20 USDA Zone 7 Trees (For Full-Sun and Shady Spots)

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Written By Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

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Home » USDA Zone 7 » 20 USDA Zone 7 Trees (For Full-Sun and Shady Spots)

With lovely balanced weather and long growing seasons, there is an enormous range of trees and plants that can grow in USDA hardiness zone 7. Many of these trees are adaptable to a range of soil types, growing conditions, and landscaping uses.

Starting in the coastal corner of the northwest, zone 7 stretches sporadically across the southern half of the US. Minimum average temperatures in zone 7 sit at 0 to 10 degrees F, so winters can certainly be cold, but the 6 to 7-month growing season provides plenty of time for trees to grow and produce their seeds, fruits, and flowers.

Whether they need an understory tree that can thrive in full shade, or a majestic spreading tree that can provide shade in its own right, zone 7 gardeners will find something that fits their property’s needs.

Here are twenty zone 7 trees that will grow well on your property.

20 Useful Trees For Zone 7

1. American Hop Hornbeam (Ostrya Virginiana)

American Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)
Image by Katja Schulz via Flickr

Most trees are known for their flowers, their fruits, or their fall color, but not the American Hornbeam. This fascinating US native is most recognizable for its smooth, fluted blue-gray bark that resembles human muscle – hence the alternate name ‘Musclewood’.

The hornbeam also possesses a beautiful red and orange fall color, and a spreading, rounded canopy. As a landscaping tree, it works well as a specimen, grown in naturalized areas, as a windbreak, and used to accentuate water features. The wood of the hornbeam is also excellent for woodworking.

One of its best features is its shade tolerance. In the wild, the hornbeam often grows as an understory tree and can tolerate full sun and thrive in full shade. Otherwise, it is fairly adaptable, but for best results and fastest growth it should be planted in loamy, moist, well-draining soil with a neutral to acidic pH.

Other Common Names: Hornbeam, Musclewood, Ironwood, Blue Beech, Water Beech

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-25 feet tall, with a 20-35 foot spread

Flowering Season: Mid-Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

2. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

Who wouldn’t want the oldest living tree species growing in their backyard? That’s exactly what you get when you plant a Ginkgo tree, which has been dated back 200 million years! This Chinese native is truly unique and is considered sacred in East Asia.

Visually the Ginkgo is notable for its wide-spreading growth habit, and its bright green fan-shaped leaves that turn a flush of brilliant yellow in fall. Female trees also produce fall fruits which emit a strong, unpleasant smell.

They are most often planted as street trees due to their manageable root system, which grows down instead of spreading and is thus unlikely to disturb pavement or pipes. It also makes a good windbreak and shelterbelt.

The Ginkgo is not fussy about soil type or pH levels, and can even withstand compact soil. However, it prefers deep, well-draining soil with exposure to full sun or partial shade.

Other Common Names: Maidenhair Tree

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-80 feet tall, with a 30-40 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

3. Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina tetraptera)

One of the more overlooked flowering US natives, the Carolina Silverbell is a native of Southern Appalachia and will be a gorgeous addition to your zone 7 garden. In spring it produces drooping bell-shaped white flowers for 4-6 weeks at a time that have a delicate, elegant effect on the landscape. It has a life expectancy of up to 100 years and begins blooming after just a few years.

The Silverbell has a rounded crown and can be grown as an open single-trunk tree or a large multi-trunked shrub. It works as a lovely specimen or part of a shrub border and as an understory tree. It naturally grows best in only partial sun but can tolerate full sunlight.

Overall the Carolina Silverbell is hardy and relatively easy to grow. It has no serious pest and disease issues and is not fussy about soil type. Its only major requirement is slightly acidic soil.

Other Common Names: Silverbell, Snowbell, Opossum Wood, Common Silverbell, Mountain Silverbell, Shittimwood, Halesia Tree

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 10-40 feet tall, with a 25-35 foot spread

Flowering Season: Mid to Late Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

4. Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa)

If you love colorful dogwood trees but want a species that will bloom a little later than the usual early spring bloomers, the Kousa Dogwood is what you’re looking for. Native to East Asia, the Kousa produces a range of flower bract colors, though white and pink are the most common. It has a lovely branching structure, with a horizontal spread and an even, balanced growth habit – it is well-known for providing four seasons of interest.

The Kousa is very similar to the North American dogwood but with some notable differences: for example, it blooms almost a month later than the flowering dogwood, and puts out its foliage before its flowers, according to the Clemson Cooperative Extension. It makes an effective specimen tree, focal point, or anchor in a foundation planting.

Plant your Kousa Dogwood in moist, acidic, well-draining soil. It can thrive in both full sun and partial shade.

Other Common Names: Chinese Dogwood, Japanese Dogwood

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 feet tall, with a similar spread

Flowering Season: Late Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

5. Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)

Silver Maple Tree
Image by Andreas Rockstein via Flickr

Famously fast-growing, the silver maple is one of the most popular choices for shade trees due to its vase-shaped canopy and dense foliage. They will take on considerable height in the first few years, perfect for gardeners who want decent summer shade as quickly as possible.

However, it is not without its issues. Its seedlings can spread and propagate quickly, its root system often grows shallow and exposed, and its mature form can become shaggy and visually unappealing. It should be planted on the edge of your property, in moist, well-draining soil with plenty of sunlight. It is remarkably tolerant of wet soil, flooding, and drought.

An ideal species for some gardeners, and a nuisance for others, the Silver Maple contains a blend of both positive and negative features – interested gardeners should research thoroughly to ensure it is a good fit for their zone 7 landscape.

Other Common Names: Water Maple, Soft Maple, Creek Maple, River Maple, White Maple, Silverleaf Maple

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-100 feet tall, with a 35-50 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

6. Japanese Lilac (Syringa reticulata)

Japanese Tree Lilac - Grid 2 Square
Images by Lyrae Willis, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

Late spring can be an awkward time in your garden when the early spring blooms come to an end and the summer display has not yet emerged. That’s where the Japanese lilac comes in!

In very late spring and early summer, it is covered in large, dynamic clusters of creamy white flowers, contrasting nicely with its vibrant foliage. What’s more, its blooms produce a pleasant floral perfume and its reddish bark provides color and texture through winter.

Plant the Japanese lilac as a street tree, a focal point, or en masse as a privacy screen. A small tree with a non-aggressive root system, it can be grown next to patios or decks too.

The Japanese lilac is resistant to most pests and diseases, as well as salt spray and alkaline soil. For best results plant in loose, moist, well-draining soil, with full sun exposure for optimal flower production.

Other Common Names: Japanese Tree Lilac

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 20-25 feet tall, with a 15-25 foot spread

Flowering Season: Late Spring – Early Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

7. Korean Fir (Abies koreana)

Korean Fir
Image by F. D. Richards via Flickr

Whether you want to add an attractive evergreen to your landscape, or you want to grow your own ornamental Christmas tree, the Korean Fir has you covered. This conifer species is a compact tree with a pyramidal growth habit and short needles that are dark green with a silvery sheen on their underside. It also grows very showy blue and purple cones that stand upright on their branches.

The Korean Fir is highly disease resistant and easy to grow, with little need for pruning or overwintering. It is best used as an accent or as part of a large mixed border on your property, either with fellow conifers or to contrast against deciduous species.

These types of fir trees should be planted in rich, acidic, well-draining soil. Acidity is particularly important, as alkaline soil can turn the Korean fir needles a dull shade of yellow.

Other Common Names: Kusang Namu, Abeto Coreano

Growing Zones: 5-7

Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 feet tall, with a 6-12 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

8. Hardy Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)

Hardy Pecan - Grid 2 Square

You can hardly find a more useful zone 7 landscaping tree than the hardy pecan. Not only does it produce delicious nuts, but it has plenty of aesthetic appeal, is an effective shade tree, and as a US native with a preference for mild climates, it will fit well on your property.

The hardy pecan has a large spreading crown and dense foliage that will not drop until late in the fall. Its fissured bark, green-yellow spring catkins, and golden fall color all contribute to its surroundings. But of course, this tree is best known for its sweet, buttery pecan nuts that have a long history of usage in American cuisine.

Growing pecan trees for its nut harvest is a commitment – you will need plenty of space, as two or three are needed to ensure cross-pollination. It will also take between 7 to 15 years before the trees yield pecan nuts.

Other Common Names: Pecan Tree, Illinois Nut Tree, Carya Pecan, Hicoria Pecan

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 70-90 feet tall, with a 40-75 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

9. American Elm (Ulmus americana)

A gorgeous legacy tree, an impressive shade tree, a hardy street tree: all are combined in the American elm, a statuesque native of the Eastern United States with a beautiful rounded form and a lifespan of more than 150 years.

Its naturally balanced and handsome shape makes it a very tempting tree to leave for your children and grandchildren to enjoy, particularly in summer when it provides dense, cool shade for months.

It also has dark textured bark and pleasant yellow fall foliage that drops quickly and is easy to clean up. Unfortunately, the American elm is highly susceptible to Dutch elm disease, so the best option for gardeners who want this tree in their backyard is to plant an elm cultivar with DED resistance.

In the right conditions, the American elm is easy to grow, needing only moist, well-draining soil, plenty of sunlight, and enough space to grow to its full size.

Other Common Names: Soft Elm, White Elm, Water Elm

Growing Zones: 2-9

Average Size at Maturity: 40-100 feet tall, with a 30-70 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

10. Chinese Chestnut (Castanea mollissima)

Chinese Chestnut Tree
Image by F. D. Richards via Flickr

While the American chestnut was once a desirable nut tree, its population has been decimated by chestnut blight. The best substitute for that classic native nut tree is the Chinese chestnut, which is prized for its superior disease resistance, reliable production, and smaller, more manageable form.

According to the University of Missouri Extension, the Chinese chestnut is best adapted for midwestern states, many of which fall under zone 7. The chestnuts themselves are just as delicious as the American variety and will appear after just 4 years of growth, though they will cause a bit of a mess in the fall.

Otherwise, these Chestnut trees are adaptable and easy to grow and care for. They can be planted in low-quality and even gravelly soil that would stunt or kill many other nut trees. To ensure optimal nut production make sure to water adequately, and plant in acidic, well-draining soil with plenty of sun exposure.

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 40-60 feet tall, with a similar spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

11. American Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

American Pawpaw
Image by Wendell Smith via Flickr

Add a uniquely American touch to your edible garden with the American pawpaw, a distinctive species that bears the largest fruits of any native US tree! Though they fell out of favor somewhat in modern times, this creamy, custardy pawpaw is making a comeback as more gardeners learn about the environmental benefits of planting native species.

Not only does it produce delicious fruit, but this small understory tree has some interesting visual features, namely its bell-shaped maroon flowers and textured, tropical-looking leaves, both of which will add an exotic element to your landscape. This pawpaw tree can also be used as a specimen tree, a street tree, and in a pollinator garden.

The American pawpaw needs rich, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. Add compost and amend the soil if it is too alkaline or nutrient deficient. These trees also thrive in partial shade, and should only be exposed to full sun in maturity.

Other Common Names: Pawpaw, Paw Paw, Paw-paw

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 feet tall, with a 15-foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

12. Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis)

Allegheny Serviceberry
Image by Cranbrook Science via Flickr

Another compact but lovely understory tree is the Allegheny Serviceberry, an ornamental tree that provides plenty of appeal in a small package. It is an asset in every season as it is covered in delicate white blooms in spring, produces dark purple berries in late summer, is flushed with orange-red foliage in fall, and its dark grey bark stands out in winter.

The Allegheny Serviceberry is a useful wildlife tree as its fruits will attract and feed many birds in summer. It can also be planted individually as a specimen tree, an accent tree, or in a border planting, and it can be grown en masse and used as a privacy screen or hedge.

As a low-maintenance tree, it needs very little care when planted in the right conditions. Moist, well-draining soil with an acidic pH is ideal, in a location with full or partial sunlight.

Other Common Names: Juneberry, Smooth Shadbush, Smooth-leaved Serviceberry, Coastal Plain Serviceberry

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 feet tall, with a 15-20 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Late Spring to Early Summer

13. Hybrid Poplar (Populus deltoides x nigra)

Growing at a rate of 5 to 8 feet per year, the hybrid poplar is an exceptionally fast-growing tree that is used in landscaping to quickly establish a shade tree, privacy screen, windbreak, and shelterbelt. It is a hybrid cross between the eastern cottonwood and black poplar tree.

The hybrid poplar does not produce the cottonwood’s famous cottony seeds, and this feature paired with its pyramidal form and broad canopy makes it a highly convenient species, particularly for use as a shade tree. It is also notable for its vivid yellow fall foliage and is sometimes grown for use as commercial firewood.

This tree is exceptionally adaptable, pest and disease-resistant, and low maintenance, with few needs or growing requirements beyond the basics. Consistently moist or even wet soil and a location with full sun exposure is best.

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 feet tall, with a 50-60 foot spread

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

14. Japanese Zelkova (Zelkova serrata)

Japanese zelkova
Image by F. D. Richards via Flickr

A tough East Asian native, the Japanese Zelkova is an excellent choice of shade tree and street tree for urban and residential areas. These wide-spreading trees have exceptional tolerance to urban pollution and hard, compact soil which will kill many other desirable landscaping species.

They are tolerant of wind and drought too, with some resistance to Dutch elm disease, Japanese beetle, and elm leaf beetle – there is not a lot to threaten this zelkova species.

While they are prized for their practicality, Japanese Zelkova also has some visual appeal. Its vase-shaped form is attractive, and its serrated leaves and yellow, orange, and red fall foliage provide some seasonal interest.

These trees will grow in most soil types and pH levels, but deep and well-draining soil with plenty of sun exposure is ideal. Japanese Zelkova has genetically weak wood and can break easily, so consider a cultivar if you want to avoid this issue.

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 50-80 feet tall, with a 50-75 foot spread

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

15. Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii)

Shumard Oak
Image by Bruce Kirchoff via Flickr

A native of the Southern coastal areas of the US, the Shumard oak is an impressive oak species known for its blazing red fall color, support of local wildlife, and long lifespan. Most trees will reach 200 years old, with some even getting closer to 500!

According to the University of Florida Gardening Solutions, the Shumard is another ideal species for zone 7 gardeners living in urban environments. It is fast-growing, highly tolerant of air pollution and drought, and can survive in poorly draining, compacted soil.

These trees work well as accent trees, shade trees, and naturalized groupings. Their acorns are an important source of food for wildlife, particularly deer and squirrels.

For best results plant the Shumard oak in moist, loamy, well-draining soil with plenty of sunlight. Apply mulch while young and water regularly until the tree is established.

Other Common Names: Shumard’s Oak, Swamp Red Oak

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 40-60 feet tall, with a 30-40 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Early to Mid Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

16. Freeman Maple (Acer × freemanii)

Freeman Maple
Image sourced via Nature Hills (cultivar ‘Firefall’)

What do you get when you cross a red maple and a silver maple? You get the Freeman Maple! This hybrid maple tree is naturally occurring and blends some of the most desirable qualities of these two popular species: including the silver maple’s impressive growth rate and soil adaptability, and the red maple’s strong branches, attractive growth habit, and brilliant fall color which presents in varying shades of red, orange, and yellow.

This maple is most often planted as a street tree and shade tree due to its fast growth and tolerance to urban conditions. However, its impressive fall color and handsome form make it a candidate for a specimen tree too – just be sure to avoid planting it as a lawn tree, as its root system is relatively shallow and can grow above the soil.

Plant the freeman maple in rich, well-draining soil with full sun exposure.

Other Common Names: Freeman’s Maple

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size at Maturity: 45-70 feet tall, with a 35-50 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

17. Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra)

The Austrian pine is a useful ornamental conifer, comprised of strong branches and dense evergreen needles that lend it to use as a screen, shelterbelt, and windbreak. As a medium to large tree, it is excellent for blocking out unsightly views, replacing them with its attractive form and lively color.

This tree should be planted in deep, moist, well-draining soil for optimal growth. However, it is decently adaptable to different soil types and pH levels. Full sun is also essential to help prevent the development of fungal disease.

While the Austrian pine is an attractive landscaping option, gardeners who choose to plant it will face some obstacles. It can fall prey to a number of pests and fungal diseases, such as pine tip disease, needle cast, European pine sawfly, and more. Early application of fungicides and horticultural oil combined with careful monitoring will significantly lessen the risks, but won’t eliminate them entirely.

Other Common Names: Black Pine, European Black Pine

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size at Maturity: 40-50 feet tall, with a 25-35 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Mid-Fall To Early Winter

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

18. Sweet Cherry Tree (Prunus avium)

Sweet Cherry Tree
Image by Guilhem Vellut via Flickr

A long-lived, deciduous fruiting tree, the sweet cherry is a Chinese native that has become a widely-used landscaping tree in the US. It is most notable for its large clusters of white spring flowers and dark red fruit. Though woodworkers will know it for its durable, high-quality timber, it is most often planted as an ornamental tree sometimes used for shade, shelter, or as a privacy screen.

This wild cherry tree produces small, bitter fruits. Cultivated forms of the sweet cherry tree are most popular in landscaping gardening, as their fruits are larger and more palatable. Fortunately, there are numerous sweet cherry cultivars that zone 7 gardeners can grow if they prefer a more commercial crop.

Sweet cherry trees prefer rich, moist, well-draining soil with an acidic pH, though it can tolerate most pH levels. In cooler climates, it can be planted in full sun, but partial shade is better if the afternoon sun is harsh in your region.

Other Common Names: Wild Cherry, Wild Sweet Cherry, Gean

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size at Maturity: 30-65 feet tall

Flowering Season: Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

19. American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

American Beech Tree
Image by Wendell Smith via Flickr

A majestic native with plenty of appealing features, the American Beech tree is a go-to legacy tree due to its long lifespan and striking form, comprised of a stout trunk, strong branches, and a wide-spreading crown. According to Towson University’s Glen Arboretum, the lifespan of the American Beech can go beyond 300 years!

The American Beech is also notable for its leathery, toothed leaves that turn a handsome bronze-gold color in fall. Its foliage is dense enough to provide plenty of cool shade in summer, making them excellent shade trees as well as specimen trees. Just take note of its considerable height and spread – they can sometimes, though rarely, reach up to 100 feet tall in cultivation – and ensure you have enough space to accommodate them.

These trees need deep, well-draining soil to deter shallow rooting and any fungal diseases. They can grow in full sun or partial shade.

Other Common Names: White Beech, Ridge Beech, Beechnut Tree, North American Beech

Growing Zones: 3-9

Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 feet tall, with a 40-60 foot spread

Flowering Season: Early Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

20. Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)

Rocky Mountain Juniper
Images by Lyrae Willis, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

A small evergreen conifer with an unusually formal shape compared to most juniper varieties, the Rocky Mountain juniper is native to the western US and grows wild in foothills and dry, mountainous areas. It is an exceptionally cold-hardy tree, and zone 7 is the warmest USDA zone it will thrive in.

This tree bears short needles that become scaly in maturity and can range in color from silvery blue to dark green. In the fall it produces blue seed cones that look like berries, and attract local birds and small mammals. They have an established history of use in medicine, foods, and beverages. With its dense, conical form, the tree itself is often used in landscaping gardening as a privacy screen.

The Rocky Mountain juniper is highly adaptable – simply plant it in fertile soil with a neutral pH and plenty of sunlight. It requires minimal watering and little to no fertilization.

Other Common Names: Seaside Juniper, Mountain Red Cedar, Western Red Cedar, Colorado Red Cedar, River Juniper, Western Juniper

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 feet tall, with a 3-12 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall to Early Winter

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

Excellent Zone 7 Options For All Growing Conditions

Finding the right trees to fit your landscaping needs isn’t easy, especially if you want to plant them in areas that are heavily shaded, or are constantly exposed to sunlight at the hottest points of the year. The trees mentioned above provide plenty of variety that should make it easier to choose something that will suit your property.

But having new options to choose from isn’t the end of the story. Make sure you are familiar with the soil conditions and microclimates that affect your property – even within the same USDA zone, climates and temperatures can vary widely throughout the year.

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Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

Shannon has always loved looking after trees and plants since as long as she can remember. She grew up gardening with her family in their off-grid home and looking after her neighbor's plant nursery. As a child she also participated in native tree replanting, and as an adult has volunteered in reforestation programs in northern Vietnam. Today, she puts her horticultural efforts into tending her vegetable and herb gardens, and learning about homesteading and permaculture. When she’s not reading, writing, and gardening, she’ll be out fishing and foraging for edible flora and fungi in the countryside around her home.

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