actually bring golden rain. However, it is susceptible to no rain at all, making it perfect for areas that don’t get a lot of rain throughout the summer months. If you are looking for shade, look no further.

The Golden Rain Tree has wide leaves that give you some relief. One reason people choose to plant this type of tree is because it doesn’t flower until extremely late into July. It can be a bit messy, so be prepared for that. This one can grow up to 40 feet high and 30 feet wide.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, “The combination of beauty and durability makes for an enchanting sight near patios, in parks, in street rights-of-way and in planters.”

2. Ginkgo

  • Requires watering
  • Adaptable to different soil types
  • Prefers full sun
  • Attracts Deer

Let’s get it out of the way: the Ginkgo stinks, as in it has an odor that some people don’t like. However, it is still one of the most popular trees to plant, so it has to have some merits. This tree prefers sandy soil, making it perfect for those who live by the beaches of South Jersey. Many people don’t believe it, but a Ginkgo tree can get really large, growing up to eighty feet tall and thirty feet wide.

Many people love this tree because of the beautifully shaped leaves that stand out amongst some of the boring leaves on traditional trees.

Pro tip: if you want to avoid the smell, go for the male cultivars instead of the female fruit trees, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden.

1. European Hornbeam

  • Requires watering
  • Grows in sandy soil
  • Attracts all types of animals
  • Extremely hardy

One of the absolute best trees for a New Jersey yard is the European Hornbeam. These trees are beautiful and thickly branched, growing into a cone shape as it matures. This is definitely a tree that goes through an “ugly” stage at first, but it is worth it to stick through that growth to see the end result. Deep, dark green in the spring and summer, the transition into fall is one of the most gorgeous sights nature has to offer as it slowly turns yellow and orange. Most homeowners choose to plant this tree to protect the yard from winds or as a formal hedge. It works well close to other plants.

According to the Bernheim Arboretum, “Hornbeam is often described as the hardiest, heaviest and toughest of woods. The wood was used for wheel cogs, axils, spokes, tool handles, and butchers blocks.”

Fun fact: These trees were first found in Europe, but now are all on every continent.

In South Jersey, we take our yards and our trees seriously. This means that you need to plant trees that will work with your yard, with your climate, and only take the amount of work that you prefer to do. Thankfully, our climate means we have many different trees to choose from – even more than our North Jersey neighbors.

If you are looking for a team that takes your trees as seriously as you do, considering giving our team at Bumblebee Tree Service a call at

(609) 297-1721. Our team will help you with selecting the best tree for your yard, planting trees, pruning them, and even cutting them down when the time comes.

Header photo courtesy of Art Poskanzer on Flickr!