6 Best Trees to Plant in NJ / PA

We often get asked to recommend a good tree to plant in our customers’ yards. While there are many possibilities and everyone has their favorites, here are six trees that grow well in the central New Jersey / Pennsylvania area.

Before you choose one, be sure to think about the mature size of the tree. It’s amazing how quickly a small sapling can grow into a 50-foot tree! So plan ahead and plant the tree where it’ll have room to grow.

Sugar Maple

sugar maple leaves in fall

The sugar maple is one of America’s best-loved trees, with four states (New York, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Vermont) claiming it as their state tree.

It’s a large tree, growing up to 80-110 feet tall (so plant it where it’ll have room to grow) and can live for over 400 years.

The sugar maple is best known for its spectacular fall color, when the leaves turn vibrant shades of yellow, burnt orange and red. And yes, this is the tree from which maple syrup is made.

Swamp White Oak

swamp white oak leaves

Swamp white oak is a striking tree with attractive light grey, peeling bark, especially on young trees.

The lustrous, lobed leaves have a two-tone appearance, dark green on top with a silvery-white underside (this is what gives it the name Quercus bicolor). Fall color is an orange-gold to yellow in mid-autumn.

Reaching a mature height of 50-60 feet, it’s an excellent shade tree for any landscape (despite its name, it’s very drought tolerant).

Red Oak

red oak leaves

Reaching 60 to 75 wide and tall, red oak is one of the faster-growing oaks for the home landscape.

The leaves are handsome throughout the year, emerging pinkish-red in spring, turning lustrous dark green in summer, and changing to russet-red to bright red in autumn.

Its tolerance of salt and air pollution makes it a good tree for more exposed areas, and it’s generally problem-free.

It has large acorns that mature early in the season and are a favorite food for many forms of wildlife.

Pin Oak

pin oak

The pin oak typically grows to between 50 and 75 feet in height, with a width of 40-50 feet.

It has an oblong or rounded crown that becomes more irregularly open with age. The lower branches droop and are slowly lost, leaving pin-like, stubby branches (which can be pruned off).

Because it’s fast-growing and tolerant of urban stresses (but not soils with high pH), it is commonly planted as an ornamental where it provides russet to red fall color.

Paperbark Maple

paperbark maple

Acer griseum, commonly called paperbark maple, is a small, deciduous, oval to oval-rounded tree with slender upright branches. It is particularly noted for its exfoliating copper orange to cinnamon reddish/brown bark that peels off in pieces and its showy orange to red fall color.

It’s a medium-sized tree that typically matures to 20-30 feet tall.

Paperbark maples are native to Central China, but make beautiful additions to almost any residential landscape.


crabapple flowers

Crabapples are versatile, small, ornamental trees that you’ve probably seen in many local gardens.

Crabapples bloom in spring, usually in May, bearing flowers that vary a great deal in color, size, fragrance, and visual appeal. Buds are often red, opening to pink or white flowers.

The fruit ripens between July and November, and varies in size from ¼” to 2” long or wide.

The one down-side to crabapples is susceptibility to disease, so look for disease-resistant cultivars – there are many available to choose from.

If you’d like us to take a look at your property and suggest the best tree for your yard, please give us a call at 908-309-6611 – we’re happy to help.

Bill Grundmann

Bill is the owner of Organic Plant Care, LLC. He takes an integrated approach to tree care, focusing not only on the trees themselves but also on the surrounding environment, managing tree health from the "ground up" - healthy soil equals healthy plants. Bill is a New Jersey Licensed Tree Expert and NJ Approved Forester with over 35 years of experience in the tree care industry.