Suitable Trees for Palos Park
We are looking for trees for our neighbors in Palos Park to plant in their yards. We
want ones with a high survival rate. Therefore, we will recognize some prevailing
conditions in the area. First, the area is mostly clay, akaline soil. Second, our trees
will come in contact with road salt. Third, we are an old growth woods and so have a lot
of shade. Because we are an urbanized woodland, we are dryer (with pavements, roads and
roots) than the open countryside. So fourth, we must consider drought resistance in our
We also are aware of the beauty of the native trees that are growing in Palos Park. We
know that time has proven that they can withstand the negative forces at work here. So, we
are going to list trees for Palos Park that are native (in most cases) and that have
proven that they can grow here. We will also list some cultivars from natives and three
exotic trees from China.
ASH, BLUE, Fraximus quadrangulata. Native. This becomes a large tree with a long
life. It can tolerate drought, poor drainage, clay and salt. It is known for its
square twigs. It turns yellow in the Fall.
ASH, WHITE, Fraximus americana. Native. This becomes a large average growing
tree of good longevity. It can tolerate drought, poor drainage, clay, salt, and low
temperature. It has good Fall color. The White Ash is used for cultivars as Autumn Purple
COFFEETREE, KENTUCKY, Gymnocladus diorira. Native. This is an average growing
large tree of good longevity. It tolerates drought, poor drainage, clay and salt. The
doubly compound leaves with large leaflets, the short thick legumes (beans), and the thick
twigs readily identify this tree.
GINGKO, Gingko Biloba. This tree is a native of China and is called the
"fossil tree". It was growing at the time of the dinosaurs and is not propagated
in nurseries. It tolerates drought, poor drainage, clay soil, and salt. It is noted for
its fan shaped leaves and beautiful yellow fall color. Male trees are preferred because
the fruit is offensive to some. The tree has been grown successfully in this area. The
Blue Island library has some gorgeous specimens in their landscape.
HACKBERRY, COMMON, Celtis opccidentalis. Native. It is a large, slow-growing
tree of good longevity. It can tolerate drought, poor drainage, clay soil, but not salt.
It closely resembles the American Elm. It has the vase shape. It has interesting
"warty" bark and good fall color.
HICKORY, BITTERNUT, Carya cordiformis.Native. It is a large, fast-growing tree
of good longevity. It can tolerate drought, poor drainage, clay soil, and salt. It has
HICKORY, SHAGBARK, Carya ovata. Native. This is a large, slow-growing tree of
good longevity. It tolerates drought, poor drainage, clay soil, and salt.
HOLEYLOCUST,THORNLESS, Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis. Native. This is one
tough tree. It tolerates drought, poor drainage, clay soil, and salt. It is a large, fast
growing tree with moderate longevity. The leaflets are small do not require raking.
It is a bright yellow in fall. The Honeylocust has become a favorite street tree.
LINDEN, AMERICAN (Bassword), Tilia americana. Native. This is a large tree with
a moderate growth rate and long life. It tolerates drought, poor drainage, clay soil, but
not salt. It is a strong straight, oval shaped tree, frequently multi-stemmed.
OAK, BURR, Quericus macrocarpa. Native. This is a hardy tree, well suited to the
Prairie State. It becomes a large tree (120, 5 trunk diameter) and enjoys a
long life. It can tolerate drought, poor drainage, clay soil and salt. It has been shown
that it can withstand prairie fires due to a thick corky bark. The leaves and acorns are
distinctive. The leaves have broad lobes above deep sinuses and little lobes below. The
large fringed acorns are also distinctive. Often called the "Halloween Tree"
because the leaves resemble witches and the branding crooked and grotesque. A quick
look at a bare leaf burr oak in winter is a spooky and foreboding sight. Growth rate is
OAK, CHINAPIN, Quercus muehlenbergii. Native. This is a slower growing large,
long lived native oak. It tolerates drought, poor drainage, clay soil, and salt. It has
good fall color. This tree is enjoyed for its unusual non-typical oak leaves. They are
many lobed, small with needle like tips. The acorns are small and born on a short stalk of
OAK, HILLS, or NORTHERN PIN OAK, Quercus ellipsoidalis. Native. A slower
growing, large oak of good longevity, it is a pyramidal, like its relative, the Pin Oak,
but it is more tolerant of clay, salt and poor drainage. It has good fall color.
MEDIUM SIZE TREES
DOGWOOD, PAGODA, Cornus alternifolia. Non-native. Slow growing small tree (up to
20 trunk 3"), ornamental, horizontal branching. Plant with white flowers in May
and June and blue (1/3") berries in October along with good fall color. This is the
only dogwood with alternate leaves.
TRONWOOD, (Hophornbeam), Ostrya virginiana. Native. It is a small tree
(35) that can grow in the shade of large trees. It tolerates drought, poor drainage,
clay soil and salt. You need a mal and female tree to have the interesting fruit. Fall
color is yellow. Ironwood can be used as a screen because the Elm like leaves stay on all
MAPLE. AMUR, Acer ginnala. Non-native. This is a short, often multi-stem shrub
or tree from the cold climate of Mongolia. It can tolerate clay and sand and salt. It is
noted for its red and yellow fall color and interesting fruit. Growth rate is slow.
PAWPAW, COMMON, Asimina triloba. Native. This shrubby tree (rarely 40
tall) forms thickets through root suckers. It tolerates clay soil and salt. The large
smooth edge leaves are attractive and turn yellow in fall. It is an under story tree
liking shade and soil moisture content. The scratchy bark is interesting. The maroon
flowers turn into greenish-yellow thick fruit. These are delicious when fully ripe. Growth
rate is slow.
PLUM,. WILD, Prunus americana. Native. This is a small tree, slow growing which
loves the sun. It can tolerate clay soil and salt. It has high ornamental interest because
of its fall color, white or pink flowers, which appear just as or before the leaves come
out, and it has juicy and sweet fruit.
REDBUD, Cercis canadensis. Native. This is a small tree (35) which grows
wild in the under-story on the edge of the woods. The tree has a roundish top. Its
ornamental value is in its pinkish purple flowers, which appear before the leaves emerge.
The flowers are edible raw or better fried. It likes to be planted with close neighbors.
It is intolerant of poor drainage and salt.
SERVICEBERRY, SHADBLOW, Amelanchier arnorea. Native. It is a small tree
(40). It is prized for its bark, flowers, fruit and fall color. It does badly in
areas of poor drainage. Otherwise, it tolerates clay soil and salt. It is called shadblow
because it blooms just as the shad (fish) run.
SERVICEBERRY, ALLEGHENY, Amelanchier laevis. Native. A small tree (40). It
is prized for its bark, fruit, and fall color. Its flowers appear with the leaves in showy
drooping clusters. The berries can be made into pies or dried like raisins. All kinds of
wildlife eat the fruit.
AVVORVITAE, ORIENTAL, Thuja orientalis. Native. A slow growing, medium sized
tree with flat, compressed scale-like leaves. A true native, it thrives in wet, clay soil.
Landscapers use this tree to form a tall screen-like hedge in urban landscapes with little
room. It is called "the tree of life" because a tea made from its leaves would
cure scurvy (lack of vitamin C) among the early settlers.
JUNIPER, EASTERN REDCEDAR, Juniperus virginiansa. Native. Grows slowly to be a
medium size tree. It likes full sun and is drought resistant. It is from this tree that we
get juniper berries. It is spreading naturally along our highways. It is prone to a rust
disease; but disease resistant forms are available.
PINE, EASTERN WHITE, Pinus strobus. Native. This specimen becomes a tall,
long-lived tree very quickly. It should be planted with the root ball up high because like
most evergreens, it does not tolerate poor drainage. This tree does not tolerate salt and
should be planted away from roads that are salted. The white pine is feathery in
appearance and forms a transparent screen.
PINE, AUSTRIAN (Black), Pinus nigra. Non-native. Grows into a broad, compact,
dense tree and might be preferred to the white pine. It is tolerant of salt and will
provide a denser screen. Growth rate is moderate.
Below is a listing of cultivars taken from native trees, which have been designed
especially for the Chicago urban league.
- Windy City Ash
- Autumn Purple Ash
- New Harmony Elm
- Valley Forge Elm
- Marmo Maple
- Freeman Maple
- Accolade Elm