Recommended Tree Species and Selection Aids

Choosing the right tree for the location isn't always easy.  Not all trees are appropriate for all sites.  You have to consider site conditions such as your hardiness zone, soil moisture conditions, presence of overhead power lines, light conditions, proximity to buildings, and many other considerations when selecting species.  Also be sure to keep in mind the other trees you already have on your property and in your neighborhood.   Strive for a diversity of tree species to give the trees on your property and in your neighborhood the greatest chance of thriving.

Why Focus on Trees?

Trees are a practical, low-cost common-sense way to save energy for homes and other buildings. According to the US Department of Energy, proper placement of just three trees will save an average household between $100-$250 in energy costs per year.  The larger the tree at maturity, the greater the energy savings for the homeowner. When space allows, choose a large-sized shade tree rather than an ornamental tree species.



Trees Forever has developed several guides to help you select trees appropriate to various conditions.

The lists are based on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones found in Illinois and Iowa (Zones 4-6). 


Tree and Utility Line Conflicts

Three different zones of tree planting to consider:


Zone 1 – Directly under utility lines to 20 feet from overhead utility lines:

Use 25’ maximum tree height (ornamental trees)
Click to view the full digital publication online
Read Tree Selection Aid for sites with overhead powerlines


Zone 2 – From 20-50 ft. from overhead utility line: 
Use 35’ max. tree height (medium trees)


Zone 3 – 50 ft. and beyond from overhead utility: 
No height restrictions on trees (large shade trees)

Click to view the full digital publication online
Read Tree Selection Aid for sites without overhead power lines


Other lists below are grouped according to other characteristics you may be considering: