What Tree to Plant? These Are Beetle-free

You want to plant a tree, but you want to be sure it won’t be attacked by the Asian longhorned beetle. What’s safe to plant? Take a trip to Worcester’s Green Hill Park this spring to visit the new beetle-resistant arboretum.

A project of the Worcester Garden Club (WGC), the demonstration plantings were made possible by a 2011 national Garden Club of America Founder’s Award for $25,000. The WGC teamed up with the Worcester Tree Initiative, the city Public Works and Parks Department and forestry division, as well as students and faculty from Worcester Technical High School to plant the trees. I joined celebrants on a brisk, windy Arbor Day, April 27, for the groundbreaking ceremony, described in this report by Worcester Channel 3.

Diversity is key to a healthy urban forest, and the new arboretum is a healthy mix of 12 different beetle-resistant species. Here’s the list; consider one of these species for your own tree planting this spring:

  • Serviceberry ‘Autumn Brilliance’  Amelanchier arborea ‘Autumn Brilliance’
  • Corneliancherry Dogwood  Cornus mas
  • Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn   Crataegus crusgalli var. inermis
  • Kousa Dogwwod  Cornus kousa
  • Japanese Tree Lilac   Syringa reticulata
  • Upright European Beech  Fagus sylvatica ‘Dawyck
  • Fastigiate White Pine  Pinus strobus ‘Fastigiata’
  • Upright European Hornbeam  Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’
  • Tupelo  Nyssa sylvatica
  • Thornless Honeylocust ‘Skyline’  Gleditsia triancanthos var. inermis ‘Skyline’
  • Green Pillar Pin Oak  Quercus palustris ‘Green Pillar’
  • Japanese Zelkova  Zelkova serrata

Evelyn Herwitz is the author of  Trees at Risk: Reclaiming an Urban Forest and blogs about ALB prevention and tree stewardship at treesatrisk.com. She predicted the 2008 Asian Longhorned Beetle infestation of Worcester, Mass., in her book, published by Chandler House Press in 2001.