Northeastern Native Trees for Windy Conditions

A favorite pastime of mine is making lists of plants for special conditions. One outcome is the list below, Storm-worthy Native Trees of New England. 

One thing I've learned about wind and trees, however, is that there is no simple list of "wind-firm" species. Trees adapt to their locations. Their height, spread, strength, water transport, nutrient storage, and more respond to local conditions. 

Therefore, consider the trees below as suggestions. Two studies and a database contributed to the creation of this list, linked at the end of the article: 

Native trees less than 25’

  • Beach plum, Prunus maritima 
  • Chickasaw Plum, Prunus angustifolia 
  • Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida 
  • Redbud, Cercis canadensis 
  • River Birch, dwarf, Betula nigra ‘Little King’ 
  • Serviceberry, Amelanchier spp. 

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
  • Sweetbay magnolia, Magnolia virginiana 

Native Trees over 40’

  • American sycamore, Platanus occidentalis 
  • Black Gum, a.k.a. Tupelo, Nyssa sylvatica 
  • Burr Oak, Quercus macrocarpa
  • Pin Oak, Quercus palustris

Wind and Trees: Lessons Learned from Hurricanes, University of Florida Extension System. While some trees in this study don't grow in New England, many others do. I found the study valuable for other ideas, too, such as planting trees in pods of five or seven--rather than in a line. The pod arrangement may improve the wind-firmness of each member of the pod. 

Acclimation of mechanical and hydraulic functions in trees: impact of the thigmomorphogenetic process. Badel E, Ewers FW, Cochard H, Telewski FW. 

I-Tree Species, a service of the I-Tree suite of products. 

Updated 2/20/24