Keeping your yard looking its best takes some work, but having a beautiful yard helps make a house feel like a home. And there are ways to reduce the work required to make a yard look beautiful. One of the ways to reduce yard maintenance is to start off by planting resilient trees. By planting trees that are resilient and require less maintenance, you reduce the need for hands-on work in your yard.
Finding Your Gardening Zone
The first step to having a yard full of resilient trees is choosing which trees to plant. To pick the best trees for our Oregon climate, you must first consider which hardiness zone or Sunset gardening zone you live in. This will help you decide which trees will grow best in your area. When picking a selection of trees, you can see which zones each tree thrives in.
The USDA hardiness zone map is split into 11 different zones across North America. Each zone is 10 degrees Fahrenheit colder or warmer than the previous zone. The National Gardening Association offers a zone finder that helps you locate your hardiness zone by just typing your zip code into the search box. Most of the Willamette Valley and surrounding areas are considered to be in USDA hardiness zone 8b and Sunset gardening zone 6.
Why two zones? The Sunset gardening zones take into account more of the local microclimates found across North America, while the USDA hardiness zone is a broader range.
Trees Native to Oregon
When selecting trees to plant in your yard, taking into account whether or not a tree is native to the area is vital. Native trees will be better able to survive the weather fluctuations that occur throughout the years, as well as provide a home for the local wildlife. Oregon is home to 30 native coniferous species and 37 native species of broadleaf trees. The Oregon Forest Resources Institute provides an extensive list of native Oregon trees for each specific area of Oregon, including the Willamette Valley.
One of the most common trees in all of Oregon is the Douglas fir. The Oregon legislature recognized this tree for its ecological and economic importance when they named it the official state tree in 1936. These trees are conifers. They grow anywhere from sea level to 5,000 feet elevation. Eight of every ten conifers west of the Cascades are Douglas firs. They prefer sunlight and mineral-rich soil, but can also grow in shade. They can grow from 60 feet tall to over 200 feet when in the wild. Douglas firs are native, resilient trees and make a perfect addition to any Oregon yard.
The Oregon ash is a small-to-medium broadleaf tree that thrives in damp soil and prefers some sun but is shade tolerant as well. This tree grows up to 100 feet tall and has elliptical-shaped leaves and winged fruit known as samaras. Oregon ash trees are known for their ability to survive in standing water, where no other tree species will grow.
Pacific dogwoods are considered a large shrub or small deciduous tree. They can grow up to 30 feet tall and are most known for their beautiful white flowers. During the fall and winter months, the flowers are replaced with orange and red berries that feed the local wildlife. The leaves are oval-shaped and turn a beautiful red in the fall. These trees prefer full sun to some shade and do best in moist but well-drained soil. The beautiful display of flowers and its hardiness make this tree a must-have addition to any yard.
The bitter cherry is also considered a large shrub or small tree. They are medium deciduous trees that grow up to 50 feet tall. The leaves are oval, and the flowers are very fragrant. The bark is smooth in texture and a mix of colors, from dark brown to red with some grey bands. Bitter cherry trees thrive in a wide range of temperatures and moisture levels. Birds and small mammals will eat the fruits, which are quite bitter and are not favorable for humans. Deer and elk will eat the leaves and twigs.
The western redcedar is most known for its resistance to rot. They’re a medium to large conifer, growing up to 150 feet tall. They have a long life span and don’t need much sun, though they can thrive in the sun as well. The leaves are a glossy green, and the bark is grey to reddish-brown. Western redcedars prefer moist sites and are often found along streams and springs and in other wet areas.
Trees are often called “the lungs of the world” since they provide us with oxygen while reducing carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere. Trees are vital to our survival, and by planting trees in your yard, you too can help slow climate change. At Mr. Tree, we help keep our environment healthy and help keep the Pacific Northwest beautiful. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about the resilience of your trees. If you live in the Portland area, we can also provide top-notch service. We can help you maintain your yard and keep your trees looking fresh all year.
Many property owners aren’t aware of how often their trees are in need of service or which seasons are best for which services. This is when we step in as your tree maintenance experts. Anticipating your tree needs can increase the life of your trees and reduce maintenance costs. Having healthy, thriving, native trees in your yard will increase your property value and provide you with a beautiful home.