fruit tree

When selecting a tree to plant, make sure to check its cold hardiness rating to see if it can tolerate the minimum winter temperatures of your locale.

The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map shows that the planting zones for Westchester County are 6b and 7a. The northernmost communities have colder winter temperatures, and therefore are in Zone 6b. New York planting zones range from 3b (coldest winter temperatures in NY) to 7b (warmest winter temperatures in NY). Check the hardiness zones for which the tree you are considering is rated. For example, according to the Cornell School of Horticulture’s Woody Plant Data Base, a white oak tree (Quercus alba) is “hardy to Zone 3b”. This means that the tree can be planted in zones as cold as Zone 3b, and in all warmer zones in New York, that is Zones 3b,4a, 4b,5a,5b,6a,6b,7a, and 7b.

Plant trees that can cope with our changing climate
Due to our changing climate, scientists have predicted which species of trees will thrive in Westchester in the future. The US Forest Service Climate Change Tree Atlas provides the results of modeled potential suitable habitat for 125 tree species in the East. The species list for Westchester County can be found in the Urban Areas List. Use the Woody Plant Database to learn about each species listed in the Climate Change Tree Atlas.

Title: Climate Change Atlas - Urban Areas Summaries
Sponsor Organization: US Forest Service
Description: Urban area 63217, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut is the selection for Westchester County. The USFS recommends selecting species currently present (often common or abundant) that are likely to cope with the changing climate: for these species, we simply select among those with a Fair, Good, or Very Good capability to cope under low (Capabil45) or high (Capabil85) emissions.

Below is the list of recommended native trees that are predicted to cope well with climate change in Westchester County.

Recommended Native Trees for Climate Change for Westchester County-Source: U.S. Forest Service
Scientific NameCommon Name
 Pinus rigida  Pitch pine
 Acer rubrum  Red maple
 Quercus prinus  Chestnut oak
 Quercus rubra  Northern red oak
 Betula lenta  Sweet birch
 Acer saccharum  Sugar maple
 Quercus alba  White oak
 Prunus serotina  Black cherry
 Liriodendron tulipifera  Yellow poplar
 Quercus velutina  Black oak
 Juniperus virginiana  Eastern red cedar
 Quercus coccinea  Scarlet oak
 Nyssa sylvatica  Blackgum
 Liquidambar styraciflua  Sweetgum
 Ulmus americana  American elm
 Sassafras albidum  Sassafras
 Fagus grandifolia  American beech
 Carya ovata  Shagbark hickory
 Quercus palustris  Pin oak
 Cornus florida  Flowering dogwood