Native All Season Trees for the Landscape

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Five Favorites

There are many trees that will be attractive in all seasons (see list below) but these are our five favorites.


American Hornbeam   Carpinus caroliniana

Known variously as American hornbeam ironwood, or blue beech in different parts of the country, Carpinus caroliniana has an unusual rippled trunk, witch is pale gray and sinewy.  It comes in both  single leader and multi-stemmed trunks.  

American hornbeam has graceful draping branches that give this tree a lot of character, even without leaves.  A nut like hanging fruit persists into the winter.

In the spring you will find small, pale yellow, papery flowers in three bracts of three. Summer brings shiny, blue-green leaves.  In the fall the leaves are a gorgeous orange-gold to scarlet.


Western Catalpa   Catalpa speciosa
Western Catalpa
Photo Credit: Martin Addison/Flickr

The Western Catalpa has large showy leaves that are heart shaped and up to 10” long.  It has exquisite white flowers reminiscent of orchids in May and June.

It has a golden yellow color in the fall.  When the leaves are gone, long, brown seedpods that look like beans are left on the tree.  These pods can be up to 20” long, making them look like mobiles when they blow in the wind.


Washington Hawthorn   Crataegus phaenopyrum

Washington Hawthorn
Photo Credit:

The Washington Hawthorn is a contrast in textures.  It’s form is rounded and compact, making it perfect for a specimen tree near the house.  There are thorns all year and they are especially prominent in the winter. 

Spring flowers are showy and white, producing a red fruit that persists into the winter months. 

Summer foliage is a glossy green and you can find scarlet, purple or orange leaves during the fall.  Just lovely!

Burr Oak    Quercus macrocarpa   

This sturdy oak can grow up to 70 feet tall, and spread just as wide.  It is a highlight in any landscape for it’s sheer size. 

It has a charcoal gray, deeply ridged bark that is striking.  The acorns of the Burr Oak are very attractive because of their fringed texture. 

It’s a fall showstopper in brilliant gold, red-orange and red.  There are some other beautiful oaks to consider such as Shumard Oak, Scarlet Oak and Pin Oak.


Sourwood    Oxydendrum arboretum

Sourwood is the epitome of a all season tree.  Spring brings the emergence of waxy, deep green foliage. 

After the leaves have fully developed, fragrant, showy white flowers resembling lilies of the valley form on drooping racemes in the early summer. 

In the fall the leaves turn a brilliant scarlet red, yellow and sometimes purple. 

The seed pods are almost as attractive as the flowers and they persist after the foliage is gone.  In a winter landscape this contrasts with the dark brown, furrowed bark.

Other fantastic all season trees to consider:

Red Maple
Ohio Buckeye
Red Buckeye
Downy Serviceberry
Arizona Madron      
Pacific Madrone       
River Birch
Paper Birch
Fringe tree
Eastern Dogwood
Pacific Dogwood      
Kentucky coffeetree
Carolina silverbell
Black Gum

Acer rubrum
Aesculus glabra    
Aesculus pavia 
Amelanchier arborea 
Arbutus arizonica   
Arbutus menziesii
Betula Nigra,  
Betula papyrifera
Chionanthus virginicus  
Cladrastis lutea                  
Cornus florida                    
Cornus  nuttallii                 
Gymnocladus dioicus         
Halesia carolina       
Liquidambar styraciflua
Nyssa sylvatica











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