15 Best Trees to Plant in Delaware

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Quick Answer: Best Trees to Plant in Delaware

The top trees to plant in Delaware’s climatic conditions are honeylocust, American hornbeam, redbud, fringe tree, persimmon, flowering dogwood, serviceberry, sweetbay magnolia, sassafras, Washington hawthorn, American holly, black gum, ginkgo, hackberry, and Kentucky coffeetree. These trees can be planted in early spring and fall to settle well.

Are you interested in planting trees in your Delaware home yards?

Check out this guide to help you with the list of the best trees appropriate for your Delaware yards.

Keep reading to know more!

Best Trees to Plant in Delaware

Delaware has a mostly humid subtropical climate with hot summers, cold winters, and precipitation throughout the state. However, many trees can be grown in the state for providing shade, privacy, windbreak, or spring blossoms.

Now, let us explore the list of fifteen trees that are best suited for Delaware’s climate.

1. Honeylocust

Popular Landscape Tree Of Delaware

Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) is a popular fast-growing landscaping tree that can be easily grown in Delaware climatic conditions.

Why Grow Honeylocust?

Honeylocust can adapt itself to Delaware’s urban landscapes. It will adapt to a variety of soils and is used for providing shade for the yard.

It can tolerate air pollution and salt spray. Its fall color adds landscape appeal.

Maintenance And Care

Honeylocust prefers full sun and loamy, well-drained soil. It can be grown from cuttings and requires balanced fertilizer in the spring.

The established trees require little pruning to remove dead or diseased branches. It is prone to spider mites, cankers, and galls.

Here is a useful video on growing honeylocust:

2. American Hornbeam

Adaptable Tree Of Delaware

American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) is a small native tree with characteristic smooth, blue-gray that is well-suited to Delaware’s climatic conditions.

Why Grow American Hornbeam?

American hornbeam is grown in Delaware as a screen or hedge grouping for its aesthetic appeal. It can adapt to different urban settings, including drier sites, sun, wind, and flooding.

It is resistant to most pests and diseases. Also, it is relatively low-maintenance and needs little care once established.

Maintenance And Care

American hornbeam prefers slightly acidic sandy loamy soils and full sun. It seldom requires fertilizers.

It needs pruning to maintain the hedge shape. It can be occasionally affected by leaf spots, cankers, and twig blight.

Check out this video for growing American hornbeam:

3. Redbud

Redbud (Cercis Canadensis) is a small native flowering tree that is popular in Delaware for its abundant pink flowers and purple spring leaves.

Why Grow Redbud?

Redbuds are popular in Delaware urban landscapes as accent plants or specimens for their spring blossoms. Its small size makes it ideal for planting near utility lines.

It can tolerate drought once established. It can attract butterflies and other pollinators to the yard.

Maintenance And Care

Redbuds do well in full sun to partial shade and consistently moist soils. It may rarely require fertilization.

Prune the trees in winter to create a strong structure. It may occasionally develop anthracnose, canker, and verticillium wilt.

The complete growing guide of redbuds is covered here:

4. Fringetree

Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) is a multi-stemmed deciduous tree of Delaware with emerald green deciduous foliage and fragrant white blossoms.

Why Grow Fringetree?

Fringetree is commonly used in Delaware as an accent, screening, or hedges. It is highly tolerant of pollution and is well-suited to urban sites.

It requires little maintenance once established. It has a good habitat for beneficial pollinators.

Maintenance And Care

Fringetree prefers moist, well-drained soil and tolerates dry conditions. Water thoroughly before the roots dry out and fertilize annually with a balanced fertilizer or an inch of compost.

It seldom requires heavy pruning. It is prone to anthracnose and spider mites.

Check out this video for tips on planting fringe tree:

5. Persimmon

American persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) is a native fruit tree that can adapt to the climatic conditions and soil types of Delaware.

Why Grow Persimmon?

Persimmons are found throughout the state. It is easy to care for making it ideal for beginners. It can grow in a variety of soil types and rewarding with flavorful fruits.

It is prized for hardwood and is relatively free from pests and diseases.

Maintenance And Care

American persimmons thrive in a sunny spot that drains well. It requires another cultivar to produce a good harvest and rarely requires fertilization.

Prune the trees to a central leader. It can be affected by mealy bugs, scales, fruit flies, and persimmon psylla.

The complete growing guide of persimmon is covered here:

6. Flowering Dogwood

Dogwood (Cornus florida) is a popular flowering tree that is a top choice as a lawn specimen or background tree for your Delaware gardens.

Why Grow Flowering Dogwood?

Flowering dogwood adds beauty to Delaware yards with its attractive fruits, amazing fall colors, and graceful branches. Its red berries attract many birds.

It is a relatively easy care tree requiring little maintenance once established.

Maintenance And Care

Flowering dogwood thrives best in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. Apply a layer of mulch around the trees to protect them from exposed locations.

It requires occasional pruning to enhance the shape. Pay close attention to anthracnose, honey fungus, and phytophthora root rot.

Here is a link to the useful video for tips on growing flowering dogwood:

7. Serviceberry

Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp) are attractive trees that are easy to grow in Delaware for fragrant white blossoms, colorful foliage, and edible berries.

Why Grow Serviceberry?

Serviceberry is a trouble-free tree that can be grown for adding landscape beauty. It provides edible berries for the yard.

It is perfect for smaller yards due to its compact size. It can tolerate different soil types.

Maintenance And Care

Serviceberry prefers full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained, acidic soil. Feed the tree with an all-purpose fertilizer.

It seldom needs heavy pruning. Keep an eye out for rust, leaf blight, and powdery mildew.

You may watch this video for growing and caring for Serviceberry:

8. Sweetbay Magnolia

Sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) is a smaller multi-stemmed flowering tree with emerald lance-shaped leaves and fragrant flowers that can be grown throughout Delaware.

Why Grow Sweetbay Magnolia?

Sweetbay magnolia is relatively easy to grow in the climatic conditions of Delaware. It can tolerate drought once established. It doesn’t have any serious pest or insect issues.

Maintenance And Care

Sweetbay magnolia prefers full sun to partial shade and wet soils with pH 5.5-6.5. It can be propagated via softwood cuttings and use slow-release fertilizer in spring.

Prune the trees to remove dead, diseased, or broken branches. It may occasionally develop fungal leaf spot, scale, and tulip tree.

Here is a video on features and identification of Sweetbay magnolia:

9. Sassafras

Sassafras (Sassafras albium) is a deciduous tree with a rounded canopy, fragrant flowers, and wrinkled white bark making it a specimen tree of Delaware yards.

Why Grow Sassafras?

Sassafras adds landscape beauty to the Delaware yards with eye-popping colors. Its canopy provides a cool shaded spot during the hot summer months.

It is hardy and requires little maintenance once established.

Maintenance And Care

Sassafras prefers full to partial shade and sandy loamy acidic well-drained soil sheltered from heavy winds.

It requires fertilization twice a year and occasional pruning in late winter or early spring to develop a strong structure. One of the serious pests is the sassafras borer.

Click this link for useful information on the features of sassafras:

10. Washington Hawthorn

Washington hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) is a small deciduous flowering tree with attractive spring blossoms that is popular as a landscape tree in Delaware.

Why Grow Washington Hawthorn?

Washington hawthorn can adapt to different types of soil and growing conditions of Delaware. Its floral display adds beauty to the yards.

It can also serve as small shade trees due to their dense foliage.

Maintenance And Care

Washington hawthorn grows well in dry to moist and well-drained soils. It can be propagated via seeds or grafting.

It needs minimal pruning in late winter or early spring to remove damaged or diseased growth.  Pay attention to caterpillars, aphids, leaf spots, and fireblight.

Check out this useful video to make Washinton hawthorn:

11. American Holly

American holly (Ilex opaca) is a broadleaf evergreen tree with an open conical or pyramidal shape that is suitable for larger Delaware yards.

Why Grow American Holly?

American Holly is a tough tree grown as privacy screens, hedges, and barriers in Delaware yards. It can tolerate different soil textures.

It doesn’t succumb to many pests and diseases. Its dense foliage provides cover for small critters and berries provide food for birds.

Maintenance And Care

American Holly does well in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. It may benefit from the application of slow-release fertilizer.

Prune occasionally to form irregular branches. It is susceptible to ash whitefly, soft-scale insects, and leaf scorch.

Click this video for additional information on planting American holly:

12. Blackgum

Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) is a medium-sized slow-growing deciduous tree of Delaware known for its showy fall colors and gray bark.

Why Grow Blackgum?

Black gum is easy to grow and a low-maintenance tree that thrives in the climatic conditions of Delaware. It is not bothered by many pests and diseases.

It can tolerate drought and withstand ice, wind, and salt spray.

Maintenance And Care

Black gum prefers well-drained, acidic soils, and sunny spots. It needs the annual application of slow-release fertilizer in the fall and occasional pruning to retain the desired shape. It is susceptible to leaf spots, cankers, and scale.

For more information on growing blackgum, check out this link:

13. Ginkgo

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is a popular deciduous tree with fan-shaped leaves, sturdy pyramidal form, and vibrant fall colors that can thrive in Delaware climatic conditions.

Why Grow Ginkgo?

Ginkgo can adapt to the climatic conditions of Delaware. It can be used as specimen plants in landscaping.

It is resistant to most pests and diseases. It can tolerate urban growing conditions, including pollution.

Maintenance And Care

Ginkgo does well in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. It can be propagated from cuttings and spring feeding of tree fertilizer.

Prune the trees when young to produce a single leader. It is prone to whitefly, scale, and leaf scorch.

The cooking and caring guide of Ginkgo is covered here:

14. Hackberry

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) are tough deciduous trees with a rounded growth habit that can be grown throughout Delaware for its edible fruits.

Why Grow Hackberry?

Hackberry can adapt to the growing conditions and climate of Delaware. It can adapt to many soil types and adverse conditions.

It can tolerate different growing conditions and can be used to provide shade. It helps in attracting birds to the yard.

Maintenance And Care

Hackberry prefers full sun to partial shade and moist yet well-drained soils. It may occasionally need slow-release fertilizer and needs little pruning while dormant to remove dead or diseased branches. It can be troubled by aphids, mites, scales, and galls.

Check out this video to grow hackberry from seeds:

15. Kentucky Coffeetree

Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus) is a native deciduous tree with a rough dark brown bark and upright spreading growth habit that can be grown in Delaware.

Why Grow Kentucky Coffeetree?

Kentucky coffee trees are widely grown in Delaware for providing shade due to its high canopy. It can adapt to different soil types and pH levels.

It is relatively tolerant of urban pollution and drought.

Maintenance And Care

Kentucky coffee tree thrives in full sun and sandy loam soil. It needs fertilizers to promote strong, woody growth and occasional pruning to remove damaged branches. One of the important issues with these trees is leaf litter.

Click this link for tips on growing Kentucky coffee tree:

What Is The Easiest Growing Tree In Delaware?

The easiest-growing tree in Delaware is the honeylocust.

Honeylocust is popular in urban landscapes for its fall color and shade. It is highly adaptable and can tolerate different soil types and growing conditions.

It can adapt to air pollution and salt spray. It requires little care once established. The other trees that can be grown with minimal care are the American hornbeam and redbud.

What Is The Best Time To Plant Trees In Delaware?

The best time to plant trees in your Delaware home yards is fall and early spring.

Planting trees in spring helps the trees to establish themselves before the scorching heat. If you plant in the fall, the trees will settle and begin root growth immediately due to warmer soil.

The trees take about one year per inch of trunk caliper to become established. Apply a 2-3 inch mulch layer around the base.


What are the invasive trees that should be avoided in Delaware?

The different invasive trees that should be avoided in Delaware are Norway maple, tree of heaven, paulownias, mimosa, white mulberry, Bradford pear, and Chinese elm. These trees may grow quickly and displace our native trees. So, it is best to avoid planting these trees.

Does Delaware have pine trees?

Yes, loblolly pine can be grown in the Southern part of Delaware. It can adapt to different soil types and can reach about 100 feet in height. Eastern white pine, pitch pine, pond pine, shortleaf pine, and Virginia pine can be grown in the state.

Can black walnut trees be grown in Delaware?

Yes, black walnut trees can be grown in deep, rich, moist soils in Delaware. However, it has to be planted in open areas within the urban environment due to its allelopathic nature. It is prized for its wood and does well on deep, well-drained soils.

Quick Recap: Top Trees to Plant In Delaware

Here is a quick recap of the top trees that can adapt to Delaware’s home gardens:

TreesWhy Grow?
Honeylocust1. Provides ornamental value and shade
2. Adaptable to different urban conditions
American hornbeam1. Low-maintenance tree that needs little attention
2. Attractive and resistant to most diseases
Redbud1. Popular for landscape value
2. Ideal to be planted near power lines due to the small size
Fringetree1. Provides ornamental value with its spring blossoms
2. Tolerant of urban growing conditions, including pollution
Persimmon1. Easy to care for and suitable for beginners
2. Relatively free from pests and diseases
Flowering dogwood1. Attractive flowering tree with spring blossoms
2. Requires little care once established
Serviceberry1. Popular for smaller yards due to its compact size
2. Tolerates different soil types
Sweetbay magnolia1. Easy to grow in the climatic conditions of Delaware
2. Tolerant to drought once established
Sassafras1. Tough and low-maintenance tree with vibrant spring blooms
2. Not affected by many pests and diseases
Washington hawthorn1. Popular flowering tree of Delaware
2. Provides shade and tolerates different soil types
American holly1. Tough and adaptable to different soil textures
2. Not bothered by many pests and diseases
Black gum1. Hardy and the low-maintenance tree of Delaware
2. Resistant to many pests and diseases
Ginkgo1. Tolerates different urban growing conditions
2. Resistant to most pests and diseases
Hackberry1. Adaptable to different growing conditions and climate
2. Attracts birds and pollinators to the yard
Kentucky coffee tree1. Provides shade for the yard
2. Tolerant of urban pollution and drought

Bottom line

I hope this guide helps you in choosing suitable trees for your Delaware yards.

I am interested to hear your suggestions for growing different trees in the state!

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