Trees and shrubs add color, texture, and shade to your yard. They invite wildlife and make a safe habitat for a variety of desirable birds and other animals. Plus, they improve air quality, add springtime beauty when blossoming and even reduce your stress. If you are undecided on whether you should plant trees and shrubs around your home or what types you should plant in your Long Island-area yard, our expert gardeners at Decker’s Nursery are here to help.

Importance of Planting Trees & Shrubs

Trees of all shapes and sizes provide a host of amazing benefits for your health, home and yard. If you are an environmentally conscious consumer, planting a tree is a smart choice that lets you impact the world around you. Plants of all types clean the air, reduce pollutants and toxins, reduce carbon dioxide and increase oxygen levels. Trees are particularly good at this because of their large surface area. Plus, trees can even reduce your heating and cooling costs by shading your house from the warm summer sun and protecting your home from the biting winter wind. In fact, strategic planting of trees around your home may be able to reduce your yearly air conditioning costs by 50 percent. Other amazing benefits of tress include the following:

  • Decrease sun exposure to skin
  • Cool city air
  • Provide food for humans and animals in some cases
  • Provide beauty and interest in landscaping
  • Increase property value and curb appeal

Shrubs provide many of these same benefits but on a smaller scale. Although they are not large enough to protect your home from the heat in the summer, they can serve as wind barriers during the winter, especially when they are planted on the north side of a home. In addition, they serve as backdrops to other smaller flowering plants, produce the same environmental benefits that trees do and hide fences and other items that mar the appearance of your yard.

Trees & Shrubs Native to Long Island, NY

When planting new trees and shrubs in your yard, it is important to choose those that will grow well in the Long Island planting zone, USDA Zone 7A. These plants should flourish despite the hot summer sun and the cold, icy winters that we often see here. Plus, choosing native trees, which are those that were found in a particular area before urbanization took over, can promote a strong ecological system in Long Island while nurturing wildlife that is looking for specific habitats and food sources.

In Long Island, there are over 200 trees native to this once heavily forested area. Some of the most popular options include the following:

  • Balsam fir
  • Box elder
  • Sugar maple
  • Serviceberry
  • Paper birch
  • American chestnut
  • Hickory
  • Redbud
  • Hackberry
  • Atlantic white cedar
  • Dogwood
  • Hawthorn
  • Common persimmon
  • White ash
  • Winterberry
  • Juniper
  • American larch

There are even more native shrubs in Long Island that will survive in this unique climate. These include the following favorites:

  • Snakeroot
  • Eastern sweetshrub
  • Redroot
  • Common buttonbush
  • Eastern leatherwood
  • Black crowberry
  • Rabbitbrush
  • Creeping juniper
  • Spicebush
  • Barberry
  • Bayberry
  • Flame azalea
  • Gooseberry

When it comes to native trees and shrubs that thrive in the Long Island region, no one knows more about the best options for your yard than our gardening experts at Decker’s Nursery in Greenlawn. Not only can we get you started if you are landscaping your new yard, but also we can provide continuing advice as you care for your many plants over the years. With our wide range of popular trees and shrubs, you will find just what you need to get your yard looking its best.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tree & Shrub FAQs

Trees and shrubs provide the backdrop for a mature and welcoming yard. They hide fences and other items that mar the appearance of your property. They also provide shade and greenery, create borders and improve the comfort of your home. If you are moving into a new home and are excited to start beefing up the landscaping or simply want to create a new look in your existing yard, read on to discover the answer to your most frequently asked questions about trees and shrubs.

  • Which trees grow the fastest?

    Mature trees not only are gorgeous but also are able to provide far-reaching benefits for your home and yard. The problem is that it takes trees years to grow to their full heights, and many species only grow a foot per year. Thankfully, there are a few varieties that grow faster than average, letting you enjoy mature trees as soon as possible. Some that grow two or more feet per year include the following backyard favorites:

    • Hybrid poplar
    • Quaking aspen
    • Weeping willow
    • Red maple
    • Dawn Redwood
    • Paper birch
    • Pin oak
  • How many trees are on earth?

    Despite the urbanization seen in many areas of the world, there are still numerous heavily forested areas around the globe, which help improve air quality and decrease pollution. While it should be noted that the earth is losing approximately 10 billion trees per year to disease and deforestation, there are still over three trillion trees found around the world. The good news is that there are more trees today than there were three or four decades ago. You can find over 23,000 different types of trees around the world.

  • Why do trees change color?

    Autumn is many people’s favorite season not only because of the cooling weather and the ubiquitous pumpkin spice lattes but also because of the gorgeous colors to be found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Here in New York, we see many of our native trees, including maples and birches, turning absolutely gorgeous colors, leading to leisurely drives into the country and fun family days raking in the yard.

    Leaves change colors thanks to a unique chemical process that is begun when the weather turns cold and daytime hours shorten. When autumn comes, leaves stop their summertime food storage processes and break down the chlorophyll that they were using for energy. Because chlorophyll is what creates a leaf’s green color, a breakdown of chlorophyll leads to a loss of color overall. The reds, oranges, and yellows that you love come from a difference in the amount of chlorophyll left behind along with changes in other chemical components of the leaves, such as anthocyanin.

  • Which trees’ leaves turn yellow in the fall?

    Each family of trees is known for its unique pigmentation characteristics in the fall. Yellow leaves are particularly brilliant and well-loved among many for their cheerful appearance. If you want to plant trees in your yard that are sure to turn gorgeous shades of yellow in the autumn, opt for one or more of these popular varieties.

    • Yellow poplar
    • Certain maple species
    • Hickory
    • Ash
    • Beech
    • Birch
    • Chestnut oak

    Around the Long Island region, you can expect trees to start changing colors around mid-October.

  • Where should you plant trees in your yard?

    You have three major considerations when it comes to deciding where to plant trees in your yard. First, you must think about where they will look best in relation to your home, windows, doors, garden and landscaping. Second, you should consider where trees will provide the most benefits to the comfort of your home. Third, you should think about whether your trees can serve as effective barriers against wind or as fences between your yard and your neighbor’s space.

    As far as planting trees to improve home comfort, try to plant several trees on the north and west sides of your home. In the winter, the north-facing trees will block your home from a great deal of cold wind and snow. In the summer, west-facing trees can cut back on sun and heat entering your home. Both options can save you money on heating and cooling costs throughout the year.

  • How often should I water newly planted trees?

    Newly planted trees often have a difficult time getting their roots settled in the soil, and without a good root system, these trees will not be able to get adequate nutrition to grow and thrive. One of the best ways to establish a new tree is to focus on adequate watering, especially if your region is experiencing a drought. As soon as you place a seedling or a container-grown tree in your yard, water it with a steady stream from your hose for less than a minute. Although you certainly do not have to water new trees every day, you will need to water trees regularly during hot months especially if you have not had recent rainfall. Focus on deep waterings that let the water reach the roots.

  • How should I plant shrubs?

    Once you know where you want to place your new shrub, you should dig a large hole that is at least two feet wider than the root ball. You will also want to loosen the soil around the edges of your hole. Next, you should remove the shrub from its container and loosen the roots with a trowel or knife. Place the shrub in the hole so that it rests evenly with the surrounding ground. Finally, replace the soil around the root ball, pressing it into place, and water the shrub before adding at least two inches of mulch around it.

  • What shrubs grow well in the shade?

    If you are planting shrubs in a shady area in your backyard or are hoping to use them as a border on a shady side of your house, choose varieties that need fewer than four hours of sunlight per day. Those that thrive in partial shade include the following:

    • Mountain laurel
    • Climbing hydrangea
    • Andromeda
    • Alder-leaved serviceberry
    • Azalea
    • Common boxwood
    • American holly
    • Forsythia

    On the other hand, those that can tolerate completely shady areas include the following varieties:

    • Yews
    • Camellia
    • Canadian bunchberry
    • Inkberry
    • Rhododendron
    • Japanese holly
  • Which shrubs like full sun?

    A majority of shrubs prefer part to full sun during the day, which often helps them to produce bright, bold blooms. Try out some of the following options in the brightest areas of your yard:

    • Japanese flowering quince
    • Fothergilla
    • Lilac
    • Rose of Sharon
    • Sumac
    • Beautyberry
    • Dogwood shrubs
  • How often should I water newly planted shrubs?

    Just like trees, your new shrubs are going to need a good amount of water as they are getting started in your yard. For the first couple of weeks, you should water every day unless it rains. For the next couple of months, you can lengthen watering intervals to every two to three days. After this time, water weekly if the soil is dry. Be sure to check for soil moisture using a hand trowel stuck at least two inches into the soil before watering. If you do find that the soil is dry, focus on a once-weekly longer watering aimed at the shrub’s roots rather than on a light watering several days each week.

  • Where can I buy trees and shrubs on Long Island?

    Decker’s Nursery is your one-stop gardening center on Long Island that offers an array of favorite trees and shrubs along with plenty of unique options that will set your yard apart from other yards on your street. We offer a huge variety of gorgeous trees and shrubs that are native to the region and that will do well throughout the year. Whether you are looking for a flowering shrub, a quick-growing tree or trees and shrubs that work well as barriers, we have what you need to make your dreams a reality.