Twenty Stormworthy Native Trees for Southern New England

A favorite armchair-gardening activity of mine is creating lists of plants for special conditions. I recently wrote an article for the community newspapers of the New London Day/Zip06 newspapers titled "Advice for dealing with storm-ravaged trees." Research for that article helped create Twenty Storm-worthy Native Trees, which you'll find below. Many of us are facing major decisions about our trees and shrubs, so I hope this helps you find some good replacements and additions for your southern New England landscape. 

 

Native trees less than 20’

Chickasaw Plum, Prunus angustifolia 
Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida 
Redbud, Cercis canadensis 
River Birch, dwarf Betula nigra ‘Little King’ 
Serviceberry, Amelanchier canadensis  
Serviceberry, Amerlanchier laevis 
Sweetbay magnolia, Magnolia virginiana 

 

Native Trees 20’ – 40’

American Holly, Ilex opaca 
American Hophornbeam, Ostrya virginiana 
American Hornbeam, Carpinus caroliniana 
Arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis 
Chokecherry Prunus virginiana 
Eastern Redcedar, Juniperus virginiana 
Hackberry, Celtis occidentalis 
Hawthorn, Crataegus viridis 
Hawthorn, Thornless Cockspur, Crataegus crus-galli var. inernmis
 

Native Trees over 40’

American sycamore, Platanus occidentalis 
Black Gum, Tupelo, Nyssa sylvatica 
Burr Oak, Quercus macrocarpa
Pin Oak, Quercus palustris
River Birch, standard Betula nigra 
 

Glenn Dreyer, former director of the Connecticut College Arboretum, highly recommends pin oaks and river birches for their ability to weather storms. Both of those tree varieties have fared very well at the Arboretum during our stormy two years in this area, he says.

 

 

* Here are the two studies that contributed to creating this list:

Wind and Trees: Lessons Learned from Hurricanes, University of Florida Extension System. While many of the trees in this study don't grow in New England, many others do. I found the study very valuable for other advice as well, such as the idea of planting trees in pods of five or seven--rather than in a line. 

The other valuable article is Windbreaks: Their Use from the NRCS-USDA. 

Happy pruning, happy planting!