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A healthy urban forest begins with careful planning. A few factors to consider before planting a tree are:

  • The function of the tree. Do you want the tree to provide shade, fruit, or seasonal color? Or do you want it to act as a windbreak or screen?
  • Choose the right tree for the right space. It is important to pick your site first, then your tree second.  Does the space lend itself to a small, medium, or large tree? Try and imagine the size of the tree at maturity, not at the time of planting.
  • The soil conditions. Do you have fertile, well-drained soil or shallow, compacted soil?
  • How much time you will have to properly care for your tree? The first 3-5 years are the most important years for the survival of a new tree. Do you have time to water, fertilize, and prune the tree until it is established? Or will you rely on your garden or tree care service for assistance?

The ideal time to plant a tree in the Willamette Valley is late fall through early winter, after leaf drop and well before bud break. Always select healthy trees from a nursery. Choose a tree with a straight, strong single stem, and good form. Make sure the tree does not have signs of insect damage, dead bark, or cankers.

Approved Street Trees

Common NameScientific NameCultivarHeight (ft)Width (ft)Planting Strip Width*
Overhead Utility Wires**
For Use in Stormwater Quality FacilitiesComments
6‘ +6’-5‘4-5’
Box elder Acer negundo Flamingo 20 15 OK   Male selection only; Short lived
Cascara Rhamnus purshiana   30 12 NR OK Native: small green cup-shaped flowers, black cherry-like fruit
Cherry Prunus serrulata Royal Burgundy 20 15 OK   Red-purplish foliage, pink flower
  Prunus x yeodensis Cascade Snow 25 20   OK   White flowers, upright growth, very disease resistant
  Prunus sargentii Pink Flair 25 15 OK   Pink flower clusters, orange-red fall color, upright narrow vase-shaped growth form
Crabapple, Flowering Malus sp. Adirondack 18 10 OK   Good columnar variety, very good disease resistance
    Centurion 20 15 OK   Good disease resistance; Red flowers, upright growth
    Purple Prince 20 20   OK   Purple foliage becoming bronze green; rose red flowers
    Prairifire 20 20   OK   Very pink flowers, red fruit
    Red Jewel 15 12 OK   Very red persistent fruit, white flowers
    Sugar Tyme 15 15 OK   Good disease resistance, white flowers
Dogwood, Kousa Cornus kousa Many cultivars 20 20   OK   Low branching, the kousa hybrid selections are the best choices, Constellation, Aurora, and Stellar Pink. All are resistant to anthracnose.
Goldenrain Koelreuteria paniculata   30 30     NR OK Beautiful yellow flowering tree, very adaptable
    Summerburst 30 30     NR   Unique lantern-like seed capsules
Hawthorn,
 Paul’s Scarlet
Crateagus laevigata ‘Paul’s Scarlet’ 25 20   OK   Scarlet double flower; susceptible to rust and leaf spot
Hornbeam, American Carpinus caroliniana   25 20   OK   Difficult to transplant, dig in spring; does not tolerate compaction
Magnolia hybrid Magnolia hybrids Galaxy 30 15 NR   A bit messy when flowers drop off
    Merril 25 25   OK   Yellow fall color, large white flower
Maple Acer buergeranum Trident 25 20   OK   Lovely fall color; must train to single stem
  Acer campestre Hedge 30 30     NR OK A tough tree with corky bark
  Acer ginnala Flame 20 20   OK   Fragrant flowers great fall color; very adaptable; prolific seeds; multi-stemmed
  Acer griseum Paperbark 25 20   OK   All year interest tree; good urban tolerance
Maple, Hybrid Acer truncatum x A. platanoides Pacific Sunset 30 25   NR   Yellow orange to bright red fall color; resistant to Japanese beetle
Persian Parrotia Parrotia persica   30 20   NR OK Excellent, many fine attributes…bark, fall color; specify tree form
    Vanessa 28 14 NR   Upright, tightly vase shaped; fall color is orange-red
Pistachio, Chinese Pistacia chinensis   30 25   NR   A very good urban tree, although hard to find
Redbud, Eastern Cercis canadensis several cultivars 25 30     OK   Beautiful small flowering tree, but can experience a lot of branch breakage, die back, and is susceptible to Verticillium
Serviceberry Amelanchier laevis Snowcloud 28 15 NR   Upright, oval good tree form
Sourwood Oxydendrum arboreum   20 15 OK   Temperamental tree, difficult to establish
Stewartia, Japanese Stewartia pseudocamellia   30 20   NR   Great tree with white camellia-like flowers and red fall color
Snowbell, Japanese Styrax japonica Snowcone 25 20   OK   White bell-shaped flowers, yellow fall color, pyramidal growth form
    Pink Chimes 15 15 OK   Pink flowers; smaller cultivar
Yellowwood Cladrastis kentukea cultivars rare 30 40     NR   White and fragrant flowers

Download a PDF of this list

Updated 6/28/2018

*Planter-strip width may be varied with the use of root barriers.
**NR = Not Recommended for planting under high-voltage utility wires.

Sources:
  1. Oregon State University, Dept. of Horticulture. Landscape Plants: Images, Identification, and Information. Copyright 1999-2015. http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ldplants/1plants.htm#armen
  2. City of Portland, Approved Street Tree Planting Lists.  http://www.portlandoregon.gov/trees/66682
  3. J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. Nursery, Boring Oregon. http://www.jfschmidt.com/