Looking for a recommendation for a city tree


I’d like some advice on selecting a tree from the list provided by the city, to be planted by the city.  My criteria are:

  • fast-growing and hardy
  • tolerant of salt and pests
  • attractive when still quite small
  • ornamental, flowers or fall colour
  • tall but not massive



Deciduous or evergreen, trees provide us with clean air, protection from the elements by buffering strong winds, blocking out the hot summer sun and habitats for our birds.

You have probably been pouring over the list the City of Toronto has provided.

Not knowing the size of your lot, soil conditions, and sun  exposure it is difficult to make specific suggestions. Most of the trees on the above list grow quite large, and may not be suitable for a small city lot.

Yellowwood (Cladastris kentukea) is a North American medium growing native tree. It has a fairly open,vase-shaped canopy, compound leaves that turn yellow in the fall, and once established the tree produces wisteria-like fragrant white flowers in spring.  It grows to about 12m, but it does spread to 10m, when mature. It is a lovely specimen tree, and suitable for a small lot. This tree has medium tolerance to salt. This tree is not seriously affected by pests and diseases.

Japanese Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) grows best in a sunny exposure in moist soil however, it is considered drought tolerant once established and has moderate tolerance to salt.This is a medium to large tree reaching a mature height of  12-18m with a spread of  10-18m. The growth rate is moderately rapid when yound however, slows down with age. Fall colour is a spectacular yellow- orange. This tree is not seriously affected by pests and diseases.

Tulip Tree ( Liriodendron tulipifera) is a fast growing large tree which can reach heights of 35m tall. It grows best in full sun on sandy moist loam soil. The scented tulip-like greenish-yellow flowers appear in mid spring. The leaves turn a yellow-gold in the fall. The tree in unaffected by light salt spray. Scale is a key pest of this tree.

There are several linden, although the only native is the tall Basswood (Tilia americana).  ‘Redmund’ is a pyramid-shaped cultivar that can grow to a height of 20m and a spread of 10m. The tree produces fragrant inconspicuous yellow flowers in early summer. Leaves turn yellow in the fall. Little Leaf Linden  (Tilia cordata) is a great shade tree, gets to 16m tall and a spread of 8m.. Tilias are disease free, and can withstand adverse city conditions.

Have fun selecting your new tree.