Types Of Zone 6 Trees – Choosing Trees For Zone 6 Regions
By: Teo Spengler
Expect an embarrassment of riches when it comes to picking trees for zone 6. Hundreds of trees thrive happily in your region, so you won’t have any problem finding zone 6 hardy trees. If you want to put trees in zone 6 landscapes, you’ll have your choice of evergreen or deciduous varieties. Here are a few tips for growing trees in zone 6.
Trees for Zone 6
If you live in plant hardiness zone 6, the coldest winter temperatures dip to between 0 degrees and -10 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 to -23 C.). This is chilly for some people, but a lot of trees love it. You’ll find plenty of options for growing trees in zone 6.
Take a look at your garden and figure out what type of trees would work best. Think height, light and soil requirements, and whether you prefer evergreen trees or deciduous trees. Evergreens offer year-round texture and screening. Deciduous trees provide autumn color. You may find room for both types of trees in zone 6 landscapes.
Evergreen Trees for Zone 6
Evergreen trees can create privacy screens or serve as stand-alone specimens. Zone 6 hardy trees that happen to be evergreen include the American arborvitae, a very popular choice for hedges. Arborvitaes are sought after for hedges because they grow fast and accept pruning.
But for taller hedges you can use Leyland cypress, and for lower hedges, check out boxwood (Buxus spp.). All thrive in zones that are chilly in winter.
For specimen trees, pick an Austrian pine (Pinus nigra). These trees grow to 60 feet (18 m.) tall and are drought resistant.
Another popular choice for trees for zone 6 is Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens) with its magnificent silvery needles. It grows to 70 feet (21 m.) high with a 20 foot (6 m.) spread.
Deciduous Trees in Zone 6 Landscapes
Dawn redwoods (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) are one of the few deciduous conifers, and they are zone 6 hardy trees. However, consider your site before you plant. Dawn redwoods can shoot up to 100 feet (30 m.) tall.
A more traditional choice for deciduous trees in this zone is the lovely little Japanese maple (Acer palmatum). It grows in full sun or partial shade and most varieties mature to under 25 feet (7.5 m.) tall. Their fiery fall color can be spectacular. Sugar maples and red maples are also great deciduous trees for zone 6.
Paper bark birch (Betula papyrifera) is a fast growing favorite in zone 6. It’s as lovely in autumn and winter as summer, with its golden autumn display and creamy peeling bark. The attractive catkins can hang onto the bare tree branches until spring.
Do you want flowering trees? Flowering zone 6 hardy trees include saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana). These lovely trees grow to 30 feet (9 m.) tall and 25 feet (7.5 m) wide, offering glorious blossoms.
Or go for red dogwood (Cornus florida var. rubra). Red dogwood earns its name with red shoots in spring, red flowers and red fall berries, beloved by wild birds.
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Fast-Growing Trees for Privacy (By Zone)
With a yard full of vibrant greens and colorful flowers, the last thing you want is a big brown fence getting in the way!
But you still want to enjoy your outdoor space in peace. So, go ahead and plant privacy trees.
You get the best of both worlds–fresh, green landscaping that doubles as a hideaway. And, when you choose a fast-growing tree, you can get comfy in your quiet retreat in no time.
Ready to jump right in? Below, find the trees and shrubs that will secure your space the fastest.
What plants make the best privacy screens?
Evergreens are most common, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only option!
Lots of plants make good candidates. In fact, it’s best to mix things up. That way, if one plant gets attacked by a pest or disease, it won’t affect your entire screen.
One more thing! While fast-growing trees are great at quickly giving you privacy, they’re not without their flaws. Quick-growing trees and shrubs tend to have weaker wood that is more prone to breakage and attack by insects and diseases. They also require more frequent pruning to keep them under control and help them develop a strong structure.
If you want plants that grow a bit slower but still work great for privacy fences, click here. Or if you want to stick with a fast grower, choose trees or shrubs below that will work in your hardiness zone so that they’re accustomed and prepared to thrive in your area.
Fast-Growing Privacy Shrubs (Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10)
- North privet (Zones 4-8): A pyramid-shaped shrub with dark, glossy leaves that grows about three feet per year
- Forsythia (Zones 5-8): An early-blooming shrub with bright-yellow flowers that grows about two feet per year
- Glossy Abelia (Zones 6-9): A rounded shrub with white spring flowers and purple fall leaves that can grow up to two feet a year
- Nellie R. Stevens Holly (Zones 6-9): A tall evergreen shrub with vibrant green leaves that can grow up to three feet a year
- Wax myrtle (Zones 7-11): An olive-green bush that usually adds about a foot each year in height and can reach a mature height of 20 feet
Fast-Growing Privacy Trees (Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11)
- Eastern white pine (Zones 3-7): A tall evergreen tree with greenish-blue needles that can increase its height by more than three feet each year
- Hybrid poplar (Zones 3-9): A shade tree with silvery-green leaves that can grow an astonishing eight feet per year
- Silver maple (Zones 3-9): A large shade tree with shimmery silver leaves and wood that grows about two feet per year
- Green giant arborvitae (Zones 5-7): A pyramid-shaped evergreen with rich green needles that adds about three feet to its height per year
- Dawn redwood (Zones 5-8): A low-maintenance shade tree that's good for large landscapes and grows more than two feet each year
- Leyland cypress (Zones 6-10): A slender evergreen tree that can grow up to four feet per year
- Areca palm (Zones 10-11): A tropical palm that grows about two feet a year and tops out around 35 feet tall
What is the fastest-growing privacy shrub?
That would be the first shrub we listed above, the north privet. This speedy shrub can grow up to three feet per year!
What are the fastest-growing trees for privacy?
Hybrid poplar tops the list. It can grow upwards of five feet per year. The Leyland cypress, green giant arborvitae, and silver maple are all close seconds because they add about two feet to their height each year.
Which evergreens grow the fastest?
Eastern white pine and green giant arborvitae are some of the fastest-growing evergreens. Each add on about 2 feet every year!
Ready to plant? Click here for a step-by-step guide.
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What if My Zone is Too Warm?
While hardiness zones are most often used to determine whether a plant can survive cold winter temperatures, they also determine if your zone is too warm for plants to thrive. If your zone is too cold for a plant, it won’t survive through the winter. Death is a pretty definitive answer to whether a plant is cold hardy.
Planting a cold hardy perennial in a zone that is warmer than the zone range specified for the plant is less cut and dry. If a plant is hardy in zones 5-9 and you plant it in zone 10, the most likely impacts are a lack of vigor, a lack of flowers and if the plant usually sets fruit, it is unlikely to set fruit. In other words, plants grown climates that are too warm tend not to thrive and waste away over time. Sometimes the plants do grow decently, but don’t flower or set fruit as you would expect them to.
The same zones that apply to annuals or perennials also apply to shrubs and trees.
Once you know what zone you live in and understand a bit about how hardiness zones work, deciding whether a plant is likely to act as a perennial and survive your winter becomes much easier.
Trees to Avoid
Don't be seduced by an extremely fast growth rate or clever marketing, especially if your trees will be near your neighbor's property. Your neighbor might not appreciate trees that soar into the stratosphere or trees that drop debris all over the yard. The Leyland cypress (x Cupressocyparis leylandii), for example, is a poor choice. Although it grows in USDA zones 6 through 10, and soars to the height of a five-story building, it suffers from a host of disease and bug problems, advises Fine Gardening. Another tree to avoid -- according to Fine Gardening -- is the Lombardy poplar (Populus nigra). It grows in USDA zones 3 through 9, and is dense and extremely narrow. The tree shoots up to a height of 100 feet in as little as 20 years, but it has invasive roots and weak wood. It drops branches and leaves constantly and is easily damaged by wind and winter storms.
Things Zone Designations Don't Include
The USDA Hardiness Zone Map is calculated using the average low temperatures for a specific zone. These guidelines are designed to assist you in selecting plants and trees that can survive the winter months in your zone. The zone map doesn't take into consideration other growing factors, such as droughts, rainfall, microclimates, soil fertility, and unusual weather patterns. All of these are important to plant growth. This information is available in The New Western Garden Book.