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Deciduous Tree Types

Deciduous trees come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, which make them the perfect choice when it comes to landscaping. In this particular article, we will take a look at the different types of deciduous trees, whilst emphasizing on their prominent characteristics and requirements.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Apr 2, 2018
Did You Know?
The term 'deciduous' is derived from Latin word decidere, meaning 'to fall off'. While it is also used in zoology―wherein it refers to the act of shedding horns or antlers―at times, the term deciduous is usually associated with plants, wherein it refers to the act of shedding leaves during a particular season every year.
Also referred to as hardwoods, deciduous species are known to shed their leaves during a particular season every year. (Diametrically opposite are the evergreen species, which have a thick foliage throughout the year.) While some species of deciduous trees shed their leaves during the dry season, others do it during the cold season and grow new leaves in spring. This helps them to minimize the loss of moisture, stand their ground against wind, or minimize energy requirements to survive with whatever little nutrients are available.

Deciduous trees undergo color change just before they shed their leaves, turning from green to bright yellow, crimson, or one of the several shades of orange. The alteration in the leaf color, which adds to the beauty of the landscape, is just one of the many specialties of these trees. Deciduous trees are also known for their enormous size. While varieties like the Bloodgood London Planetree and Cherokee Sweetgum are known to attain a height of around 100 ft (30 m), species like the European Horse Chestnut and Black Oak are spread over an area of around 60 ft.
Different Types of Deciduous Trees
Deciduous trees are found in many parts of the world, however, their presence in abundance in the deciduous forest biome spanning Americas, Asia, and Europe is noteworthy. Some researchers classify deciduous trees on the basis of their leaf structure, i.e., the structure and positioning of leaves, into four major types.
  • Deciduous trees with simple leaves located opposite to each other.
  • Deciduous trees with simple leaves located alternately.
  • Deciduous trees with compound leaves located opposite to each other.
  • Deciduous trees with compound leaves located alternately.
Deciduous forests are home to several varieties of deciduous trees; most popular ones being oak, poplar, maple, dogwood, and birches. These trees come in varying sizes ranging from 10 ft to 100 ft and have a vast spread, well in excess of 50 ft at times. Some species grow in certain soil type, while some have high degree of adaptability and can thrive in any soil type.
Common Name Height Spread Soil
American linden
(Tilia americana)
60 - 120' 35 - 40' Deep, fertile, well-drained loam and clay soil
American sweetgum
(Liquidambar styraciflua)
60 - 75' 40 - 50' Moist, acidic loam or clay soil
American sycamore
(Platanus occidentalis)
98 - 130' 90' Deep, moist, rich soil
American tulip tree
(Liriodendron tulipifera)
80 - 100' 40' Deep, moist, rich soil
Amur maple
(Acer ginnala)
15 - 20' 15 - 28' Well-drained soil
Autumn olive
(Elaeagnus umbellata)
15 - 30' 20 - 30' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Bald cypress
(Taxodium distichum)
30 - 40' 10 - 12' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Bitternut hickory
(Carya cordiformis)
50 - 70' 50 - 70' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Black birch
(Betula nigra)
80 - 100' 40 - 60' Moist soil
Black cherry
(Prunus serotina)
50 - 80' 20 - 50' Well-drained soil
Black locust
(Robinia pseudoacacia)
40 - 50' 25 - 30' Wide range; preferably moist limestone soil
Black oak
(Quercus velutina)
60 - 80' 40 - 60' Moist, rich, deep, well-drained soil
Black tupelo
(Nyssa sylvatica)
30 - 50' 20 - 30' Moist, well-drained soil
Black walnut
(Juglans nigra)
60 - 75' 50 - 60' Clay, loam soil
Black willow
(Salix nigra)
40 - 50' 30 - 40' Any type of soil
Bloodgood London planetree
(Platanus acerifolia)
70 - 100' 65 - 80' Deep, moist, fertile soil
Box elder
(Acer negundo)
30 - 50' 20 - 40' Dry or wet soil
Bur oak
(Quercus macrocarpa)
60' 50' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Butterfly bush
(Buddleja)
10 - 12' 4' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Callery pear
(Pyrus calleryana)
50 - 65' 16 - 25' Highly tolerant
Canada red cherry
(Prunus virginiana)
20' 18' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Cherry bark oak
(Quercus falcata)
60 - 80' 50' Highly tolerant
Chestnut oak
(Quercus prinus)
60 - 70' 50' Well-drained soil
Chickasaw plum
(Prunus angustifolia)
15 - 25' 15 - 25' Dry, sandy or loose soil
Chinese chestnut
(Castanea mollissima)
40 - 60' 50' Clay, loam soil
Chinese elm
(Ulmus parvifolia)
40 - 50' 30 - 40' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Chinese pistache
(Pistacia chinensis)
30 - 35' 25 - 35' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Chinkapin oak
(Quercus muehlenbergii)
40 - 50' 40 - 60' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Common laburnum
(Laburnum anagyroides)
15 - 20' 15 - 25' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Common silverbell
(Halesia tetraptera)
35' 25' Moist, well-drained soil
Contorted willow
(Salix matsudana)
20 - 40' 15 - 30' Moist, well-drained soil
Dawn redwood
(Metasequoia glyptostroboides)
50 - 90' 15 - 25' Moist and moderately fertile
Eastern red oak
(Quercus rubra)
50 - 75' 40 - 50' Highly tolerant
Eastern redbud
(Cercis canadensis)
20 - 30' 25 - 35' Moist, well-drained soil
English oak
(Quercus robur)
60 - 100' 50 - 60' Clay, loam soil
50 - 75' 50 - 60' Well-drained soil
Flowering dogwood
(Cornus florida)
25' 25' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Golden raintree
(Koelreuteria paniculata)
20 - 25' 20' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Green ash
(Fraxinus pennsylvanica)
50 - 60' 25 - 40' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Hackberry
(Celtis occidentalis)
50 - 60' 30 - 40' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Hardy pecan
(Carya illinoinensis)
70 - 100' 40 - 45' Clay, loam soil
Honey locust
(Gleditsia triacanthos)
66 - 100' 30 - 70' Highly tolerant
Ironwood tree
(Carpinus caroliniana)
20 - 30' 20 - 30' Moist, organically rich soil
Japanese cherry
(Prunus serrulata)
25 - 40' 15 - 20' Well-drained soil
Kentucky coffee tree
(Gymnocladus dioicus)
60 - 75' 40 - 50' Deep, moist, rich soil
Kousa dogwood
(Cornus kousa)
20 - 30' 20 - 30' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Mockernut hickery
(Carya tomentosa)
50 - 60' 30 - 40' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Native plum
(Prunus americana)
12 - 20' 12 - 20' Deep, moist soil
North American beech
(Fagus grandifolia)
66 - 115' 40 - 60' Rich, moist soil
Northern catalpa
(Catalpa speciosa)
40 - 70' 20 - 40' Deep, moist, rich soil
Norway maple
(Acer platanoides)
40 - 100' 15 - 20' Highly tolerant
Nuttail oak
(Quercus texana)
40 - 60' 40' Heavy, poorly drained, alluvial clay soil
Ohio buckeye
(Aesculus glabra)
20 - 40' 20 - 40' Well-drained soil
Osage orange
(Maclura pomifera)
20 - 40' 20 - 40' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Overcup oak
(Quercus lyrata)
35 - 45' 35 - 40' Poorly drained, alluvial, clayey soil
Paw paw
(Asimina triloba)
30 - 20' 30 - 20' Well-drained soil
Persian silk tree
(Albizia julibrissin)
20 - 35' 20 - 40' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Persimmon
(Diospyros virginiana)
30 - 50' 20 - 35' Moist, well-drained soil
Pignut hickory
(Carya glabra)
50 - 60' 25 - 35' Heavy or silt loam
Pin oak
(Quercus palustris)
60 - 70' 30' Sandy, clay, loam, acidic soil
Pond cypress
(Taxodium ascendens)
70 - 80' 15 - 20' Wet, poorly drained and acidic soil
Poplar hybrid
(Populus hybrids)
50 - 75' 20 - 40' Clay loam to sandy loam
Post oak
(Quercus stellata)
70 - 80' 15 - 20' Fertile, well-drained soil
Quaking aspen
(Populus tremuloides)
40 - 50' 20 - 30' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Red maple
(Acer rubrum)
40 - 50' 50' Moist, well-drained soil
Russian olive
(Elaeagnus angustifolia)
25 - 30' 20 - 30' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Sargent crabapple
(Malus sargentii)
15 - 20' 15' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Sassafras tree
(Sassafras albidum)
40 - 80' 30' Rich, well-drained sandy loam
Sawtooth oak
(Quercus acutissima)
40 - 60' 35 - 60' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Scarlet oak
(Quercus coccinea)
70 - 75' 40 - 45' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Scotch laburnum
(Laburnum alpinum)
15 - 30' 15 - 30' Well-drained, sandy, loamy soil
Shagbark hickory
(Carya ovata)
70 - 90' 30 - 40' Well-drained, fertile soil
Shellbark hickory
(Carya laciniosa)
80 - 100' 60 - 75' Deep, fertile, moist soil
Shumard oak
(Quercus shumardii)
40 - 60' 40 - 60' Highly tolerant
Siberian elm
(Ulmus pumila)
40 - 60' 30 - 50' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Silver maple
(Acer saccharinum)
100' 60' Clay, loam soil
Eastern cottonwood
(Populus deltoides)
70 - 80' 30 - 40' Moist, deep, fertile, well-drained soil
Sourwood
(Oxydendrum arboreum)
20 - 30' 10 - 15' Well-drained acidic soil
Southern crabapple
(Malus angustifolia)
15 - 20' 15' Moist, well-drained soil
Southern red oak
(Quercus falcata)
70 - 90' 50' Moist, well-drained soil
Sugar maple
(Acer saccharum)
40 - 70' 30 - 50' Well-drained soil
Sugarberry
(Celtis laevigata)
60 - 80' 60 - 80' Organically rich, well-drained soil
Swamp chestnut
(Quercus michauxii)
60 - 80' 50 - 70' Moist, well-drained soil
Swamp oak
(Quercus bicolor)
50 - 70' 50 - 70' Deep, moist, acidic soil
Sweet chestnut
(Castanea sativa)
60 - 70' 45 - 50' Moist soil
Sweet gum
(Liquidambar styraciflua)
60 - 75' 40' Clay, loam soil
Texana nuttail oak
(Quercus texana)
50 - 80' 60' Wet, heavy, bottomland soil
Washington hawthorne
(Crataegus phaenopyrum)
12 - 15' 6 - 10' Sandy, clay, loam soil
Water oak
(Quercus nigra)
50 - 75' 30 - 40' Sandy, clay, loam, acidic soil
Water tupelo
(Nyssa aquatica)
35 - 50' 25 - 40' Moist or wet soil
Weeping higan cherry
(Prunus subhirtella)
30 - 40' 25' Sandy, clay, loam, acidic soil
Weeping willow
(Salix babylonica)
30 - 40' 30' Sandy, clay, loam soil
White ash
(Fraxinus americana)
50 - 80' 40 - 60' Sandy, clay, loam soil
White oak
(Quercus alba)
60 - 80' 70' Clay, loam soil
White poplar
(Populus alba)
60 - 100' 12 - 20' Sandy, clay, loam soil
White walnut
(Juglans cinerea)
40 - 60' 30 - 50' Well-drained soil
Willow oak
(Quercus phellos)
40 - 60' 30 - 40' Moist, well-drained soil
Yellow buckeye
(Aesculus octandra)
50 - 70' 30 - 50' Well-drained, deep, slightly acidic soil
Yoshino cherry
(Prunus x yedoensis)
30 - 40' 30 - 50' Sandy, clay, loam, acidic, well-drained soil
Zumi crabtree
(Malus x Zumi calocarpa)
25 - 30' 15 - 20' Fertile, slightly acidic soil
Owing to their tendency to provide shade and add to the grace of the landscape, some deciduous tree varieties are also seen in magnificent gardens. Flowering deciduous species especially add to the elegance of these gardens and hence, are preferred over the gigantic species. Having said that, one cannot deny the fact that the gigantic trees of the deciduous family do add to the beauty of the Earth.