Posted: August 17, 2023

Everyone loves trees.  

In fact, there’s so much trees can do for commercial landscapes, it’s hard not to love them. They cool your site in summer with their shade … and even reduce your company’s air conditioning bills if planted in the right place. They offer colorful and often fragrant spring blooms that attract pollinators, then are lush and green, and finally finish their show with an encore of vivid fall foliage. They add oxygen to the environment and sequester carbon. Their root systems absorb excess moisture and reduce erosion. All around, they’re pretty great assets for your property.  

In fact, with proper planting and maintenance, trees add an overall aesthetic value that may not be matched by shrubs and perennials. This makes them a cost-effective addition that can’t be beat.  

But when it’s time to plant a tree, there are so many options out there that it can be overwhelming. What if you make the wrong choice? What if the tree you choose doesn’t serve your commercial property in the way you’d hoped?  

Don’t panic. We’re here for you.  

Let’s look at our top picks for the best trees to plant on commercial properties and the best time to plant these trees 

When is the Best Time to Plant a Tree? 

You may already have the perfect locations picked out for new trees on your commercial site. That’s step one. Next, you must consider the best time to plant trees 

Spring and fall are the ideal times to plant trees to reduce adding stress to the tree during the root establishment process. This usually is before the tree is leafing out or after it’s gone dormant for the winter. Of course, this can be different depending on the tree type, species, and your local climate. Transplanting during dormancy is a strategy that is most beneficial for tree development and long-term health because the tree needs less water at this time and can develop stronger roots. This also allows the newly transplanted tree to focus on adapting to its new location without facing additional stress from heat, irrigation needs, etc.  

Caring for new trees is essential to their long-term success. This includes proper watering and irrigation best practices.  

You might be reading this in late summer and realize you’re past the spring planting season, so let’s talk about the best trees for commercial property managers to plant in autumn in various regions of the country.  


  • Cornelian Cherry Dogwood (Cornus mas) - One of the first trees to flower in spring, this dogwood thrives in well-drained soils and features small yellow flowers with medium green foliage in the summer. Average height: 15’-25’. 
  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier) - This tree features white flowers in spring, with blue-green leaves that turn red in fall. Thriving in acidic soils, this species has moderate drought tolerance and prefers partial to full sun. Average height: 4’-25’. 
  • Seven Son Flower (Heptacodium miconioides) - This flowering tree produces white flowers in late summer. It grows best in moist, well-drained, alkaline soils, looking best in late summer through early winter. Average height: 15’-25’. 


  • Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) - This species is native to southeastern and gulf coastal states, thriving in most soil conditions. Live oaks keep their leaves year-round and are relatively resistant to insects or diseases. Average height: 40’-80’. 
  • Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) - These flowering species feature large, deep-green leaves, as well as large flower blooms, during late spring and early summer. This magnolia prefers moist, well-drained soil. Average height: 60’-80’. 
  • Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.) - Featuring colorful flowers that last throughout summer, this group of trees can tolerate slightly alkaline to acidic soils and even sandy or clay soils as long as there is adequate drainage. Average height: 15’-25’. 


  • Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) - This drought-tolerant species features glossy green leaves and boasts some of the best oak wilt resistance in the oak family. It performs well in alkaline soils and full sun. Average height: 40’-50’. 
  • Frontier Elm (Ulmus Frontier) - This species features good resistance to Dutch Elm Disease and moderate resistance to elm leaf beetle, making it ideal for commercial locations with well-drained soil. Average height: 25’-40’. 
  • Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) - This flowering tree has pink blooms from spring into early fall and can tolerate fairly extreme weather variations. It prefers arid soils and is very drought tolerant. Average height: 15’-25’. 


  • Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) - Featuring large, heart-shaped leaves and generous clusters of white flowers, this adaptable species can thrive in a variety of conditions. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Average height: 40’-60’. 
  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier) - This tree features white flowers in spring with blue-green leaves that turn red in fall. Thriving in acidic soils, this species has moderate drought tolerance and prefers partial to full sun. Average height: 4’-25’. 
  • Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) - Recognized by bright yellow flowers in summer, this species is relatively drought-tolerant and prefers moist, well-drained soil and full sun throughout the day. Average height: 30’-40’.  


  • Cascara Buckthorn (Rhamnus purshiana) - This widely adaptable species can thrive in sun, shade, moist, and dry soils, making it a good choice for a variety of locations. It features dark green leaves and produces purple berries. 15’-30’. 
  • Western Crabapple (Malus fusca) - This drought-tolerant species that can also handle clay soils prefers full sun and features pink or white flowers in spring and bright green, oval-shaped leaves. Average height: 20’-35’.  
  • Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) - Featuring brilliant white flowers, bright green leaves, and beautiful fall foliage, this tree prefers moist, well-drained soil and does well in locations near smaller companion plants. Average height: 20’-30’. 


Commercial Landscape Design
Commercial Landscape Design

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