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Horticulture: Deciduous Trees

A familiar sight to you, deciduous trees are beautiful during the fall and shed their leaves in the winter.


Ginkgo trees, also labeled as Maidenhair trees, are a unique type of tree native to China. This ancient breed of plant has a unique leaf shape, which is where the maidenhair name came from.

The Ginkgo’s fan shaped leaves are a vibrant green that transition to a beautiful gold in the fall. There is a stage during this process where the leaf is two toned. These trees can grow 50-80 feet tall, and prefer full to partial sun (The Spruce).


Honeylocust trees are popular with homeowners. However, there is a large drawback to these beauties. The species has thorns and seed pods that litter lawns and make maintenance a pain.

There is a common cultivator bred without this aspect, called the Sunburst Honeylocust. This variety is about half as tall as its native counterpart, growing about 40 feet tall. The leaves of this tree are fern-like and fine with a green-yellow tone (The Spruce).

Pin Oak

The Pin Oak is a Chicago native. Once a grand part of landscaping, high pH levels have ruined this tree. Pin Oaks commonly suffer from chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves due to the soil. Now it’s a much less popular tree, but it still has its merits. Pin Oaks can grow to a mature height of 60-70 feet. This tree loves exposure to full sun and is prone to grow quickly under optimal conditions. While a nice looking tree, take some consideration over plant care, as the Pin Oak has messy fruits and plant parts to clean up after (Morton Arboretum).

Red Oak

The Red Oak, another Midwest native, is a large landscape piece. This magnificent oak can grow from 60-75 feet tall, and can extend outward that much as well. This tree enjoys full sun, but is also able to live in partial shade. The Red Oak attracts lots of wildlife, including migratory birds and small mammals. Similar to its Pin counterpart, messy fruits and leaves deter the use of this tree (Morton Arboretum).

White Oak

Our last oak (for today) is the White Oak. This tree is of course native to the Chicago and greater Illinois area. This oak has a slightly larger height range than our previous trees, standing anywhere between 50-80 feet. The White Oak loves full sunlight, though it grows quite slow. This tree attracts migratory birds and small mammals, though of course has messy fruit and plant parts that make it difficult to upkeep (Morton Arboretum).

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