500 year hardwood

Asked September 27, 2016, 4:01 PM EDT

I am looking for professional advice on the heartiest hardwood tree to plant in front of my house. My home is located in southeast Michigan, between Detroit and Ann Arbor. I am looking for a tree that resists disease, is strong and will provide plenty of shade.

Wayne County Michigan

1 Response

Good Evening and thank you for using Ask an Expert. I am sending you information on several trees that are grown in Michigan that you might be interested in.

First it is important that you look at the site where you plan on planting the tree and checking the type of soil, amount of sunlight and make sure it is not planted too close a building. Also take into consideration how tall the tree will get as well as the canopy width of the tree when full grown. You can purchase a soil test kit at the following site:shop.msu.edu.

Deciduous trees (lose leaves each fall)


Maples (Acer spp.): red maple (Acer rubrum) and sugar maple (Acer saccharum). Avoid silver maples and boxelders because of weak wood. Non-native Norway maples and Japanese maples can cause or experience problems.

Oaks (Quercus spp.). Red oak, bur oak and swamp white oak will grow in poorly drained areas. Oaks are slow growing, large trees. Pin oaks require acidic soil.

Hornbeam or blue beech (Carpinus caroliniana). Small trees with attractive bark, can handle moist areas and shade-tolerant.

Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus). Medium to large tree, not shade-tolerant, relatively fast growing and has an attractive foliage.

Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana). Small to medium in size, slow growing, very hard wood, shade-tolerant and has interesting fruit that look like hops.

Basswood (Tilia americana). Large tree with somewhat heart-shaped leaves, shade-tolerant and moderately slow growing. Its small, yellow-white fragrant flowers attract bees.

Blackgum or Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica). Grows in the southern half of Lower Michigan, is slow-growing and has lustrous leaves with bright red autumn foliage.

Hickory (Carya spp.). Shagbark and shellbark produce edible nuts and both have textured bark, especially shagbark. Bitternut and pignut hickories produce nuts for wildlife; they are not tasty to people.

I hope this information is helpful to you.