New York, known for its urban hub of New York City and picturesque upstate landscapes, adopted the Sugar Maple as its state tree in 1956. Native to northern regions of the U.S. and parts of Canada, this hardwood offers vibrant orange fall foliage and the prized delicacy of maple syrup. Reaching heights of up to 115 feet, the Sugar Maple boasts distinctive round-notched leaves and spinning “pinwheel” seeds. While it provides valuable shade and edible investment, New York planters have a plethora of tree varieties to choose from. Given the state’s large size, varied temperatures, and severe weather, wise growers must consider factors such as climate, soil type, average precipitation, irrigation, growing zones, and weather damage.
Read about the specifics for your state in the following sections. If you’re looking for some quick ideas on what to plant, consider the following trees as expert-tested and The Tree Center approved:
The state of New York is renowned throughout the United States as a comfortable, healthy, and safe state in which to abide. It is no wonder that New York residents may notice new homes being built nearby, new developments and shopping centers popping up, and highways carrying loud cars laid in bulk near their home. Planting trees along yard perimeters will add both privacy and beauty to the New Yorker yard.
Although there are many options from which to choose, in New York, a planter cannot be mistook by the American Holly. Growing throughout the United States, American Holly is adaptable, fast-growing, and colorful. Reaching at least 15 feet in height, the American Holly forms dense evergreen walls reminiscent of hedge mazes. In addition, New York residents can also choose from the Leyland Cypress or Nellie Stevens Holly to form the perfect private paradise.
New York, the 27th largest state and the third most populous in the U.S., owes much of its population to New York City. The state’s climate varies, ranging from humid continental to humid subtropical, with temperatures and humidity levels differing by region. Upstate areas, including the Catskills and Adirondacks, experience cooler temperatures, while New York City and Long Island have warmer climates. Summers are moderately mild, with average temperatures in the 70s and 80s, while winters can be cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. Honeoye soil covers over half a million acres of New York, and the soil is useful for planting corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, vegetables, alfalfa, grapes, apples, and grasses for grazing. The soil can be slightly acidic, though it is generally quite fertile and neutral in subsoil layers. Regardless of the property’s location in The Empire State, a soon-to-be tree planter can perform a simple test to determine his/her soil type.
In order to determine the type of soil in your yard, try this test to give you a basis for finding the best matched trees. For this test, you will need a healthy handful of soil from the layer beneath the topmost piece of soil. The soil should be a little damp, but not recently watered or wet. Simply squeeze the soil sample and one of the following events will occur.
Once you know what soil type you have, you can find trees best suited to the dirt’s properties. Loam is the best soil to have, as its unique qualities make it ideal for holding and transferring water to trees.
New York receives plentiful amounts of rainfall, averaging statewide at 60 inches annually. The annual rainfall amounts do not fall consistently throughout the state, with the most precipitation falling in the Appalachian Mountains. The southeaster portion of the state, as well as the borders with Vermont and Ontario, see the least amount of rainfall. Most of the rainfall occurs in the spring, with occasionally summer thunderstorms bringing more. Snowfall can be heavy at times, with Nor’easters bringing heavy wintry precipitation to the region. Regions near the Finger Lakes experience lake-effect snowfall, often gathering upwards of 150 inches.
Although rainfall is abundant in New York, irrigation can play an important role in ensuring successful growth for new trees. Newly planted trees are at a greater risk, as the transplantation from the original pot or soil will cause tree stress. Consistent and controlled access to water, especially in the months immediately following the planting, can be the difference between stunted growth and successful leafing. Ensure suitable drip or sprinkler irrigation systems are in place, preferably with indirect contact of the new root ball, prior to planting a new tree.
New York is home to eight unique growing zones. A growing zone simply refers to the USDA’s determination of areas where certain plants are most likely to thrive, preferring to focus on minimal temperature ranges in which a plant can survive. Long Island and New York City are the warmest regions, and temperatures often do not linger below -5°F. Temperatures are colder and more complex in northern regions of the state, where varying effects from mountains, lakes, and wind systems are a large factor. Central and eastern portions of the state can be cold, with temperatures dropping to -25°F for extended periods. In the west, near Rochester and Buffalo, temperatures are slightly warmer, lying in the -10°F to -20°F range. In the northern portions of the state, between Utica and Potsdam, temperatures are coldest, staying at -35°F for extended periods.
Hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding are the most common concerns in New York. The state receives on average ten tornadoes a year, with a severe tornado every five years. Hurricanes hit approximately every 18 years, with the distance between severe hurricanes as large as 72 years. Flooding is more common, and it can be especially severe in New York City.