America’s Most Popular Specimen Trees

America’s Most Popular Specimen Trees

Jul 23, 2020

If you’re new to gardening, selecting the right elements to elevate your home’s landscape can be intimidating. From groundcovers, shrubs, perennials, and grasses - there’s a lot to choose from. We don’t recommend making that decision until you’ve selected your main focal point - the Specimen Tree! No need to stress, the garden experts at Garden Goods Direct are here to help.

You might be wondering, what exactly is a specimen tree? In simple terms - it’s a tree that draws immediate attention usually for its foliage, flowers, size, form, or bark. You may recognize a few of these trees from your neighborhood or local park. You could even say they’re hiding in plain sight, but you’ll always remember their beauty.

Typically, specimen trees are found in large landscapes to help accommodate their large size. Some are also planted in groups to create a peaceful space of shade. However, not all specimen trees are large in size. Features such as unique trunks, topiaries, vibrant blooms, or an abstract growth habit reach specimen status. 

North America is home to a variety of specimen trees, and they’re ready to shop here on Garden Goods Direct! See Woodie’s top picks of America’s most popular specimen trees.

Magnolia Trees

Bring that southern charm to your garden or landscape with the captivating Magnolia tree. This specimen is a spectacular flowering tree known for producing beautiful white, yellow, or pink flowers. Enjoy this tree's fragrant spring blooms as they sit against a backdrop of green glossy leaves. Magnolias have certain varieties that grow quickly, like the Magnolia Jane tree or the fast-growing Claudia Wannamaker Magnolia

If you’re looking to plant a Magnolia tree that’s similar to the classic Southern Magnolia, Garden Goods Direct has the compact Little Gem and Teddy Bear varieties for sale online with large white flowers. This specimen tree is known for its resistance to pest and disease, and deer tend to leave this tree alone. When grown in the right conditions, Magnolia trees are low-maintenance and an excellent selection for those new to landscaping.

Crape Myrtle Trees

Gardeners around the globe love Crape Myrtle for its many varieties and color-bursting blooms. Seriously, there’s so many you can choose from! This specimen shade tree provides year-round interest for its early spring and fall foliage, summer blooms, and unique silver-gray bark that shines in the winter months. Its spring and summer green foliage transforms to a fiery red and orange hue throughout fall months.

As we mentioned, there’s a lot to choose from when it comes to the Crape Myrtle specimen tree. This tree has several bloom color options including white, pink, red, and purple including Purple Magic and Muskogee. This tree can even be planted as an ornamental tree or shrub for mixed borders or small yards. 

Birch Trees

Birch Trees are known for their small to medium size, and their multiple and single trunks. This specimen tree is distinct when planted in any landscape for its papery, peeling bark. You may recognize this tree around your neighborhood or local park - it’s hard to miss! 

A popular variety is Dura Heat, that easily adapts to most soil conditions and grows quickly. Native to the northeast zones, Birch Trees are one of the most insect and disease resistant tree options. It’s pyramidal shape and glossy green leaves fade to a golden yellow in the fall months. This tree heat and drought tolerant ornamental tree looks great when planted along stream banks or ponds.

Japanese Maple Trees

Japanese Maple trees are one of the most collected and desirable trees sold in nurseries today. They are often used as focal points in every well-designed landscape in the United States. Japanese Maple trees are both graceful and versatile members of the landscape. Some leaf out in the spring in brilliant shades of red, then change to green by summer and finish the fall in yellows and oranges. Others start red and stay red till their leaves drop in autumn, revealing their sculptural forms. 

Japanese Maple leaves can be palm-shaped or lacy, almost feathery, and their available color palette includes red, green, orange, purple, white, and pink. Autumn Moon trees feature green-yellow foliage with a burnt orange outline. Viridis feature bright green foliage that change to gold and crimson during the fall. Another notable Japanese Maple is the Koto No Ito, which is also known as “Harp String.” Its green narrow, string-like foliage transforms to a vivid bright orange during the fall  and early winter months. No matter where you plant this specimen shade tree, you’re guaranteed to marvel at its beauty.

Chestnut Trees

One of the most notable specimen and shade trees is the Chestnut. This North American species was nearly wiped out due to Chestnut Blight that was brought into the US in 1904. Many Chestnut trees were lost, but a few groves remained in Michigan, Wisconsin, California, and the Pacific northwest. Today, blight resistant Chestnut trees are sought after for their enormous size, but rarity. Garden Goods Direct is one of the few online retailers of this popular specimen tree. 

Dunstan Chestnut trees grow over 50 feet tall, and have a vigorous growth rate. In fact, Chestnut fruit is a favorite of wildlife and people throughout the country for its great source of nutrients. Dunstan Chestnut is a hybrid between the American and Chinese Chestnut trees. Chinese Chestnut has a dense growing habit, and produces sweet-tasting fruit. Chestnut trees are usually planted in groups to ensure pollination that will keep this standout tree thriving for years to come.

dunstan american chestnut tree

Dunstan Chestnut

chinese chestnut tree

Chinese Chestnut