Virginia is at a really spot in the world – we are able to foster the growth of many different kinds of plants, trees, and shrubs. Our day to day lives are filled with unique plants that people travel from far and wide to see. Even better, we are able to grow trees that some people would only be able to see online or in expertly tended gardens.

Typically, once a tree has been established we don’t have to do anything special to them. As long as we heed the watering and sun exposure suggestions, our trees grow tall and strong with minimal trimming and tending. We are lucky, as some places need to water their trees on a weekly basis or consistently cable and adjust them.

However, our luck doesn’t seem to help many people go out on a limb and pick a different type of tree. Instead, we see the same types over and over again – and it gets a little boring. While any tree is better than no tree at all, it is sometimes better to get something a little different.

Not only do these trees shine as easy trees to take care of, they are also unique enough to add something special to your property:

5. Kousa Dogwood

A Blooming Japanese Dogwood tree.

Credit: Henryhartley

  • Rarely requires watering
  • Does best in full sun
  • Great for tight places

Native to Japan and China, the Kousa Dogwood tree is a unique, problem-free tree that is beautiful and hardy enough for any yard. In the spring, while brilliant blooms and red berries stand the test of time against other trees, only dropping in time to turn red and purple for autumn. Even the bark is beautiful.

The Kousa Dogwood is used primarily for borders of yards or for a bit of privacy, but it can stand alone as well. No matter where you put it, its small frame and root system makes it a great addition.

According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, it is a great addition to yards that have low hanging power lines because it does not grow very tall.

4. Fringetree

Beautiful white flowers from the Fringetree

Credit: Wikipedia Commons

  • Requires watering only during drought
  • Full to partial sun preferred
  • Great for city gardeners

While there is some debate as to whether a Fringetree is a shrub or a small tree, it still makes our list as one of the best trees to plan in your yard, especially if you don’t have much room to grow around. The unique looking tree has flowers in the late spring and female trees have bright blue berries into the fall months.

Southern Living calls the Fringtree the “best tree no one knows about” because so few people get one. Still, it is a great choice for people who live near cities or busy roads because pollutants don’t seem to bother its growth at all.

Note that birds absolutely love the fruit so if you have one in your yard, expect bird traffic to increase.

3. American Yellowwood

Flowers on an American Yellowwood.

Credit: Ulf Eliasson

  • Requires watering during drought
  • Prefers full sun for optimum beauty
  • Unique hanging flowers

The American Yellowwood tree is often called the most beautiful tree because of the combination of hanging white and pink flowers. They are difficult to find in the wild, though more and more neighborhoods are using them as ornamental trees because of their beauty and the lack of debris, even when the flowers start to droop.

The American Yellowwood can stand up to a lot of abuse and neglect, though it will look better if carefully tended to and trimmed. You do have to prune it while it is still establishing itself because you want to remove weaker branches that can drain the nutrients.

According to the University of Kentucky Department of Horticulture, properly pruning and caring for your Yellowwood could double its lifespan.

2. Paperbark Maple

The peeling bark of the Paperbark Maple.

Credit: MPF

  • Rarely requires watering
  • Requires full to partial sun
  • Slow growing tree

The Paperbark Maple has been called a “handsome” tree by many in the industry because of the slender branches, oval shape, and gorgeous leaves. However, for many, the real star is the bark, which curls onto itself instead of falling to the ground when it is ready to shed. This creates a collage of colors on the trunk and branches of the tree.

This ornamental tree is great when planted in groups but can function by itself as well. It was originally introduced by the Chinese in England and came to the U.S. shortly after that, according to the Bernheim Arboretum.

Note that this tree does grow slowly and it stays fairly small. However, this is a problem-free tree that still has the hardiness of a maple tree, just in a smaller size.

1. London Planetree

The white bark of the London Planetree.

Credit: Geographer

  • Requires watering during hot months
  • Full to partial shade is best
  • Reaches up to 100 feet tall

The tallest tree on our list is the London Planetree. This shade tree is recommended for urban areas because it withstands poor soils and pollution as well as a lot of interaction with people and animals. It is a fantastic option for a Virginia home because of the wide spread of the leaves that will shade entire yards if wanted.

There is a bit of dropoff with this tree, so you should prepare for some autumnal raking. Throughout the year, the bark will peel off and reveal white bark, creating an interesting look throughout the seasons.

According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, if you have a yard where it seems like nothing else will grow, consider getting this survivor.

Overall, almost any tree you want to plant in your Virginia yard is a great option thanks to our climate. However, there is some variation when it comes to where your home is – you may want to find a tree that will stand up to pollutants or one that doesn’t require as much space.

As always, if you have any concerns or questions about your trees, feel free to contact Above Ground Tree Service. Our team can handle your pruning, removal, pest treatments, and more. Call us today at (434) 221-9525 for a free estimate.

Header photo courtesy of photosteve101 on Flickr!