Table 7.2: A List of Common Landscape Trees, Shrubs, Vines, and Groundcovers and Their Flammability Ratings.
Native (N)
N = Native to Mid-Atlantic
S = Shade,
F = Foundation,
Sp = Specimen,
H = Hedge,
Sc = Screen,
GC = Ground Cover
Flame Rating (FR)
H = Very Flammable
M = Moderate
L = Low
Scientific Name Common Name N Use FR Comments
Acer negundo Boxelder N S L Tolerates poor soils, pH adaptable. Short lived.
Acer palmatum Japanese maple Sp L Requires a sheltered location. Not heat/drought tolerant.
Acer pensylvanicum Striped maple N Sp, S L Prefers shade.
Acer platanoides Norway maple S M Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions.
Acer rubrum Red/Swamp maple N S, Sp L Tolerates wet soil conditions.
Acer saccharinum Silver/River/Soft Maple N S L Brittle, weak wood is easily broken in wind and ice storms.
Acer saccharum Sugar/Rock/Hard Maple N S, Sp L Susceptible to acid rain damage and road de-icing salts. Not heat tolerant.
Acer spicatum Mountain maple N S, Sc L Best in wooded conditions.
Aesculus hippocastanum Horsechestnut S, Sp L Susceptible to many diseases, pH adaptable. Not heat tolerant.
Aesculus pavia Red buckeye N Sc L Small, shrubby.
Albizia julibrissin Mimosa, Silktree Sp M Very adaptable to high pH, soil salinity and drought. Short lived.
Amelanchier arborea Downy serviceberry, Shadblow N Sp, Sc L Tolerant of drought, but not air pollution.
Aralia spinosa Devil’s walkingstick N Sp L Tolerates poor soils and urban conditions. Dangerous spines.
Asimina triloba Pawpaw N Sp, S L Tolerant of wet soils, edible fruits.
Betula alleghaniensis Yellow birch N S, Sp L Not tolerant of heat/drought.
Betula lenta Black birch N S, Sp L Similar to above species.
Betula nigra River birch N S, Sp L Tolerates wet soils, not tolerant of pH above 6.5.
Betula papyrifera Paper/White/Canoe birch N Sp, S L Insect problems, not heat tolerant. Should not be used in difficult, polluted sites.
Betula pendula European white birch Sp, S L Prone to bronze birch borer damage. Not heat tolerant.
Broussonetia papyrifera Paper mulberry S H Tolerates most soil conditions, also heat and drought. Weedy.
Carpinus caroliniana Hornbeam N S L Tolerates wet soils and periodic flooding.
Carya cordiformis Bitternut hickory N S L Fast growing hickory. Grown from seed only, as with all hickories.
Carya glabra Pignut hickory N S, Sp L Tolerates varied soils.
Carya illinoiensis Pecan N S L Valuable for fruits.
Carya ovata Shagbark hickory N S L Interesting, peeling bark.
Carya tomentosa Mockernut hickory N S L Tolerates varied soils.
Castanea dentata American chestnut N S L Few found due to blight.
Castanea mollissima Chinese chestnut S, Sp M Tolerates hot, dry climates.
Catalpa bignonioides Southern catalpa N S L Tolerates many soil types, also hot, dry sites.
Catalpa speciosa Northern catalpa N S L Tolerates many soil types, also hot, dry sites.
Celtis laevigata Sugarberry N S L Tolerates many soil types and conditions./td>
Celtis occidentalis Common hackberry N S L Tolerates wind and poor soils, pH adaptable.
Cercis canadensis Eastern redbud N Sp, S L Adapts to urban conditions.
Chioanthus virginicus Fringetree N Sp L Tolerates partial shade and air pollution.
Cladrastis kentuckea Yellowwood Sp, S L Prune in summer. Not heat tolerant.
Cornus florida Flowering dogwood N Sp, S L Not suitable for hot, dry, exposed areas or in poorly drained soils.
Cornus kousa Kousa/Chinese dogwood Sp, S L Will not tolerate wet soils. More heat tolerant than above species.
Crataegus crus-galli Cockspur hawthorn N Sp L Stems are covered with large thorns. Susceptible to rust diseases.
Crateagus phaenopyrum Washington hawthorn N Sp L Stems are covered with large thorns. Susceptible to rust diseases.
Diospyros virginiana Persimmon N S L Tolerates poor, dry soils, pH adaptable.
Elaeagnus angustifolia Russian-olive Sc, S L Salt tolerant and withstands drought. Not heat tolerant, weedy.
Fagus grandifolia American beech N S, Sp M Root system is easily damaged by construction. Needs good soils.
Fagus sylvatica European beech S, Sp M Does not tolerate heat well.
Fraxinus americana White ash N S L Good resistance to heat and drought.
Fraxinus nigra Black ash N S L Tolerates wet soils and periodic flooding.
Fraxinus pennsylvanica Green ash N S L Tolerates drought, high soil pH, salt and poor soils.
Ginkgo biloba Ginko, Maidenhair tree S, Sp L Urban tolerant. Fruits are unsightly and malodorous, use male cultivars.
Gleditsia triancanthos var.inermis Thornless Honeylocust N S L olerates drought, soil salts and high pH. Use thornless forms, thorns are dangerous.
Gymnocladus dioicus Kentucky coffeetree N S L Tolerates drought and urban conditions.
Halesia carolina Carolina silverbell N Sp L Prefers moist soil. Understory tree.
Juglans cinerea Butternut N S L Slow growing. Tolerates varied conditions.
Juglans nigra Black walnut N S L Prime timber tree. Phytotoxic to many other plants.
Koelreuteria paniculata Goldenraintree Sp, S L Tolerates heat, drought, air pollution and poor fertility.
Liquidambar styraciflua Sweetgum N S, Sp L Suitable tree for wet soils.
Liriodendron tulipifera Tuliptree, Tulip poplar N S, Sp L Does not tolerate poor growing conditions.
Maclura promifera Osage orange N S, Sc L Tolerates drought, wind, extreme heat and wet soils.
Magnolia acuminata Cucumber magnolia N S, Sp L Does not tolerate extremely dry or wet soils.
Magnolia stellata Star magnolia Sp L Heat tolerant.
Magnolia tripetala Umbrella magnolia N Sp L Coarse texture.
Magnolia virginiana Sweetbay magnolia N Sp, S L Tolerates wet soils, but not drought.
Magnolia x soulangiana Saucer magnolia Sp L Resistant to air pollution. Prone to spring frost damage.
Malus sp. Flowering crabapple Sp L Species is prone to insect and disease problems.
Melia azdarach Chinaberry S L Rapid grower with very weak wood. Poison fruit.
Metaseqouia glyptostroboides Dawn redwood Sp, S H Species has existed for at least 50 million years. Prefers moist, well-drained soils.
Morus alba White mulberry - S L Very adaptable tree. Prone to insect and disease problems.
Morus rubra Red mulberry N S L Edible fruits.
Nyssa sylvatica Black gum, Black tupelo, Sour gum, Swamp tupelo N S, Sp L Not tolerant of air pollution or alkaline soils. Tolerates wet soils.
Ostrya virginiana Hophornbeam N S L Tolerates dry soils.
Oxydendrum arboreum Sourwood, Sorrel tree, Lily-of-the-valley tree N Sp, S L Not resistant to drought or air pollution.
Paulownia tomentosa Empress tree, Paulownia Sp, S L Withstands air pollutants and does well in coastal areas and mountain valleys.
Platanus occidentalis American sycamore N S M Tolerates urban conditions with wet or dry soils, prone to disease problems.
Platanus x acerifolia London planetree - S M Very tolerant to urban conditions.
Populus alba White poplar - S L Tolerant of most soil conditions. Brittle wood, not suitable for residential use.
Populus deltoides Cottonwood N S L Tolerant of most soil conditions. Short lived.
Populus grandidentata Big-toothed aspen N S L Tolerates dry soils. Valuable for pulp wood.
Prunus cerasifera Purpleleaf/cherry plum - Sp, S L Avoid heavy soils and air pollution. Prone to many insect problems.
Prunus persica Common/Flowering peach - Sp, S L Subject to many insect and disease problems. Short lived.
Prunus serotina Wild black cherry N S L Tolerates most soil types. Can become invasive. Poisonous to livestock.
Prunus serrulata Japanese flowering cherry - Sp, S L Stressed trees are more susceptible to insect and disease problems. Short lived.
Prunus subhirtella Weeping/Higan/Rosebud cherry - Sp, S L Not drought tolerant.
Prunus x yedoensis Yoshino cherry - Sp, S L Tolerates a range of soil conditions. Prone to borer attack.
Ptelea trifoliata Water ash N S L Tolerates heavy shade.
Pyrus calleryana Callery pear - S, Sp L Drought-resistant. Prune to create stronger crotch angles.
Pyrus communis Common pear - S L Prone to fireblight disease, use resistant varieties.
Quercus alba White oak N S L Very susceptible to construction damage. Tolerates various soils.
Quercus bicolor Swamp white oak N S L Tolerates wet, acidic soils.
Quercus coccinea Scarlet oak N S L Less tolerant than other oaks of adverse conditions.
Quercus falcata Southern red oak N S L Prefers drier soils.
Quercus marilandica Blackjack oak N S L Tolerates sandy soils.
Quercus nigra Water oak N S L Tolerates wet soils.
Quercus palustris Pin oak, Swamp oak N S L Will withstand very wet conditions. Maintain pH below 6.0.
Quercus phellos Willow oak N S L Transplants readily. Tolerates wet soils.
Quercus prinus Chestnut oak N S L Tolerates dry, poor soils.
Quercus rubra Red/Northern red oak N S L Moderately drought tolerant. Maintain pH below 6.0.
Quercus stellata Post oak N S L Tolerates dry, poor soil conditions.
Quercus velutina Black oak N S L Tolerates varied conditions, including poor soils.
Robinia pseudoacacia Black locust N S L Tolerates dry, saline soils. Suckering problem. Spines on young growth.
Salix babylonica Weeping willow - S, Sp L Grows in wet soils. Its vigorous, shallow root system can be a problem.
Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’ Corkscrew willow - Sp, S L Grows in wet soils. Its vigorous, shallow root system can be a problem.
Salix nigra Black willow N S L Grows in wet soils.
Sassafras albidum Sassafras N S, Sp L May become invasive. Difficult to transplant.
Sorbus americana Mountainash N Sp, S L Mountain region plant.
Taxodium distichum Bald cypress N S, Sp H Tolerates most soil types. Requires soil with low pH.
Tilia americana American linden, Basswood N S L Will not tolerate drought.
Tilia cordata Littleleaf linden - S, Sp L Very air pollution tolerant, pH adaptable. Susceptible to Japanese beetle damage.
Ulmus alatus Winged elm N S L May be susceptible to powdery mildew.
Ulmus americana American elm N S L Susceptible to many insects and diseases, especially Dutch elm disease – use new resistant varieties.
Ulmus parvifolia Lacebark/Chinese elm Y S, Sp L Urban tolerant. Resistant to most insect and disease problems.
Ulmus pumila Siberian elm - S L Susceptible to Dutch elm disease. Weedy.
Viburnum prunifolium Blackhaw viburnum N Sc, Sp L Adaptable to many soil types.
Zelkova serrata Japanese zelkova S L Tolerant of drought, wind and air pollution, pH adaptable.