Native Trees of the Northeast
and Great Lakes Region

Trees of the Northeast and Great Lakes Region grow big and strong.

It is said there was a time when a person could walk from Michigan to Maine and to Florida and never touch the ground.

Can you imagine a world with so much plant life?

Majestic White pines, Sugar maples.

Forests of oak, ash, birch.

Serviceberry and dogwoods under the canopies of the giants.

Woods and forests of the Northeast aren't as plentiful, but still serve an important roll for wildlife and people.

White Pines

I can't possibly give you the name of every species and what it offers.

What I will do is to give you some of the old standards.

If you live in Northeast and Great Lakes take a moment and think of what we take for granted.

Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus): the giants of the East.

White pines can grow to 225 feet (a rare sight indeed with deforestation).

This is a true giant of the East and you must give some room.

Like all true pines, it will lose its lower branches as it continues grows.

The only five needle pine to grow naturally east of the Rocky Mountains. The soft needles are 3 to 5 inches long. The 6 inch cones produce pine nuts loved by birds and animals.

White pines grow in nature all along the east coast of Canada and the United States. In land through Ontario, and Great Lakes region.

This species of tree is known for its dark gray bark and reliably straight trunks and branches.

This beauty is the state tree of Michigan.

Conifers of the northeast include spruce.

Black spruce (picea mariana): This spruce can be found from Pennsylvania north and through out Canada and Alaska.

Black spruce can grow to 70 feet and produce a 2 inch brownish egg shaped cone. A key food source in the boreal forests of Canada.

Spruce differ from pines in a couple of ways. Spruce are a single needle tree while pines have multi needles. Spruce retain branches where as pines naturally drop branches as it grows.

Red spruce (picea rubens): grows to around 80 feet and has finely toothed 2 inch cones that can be a light orange to brown tint. This specimen is wide spread from Newfoundland down through the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia and into the Great lakes region. They thrive in wet acid soil.

White cedar (Thuja occidentails): also known as Arborvitae. This very hardy small evergreen grows natural From Canada's Hudson Bay, the northeast United States down to Georgia.

As far as species of The Great Lakes and Northeast goes, this is one of the most popular as a yard plant. In nature, it may grow to 30 feet. Many cultivars have been developed to where they will only be 2 feet wide.

The thick growth makes for deer food in the winter as well as protection for birds. The tiny upright cones are about one third of an inch long and offer seed as food.

Hawthorns (Crataegus): There are a few varieties of native hawthorn. The most common is Cockspur hawthorn. This is well known for its huge thorns averaging 2 inches in length.

Hawthorns are found from southeast Canada, Along the Atlantic coast and some species well into the Great Plains.

Hawthorns bare little fruits that resemble crabapples. The fruits are a favorite among all fruit eating birds and provide food for animals as well. They can grow from 30 to 40 feet in height and almost as wide.

Trees of the Northeast are many.

There are several species of Oak (Quercus): All are large specimens and offer food, shelter and protection.

Most oaks are slower growing and are native to much of the Atlantic cost, into the Great Lakes region and southeast Canada.

Acorn (mast) crops can vary from season to season.

Some oaks bear nuts every year, while others seem to bear every other year. The year following a drought will often increase the acorn crop as the tree goes into self preservation mode. To keep the species going, all trees will do this.

Maples (Acer): Sugar maple, Red, Silver and Black maples. All offer up seed as food for wildlife as do all other species of maple tree.

Sugar maples are slow growers but are beautiful full trees.

Red maple are smaller and as the name indicates provides a nice red fall color.

Silver maple is a fast growing specimen and throw out more than their fare share of seeds (helicopters). Silver or soft maples are a messy tree, often dropping twigs and.

Silver and Red both tolerate wet feet from time to time.

Sugar maples are native of the Atlantic coast region, into the Great Lakes and extreme southeast Canada.

Silver Maple is Native to the Hudson Bay region through out all of the southeast United States.

Red Maples are found in the eastern two thirds of America.

(pictures are courtesy of Forest

Look for other species for the Northeast and Great Lakes

Cherry (prunus family):

Nuts producers like Hickories.

Other species include Birch, Dogwood, Serviceberry, crabapples and a slew of other Species that offer food and protection for wildlife.

Some of our natives are in trouble from foreign invaders.

Ash Tree and the Emerald Ash Borer.

American Beech and Beech Bark Disease

Not only are natives attractive, but they are more tolerant to sickness and insects. Native plants were created with our wildlife in mind.

Native Trees to Attract Birds

Build a Bird Garden

Shrubs as an Understory in Your Gardens

Native Grasses

Flowers of the Northeast

Native Vines of the Northeast

Feeding Hummingbirds, Tips and Pests

Hummingbird Gardens

Hummingbird Flowers

A Butterfly Friendly Yard

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