Blog Post By Jona Elwell

Winter Wonders

With no snow and a whole lot of brown, black, and gray cities can be visually dull and dark in the wintertime. Brighten your view, yard, and mood with these trees that bring some much-needed winter interest.

American Holly | Ilex opaca
The American holly is a pyramid-shaped tree symbolizing the holiday season with its dark green leaves and red berries that are appreciated by birds. It adds a splash of green in our otherwise leafless winters and is prized in many gardens throughout the D.C. area. The fast-growing “Nellie R. Stevens” holly is about half the size of the American holly and is also common in our area. This queen of winter is available through our residential planting program, RiverSmart Homes or get up to $50 back for planting one yourself through our tree rebate program.


Chinese or Lacebark Elm | Ulmus parvifolia
Trees are beautiful even without their blooms! Take the Lacebark Elm with its exfoliating bark that peels and reveals a gorgeous patchwork of colors. Like most trees, patience is a virtue – it usually takes at least 10 years before the bark begins to exfoliate and even longer before the signature milky white bark fully develops. Want to add a stately Elm to your property? You can get up to $100 back for planting one yourself through our tree rebate program.


Snowdrift Crabapple | Malus ‘Snowdrift’
While a crabapple tree in full bloom might rival the beauty of a Yoshino cherry tree, snowdrift crabapples also offer some winter interest. Their lossy, deep green summer leaves change to yellow in the fall, and orange-red fruit persists through the winter, attracting the favor of feathered friends.


Virginia pine cones.

Virginia Pine | Pinus virginiana
While not considered particularly attractive by many people thanks to its gnarled, twisted trunk, its rugged character helps it stand out. It grows in poor sites such as heavy clay soils where few other plants won’t grow (great for a city!) and its reddish bark offers a blip of visual interest in the winter. Virginia pines are available through our residential planting program, RiverSmart Homes or get up to $50 back for planting one yourself through our tree rebate program.

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