Street trees are valuable additions to urban, suburban and rural landscapes. Not all trees are suitable for use as street trees and some are better choices than others for site-specific reasons.

What is the value of street trees to local areas?

  • Reduce carbon dioxide air pollutants
  • Buffer for sounds
  • A physical barrier between people and cars
  • Reduce storm-water runoff
  • Protection from extreme temperatures
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Increase property values
  • Psychological well-being
  • Recreation- pleasant walking environments
  • Education Energy conservation
  • Links between people and nature Beautification

What are the criteria for your location?

  • Compatibility with the environment…cold hardiness, heat tolerance, etc.
  • Availability of species Maintenance and safety concerns….stable branches, messy fruits, etc.
  • Size of the tree Branching structure….open branching allows wires to pass through much more easily.
  • Economical concerns …cost of certain species and working within budgets.
  • Growth rate…not too slow or too fast
  • Urban tolerance….compacted poor soils, pollutants

It is critical that diversity also play a major role in species choice. From an aesthetic only viewpoint, a monoculture makes the most sense. Streets in the early to mid-1900’s all lined in American Elms were truly magnificent. Then sadly Dutch Elm Disease wiped them all out and streets were left lined with massive dead trees that had to be removed at great expense. Municipalities were forced to start over. Often they were replaced by another monoculture (Green Ash as an example) which then was also killed off, this time by the Emerald Ash-borer.

Some possible tree species are:

With a little thought, an assortment of trees can be made aesthetically pleasing while reducing the risk of a complete loss due to future unknown pests. We recommend researching street trees that are appropriate for your area. Many cities have ideas and documentation in this field.


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