Blog Post By Jona Elwell

Red, White, and Blue Trees for Independence Day

Happy (almost) Independence Day! The United States of America is a unique, contradictory, complicated place and the Fourth of July brings out a celebratory summer mood – especially in our Nation’s Capital! While eagles typically come to mind as the symbol of the States, did you know the U.S. has an official national tree? Only formally recognized in 2004 (!) Congress named the Oak tree as our national tree. No species, just the genus Quercus. 

While you may or may not be psyched to celebrate our country this year, I am sure you can get behind our favorite thing to celebrate: trees! We’re highlighting free tree options for our residential tree planting programs that feature our nation’s colors: red, white, and/or blue.

Red is considered to represent hardiness and valor in our flag, and I think it’s safe to say that any urban tree is hardy! These trees are hardy, red, and available to plant in your yard for little to no cost of effort to you.

holly

American Holly | Ilex opaca

It is typically popular for the evergreen color it provides in winter, but the American holly also features bright red berries that are appreciated by birds. This tree is available through our residential planting program, RiverSmart Homes. You can also get up to $50 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

 

Freeman Maple | Acer × freemanii

A hybrid of the red and silver maple, this fast grower combines the best attributes of both in a stately, adaptable shade tree. Exceptionally bright red fall color and vigorous growth are hallmarks of this popular and proven performer. This tree is available through our residential planting program, RiverSmart Homes. You can get up to $100 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

 

Northern Red Oak

Northern Red Oak | Quercus rubra

In talking about red, white, and blue trees, we’d be remiss not to include the Northern Red Oak. The red oak, considered a sentinel shade tree, has a strong and enduring form, striking dark bark, and beautiful red fall foliage with acorns prized by wildlife. This tree is available through our residential planting program, RiverSmart Homes. You can also get up to $100 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

Blue is meant to signify vigilance, perseverance and justice on our flag, and while you won’t find a whole lot of bright blue foliage on trees, blue still features in our urban forest. 

 

deodar

Deodar Cedar | Cedrus deodara

Take, for example, the deodar cedar’s blue-ish needles. A graceful tree, it’s an exceptionally beautiful evergreen that many consider the most striking tree found in the D.C. Metro area. It grows pyramidal when young, but its crown flattens as it ages, with pendulous branches flowing from its trunk. You can get up to $50 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

 

eastern-red-cedar

Red Cedar | Juniperus virginiana

Its name may be misleading for this article, but another cedar features the color blue. This time, the cones are blue, not the needles! Often seen colonizing abandoned farms fields just outside D.C., the red cedar is an evergreen tree with beautiful reddish-brown bark and small cones that are eaten by birds and other wildlife. Red cedars are very low to no-maintenance, and can thrive in urban soils. This tree is available through our residential planting program, RiverSmart Homes. You can get up to $50 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

 

American Hornbeam | Carpinus caroliniana

Not to be confused with hophornbeam, hornbeam or “musclewood” is so named because of its distinct bark – smooth, bluish-gray with a muscle-like surface. Hornbeams are small trees with fine-textured or “feathery” leaves, adding delight to any yard or garden. This tree is available through our residential planting program, RiverSmart Homes. You can also get up to $50 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

And finally, we have white trees. While the list of trees with beautiful white blooms is endless, we have somehow managed to narrow the list down.

 

Flowering Dogwood

Flowering Dogwood | Cornus florida

When many people think of dogwoods, they are envisioning this species. These native trees are small and slow-growing, rarely exceeding 20 feet in height. Their famous flowers, which attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, are surrounded by four, bright white bracts. This tree is available through our residential planting program, RiverSmart Homes. You can also get up to $50 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

 

Silverbell | Halesia

Named for its beautiful flower, the silverbell is an ornamental tree with distinctive furrowed bark that can withstand a variety of conditions. You can get up to $50 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

 

Loebner Magnolia | Magnolia × loebneri

A cross between Magnolia kobus and Magnolia stellata — this small, deciduous tree enjoys a rounded habit and star-like white flowers that appear before the leaves in early spring. Flowers give way to cone-like fruits that ripen to red in late summer. Most often grown as a multi-trunked tree, the young bark is smooth and silver gray, becoming slightly roughened with age. You can get up to $100 back for planting this tree yourself through our tree rebate program.

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