The excitement and anticipation of a new season is in the air.  The birds chirping, the sounds of outdoor activity are everywhere!  At Van Wilgen’s we have that feeling every day and want to share it with you.  Our team in the nursery yard is here to make it happen. A Chinese Proverb once said; “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.”  Whether you are tired of looking at your neighbors, want some shade or need a tree that works for a small yard, we can help you pick out trees you will love.  Below is a sample of some of our favorites for this time of year.


Browse our online catalog, get inspired and even purchase a tree online.  Get started now, under the drop down menu “Shop”, click “Trees”.



Jason Scire, Nursery Manager,, 203-488-2110 x117• CANP certified


Diablo Ninebark Tree Form 10’x6’ Full Sun

This dwarf tree truly has something for all seasons.  In the winter its peeling, multicolored bark is second to none.  In spring wine colored leaves emerge followed by pink flower buds that open to white flowers.  Its new growth is light orange-red that contrasts nicely against the dark red mature leaves.

Waterfall Japanese Maple 5’x5’ Sun to Shade

I am a big fan of this maple.  Its striking green dissected leaves are a real show stopper.  Its leaves are larger than most green leaf types.  Its best characteristic is its fire orange fall color.  It’s unlike any other.  Perfect specimen for small spaces.

Greenspire Linden 50’x30’ Full Sun

Perfect street tree.  Very tolerant of poor conditions.  The dark green leaves are a great contrast against is somewhat smooth deep brown bark.  Salt tolerant as well.  I invite you to see our specimen growing next to our fish pond located at the back of our perennial area.

Katsura Tree 50’x30’ Full Sun

One of the most unique shade trees in world.  The distinctive heart-shape leaf is quite attractive.  Its best quality is its wonderful color. As leaves emerge in spring you will have shades of reddish-purple turning to bluish-green in summer.  Fall color turns form yellow to apricot.  Unfortunately I must admire this tree from afar…I’m allergic to it, but that’s a story for another day.

Dragon Lady Holly 15’x5’ Full Sun

One of the most tightly branched holly trees around, but don’t get too close.  Unfortunately the leaves that give its great texture are quite sharp, so be careful.  Dragon Lady also produces a striking red fruit in the fall that last through the winter.  Pollinator required.

Tamukeyama Japanese Maple 6’x6’ Part Sun to Shade

I know what you are thinking…another red leaf maple…well this tree is worth a second look.  Unlike most Japanese maples it will retain its red color even in our hottest CT summers.  This quality sets it apart from rest.  Great specimen tree!

Slender Silhouette Sweetgum 30’x5’ Full Sun

This gem really lives up to its name.  If you need a very narrow growing tree for a tight spot, Slender Silhouette should be at the top of your list!  Not to mention the best fall color around, shades of yellow-purple and red.  It also bears little to no fruit.

Red Sunset Maple 60’x40’ Full Sun

If you are in need of a fast growing tree for shade this is a perfect choice.  During the season you will be treated to lovely green leave that turn the brightest shade of red in the fall.  A definite show stopper.  Red Sunset is also tolerant of moist to wet soil types.

Wolf Eye’s Dogwood 15’x8’ Part Shade to Sun

I have really grown to love this tree over the years.  Nothing is better than its consistent variegation in almost all light exposures.  I love it so much I finally planted on in my backyard.  Great choice for small spaces.

Green Mountain Sugar Maple 70’x45’ Full Sun

This beauty is surely a New England favorite.  Nothing beats the fall color of sugar maples.  Brilliant shades of orange.  Excellent for shade.

Paperbark Maple 30’x15’ Full Sun

What an awesome tree no matter which time of year.  The first thing you will notice is its cinnamon brown flaky, peeling bark.  What a show stopper in the winter, especially against a snowy white background.  Leaves are a dark green turning to an attractive fall color.  Paperbark maple is a medium sized tree so it is great for smaller spaces.

Columnar Hornbeam 30’x10’ Full Sun

Hornbeam is one of my favorites!  It is suitable for many sites.  It makes for a good street tree in urban settings or planted in a row as a screen.  Leaves display a pleasing dark green.  Columnar hornbeam also has a distinctive branch structure giving winter interest as well.

Weeping Hemlock 8-10’x8-10’ Full Sun to Shade

Nothing quite compares to the texture and graceful habit of a weeping hemlock.  It is a great choice for a specimen tree for most areas.  It is especially happy in shady areas.  Many of us get nervous when we hear the name hemlock.  Don’t Be!  It is very easy to maintain these days without overhead spraying for woolly adelgid.  Please ask a Van Wilgen’s expert and we’ll explain. 

Japanese Zelkova 60’x30’ Full Sun

It’s distinctive upright vase-like shape gives it a perfect canopy for a casting shade in anyone’s front yard.  Zelkova has a nice fall color.  It is adaptable to many soil types and conditions.

Heritage River Birch 40’x40’ Full Sun

This variety of native birch is a four season winner!   In winter months the trunk displays salmon-pink to white peeling bark with shades of cinnamon brown.  It is a great shade tree!  Available in clump or single stem forms.

Limelight Hydrangea Tree 8’x6’ Full Sun to Shade

Limelight is very true to its name.  From summer to fall you will be treated to apple-green flowers that turn to white then a shade of pinkish-red.  The flowers are perfect for cutting.  Limelight is great for borders and mass plantings.  It even holds up well in full sun.  PW Selection.

Butterfly Japanese Maple 12’x8’ Full Sun to Shade

This variegated dwarf maple is a perfect addition it any garden.  It will handle sun to shade. The bright foliage color makes it a great addition to nay shade garden.

Rising Sun Red Bud 8-10’x6-8’ Full to Part Sun

By far my favorite Red Bud tree!  You be treated to wonderful bright pink flowers in the early spring and believe me when I say this is only the beginning of your season of color!  Leaves emerge chartreuse green turning to a mellow shade of yellow.  The best color is yet to come.  As it develops new growth it is an awesome shade of peach that contrasts well against the yellow foliage.  Great dwarf tree for small areas!  A staff favorite!

Stellar Pink Dogwood 20’x10’ Full Sun to Part Sun

Stellar Pink dogwood is a hybrid cross between Korean dogwood and our native dogwood.  The pink flowers resemble more of its native parent.  Its habit and disease resistance comes from its Korean parent.  It flowers for up to 4 weeks.  In the Fall you will be treated to an awesome orange-red leaf color. 

Green Giant Arborvitae 40’X10-15’ Full Sun to Part Sun

Hands down the most popular screening tree around today.  Extremely fast growing up to 3 feet per year. Its deep green foliage gives a great backdrop to any yard.  It responds very well to shearing so don’t let its mature size scare you.  Despite all the great qualities I’ve already mentioned its best quality for us in Connecticut is that it is deer resistant!  One of our most popular Van Wilgen Grown trees.

Green Mountain Sugar Maple 70’X40’ Full Sun

There is nothing like driving through New England and seeing noble sugar maple growing in a large field!  Green Mountain is one of my favorites.  Its dark green leathery leaves are a real treat all season long.  As it matures it has large plated bark that sugar maples are known for.  The Fall color is second to none, striking shade of orange.  It is very resistant to Maple Leaf Scorch and heat tolerant as well. It’s time to start thinking about your own maple syrup!

Ivory Silk Tree Lilac 30’X10’ Full Sun

I have really grown to love this tree more and more every year.  Itisi the perfect medium sized flowering tree.  It has a large cone shaped white flowers in Summer.  Its bark is rich brown with age and can peel like a birch in some cases.  Its fall color is an attractive yellow.  It is very tolerant of urban settings.  If you have a tough planting site this may be your answer. I invite you to see our trees lining our parking lot at the garden center.

Orangeola Japanese Maple 6’X6’ Part Sun to Shade

Hands down my favorite lace leaf maple!  The younger foliage has a sweet orange-red color to it.  Not many plants in the garden have color like it.  Its cascading form makes for a perfect specimen.  It is happiest away from strong sun.  You will find it in one of our many gardens at Van Wilgen’s.

Kwanzan Japanese Cherry 25’X20’ Full Sun

One of my favorite spring flowering trees. I always look forward to seeing its showy double pink flowers in our Van Wilgen Grown tree area.  Kwanzan Cherry also has shiny reddish bark when young that turns darker with age.  Its reddish orange fall leaf color is also a standout later in the season. 

Norway Spruce 75’X30’ Full Sun to Part Shade

The most unmistakable feature of Norway Spruce are its awesome weeping-like bows as it ages.  It is a great screening evergreen for large spaces.  Although you will find it in full sun most of the time Norway Spruce is very happy in a part shade environment as well.  If you have ever taken a trip to New York City at Christmas time you’ve seen it beautifully decorated at Rockefeller Center.

Weeping Youngi Birch 12’12’ Full Sun

A great choice for a weeping tree, especially for those of you with small gardens or yards.  Its wonderful cascading branch habit is unmistakable.  The twisted trunk and white bark gives great winter interest to any landscape.

Red Obelisk Beech 15-25’X3-5’ Full Sun

Red Obelisk definitely lives up to its name.  It is columnar shape makes it the perfect selection for a narrow space.  It also lends itself well for under plantings.  The deep burgundy foliage is a great color contrast in the garden. Its branch structure also provides winter interest.

Thundercloud Plum 20’x20’ Full Sun

One of the first trees to flower in the spring.  The flowers are light pink about the size  of a quarter.  After flowering deep red leaves emerge which give awesome color contrast for the rest of the season.  I always look forward to seeing rows and rows of Van Wilgen Grown plums in color every Spring.

Cherokee Princess Dogwood 20’x20’ Part Sun to Shade

Nothing is quite like the pure white color of a dogwood flowering in the early spring. Cherokee Princess  is the perfect native tree for a shady spot or understory area.  It is great for woodland gardens.  Its cherry red fruit in the Fall is great for attracting birds.  It is also disease resistant.

Princeton Elm 75’X35’ Full Sun

Think back to when the streets of New Haven were lined with Elm trees.  With this Dutch Elm disease resistant variety you can bring back a part of history.  Great shade tree with an unmistakable silhouette.

Ruby Falls Weeping Redbud 8’x8’ Full Sun-Part Shade

If you are looking for a tree for a small area this is the one.  Ruby Fall’s gives awesome spring color with bright pink flowers.  After it flowers deep burgundy red leaves emerge.  Unlike other red leafed types, Ruby Falls hold s its red color even in hot weather.

Lil’ Poncho Dwarf Korean Dogwood 6’x6’ Full Sun-Part Sun

The story of Lil’ Poncho dogwood at Van Wilgen’s is an interesting one.  I was ordering trees for the following spring when I was shown a picture of this bushy tree.  I said to myself wow that is cool!  I asked my sales rep what type of dogwood was that.  He promptly said “Lil’ Poncho”.  I smiled and thought I need to order that just for the name. (That’s a story for another day).  I was able to get one tree that next spring.  We planted it in a display garden and it has grown beautifully!  It flowers for 6 to 8 weeks and is loaded with color.  I invite you all to come and see it!

Paper Bark Maple 30’x15’ Full Sun

Paperbark Maple is one of my most favorite trees. It has striking flaky cinnamon colored bark. What a contrast with a snowy winter backdrop. It is definitely an underutilized tree. It is a slow grower of moderate size. This makes it great for smaller areas and urban settings. I always look forward to walking past the specimen we have planted at the garden center.

Blue Spruce Baby Blue 20’x8’ Full Sun

The blue spruce for anyone that doesn’t have the space for a monster size evergreen tree! Baby Blue holds its blue color like no other making it the perfect choice for contrast in the garden. It has that perfect Christmas tree shape and won’t outgrow most locations. You will enjoy it for many years to come.

Japanese Stewartia 30’X20’ Full Sun to Part Sun

By far my favorite tree. I will never forget the first time I saw a mature specimen at Summer Hill Nursery in Madison. From that day on I was hooked! Stewartia is a homerun no matter what time of year. In the early spring it displays unique multicolored flaky bark that is second to none. It is a moderate grower, perfect for most locations. However it will be most happy away from hot afternoon sun

Weeping Alaskan Cedar 40’x10-12’ Full Sun

What a majestic evergreen! I never get tired of its graceful weeping shape and blue-green color. Every morning when I drive in to work I am treated to the one planted next to the gray farmhouse. On you next visit I’ll be happy to show it to you. It can get tall so please make sure you find the right spot

Serbian Spruce 40’X20’ Full Sun

If you can’t decide between a blue spruce and a green spruce this is the one for you. It displays a great contrast of upswept tips with blue-green needles. It is perfect as a specimen or even as a grouping or large screen. Very tolerant of most locations.

Korean Dogwood 25’x25’ Full Sun

Korean dogwood is one of my favorite trees no matter what time of year it is. It has unique multicolored bark which gives it sweet winter interest. Leaves are a medium green in season. Creamy white, star shaped flowers emerge in late spring early summer. Our specimen planted at the garden center flowers for 6-8 weeks on average! Red raspberry-like fruit is produced in the fall which attracts birds. It is a narrow grower when young but gets much broader as it gets older.

Bloodgood London Planetree 80’x60’ Full Sun

London Planetree is one of the most rapid growing shade trees you can find. Its broad pyramid shape is very distinctive. One of its best features is its multi colored peeling bark that standouts out no matter what time of year. This along with its shape give it an awesome winter/early spring silhouette. Tolerates poor soil conditions which make it good in urban settings as long as you have enough space or it.

Red Dragon Japanese Maple 5’x5’ Part Sun to Shade

Red Dragon is one of my most admired lace leaf maples. Its weeping umbrella like shape gives it a wonderful silhouette without its leaves. Unlike most trees cross branching doesn’t bother Japanese maples so as it grows some branches can fuse together. This just adds to its already great character. The finely dissected leaves are a deep purple-red that hold their color even in hot sunny locations. Red Dragon will be happiest however in a partial sun setting. The fall color is a brilliant apple red color.

Purple Fountain Beech 15’x6-8’ Full Sun

When I think of this wonderful beech it reminds me of my first trip out to Oregon in 2004. I recall seeing rows and rows of them at one of the nurseries we toured. The glossy deep burgundy leaves stand out against the smooth gray bark of this smaller growing beech. It has a narrow growth habit and prefers average to evenly moist soil but just like other beech it will not tolerate wet feet at all. There is a 10’ tall specimen planted around the corner from my house that I enjoy when I drive by on my way home from work. Can’t beat it!

Heritage River Birch 50’x30’ Full Sun

What first comes to mind is its beautiful salmon and tan color of its flaky bark. Very striking in any time of year. It is very resistant to birch borer unlike other varieties. It is also more heat tolerant than most. However they like a wet soil as well. Great as specimen or mass planting. As you drive down Valley Road on your way to the garden center you will see some planted in the landscape that are wonderful. Native.

Oregon Green Austrian Pine 25’x15’ Full Sun

Oregon Green is another great tree that brings me back to my first trip out west to its namesake state. Its deep green needles are a reminder how deep and vibrant all the colors are in that great growing climate. The needles twist slightly along the stem giving it added contrast. It has a round habit and is low maintenance. Its dense branching makes it very attractive to nesting birds. It is happy in many soil types and conditions form moist to dry shoreline settings. Perfect as a specimen or natural screen.

Coral bark Maple 12’X8’ Part Sun to Shade

When you see this in the middle of winter the first thing that comes to mind is boiled lobstah! The bark is a coral pink to red color that is at its best in cold weather. The color dulls down as the weather warms up. The foliage is a very light green that contrast nicely against the stems. It is a smaller tree so it is great of small area. If you like what you are reading make sure you get one early in the season. Coral bark Maples tend to sellout early in the season when they still show there spectacular color.

Japanese Umbrella Pine 30’X15’ Full Sun

This cool evergreen has a special place in my heart. My dad planted on at his house in the early 1990’s. Whenever I think of one it reminds me of his. It had single leader at the top which for those of you that know this plant that can sometime be tricky to find without pruning. Its dark green needles have unusual rubber-like texture that are arranged in whorls along the stems. This set up resembles the ribs of an umbrella for which it gets its name.

Gingko Tree 50’x30’ Full Sun

No matter which exact type of gingko you select you’re going to love it. The leaves are a light green with a distinct fan shape. Its fall color is the most eye pleasing shade of golden yellow. In the winter and early spring the buds appear as “pegs” on the stems giving a very unique silhouette. Very drought tolerant and great in urban settings.

Blue Atlas Cedar 70’X30’ Full Sun

What a grand evergreen! Its steel blue needle make this a real show stopper. It is narrow when young however grows very tall and broad with age so plant it where you can let it grow for years to come. For those of you that may not be able to accommodate something so large there are many smaller more shrub-like varieties available. It requires a well-drained soil and doesn’t like wet feet.





Jason Scire, Nursery Manager,, 203-488-2110 x117• CANP certified

It all started with my father! He had a part time job at a small nursery in Orange named Vaughn Nursery.  Weekends, I would tag along to the nursery following him around as he walked with customers and showed them different trees and shrubs for their needs.  I loved it there, all the trucks and tractors to ride on and play.  The trees that lined the yard seemed to touch the sky to a kid as young as I was.  Unloading sod trucks by hand trying to keep up with all the guys working.  It sounds like work but I had fun.

When I was 15 I got my first real job at Frank’s Nursery.  I worked my way up to Manager but I knew there was something I was missing.  A former co-worker of mine started working at Van Wilgen’s and encouraged me to apply.  March of 1999 I began my career, I never looked back. I found what I was missing, working with great people and awesome plants!

This industry is full of great people, it makes me proud to be a part of it.

I am now entering my seventeenth spring at Van Wilgen’s.  I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone.  The ride along the way has been amazing.

Dan DiBiaso, Trees & Shrubs •• CANP certified

Erny Rasmus, Trees & Shrubs •• CANP certified  • CANP certified

Greg Sliker, Trees & Shrubs