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Virginia Guide to Growing Trees

If you are looking for a guide on how to grow trees in the state of Virginia, then this post is what you need. This guide will give you all the information that you need to know about planting and growing trees in your backyard or even your front yard! 

Guide to Growing Trees in Virginia

The Best Flowering Trees to Grow in Virginia

Japanese Snowbell Tree

The snowbell tree is the perfect showstopper for your garden with its delicate white bell-shaped flowers. The delicate, white bell-shaped flowers bloom profusely and provide endless appeal for your landscape with great fragrance. The Japanese Snowbell has a light, sweet fragrance that will fill the air and make your yard smell cleaner. The easy-to-grow tree provides color all year long with its green leaves and white petals. Bees and other pollinators love these attractive plants. In the spring, you can see bright green grass contrasting with delicate, drooping flowers that grow from late May until early June. When autumn comes, the Japanese Snowbell’s yellow blooms add a touch of color to herald summer's arrival. The fruit on these trees is brown and green only while still growing in winter before changing colors as it ripens. Snowbell trees will add color and interest to your yard without any work on your end. The brilliant orange inner layer is revealed when cold temperatures shrink the outer bark against the tree's trunk, creating a unique look that can be stunning in the winter months. A Japanese snowbell is a wonderful choice for any garden thanks to its low height and dense foliage, but it does have special needs. While the plant is only 18-30 feet tall by itself and can withstand mild climates, it does not do well during hot summers or in harsher climates. The circumstances under which the plant thrives are perfect for people looking for an evergreen with attractive leaves that can be trimmed to fit smaller spaces such as apartment gardens.

Planting & Care

Find an area close to a source of water, in the sun or partial shade, with protection from winds. A new tree needs to be planted in a low-lying area that has proper drainage. Check the location for adequate drainage by filling an inch deep hole with water and monitoring its depth as it drains over one hour. If the water empties within 60 minutes, then it is a good place to plant your new tree. To grow a snowbell tree, make sure the hole is three times as wide as the root ball and just as deep. Gently comb out the roots with your hands and fill back in with soft soil that’s high in acidity but not alkaline. It is important not to pack it down tightly or else it will have a more difficult time establishing itself. Be sure the root ball of a tree is at ground level and that the trunk is about even with the soil surface when planting a new tree. This will ensure that it can develop its full root system, which can help support itself later on. After a few months, shake the middle section of your treetop to test stability; if there is no movement from all around, you are ready to cut off any stakes holding it up! The first year of growing a snowbell tree requires regular watering to establish healthy roots. It is important not to overwater this species, for if you do it can cause harm to the plant. Keep your soil moist but not soaked and use your index finger in the surrounding ground; if there’s moisture then don’t water it yet, if there isn’t any then give it plenty of water with a hose or four full watering cans. Mulching prevents competing weeds from growing while also retaining moisture near the tree's roots. There are two ways to fertilize your snowbell tree. First, make sure you’ve cut back on the possibility of root burning by sprinkling 1 tablespoon of fertilizer per square foot around 12 inches away from the trunk and underneath the canopy at least one foot. Next, rake it in a band, mulch, and water well. Snowbells trees should be pruned in late winter to early spring. Dead or diseased-looking branches should be removed about 1/2 inch above the branch’s base (bark collar). Your Japanese snowbell will produce small drupes of green fruit in late summer. These fruits can be messy to clean up as they often fall from the tree. The fruit is edible and has been known to contain oil-bearing seeds; some people harvest these for their cooking needs while others dry them for jewelry making.

Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud Tree

The Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud makes an excellent contrast to the traditional upright form of the native tree. This cultivar produces a cascading profusion of lavender flowers in springtime. With its Lavender Twist, this plant is always a winner! The tree changes color seasonally and features stunning flowers. These trees are not only aesthetically appealing but also very low maintenance. Even if you live in an area with harsh winters, these plants can handle the weather. Plant one in your garden today!

Planting & Care

To plant your Redbud, find a spot that receives 6 to 8 hours of light and is well-drained. Dig a hole three times the size of the root ball and place it there. Fill in around the roots with soil and water thoroughly to settle them. The redbud’s establishment period generally occurs during the winter months. You can water it sparingly as it is very drought-tolerant and requires little maintenance apart from a light trimming if desired.

The Best Shade Trees in Virginia

Emperor Japanese Maple Tree

The Emperor Japanese Maple Tree is one of the most beautiful spring flowers which offers a showy crimson red display and low-maintenance growth. One of the best Japanese Maple varieties that are known for its strength and vigorous growth, the Emperor has a height that ranges between 15-20 feet. Its convenient stature makes it good as a street tree in any city or town, or your yard. This variety will also keep an upright shape so care isn't necessary as much!

Planting & Care

Select an area of well-drained soil that is also in a location with appropriate sunlight. For warmer climates, ensure the spot provides some afternoon shade and sun protection. Once you've established this spot, dig a hole 2 to 3 times the width of the roots as deep as it is wide. Place the Japanese maple, backfill, and tamp down the soil as you proceed to cut back on any air pockets. Then water and mulch the planting site. The "average" amount of water supplied to the most common lawn and garden plants is usually enough for your new Emperor Japanese Maple. To help trees and gardens during the summer, we recommend watering plants in the early morning or evening. These Maples don't need much in the way of nutrients, so any fertilizer should be a balanced one for shrubs and trees. Apply this once per year in early spring before leaves appear if possible, or when you first plant your tree. Your tree will not need to be cut back until after it has matured for two to three years. You may do this at any point in time thereafter, but it's not required.

Sawtooth Oak Tree

If you are looking for a fast-growing tree that can provide the majesty of an Oak while not taking 50 years to mature, then the Sawtooth Oak is perfect. This Asian oak has been grown in the U.S. since the mid-1800s and takes 2-3 feet per year to grow. In 15 years those trees will get 30 feet tall! The Sawtooth Oak tree has a pyramidal shape when it starts, but matures to become broadly rounded with dense leaves providing effortless shade. New leaves emerge bright yellow-green, change into dark green in summer, and then turn deep gold or russet red in the fall. They have distinctive toothed edges, inspiring the commonly used name of cedar elm.

Planting & Care

The best planting site for an oak tree is one that is made of loose soil with plenty of suns. Once the hole has been dug, make sure it's twice as wide as the root system and deep enough to cover your roots. When placing the shrub in its new location be sure to hold it upright so that gravity doesn't yank on them and then fill up the hole halfway with dirt. Then complete covering a plant's entire root system with soil, tamp down any air pockets of dirt you might have created, and top off with more mulch to help retain moisture around your newly planted tree. At the start of the first year, make sure to water your Sawtooth Oak Tree during extended dry spells, particularly in summer. If you're not sure when to water this tree, just check if there's any soil left at a depth of 3 inches - if it's dry here then that means your Sawtooth needs more water. Fertilize moderately with organic fertilizer and follow label instructions for proper fertilizing guidelines.

The Best Fruit Trees in Virginia

Sweetheart Blueberry Bush

Sweetheart Blueberry Bush produces two crops of fruit each year under most conditions. In May or June, expect travelers to shell out juicy clusters the size of golf balls for a yearly harvest that might total between 15 and 25 pounds per bush! The Sweetheart bush produces medium to large sweet blueberries. The flavor is bursting with sweetness, which is excellent for baking muffins and making pancakes. In addition, these plants produce a large number of berries each year, making them an economical choice for many backyard gardeners seeking a productive variety that will do well in either hot or cold climates.

Planting & Care

Blueberry bushes need at least 6-8 hours of sun a day, well-drained soil, and moist but not soggy soil. Plant the bush in a hole that matches the container it came in for depth and size. When planting two or more bushes, dig holes five feet apart in rows 10 feet apart. Place Blueberry Bush in the hole—covering its roots with a soil-peat moss mixture. Blueberries are self-fertile but you can grow them to their optimum by planting three or more of the same variety. Blueberry bushes should have their roots well established by regular watering, ideally not exceeding two times a week. The Blueberry bush does not need to be fertilized as of planting. Fertilize the Blueberry Bush twice a year: once in spring and once after harvest. Prune low, fruit-bearing branches to keep them from touching the soil for better yields, then thin excessively vigorous upright shoots several feet away from the ground or put them out of reach during bearing season. Spindly, weak, or dead branches should also be pruned annually during dormancy.

Gala Apple Tree

One of the best apples for growing in Maryland is a Gala apple, which is not susceptible to pests and diseases. The Gala apple tree is usually one of the first trees to bear fruit each season, and it’s low-maintenance enough that even beginning gardeners can get some delicious harvests. You can expect to harvest 6-12 bushels of Gala apples when mature and without harsh chemicals. These trees bear tasty fruit that cooks or stores very well. While Gala apple trees are self-fertile, planting additional fruit bearers will result in a greater crop. The most effective pollinators we want to choose for your area are Fuji Apple Trees, Granny Smith Apple Trees, Red Delicious Apple Trees, Honeycrisp Apples Timbers, Winesap, and McIntosh Apples.

Planting & Care

Full sun and 6 hours of direct sunlight per day are crucial to growing healthy trees. Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball, but no deeper than four inches (10 centimeters). Be sure to carefully place the tree in the hole and then tamp down the soil around it. Fill any air gaps with wet dirt. For best results, minimize how much mulch you put close to the trunk's base by three inches at least (7 cm); be sure not to cover more ground than this or else it can inhibit growth and kill your tree! Regular watering is what your Gala apple tree needs to thrive. However, you may need to water more often when plants are being exposed to extreme heat or drought. To avoid over-watering or under-watering, check the soil below the root zone; if the soil is dry, it’s time to water. It is best to fertilize the tree in late winter or early spring, but you can also buy commercial fertilizer produced for fruit-bearing trees and follow instructions. Once the tree has become established and is starting to bear fruit, it will need moderate pruning periodically. Prune only during dormant periods; make sure to remove vigorous upright stems as well as weak, damaged, or dead branches. For better performance overall.

When is The Best Time to Plant Trees in Virginia

The best time to plant trees in Virginia is typically one week after the last frost date. That means that if you live in an area where there are four seasons, you should wait until spring or early summer before planting a tree. If you want your new tree to reach its full potential height, it needs plenty of sunlight and access to moisture-rich soil during the warmer months from March through September. Once planted, be sure not to overwater newly transplanted trees by providing at least two weeks for them to recover from their journey before watering again.

Can You Plant All Season Long?

Yes. You can plant all season long in Virginia, but there are a few limitations. If you want to make sure that the trees are not planted too close together and that they have room for growth in their early stages. This means at least a foot around each tree should be clear of other plants or debris before planting them. It is also important to wait until it has stopped snowing before planting any new seedlings outside so as not to damage or uproot them while digging through the frozen ground with shovels or hands.

What are The Best Trees to Plant in Each Season in Virginia


The best trees to plant in Spring are flowering trees: Azalea, Forsythia, and Japanese Cherry.


The best choice for Summer is an oak tree or a shade-loving maple tree that does well in the South.

Fall time

In Fall it's hard to go wrong with beautiful maples! Choose your favorite color as long as they can handle hot summers.


For Winter choose evergreen trees like cedar elm or Eastern Red Cedar which won't lose their leaves so you'll have year-round interest on your property.

What Trees Have The Least Invasive Roots in Virginia

The least invasive trees in Virginia are the Japanese flowering cherry tree, the willow oak, and the honey locust.