9 Common Landscaping Trees in Western Pennsylvania

Whether you're a gardening enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking inspiration for your outdoor spaces, join us as we celebrate the allure of native landscaping plants and explore how they can transform your garden into a sustainable and vibrant oasis.

Published May 2, 2023
Back to Blog MainA cluster of white pine trees.

In this guide, we will explore the diverse and captivating flora that graces the landscapes of the Keystone State. From towering trees to delightful shrubs, we will delve into the characteristics, growth habits, and ecological significance of these species. Whether you're an avid nature enthusiast, a landscaper, or simply curious about the rich botanical heritage of Pennsylvania, this resource will provide you with valuable insights and knowledge. Join us on this journey as we discover the beauty and importance of the most common trees and shrubs that thrive in Pennsylvania's vibrant ecosystems.

Native Landscaping Trees of Western Pennsylvania

1. Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja standishii x plicata)

Green giant arborvitae

The Green Giant Arborvitae is a popular and highly sought-after evergreen tree known for its impressive size, rapid growth, and attractive foliage. As one of the tallest arborvitae varieties available, it can reach heights of 30 to 60 feet with a spread of 12 to 20 feet, making it an excellent choice for creating privacy screens, windbreaks, or as a stately focal point in larger landscapes.

Its dense, dark green foliage retains its color year-round, adding a touch of elegance and vibrancy to any setting. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, Green Giant Arborvitae is known for its adaptability, being tolerant of various soil types and thriving in both full sun and partial shade. This hardy and low-maintenance evergreen has become a popular choice among homeowners, landscapers, and garden enthusiasts alike.

2. Blue Point Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’)

Blue green juniper trees

The Blue Point Juniper is a versatile and attractive evergreen shrub known for its dense, columnar growth habit and striking blue-green foliage. This compact and narrow juniper cultivar typically reaches a height of 8 to 12 feet with a spread of 2 to 3 feet, making it an excellent choice for small gardens, foundation plantings, or as a vertical accent in larger landscapes. The soft, scale-like leaves of the Blue Point Juniper create a dense and textural appearance, while its rich blue color adds a touch of elegance and contrast to the landscape.

This hardy shrub is relatively low-maintenance, tolerant of various soil conditions, and exhibits excellent resistance to many common pests and diseases. Whether used as a standalone specimen or as part of a mixed shrub border, the Blue Point Juniper adds year-round interest and beauty to any outdoor space.

3. Spartan Juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Spartan')

Tall spartan juniper plants

The Spartan Juniper is a popular evergreen shrub renowned for its slender, upright growth habit and vibrant green foliage. With its narrow, columnar shape, this juniper cultivar provides an elegant and formal appearance to any landscape. Growing to a height of 15 to 20 feet and spreading 3 to 5 feet, Spartan Juniper is an ideal choice for creating privacy screens or as a vertical accent in smaller spaces. The dense, needle-like foliage of deep green color retains its vibrancy throughout the year, adding a touch of freshness and visual appeal to the surroundings.

Known for its hardiness and adaptability, Spartan Juniper is tolerant of various soil types and thrives in full sun to partial shade. This low-maintenance evergreen requires minimal pruning and exhibits excellent resistance to common pests and diseases.

4. Dwarf Alberta Spruce (Picea glauca 'Conica')

The side of a spruce

The Dwarf Alberta Spruce is a compact and visually striking evergreen shrub prized for its unique conical shape and dense, soft needles. Native to the forests of Alberta, Canada, this dwarf cultivar typically grows to a height of 6 to 8 feet and maintains a narrow width of 2 to 4 feet, making it an excellent choice for small gardens, rockeries, or container plantings. The dense, bright green foliage of the Dwarf Alberta Spruce provides a year-round burst of color and texture, creating a focal point in any landscape.

This slow-growing evergreen requires minimal pruning and retains its shape well, allowing for easy maintenance. It thrives in full sun to partial shade and prefers moist, well-drained soil. With its compact size, architectural form, and low-maintenance nature, the Dwarf Alberta Spruce is a popular choice for adding elegance and structure to both formal and informal garden settings.

5. Weeping Alaskan Cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis)

A weeping cedar tree

The Weeping Alaskan Cedar is a captivating and graceful evergreen tree that showcases unique cascading branches and delicate foliage. Originating from the Alaskan coastal regions, this cultivar of the Alaskan Cedar species is known for its distinct weeping habit, where the branches droop and create an elegant, flowing effect.

With a mature height of 20 to 30 feet and a spread of 10 to 15 feet, the Weeping Alaskan Cedar makes a stunning focal point in larger landscapes, providing vertical interest and a touch of whimsy. The soft, feathery needles range in color from rich green to silvery-blue, adding texture and visual appeal to the tree.

This cold-hardy evergreen prefers full sun to partial shade and thrives in well-drained soil. With its enchanting form and unique appearance, the Weeping Alaskan Cedar is an excellent choice for those seeking a visually captivating and low-maintenance tree for their outdoor spaces.

Small Deciduous Trees Common in Pennsylvania Landscapes

6. Weeping Red Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Crimson Queen')

Japanese maple tree

The Weeping Red Japanese Maple is a stunning and highly sought-after ornamental tree known for its graceful cascading branches and vibrant red foliage. Originating from Japan, this cultivar of the Japanese Maple species is cherished for its delicate, lacy leaves and elegant weeping form. The Weeping Red Japanese Maple typically grows to a height of 6 to 10 feet with a spread of 8 to 12 feet, making it an excellent choice for smaller gardens, patios, or as a focal point in a landscape design.

The deeply dissected leaves emerge in shades of red and mature to a rich crimson hue, providing a breathtaking display throughout the seasons. This slow-growing tree prefers partial shade and well-drained soil, and it requires protection from harsh winds and excessive sun exposure. With its captivating form and striking foliage, the Weeping Red Japanese Maple adds a touch of sophistication and beauty to any garden or outdoor space.

7. Weeping Cherry Tree (Prunus pendula 'Pendula Rubra')

A white weeping cherry tree

The Weeping Red Cherry Tree is a stunning deciduous tree that captivates with its elegant weeping branches and vibrant red blossoms. This ornamental cherry tree variety features graceful cascading branches that create a dramatic and picturesque effect. During the spring season, the tree bursts into a profusion of delicate, deep red flowers, adding a vibrant splash of color to the landscape. As the flowers fade, the tree's foliage emerges, showcasing dark green leaves that turn shades of yellow, orange, and bronze in the fall. With a mature height of 15 to 20 feet and a spread of 10 to 15 feet, the Weeping Red Cherry Tree is ideal for smaller gardens, focal points, or even as a centerpiece in larger landscapes. This low-maintenance tree prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. Its exquisite weeping form and captivating floral display make it a highly desirable choice for those seeking a visually striking and graceful tree for their outdoor spaces.

8. Eastern Red Bud Tree (Cercis canadensis)

A larger pink tree

Eastern Redbud also known as the Judas tree, is a captivating deciduous tree native to eastern North America. Celebrated for its early spring floral display, the Eastern Redbud showcases an abundance of small, rosy-pink blossoms that emerge directly on its branches and trunk, creating a breathtaking spectacle. As the flowers fade, heart-shaped leaves in shades of green appear, turning vibrant yellow in the fall. This medium-sized tree typically grows to a height of 20 to 30 feet with a spread of 25 to 35 feet, making it suitable for various landscape settings, from gardens to urban environments. Eastern Redbuds thrive in full sun to partial shade and prefer well-drained soil. Not only does this tree add ornamental beauty to any space, but it also provides ecological benefits, attracting pollinators and serving as a host for butterfly larvae. With its delightful spring blooms and graceful form, the Eastern Redbud is a cherished addition to gardens and a true herald of the changing seasons.

9. Dogwood Tree (Cornus spp.)

Flowering dogwood flower

Dogwood trees are beloved ornamental trees known for their exquisite flowers, vibrant autumn foliage, and distinctive branching structure. With several species and cultivars available, dogwoods offer a range of options to suit different landscapes and preferences. The most common species, such as the Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) and Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa), enchant with their showy spring blooms, featuring clusters of delicate white, pink, or red flowers. The beauty of dogwoods extends beyond the blossoms, as their leaves transition from lush green in the summer to rich shades of red, orange, and purple in the fall. These deciduous trees typically reach heights of 15 to 30 feet, making them ideal for gardens, backyards, and woodland areas. Dogwoods thrive in well-drained soil and partial shade, and their attractive branching pattern adds visual interest even in winter. With their year-round appeal and ecological value for birds and pollinators, dogwood trees are cherished additions to any landscape.

Keep planting trees

Trees offer a multitude of benefits for gardens and landscapes. These plants not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of outdoor spaces but also contribute to the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystem health. We can create beautiful, sustainable landscapes that support local wildlife, conserve resources, and connect us with the natural beauty of our surroundings. Let's embrace the wonders of landscaping plants and make a positive impact on our environment, one garden at a time.

facebook logoInstagram cartoon logoLinkedin Logo
Q&A Landscaping completes quality landscaping & hardscape projects in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, PA.

More landscaping insights for you