The Oak Tree Facts.

Top 20 Best Trees For Kentucky Yards

Top 20 Best Trees For Kentucky Yards.


20 Best Trees. Imagine a magnificent yard filled with beautiful tall lush green trees. exotic Fuschia-colored blooming flowers laid with a bright tequila sunset that radiates the entire yard in its shades of yellow and orange.

Top 20 Best Trees For Kentucky Yards


Top 20 Best Trees For Kentucky Yards

As you walk in, you feel a cool breeze swiftly across your face. And hear subtle distant chirping and humming of birds. Then you realize the corners of your mouth are stretched out wide to give the most lively smile you have ever felt.

Now, that’s the kind of picture you want your Kentucky yard to have. Your yard doesn’t necessarily have to be a cluttered and dry mess. Where you are too lazy to start the hassle of growing trees.

Truth is, all of this doesn’t need to be rocket science, it can be art that simply speaks to your personality.

Having different trees and plants lifts up the area with a refreshing ambiance. So, if you are thinking of making a statement through your yard.

In this article, we are going to have a review of the top 20 best trees for Kentucky yards to give you the yard that you’ve always dreamt of.

Let’s get started.

Top 20 Best Trees For Kentucky Yards

1. Coral Bark Japanese Maple 

The Coral Bark is an upright Japanese Maple that beautifully stands out against any background that you may have in your yard. In spring, bright lime green or chartreuse leaf.

Plain palate leaves open only to turn into darker rick greens on the warmer days. As the blanket of fall comes, the verdure turns into shades of golden yellows and browns.

And as the leaves drop in the fall, the bark of the tree starts to turn into an enticing reddish pink, intensifying with the cold weather. The more sun the coral bark maple tree gets, the darker the winter leaf color would be.

Moreover, they will also benefit from some dappled afternoon shade in tropical months. When we consider the practical characteristics of these maple trees.

They can make good ornamental underbrush trees with a maximum height of 20-25 feet (6-8 m.) and a spread of 15-20 feet (4.5-6 m.).

It is recommended to prune the tree occasionally but only slightly. If you trim the brown aged stems, they will not grow back. Many people also plant hemlocks and rhododendrons as companion plants of coral bark.

Since Japanese maples are grown as grafted trees, they are a little bit more expensive than other trees.

2. Emerald Green Arborvitae 

One of the thickest and most beautiful evergreens you can grow is the Emerald Green Arborvitae. Its neat and crisp shape barely requires any pruning – making it the easiest tree to maintain.

Throughout the seasons, this thick evergreen hedge retains its rich colors and durable shape. Which in turn, makes an exceptional tree for your yard.

However, the tree requires a great deal of patience to mature to its full form. Its height will increase only about 12″ or less each year. So, you will have to wait a few years to see it grow to its full height.

You can create a hedge in your garden using emerald green arborvitae. Since it’s an “evergreen” plant, you will be able to enjoy lush green scenery in your own garden all year round!

3. Fringe Tree 

If you don’t like spending an abundance of time on growing and maintaining trees. But are a die-heart fan of having these tall rich green plants, then fringe trees will definitely prove to be your favorite ones.

The creamy white, fragrant flowers of this tree will make a real claim on your landscape. Their lovely, lilac0like fragrance will keep you mesmerized for a long time.

The fringe tree is also known as the white fringe tree.

Grows bird-attracting fruit and is also home to many butterfly and moth species. This thick and strong fringe tree favors warm, well-drained soil. And grows to a height of 20 feet. It grows slowly and does well in areas of full-sun or partial-shade.

4. Kentucky Yellowwood

Cladrastis kentukea or commonly referred to as American yellowwood. It is a medium to large-sized tree that grows approximately 30 to 50 inches tall with an upright spread and a large, rounded crown.

In a nutshell, it’s the ideal shade tree for yards. It is a plant native to the Southeastern United States particularly in the states of Kentucky and Tennessee.

This tree spreads in Eastern Kentucky but is most abundant in the Bluegrass area along the palisades of the Kentucky River. In spring, it develops clusters of white pea-like flowers.

Combined with other plants in the backdrop. The yellow look of the flowers will greatly enhance the look of your backyard.

Like yellowish-orange, the pinnate compound leaves open and turns bright green in summer. And then turn yellow in fall. This tree’s wood produces a yellow dye that stains the heartwood uniquely, hence the name yellowwood

5. White Ash

White Ash is the literal definition of what we call A Kentucky Tree’. You can find this in all woodland settings parts of the United States. The wood, like baseball bats and garden handles, is very powerful and used for a large array of purposes.

Combined with fascinating ash-gray bark that is welled into a braided pattern, elegant dark bud. Make this tree decorative in the winter, and on warmer days, the tree opens up into a large two-toned-leaf White Ash.

Not just that, if you would ask for the best autumn tree. White Ash has got to be the epitome of a beautiful autumn tree. Economically speaking. White ash is as important as a timber tree throughout its indigenous Kentucky range.

These trees are native not only to the Eastern United States but also to Canada and contribute largely to their beautiful landscape.

6. October Glory Maple

This October Glory Maple is relatively different from the trees mentioned above. It is a fast-growing tree that grows 40 to 50 inches high and opens to 25 to 35 inches of foliage spread. That fills any yard in Kentucky with its red glory.

In summers, the tree turns into a radiant scarlet color which would create a happy ambiance. Your friends and family will enjoy the warm mornings of July. In spring, the maple blooms beautiful, vivid red flowers with radiant dark green leaves.

To further enhance its magnificence, the showy red fruit attracts many wildlife animals and hummingbirds to sing in your yard. The tree prefers slightly acidic and moist conditions to grow, however, any soil could work just well.

If you want to grow a tree fast, this is the best choice. It will also offer shade in your garden and enhance the beauty of other plants around it.

7. Flowering Dogwood

Flowering dogwood is a stunning four-season-appeal native tree that stands about 35 feet tall. In spring, this tree blooms with spectacular flowers, appealing leaves in summer and autumn, and vivid fruit in fall. Has a fascinating growth habit that gives value in winter.

What more could you possibly want!

Flowering dogwood, whether it is white or pink, is known by most people for its spring floral appearance. Really, beneath the tiny flowers, the showy portion is a leaf-like bract. In wooded areas throughout the state, it is a popular understory tree.

The tree not only grows early spring flowers but also has a scarlet profile in fall. It is one of the most popular trees in America and is recommended as a garden tree.

8. Sassafras 

Throughout the year, Sassafras possesses outstanding characteristics. That makes them suitable for any naturalized parks and home yards. In early spring, delicate yellow flowers bloom to fill each part of the landscape with their irresistible beauty.

The aromatic leaves turn to a shade of light green and gradually from yellow to orange to a dazzling red.

In September, tasty deep blueberries on female trees spur out from bright red branches. Along with a distinctive branch architecture filled with plump flower buds in winter. Commonly known as sass or sally, it is an easy-to-grow North American tree.

It tolerates a variety of soils but, under alkaline conditions, can become chlorotic. However, there are a few things Sassafras can not withstand like: heavy shade, road salt, heavy wind, Japanese beetles, and weevils.

9. American Holly 

The evergreen fruiting branches of wild and planted trees are common Christmas decorations for any home in Kentucky. There are many improved varieties for this tree that are now used for decoration, shade, and hedges purposes.

You would need both a male and a female plant in order to have berries. At least have the same sex growing wild anywhere close.

The height of the American holly or Christmas holly in the colder areas of its range varies from 25 ft. To as much as 60 ft with rigid branches and non-glossy leaves.

As the season comes nearer, new leaves push themselves out against the old ones. Soon bright red berries would start to occur on the female plants which gives a refreshing look to the landscape.

Its most striking feature is the stout and stiff branches with spine-tipped leaves. It is not only native to the eastern but also the south-central United States.

10. Kentucky Coffeetree 

Kentucky Coffeetree is undoubtedly the most robust option that you can ever have. Considering its drought-resistant characteristics and pollution immunity.

This tree has a tough species reputation, making the coffee tree of Kentucky an ideal alternative for parks, golf courses, and other large areas. It is commonly used as an ornamental or street tree as well.

It is a unique tree but beautiful in its natural form. Its large woody pots are its most striking feature. The lovely pink-bronze color of the leaves in early spring makes it appear even more spectacular.

11. Tupelo 

When planting tupelo, count on the excellent red fall color, with shades of yellow, orange, and purple. Black gum, sour gum, and black tupelo are often generally referred to as this native tree.

Its dark green leaves turn bright scarlet in fall to draw migrating songbirds to its bluish-black berries on green leaves.

On the other side, as the tree matures, it starts to show signs of abnormal habits. The dark green, shiny summer foliage takes center stage in autumn and the leaves turn into an alluring vivid scarlet.

It can be grown in the backyard as a shade tree and complement the entire landscape.

12. Green Ash 

Thanks to its ability to tolerate a very wide range of growth conditions, green ash is the most widely planted ash. The broad ash leaf is split into leaflets around a central stem. This arrangement provides an airy appearance and a pleasing shade for people.

It also displays exceptional adaptability and, in most environmental circumstances, grows very well.

The complete sun is needed for green ash to mature. It is convenient for green ash to flourish and has been overplanted over the years. Each season, female trees develop a great number of winged seeds.

Sadly, the resultant seedlings may become invasive and weedy with time.

13. Bloodgood Japanese Maple

Regardless of the year, the Japanese maple trees from Bloodgood never fail to stand out from the other greens. Their leaves in spring are purple. In the summer, they are burgundy, and in fall, the leaves turn into several shades of crimson.

With the silvery bark, winter also adds to its artistic appeal.

This upright Japanese Maple reveals all summer red-colored leaves. That gets lighter in autumn, making them beautiful specimen trees with a scenic view.

They like the sun, but they will benefit from a little light shadow. Japanese maple trees from Bloodgood are as low-maintenance as they are pretty.

With soft branches and deep, vivid foliage, these beautiful specimen plants are small in stature spread 15-20 feet with 15-25 feet.

Japanese maple trees from Bloodgood have colorful leaves for much of the year. With thin branches sprouting from either a single trunk or multiple sub-trunks.

They emerge in a rounded, upright form. Apart from that. If you manage to give them what they require, chances are, they may live for more than a hundred years.

14. Shumard oak

If you’re looking to add shade to your yard, this native, relatively fast-growing tree can reach 60 to 80 feet in height. Making it a perfect choice. The Shumard oak is a stately, sturdy, and long-lived tree with spectacular fall color.

A perfect pick for any yard you may have in Kentucky.

Moreover, in urban areas, where air pollution, poor drainage, compacted soil. And/or drought are a norm, this adaptable species has been known to grow successfully at any location.

The deer and squirrels that enjoy its tiny acorns favor this Shumark oak. Which will consequently turn your location into the wildlife’s favorite spot.

15. Cleveland Select Pear 

Cleveland Pick is known for its dazzling white flowers blooming in early spring. Vivid summer foliage can make any landscape look second to none. In the autumn, its leaves turn to irresistible shades of orangish-red and purple.

It also has a slender columnar form and strong leaves. Separating it from many other pear varieties and making it suitable as a flowering specimen tree.

Cleveland naturally grows in a symmetrical shape which gives them an upper hand in appearance and strength. If you are thinking of buying a tree from the Pears family. It’s highly recommended that you opt for Cleveland rather than Bradford or Aristocrat Pears.

16. American Hophornbeam 

The American hophornbeam is a thin, well-drained, deciduous forest ornamental tree that thrives on neglect. In simple words, it’s the highland equivalent of a Carpinus caroliniana.

Although the American hophornbeam’s autumn color is not ideal. It is never a bad idea to change the traditional scenery of your landscape every once in a while.

The tree can survive in either full sun or partial shade, depending on what you can provide. When it comes to soil, acidic soil is your best bet to go. It prefers hilly regions and also grows in very dry, even rocky soil in the area.

When it is planted, the tree should be mulched and watered. While it is not susceptible to drought, floods will not survive. It is also highly sensitive to salt deicing.

This tree has no significant issues with the pest, but if it is under threat, it may be prone to the chestnut borer.

17. Serviceberry 

This thin, native tree, overflowing with white flowers in the springtime. Blend into any sized landscape and provides year-long appeal. It is grown either in a single stem tree or several broad stemmed shrubs. Is ideal for planting accents or screening privacy.

Coppery-red appears from the oval-shaped leaves, turning rich green in the growing season. Featuring dramatic color throughout the fall.

The bark is smooth and gray-light.

The serviceberry, hardy to -40 F, grows delicious purple-black fruit that is immediately taken by the birds. It grows quickly and can reach 20 feet in height. It is capable of tolerating clay soil and minimal upkeep.

18. Red Sunset Maple 

The Red Sunset Maple and Autumn Blaze are known as some of the best colors for autumn. Sunset grows 45-50 inches high and 35 and 40 inches spread in a relatively short amount of time.

These trees have shiny green leaves which, as they transform to a bright orange-red hue, are particularly appealing in fall. Red Sunset is a red maple cultivar with a strong branch structure and a superior fall tone.

Winter buds, small winter-spring flower spikes, leaf stems, twigs, and winged summer fruits are all colored reddish. The shiny green leaves on the tree begin to turn orange-red to light red in the autumn. This is probably the most striking feature of this tree.

19. Lacebark Elm 

A rounded crown decorated with lustrous dark green leaves that turn to yellow and reddish-purple in fall. And is an elegant, graceful tree. What distinguishes lacebark from the rest is the unique bark, which is covered with vivid designs in its trunk.

This elm adapts to many soil conditions and is largely free from the diseases that ravage other elm trees. Medium to fast-growing, making it a tough and resilient tree for any circumstance.

Thanks to its ability to thrive in unfavorable environments. And relative freedom from the diseases that threaten many other elm trees, it performs well as a street tree.

20. Tulip Poplar

The tulip poplar is also known as the tulip rose. Is more strongly associated with magnolia than either a tulip or a poplar. This 60 to 100 feet tall tree can make an exceptional shade tree.

This fast-growing tree has beautiful flowers and golden fall colors. The flowers grow high on the tree, so they are a favorite of bees, hummingbirds, and the eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly.

But you may not be able to see them as well. In wet soils, the tulip poplar grows but often tolerates drought.

Besides that, the tree has mainly winter characteristics, including the bill-shaped buds of the duck and furrowed bark. Leaves start folded and yellow and, with age, turn green.

During summers, the tree gets showered with striking flowers. In Autumn, they turn into a bright yellow color.


So, this was a round-up of the 20 best trees to grow in Kentucky. If you have a backyard and you would like to experiment with your gardening skills.

Check out how to grow and care for these trees so that you can enjoy a beautiful landscape all year round. All these trees are native to the eastern United States. Depending on their full height, color, and size. You can decide on the ideal place to grow them either in your front or back yard.