The Evergreen State chose, not surprisingly, the Western Hemlock as its state tree. The Western Hemlock is an evergreen coniferous tree, which often stretches towards heights between 165 and 230 feet; although, some specimens have been found exceeding this height, reaching 270 feet tall. Native to the west coast of North American between Sonoma Valley and Alaska, the Western Hemlock is well-distributed throughout the Pacific Northwest, where its existence is a sign of health. Used for its timber, the Western Hemlock is valuable; oftentimes, though, residents will choose to plant the Western Hemlock as an ornamental tree in gardens throughout the region. Despite the appeal of the Western Hemlock, there are hundreds of tree varieties from which to choose for Washington’s tree planters.
Due to its large size, coastal weather, and varied temperatures, the smart Washingtonian grower will need to consider the following:
Best Trees for Washington
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:
Ideal for providing fast-growing shade, year-round beauty, and drought resistance.
Ideal for continuous color, adaptable growing conditions, and landscaping designs.
Ideal for bearing fruit for delicious, edible profits, color, and adaptable qualities.
Ideal for mildew resistance, fragrant lavender blooms, and fast-growing height.
Fast Growing Privacy Trees in Washington
A state that without doubt deserves its millions of residents, Washington is continuing to attract new inhabitants from other parts of the United States. Although a boon for the local economy, new infrastructure can be invasive and annoying. Solutions exist for prying eyes and sound-producing highways. Trees that are cultivated to form protective barriers, better known as ‘privacy trees’ can be planted to afford the Washingtonian yard the solitude and peace it deserves.
Although there are many privacy trees Washington planter may plant, none is as fitting as the Willow Hybrid. The Willow Hybrid grow quickly, at upwards of 6 feet a year, and provides fast-growing privacy. Unlike many privacy tree species, the Willow Hybrid is not an evergreen but a subset of the willow, providing a unique barrier against intrusions of every kind. The Willow Hybrid is not the only option to choose from in Washington. Alternatively, consider the Thuja Green Giant or Juniper ‘Witchita Blue’.
Washington has two diverse climates, split between the eastern and western regions of the state. In the west, along the Pacific Ocean, the region is characterized by a west coast marine climate or oceanic climate. In the east, a semi-arid climate prevails. This is due, in large part, to the Cascade Mountains which travel down the center of the state. The mountains cause a rain shadow in the east, cooling moisture-laden air before it can cross the mountains peaks. The air then condenses and falls in the western regions of the state. Spring and summer is dry, due to anticyclone systems that spiral air clockwise. In the autumn and winter, a low pressure system takes over, and this brings a wetter season. The highest temperature recorded in Washington is 118°F. The coldest temperature recorded is -48°F in the mountain ranges, though it has not fallen below 0°F in Seattle.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. Over 1,000,000 acres of Washington land is covered in Tokul soil. Tokul soils formed from volcanic ash, and are typically a gravelly loam. Valuable for lumber, crop, production, and grazing, the soil is a valuable asset to the region. Regardless of the property’s location in The Evergreen 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.
1. You have CLAY if, after opening your hands, the soil maintains its shape, forming a ball. If you touch the sample, it does not fall apart.
2. You have LOAM if, after opening your hands, the soil maintains its shape, forming a ball. If you touch the sample, it falls apart.
3. You have SAND if, after opening your hands, the soil immediately collapses.
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.
Just as the climate systems are divergent in Washington, so too is precipitation. The western areas of the state receive the most rainfall of any of the 48 contiguous states, totaling as much as 160 inches. In the east, however, less than 6 inches of rainfall may fall. The mountain regions see heavy snowfall, sometimes as much as 200 inches. The Olympic and Cascade Mountains are partially responsible for this extreme difference, causing a significant rain shadow in the east.
With such dramatic differences in precipitation throughout the state, irrigation can be an essential tool in appropriately distributing water needs. Newly planted trees require adequate water and sunshine to grow, and an irrigation system, such as a drip or sprinkler system, can be one way of providing consistent and controlled access to water. Search the property for either natural or manmade water systems, and if none exist, consider investing in a simply system to ensure the new tree’s success.
Washington is home to ten 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. The zones generally move from east to west across the state. In the far southwest, temperatures are warmest, rarely dropping below 10°F; however, some small regions may never see temperatures below 25°F. Lower temperature ranges appear along the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, where temperatures may fall anywhere between zones 7b and 5b, between 10°F and -15°F. In the far southeast, temperatures remain relatively high, rarely dropping below 0°F for extended lengths of time. In the northeast portion of the state, temperatures are cooler, sometimes lingering as low as -25°F.
The rainfall differences cause most of the weather damage in the state, with floods and droughts equally affecting the region. These are usually minimal and cause mild to moderate damage. Blizzards can also hit heavily in the mountainous areas of the state. Mount Baker is one of the snowiest places in the world, recording a world record for highest annual snowfall in a single season. In 1999, the mountain accumulated 1,140 inches of snow, or 95 feet. At lower elevations, snow is less severe. Approximately two-thirds of Washington state is forest, and trees of many varieties do well here.
If you prefer to purchase your trees or shrubs in person instead of online, we offer this comprehensive guide to purchasing a tree at your local Washington nursery or garden center. However, since we don’t actually live in Washington we can’t guarantee this list to be 100% accurate – but we did attempt to be as accurate as we possibly could. We have no affiliation with any of the businesses listed below and make no guarantees as to the businesses’ ability or the quality of trees you will receive. As with any purchase you make, be sure to check out the business with the Better Business Bureau, references, and any other sources you may have.
|Amboy||Aldrich Berry Farm & Nursery||P.O. Box 340||360-247-8733|
|Arlington||Alpine Wildseed||PO Box 277||360-631-9788|
|Arlington||Artemis Ridge Natives||13015 246th Street N.E.||360/435-9473|
|Arlington||BankSavers Nursery||26929 115th Ave NE||800-663-4304|
|Bainbridge Island||BFI Native Seeds, LLC||2105 Country View Lane NE||206-387-5943|
|Battle Ground||Briggs Nursery, Inc.||12713 NE 184th St.||360-687-5167|
|Bellevue||Black Lake Organic Nursery||15831 NE 8th St., Suite 100||425-641-7577|
|Bellingham||Burnt Ridge Orchards, Inc.||5652 Sand Road||360-592-2250|
|Bellingham||Clark’s Native Trees and Shrubs||PO Box 5271||360-715-9655|
|Bellingham||Cottage Lake Gardens||5192 Aldrich Road||360-384-3763|
|Benton City||The Country Store & Gardens||68911 River Road||509-588-4328|
|Bothell||Derby Canyon Natives||PO Box 23||425-483-8108|
|Bow||Desert Jewels Nursery||16564 Bradley Road||360-757-1094|
|Bremerton||Fancy Fronds||3651 NE Loretta Lane||360-649-8465|
|Camano Island||Far Pastures Nursery||1440 Arrowhead Rd||360-387-1358|
|Clarkston||Fir Run Nursery||908 Port Drive||800-582-2070|
|Clinton||Friendly Natives Plants and Design||3443 E. French Road||360-579-1770|
|Connell||Frosty Hollow Ecological Restoration||4756 W. Highway 260||800-995-0234|
|Davenport||Fourth Corner Nurseries||1404 Fourth St.||800-828-8873|
|Deer Park||Grassland West||3226 W. Montgomery Rd.||509-276-8278|
|Ellensburg||Greg Peterson||1308 N Alder, #1||509-933-3063|
|Enumclaw||Hood Canal Nurseries||31218 Se 408th St||360-825-7051|
|Gig Harbor||Inside Passage Seeds||5919 78th Ave NW||253-857-6808|
|Gold Bar||Island Horticultural Services||PO Box 1090||360-793-1420|
|Langley||Judd Creek Nursery||P.O. Box 53||360-579-2332|
|Longview||L&H Seeds, Inc.||2039 44th Avenue||360-423-6456|
|Lummi Island||Landmark Seed Co.||3679 Sunrise Rd.||360-758-7260|
|Lyle||Lewis River Reforestation||620 State St.||509-365-5222|
|Mill Creek||Madrona Nursery||PO Box 12486||360-668-8755|
|Moses Lake||Maxwelton Valley Gardens||1145 S Jefferson Ave||509-765-6348|
|Moses Lakes||Methow Natives||6754 Partridge Dr. N.E.||509-765-7946|
|Mossyrock||Microseed Nursery||190 Aldrich Road||360-983-3138|
|Olympia||Milestone Nursery||4407 Henderson Boulevard||206-352-5405|
|Olympia||MsK Rare and Native Plant Nursery||4711 Black Lake Blvd SW||360-786-0537|
|Olympia||The Northwest Gardener’s Nursery||PO Box 7505||360-352-4122|
|Olympia||Northwest Native Nursery||9805 Blomberg St.||877-890-2626|
|Onalaska||Northwest Native Seed||432 Burnt Ridge Road||360-985-2873|
|Onalaska||Olympic National Park Native Plant Nursery||139 Kidd Creek Lane||360-978-4504|
|Peshastin||Olympic Nursery||9750 Derby Canyon Rd.||509-548-9404|
|Port Angeles||Pacific Natives and Ornamentals||600 East Park Avenue||360-565-3130|
|Port Angeles||Park Place Gardens Nursery||616 Shore Road||360-457-1536|
|Port Gamble||Plantas Nativa, LLC||PO Box 36||360-638-2091|
|Port Townsend||Plantas Nativa East, LLC||P.O. Box 639||800-361-9657|
|Poulsbo||Plants of the Wild||POB 1422||360-779-5002|
|Poulsbo||Rainier Seeds, Inc.||22370 Indianola Rd. NE||360-598-3323|
|Puyallup||Raven Nursery||15102 91st Ave Ct. E.||253-848-4731|
|Ridgefield||Rimrock Nursery||7207 NW 291st St.||360-887-4477|
|Rochester||Rochester Greenhouse||7935 Highway 12 SW||360-273-5527|
|Roy||Rosso Wholesale Nursery||317 James St.||253-843-2246|
|Seattle||Shore Road Nursery||802 37th Ave||206-323-8325|
|Seattle||Silvaseed Company, Inc.||915 Davis Place S||206-329-5804|
|Seattle||Sound Native Plants, Inc.||PO Box 80345||800-832-1888|
|Shoreline||Spring Creek Nursery||20312 15th Ave NW||206-546-1281|
|Snohomish||Storm Lake Growers||21809 89th Street SE||360-794-4842|
|Spokane||Sun Gro Horticultural Distribution, Inc.||9809 E. Upriver Dr.||509/893-3771|
|Spokane||Sunbreak Nursery||N. 120 Wall St., Suite 400||800-268-1080|
|Spokane||Tadpole Haven Native Plants||5511 S. Dorset||509-688-3426|
|Tekoa||Tree Frog Farm, Inc.||PO Box 866||509-284-2848|
|Twisp||Treez, Inc.||303 Twisp River Road||509-997-0273|
|Vashon||Viewcrest Nurseries||20211 Vashon Hwy SW||206-463-3655|
|Vashon||WACD Plant Center||20929 111th Avenue SW||206-463-9641|
|West Richland||Wabash Farms||223 Mt. Adams View Dr.||509/967-5913|
|Winthrop||Watershed Garden Works||19 Aspen Lane||509-996-3562|
|Woodinville||Webster Forest Nursery||17301 191st Avenue NE||425/788-1952|
|Woodinville||Wildlands Nursery||16507 140th Pl NE||800-570-8883|
|Woodinville||Windy Ridge Tree Farm||20322 197th Ave. N.E.||425-788-6100|
|Woodland||Woodbrook Native Plant Nursery||1203 NW Hayes Road||360-225-6357|