Trees for 2050

Many of the trees common to Chicago’s urban forests will adapt to a steadily warming climate through 2050, according to a recent study led by Dr. Andrew Bell, curator of woody plants.

Bell and his team analyzed 50 trees in the Garden collection and found that 40 would continue to thrive under worst-case warming scenarios through mid-century.

The trees were evaluated for their performance in three types of urban uses, sidewalk plantings, parks and residential settings, and public gardens and other “legacy” sites. Planting recommendations are presented in this interactive database. Our GPS-enabled GardenGuide App can direct visitors to trees on the Adaptive Planting List.

Note: The inclusion of trademarked plants in this study does not imply endorsement by the Chicago Botanic Garden, nor criticism of others not included.

For more information:
Trees for 2050 (Blog post)
Tree Climate Maps
Press Release


Urban Forest Adaptive Planting List

Common Name Planting Site
Accolade™ Elm Street, Park/Residential, Legacy Ulmus 'Morton' Accolade™
Adirondack Crabapple Park/Residential Malus 'Adirondack'
American Hornbeam Park/Residential Carpinus caroliniana
American Linden N/R +35 yrs Tilia americana
American Smoketree Park/Residential Cotinus obovatus
American Sycamore Park/Residential Platanus occidentalis
American Yellowwood Park/Residential Cladrastis kentukea
Amur Maackia N/R +35 yrs Maackia amurensis
Autumn Blaze® Maple Park/Residential, Legacy Acer x freemanii 'Jeffersred' Autumn Blaze®
Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry Park/Residential Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance'
Autumn Gold Ginkgo Street, Park/Residential, Legacy Ginkgo biloba 'Autumn Gold'
Baldcypress Street, Park/Residential Taxodium distichum
Black Gum Park/Residential Nyssa sylvatica
Black Hills Spruce N/R +35 yrs Picea glauca ‘Densata’
Bloodgood Planetree Street, Park/Residential, Legacy Platanus x acerifolia 'Bloodgood'
Chinese Juniper Park/Residential, Legacy Juniperus chinensis 'Keteleeri'
Cornelian Cherry Dogwood Park/Residential Cornus mas
Dawn Redwood Street, Park/Residential Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Eastern Redbud Park/Residential Cercis canadensis
Eastern Redcedar Park/Residential, Legacy Juniperus virginiana
Fastigiate English Oak Street, Park/Residential Quercus robur 'Fastigiata'
Fort McNair Red Horsechestnut Park/Residential Aesculus x carnea 'Ft. McNair'
Green Giant Arborvitae Park/Residential Thuja 'Green Giant'
Greenspire™ Linden N/R +35 yrs Tilia cordata 'PNI 6025' Greenspire™
Hackberry Street, Park/Residential Celtis occidentalis
Hardy Pecan Park/Residential, Legacy Carya illinoinensis
Ironwood N/R +35 yrs Ostrya virginiana
Japanese Pagodatree Street, Park/Residential Sophora japonica
Katsuratree N/R +35 yrs Cercidiphyllum japonicum
Kentucky Coffeetree Street, Park/Residential Gymnocladus dioicus
Northern Catalpa Street, Park/Residential Catalpa speciosa
Norway Spruce N/R +35 yrs Picea abies
Persian Ironwood Park/Residential, Legacy Parrotia persica
Red Oak Park/Residential Quercus rubra
Sargent Cherry N/R +35 yrs Prunus sargentii
Serbian Spruce N/R +35 yrs Picea omorika
Shagbark Hickory N/R +35 yrs Carya ovata
Shingle Oak Street, Park/Residential Quercus imbricaria
Silver Maple Park/Residential, Legacy Acer saccharinum
Skyline® Honeylocust Street, Park/Residential Gleditsia triacanthos f. inermis 'Skycole' Skyline®
Sugar Maple Park/Residential Acer saccharum
Swamp White Oak Street, Park/Residential Quercus bicolor
Sweetbay Magnolia Park/Residential Magnolia virginiana
Sweetgum Park/Residential Liquidambar styraciflua
Tuliptree Park/Residential Liriodendron tulipifera
Turkish Hazelnut Park/Residential Corylus colurna
Valley Forge American Elm Street, Park/Residential, Legacy Ulmus americana 'Valley Forge'
Village Green Japanese Zelkova Street, Park/Residential, Legacy Zelkova serrata 'Village Green'
White Oak Park/Residential Quercus alba
Winter King Green Hawthorn Park/Residential Crataegus viridis 'Winter King'

KEY

Street: Appropriate for restricted size planting sites; recommended by the City of Chicago Urban Tree Planting List
Park/Residential: Appropriate for landscaped planting sites including public parks, residential property, golf courses, cemeteries, etc.
Legacy: For plantings with an expected life span of more than 60 years; retained 50 percent or more climate suitability in models for the decade 2080
N/R +35 yrs: Not recommended for plantings with an expected life span of more than 35 years