6 Best Trees to Plant in Tennessee to Enhance Landscapes

Best Trees to Plant in Tennessee

The majestic trees of Tennessee are more than natural wonders; they are the very essence of the state’s identity. Exploring their significance reveals a rich tapestry of ecological, cultural, and economic importance. Let’s delve into why Tennessee’s trees are essential, embodying the spirit and resilience of this beautiful region.

Benefits of Tree Planting

Moreover, well-chosen trees can enhance the aesthetic value of the landscape and increase property values, making the selection of suitable species a significant consideration for both ecological health and personal enjoyment.

Best Trees to Plant in Tennessee

1. Bald Cypress

fast growing trees in tennessee

At one time, the largest tree in the Eastern US was a Bald Cypress in Weakley County, known as the “Tennessee Titan.” The bald cypress likes to be planted in full sun and is a fast-growing tree. Although it grows naturally in swamps, it does well in average soils that don’t dry out and makes a handsome specimen tree for large properties.

It requires full sunlight. It needs average to damp acid soil, which makes it well-suited for wet or boggy sites. Bald cypress is used for heavy construction, including docks, warehouses, boats, and bridges.

Bald Cypress is used topically to treat burns and sores, and parts of the tree are used to resolve ulcers and to help skin heal. In more recent times, the leaves and seeds have been used to treat malaria and liver diseases.

2. Sycamore

tennessee evergreen trees

Sycamore derives its common name from the British, who thought it resembled a maple from Europe called a “sycamore.” it is considered a tree of protection against negative energies and malevolent spirits.

Sycamores are known as the largest-growing tree in the east. They thrive in full sun and are adaptable to any soil, even tolerating wet areas. Once established, these trees are drought tolerant but will grow fastest when watered during dry, hot periods. Fertilize when planting and in early spring with our slow-release fertilizer. Sycamores do not require pruning.

It has been used for butcher’s blocks, furniture, veneer and interior trim, boxes, and crates, flooring, and particle and fiberboard. American sycamore is good for planting where a large, fast-growing tree is desired.

Sycamore is used for a variety of medicinal purposes, including cold and cough remedies, as well as dietary, dermatological, gynecological, respiratory, and gastrointestinal aids.

3. Weeping Willow

trees that grow in tennessee

It has been long known in China and Turkey that the Weeping Willow is known for its tearful symbolism, used in some places as a cemetery ornament signifying an association of grief for the loved one in the grave. In ancient times, the torches used in funerals were made precisely by Willow wood.

These trees can grow up to 8 feet per year, quickly reaching their full size. Weeping willow trees acclimate to many soil conditions: wet and boggy, well-drained, or even a little dry, but they grow especially well near ponds and streams, where the soil is often too moist for other tree species.

It is mostly used as an ornamental tree because of its beautiful pendulant branches, but it can also be used for instrument making, such as flutes. Native Americans used the branches to make paintbrushes and the bark for its healing properties when treating fever and pain.

4. Sugar Maple

evergreen trees in tennessee

Sugar Maple gets its name from — you guessed it — the sweet maple sugar people extract from its sap. Although the sugar maple is native to East Tennessee, there is very little maple syrup production in this area due to the warm Winter and Spring temperatures.

Sugar Maple trees typically grow to a height of twenty-five to thirty-five meters. Some of the fast-growing ones can reach heights up to 45 meters. A ten-year-old Sugar Maple shade tree is usually five meters tall. The leaf of a sugar maple is known for its distinct shape, which has five palmate lobes. Sugar maple is very shade tolerant and grows best on well-drained loamy soils with a pH level between 5.5 to 7.3.

This species does not grow well on dry, shallow soils and is rarely, if ever, found in swamps. The wood is valued for being hard, heavy, and strong; common uses include furniture, flooring, and veneer, as well as tool handles, musical instruments, and baseball bats. The sap can also be used to make tea or coffee or in place of water in recipes if a little sweetness is complimentary

5. Black Walnut

trees in tennessee

Juglans nigra, the eastern American black walnut, is a species of deciduous tree in the walnut family. They prefer full sun and deep, moist, rich, well-drained soil. These trees grow in soil containing clay or rock but much slower than seeds planted in unobstructed soil.

Black walnut (Juglans nigra) is a tree native to the US that’s harvested for its wood and edible nuts. The tree bark has been used in traditional medicine. Black walnuts contain high concentrations of chemicals called tannins, which can reduce pain and swelling and dry up body fluids such as mucous.

6. Hemlock

fast growing shade trees tennessee

Conium maculatum, colloquially known as hemlock, poison hemlock, or wild hemlock, is a highly poisonous flowering plant in the carrot family. Common names: deadly hemlock, fool’s parsley, spotted hemlock, spotted parsley.

Hemlocks prefer slightly acidic, well-drained, but evenly moist soil. Amending the soil with peat moss or sand will help make dense soil more porous. Hemlocks respond well to a low-dose fertilizer. Location – Hemlocks prefer partial sun but tolerate full sun to full shade.

As a medicine, hemlock has sedative and antispasmodic properties but was used by Greek and Arab physicians for a variety of maladies, including joint pain.


Knowing the best trees to plant in Tennessee is essential for a variety of reasons. Firstly, selecting the right trees can enhance the local environment and biodiversity, as native species are better adapted to the region’s climate and soil conditions, which supports local wildlife. Additionally, choosing appropriate trees can mitigate soil erosion and improve air quality by filtering pollutants. Furthermore, trees well-suited to Tennessee’s climate are more likely to thrive, reducing the need for excessive maintenance and the use of water and pesticides.

Selecting the right tree for your Tennessee yard involves considering a variety of options, from shade trees with dense foliage to vibrant evergreen trees that provide year-round color. Fruit trees are also a splendid addition, offering both visual appeal and practical benefits.

Tennessee trees like the red maple and sugar maples bring brilliant yellow and orange hues to your landscape, particularly dazzling in direct sunlight. It’s important to choose trees that can handle Tennessee’s environment, including those that tolerate standing water or thrive under other specific conditions.

With such diversity, including evergreen, fruit, and other species with features like smaller leaves, your garden can transform into a beautifully textured and colorful retreat.

Johan Perez
Johan Perez is an experienced agriculturalist with over twenty years in the field. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences and has contributed extensively to research on sustainable farming practices. Johan has also written for numerous agricultural periodicals, offering expert advice on farming technologies and methods. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor adventures, which often inform his professional insights into ecological agriculture.

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