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Best Trees to Grow Curb Appeal

We’ve told you about trees that are more trouble than they’re worth. So, we’d be remiss if we didn’t share some low-maintenance stunners that amp up your curb appeal.

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Crape Myrtle

Latin Name: Lagerstroemia

Height: 15-25 ft.

Spread: 6-15 ft.

Why You Should Plant It: They’re survirors that laugh in the face of drought and deer. They love hot, sunny climes and bloom in summer when most trees have ended their show. However, crape myrtles don’t love to be topped off; if you give them plenty of room to grow, you can use a lighter pruning touch. 

Zones: 7-9

Credit: Ann Ellis

Crape Myrtle
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  • Latin Name: Lagerstroemia

    Height: 15-25 ft.

    Spread: 6-15 ft.

    Why You Should Plant It: They’re survirors that laugh in the face of drought and deer. They love hot, sunny climes and bloom in summer when most trees have ended their show. However, crape myrtles don’t love to be topped off; if you give them plenty of room to grow, you can use a lighter pruning touch. 

    Zones: 7-9

    Credit: Ann Ellis

  • Latin Name: Acer saccharum

    Height: 60-75 ft.

    Spread: 40-50 ft.

    Why You Should Plant It: It’s not picky about soil and doesn’t mind wide ranges of temperature. The hardy sugar maple can be a good replacement tree for an ash or elm tree taken by disease. Bonus: eye-popping fall foliage, and you can tap the sap and make your own syrup. Just don’t plant close to roads, because salt from ice melters will harm the tree.

    Zones: 3-8

    Credit: Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden

  • Latin Name: Cotinus coggygria

    Height: 10-15 ft.

    Spread: 12 ft.

    Why You Should Plant It: Plays well with others in groupings, hedges, or windbreaks. Smoke trees like hot, dry weather and thrive in a wide range of soils. They have fascinating textures and add a punch of color in small spaces. In summer, they sport wispy, pink bloom clusters; in fall, the foliage turns yellow, orange, and red. The rest of the year leaves are purple, gold, or green.

    Zones: 5-8

    Credit: Magnus Manske

  • Latin Name: Magnolia x soulangeana

    Height: 20-30 ft.

    Spread: 25 ft.

    Why You Should Plant It: This harbinger of spring is a tolerant tree, not bothered much by dry, wet, and polluted environments. It does well in clay soil (have you gotten a soil test yet?), but would prefer rich, well-draining loams. Its fragrant white and purple flowers usually show up in March, putting on a spectacular, if short, show.  

    Zones: 4-9

    Credit: Tatiana Gerus

  • Latin Name: Picea pungens

    Height: 50-75 ft.

    Spread: 10-20 ft.

    Why You Should Plant It: Blue spruce can thrive anywhere, though give it room to grow. Birds, who nest in its branches, will love you; deer not so much, because they can’t chow down on this regal tree. Cones aren’t a problem: Gather them for display in fall. 

    Zones: 2-7

    Credit: Jenny Walters Photography of Greater Cincinnati (OH)

  • Latin Name: Prunus x yedoensis

    Height: 40-50 ft.

    Spread: 25-40 ft.

    Why You Should Plant It: Although Yoshinos want moist and well-draining soil, they’ll tolerate less. It has a few enemies — caterpillars, aphids, and spider mites — but its airy, delicate shape and beautiful white-and-pink blossoms are worth the effort to keep the tree pest-free. For the most curb appeal, plant in groups in full or partial sun.

    Zones: 5-8

    Credit: Thrina Tham

  • Latin Name: Quercus rubra

    Height: 60-75 ft.

    Spread: 45 ft.

    Why You Should Plant It: Talk about long-term value for you and your descendants: Red oaks mature at 150 years old and can live to 300. They’re famous for their generous shade, sturdy branches, and fire engine-red color in fall.  Animals love them, too: Red oak acorns feed birds, squirrels, deer, and black bears. 

    Zones: 3-8

    Credit: Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder

  • Latin: Juniperus virginiana

    Height: 40-50 ft.

    Spread: 8-20 ft.

    Why You Should Plant It: This tree isn’t picky about soil types; it thrives just about anywhere. It likes to take the rays, so plant in full sun. The Eastern red cedar is also good as a windbreak and screen. Birds love this evergreen, and we love the birds. They feed on its berries over winter and nest in its dense foliage.

    Zones: 2-9

    Credit: KarlGercens.com

  • Latin Name: Ficus caria

    Height: 10-30 ft.

    Spread: 15-30 ft.

    Why You Should Plant It: If you like the idea of fruiting trees, figs provide delicious fruit and are less fussy (and messy) than apple or citrus trees. Grow fig trees near a wall or building to protect them from wind and cold. Prune so every branch is bathed in sun. And eat ripe figs right off the tree. It’ll reward you with fruit after three or four years; optimally, expect two fig crops per year.

    Zones: 7-11

    Credit: Aimee Bowe of Red Garden Clogs

  • The worst trees you can plant

    More trees you shouldn’t plant

    Trees and other essentials for value-added landscaping

  • Crape Myrtle
  • Sugar Maple
  • Smoke Tree
  • Saucer Magnolia
  • Colorado Blue Spruce
  • Japanese Flowering Cherry (aka Yoshino Cherry)
  • Northern Red Oak
  • Eastern Red Cedar
  • Fig
  • Related:
  • crape-myrtle
  • sugar-maple
  • smoke-tree
  • saucer-magnolia
  • colorado-blue-spruce
  • japanese-flowering-cherry-aka-yoshino-cherry
  • northern-red-oak
  • eastern-red-cedar
  • fig
  • more-slideshows
  • Crape Myrtle
  • Sugar Maple
  • Smoke Tree
  • Saucer Magnolia
  • Colorado Blue Spruce
  • Japanese Flowering Cherry (aka Yoshino Cherry)
  • Northern Red Oak
  • Eastern Red Cedar
  • Fig