The Todd Group - Creating award-winning outdoor spaces for discerning NJ homeowners since 1975

Now is a great time to think about what to plant to replace all those NJ trees that we lost last fall from Hurricane Sandy. This is a symbolic day when people are encouraged to plant trees and this year, we have deeply symbolic reasons to plant trees in NJ.

We were part of the massive shore cleanup and are still helping people in our close proximity of Bernardsville, Basking Ridge, Harding, Far Hills, and Bedminster in Somerset County. Our surrounding Warren, Essex and Morris counties were also hit hard by Sandy.

The absolute best time for digging up trees is before they leaf out in mid-to-late April.

Trees give us shade that can help cool our homes in the summer, act as a wind block from prevailing winds, give us fuel, privacy, protect animals and birds from predators and the elements and can generally warm our hearts.

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
-Warren Buffett

It’s a difficult decision to pare down a list to 11 trees since there are so many. John Todd has been a tree guru for 40 years and has many favorites. Here’s his list of the 11 best types of trees to plant in NJ that qualify as low maintenance, disease and pest resistant:

Trident Maple

Acer Buergeranum – Trident Maple

1) Acer Buergeranum – Trident Maple – Likes full sun, tolerates drought, excellent lawn specimen for patio or yard, 20-25’ tall and 30’ wide.

European Hornbeam

Carpinus Betulus – European Hornbeam

2) Carpinus Betulus – European Hornbeam – Likes full sun to light shade, often used as hedge or screen, versatile for many situations, 40-60’ tall and 30-40’ wide.

Katsura Tree

Cercidiphyllum Japonicum – Katsura Tree

3) Cercidiphyllum Japonicum – Katsura Tree – Likes sun or part shade, heart-shaped leaves, fall fragrance, can handle wind, not much drought, very graceful, 60-100’ tall and 20-30’ wide.

Kousa Dogwood

Cornus Kousa – Kousa Dogwood

4) Cornus Kousa – Kousa Dogwood – Likes sun or part shade, acid loving soil, blooms in June, nice winter interest, outstanding choice for small space especially when combined with shrubs, 30’ tall and 20-30’ wide.


Ginkgo Bilboa – Ginnkgo

5) Ginkgo Bilboa – Ginkgo – Likes full sun, prefers sandy and moderately moist soil, can handle many pH soils, great for shore areas in Monmouth and Ocean counties, female tree fruit may be a little stinky so many people prefer male cultivars, 50-80’ tall and 30’ wide or greater.

Golden Rain Tree

Koelreuteria Paniculata – Golden Rain Tree

6) Koelreuteria Paniculata – Golden Rain Tree – Prefers sun, adaptive to many soil situations, drought tolerant, large leaves make this a great shade tree, nice flowers when hardly anything else is flowering in July, fruit may be a little messy, 30-40’ high and 30’ wide.

Sweetbay Magnolia

Magnolia Virginiana – Sweetbay Magnolia

7) Magnolia Virginiana – Sweetbay Magnolia – Likes full sun, however can handle shade and wet soils, fragrant white flowers in May/June, gorgeous leaves, evergreen in mild winters, North American native, outstanding small specimen near a patio, 20’ tall and 10-20’ wide.

Heritage River Birch ‘Cully’

Betula Nigra – Heritage River Birch ‘Cully’

8) Betula Nigra – Heritage River Birch ‘Cully’ – Soil adaptive, tolerates moist or dry situations, terrific exfoliating white bark, pyramidal shape, North American native, 40-70’ tall and 40-60’ wide. There are smaller varieties that are also outstanding such as ‘Little king’ and ‘Dura Heat’.

Dawn Redwood

Metasequoia Glyptostroboides – Dawn Redwood

9) Metasequoia Glyptostroboides – Dawn Redwood – Likes full sun, well drained soil, can handle wet soils, easily transplanted, deciduous, excellent in large open areas as specimen or in groups, reddish bark exfoliates as it matures, 70-100’ tall and 25’ wide.

Eastern Redcedar

Juniperus Virginiana – Eastern Redcedar

10) Juniperus Virginiana – Eastern Redcedar – Prefers full sun in moist, sandy soils, drought tolerant and excellent for salt sprays windy, exposure, great for NJ beach areas, green foliage turns bronze in winter, North American native, 40-50’ tall and 8-20’ variable width.

Abies Concolor

Abies – Concolor

11) Abies – Concolor – Full sun, moist well drained sandy soil preferred, can also handle light shade, drought conditions, will not do well in clay soils, citrus fragrance, excellent substitute for Colorado Blue Spruce, great for large landscapes, North American native, 50-100’ tall and 15-30’ wide.

If you’re interested in planting a tree in your yard contact us or our partner Peters Todd’s so we can help you determine the best tree for your yard.

Wondering if you need to replace your tree? Learn what signs to look for.