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.

Jason Scire, Nursery Manager, Jason@vanwilgens.com, 203-488-2110 x117• CANP certified

Please note, below is a sample of some of our favorite trees that we carry throughout the year, and not a representation of current inventory. To find out what’s in stock, pay us a visit or give us a call. We’re here to help.

Waterfall Japanese Maple

Height 8-10′

Width: 10-12′

Light: Full to Partial Sun

Large, striking green dissected leaves that turn fire-orange in the autumn months. It’s a perfect specimen for small spaces.

Greenspire Littleleaf Linden

Height: 30-40′

Width: 30-35′

Light: Full Sun

Rich green leaves contrast against smooth, deep brown bark. Very tolerant of poor conditions, and salt-tolerant as well, making it the perfect street tree.

Tamukeyama Japanese Maple

Height: 6-10′

Width: 10-12′

Light: Part Sun to Part Shade

This isn’t just another red leaf maple. Unlike most Japanese maples this tree will retain a deep red color even in our hot Connecticut summers.

Slender Silhouette Sweetgum

Height: 60′

Width: 6′

Light: Full Sun

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

Red Sunset Maple

Height: 40-50′

Width: 30-35′

Light: Full Sun

If you’re in need of a fast-growing tree for shade this is a perfect choice. During the season you’ll be treated to lovely green leaves that turn a bright red in the fall. Additionally, this variety is tolerant of moist to wet soil types.

Wolf Eyes Dogwood

Height: 10-20′

Width: 10-20′

Light: Part Shade to Part Sun

A beautiful tree with consistent variegation in almost all light exposures. Cream-white ‘flowers’ give way to bright red ornamental fruit. An excellent choice for small spaces.

Paperbark Maple

Height: 25′

Width: 15-20′

Light: Partial Shade to Full Sun

A stunning tree all year long! This aptly named tree has cinnamon-brown flaky, peeling bark, which makes it a real show-stopper in the winter, especially against a snowy white background. Dark green foliage turns to an attractive scarlet in the fall. This medium-sized tree is ideal for smaller spaces.

Columnar Hornbeam

Height: 35′

Width: 15′

Light: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Suitable for a variety of applications ranging from a street tree in urban settings or planted in a row as a screen. Rich, deep green leaves provide visual interest in the warmer months. Columnar hornbeam also has a distinctive branch structure which makes it appealing in the winter as well.

Weeping Hemlock

Height: 8-10′

Width: 8-10′

Light: Full Sun to Shade

Possess a beautiful texture and graceful habit make it a focal point for any location. It can grow in most areas, though it does especially well in shady areas.

Japanese Zelkova

Height: 50-80′

Width: 50-80′

Light: Full Sun

This tree has a distinctive upright vase-like shape which gives it a perfect canopy for a casting shade in anyone’s front yard. It is adaptable to many soil types and conditions. Lush green leaves give way to attractive yellows, oranges, reds and browns in the fall.

Heritage River Birch

Height: 40-70′

Width: 40-60′

Light: 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’s available as a clump or single stem form.

Limelight Hydrangea

Height: 72-96″

Width: 72-96″

Light: Full Sun to Part Sun

Limelight is very true to its name. From summer to fall you’ll be treated to apple-green flowers that turn to white, and then pinkish-red. The flowers are also ideal for cutting. This hydrangea is great for borders and mass plantings. It even holds up well in full sun.

Rising Sun RedBud

Height: 8-12′

Width: 12-15′

Light: Full Sun to Partial Shade

A truly unique tree! You’ll be treated to wonderful bright pink flowers in the early spring, which turn to a chartreuse green, followed by a mellow shade of yellow. As it develops new growth, the leaves will change again to peach which contrasts against the yellow foliage. This is a great dwarf tree for small areas! (A staff favorite!)

Stellar Pink Dogwood

Height: 20-25′

Width: 15-20′

Light: Full Sun to Partial Sun

Stellar Pink Dogwood is a hybrid cross between Korean dogwood and our native dogwood. The pink flowers resemble more of their native parent, while the habit and disease resistance comes from their Korean parent. It flowers for up to four weeks, and in the fall you’ll be treated to stunning orange-red leaf color.

Green Giant Arborvitae

Height: 40-60′

Width: 12-18′

Light: Full Sun to Part Shade

A widely popular screening tree, and a Van Wilgen favorite! This tree grows extremely quickly – up to three feet per year. The 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. Additionally, Green Giants are deer-resistant.

Green Mountain Sugar Maple 70’X40’ Full Sun

Height: 40-60′

Width: 25-45′

Light: Full Sun to Partial Shade

There’s nothing like driving through New England and seeing noble sugar maple growing in a large field! The 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. In the fall, the leaves become a striking shade of orange. It’s very resistant to Maple Leaf Scorch and heat-tolerant as well.

Ivory Silk Tree Lilac

Height: 20-25′

Width: 15-20′

Light: Full Sun to Partial Sun

The perfect mid-sized flowering tree. This tree has large cone-shaped white flowers in the summer. The bark turns to a rich brown with age and can peel like a birch in some cases. In the fall, leaves turn to a brilliant yellow. If you have a tough planting site this hardy tree may be your answer.

Orangeola Japanese Maple

Height: 12-15′

Width: 4-6′

Light: Part Sun to Shade

An impressive lace leaf maple! The younger foliage has a unique sweet orange-red color to it. The cascading form makes for a perfect specimen. It’s happiest away from the strong sun.

Kwanzan Japanese Cherry

Height: 20-25′

Width: 15-20′

Light: Full Sun

A lovely spring flowering tree with showy double pink flowers. Kwanzan Cherry also has shiny reddish bark when young that turns darker with age. The red-orange fall leaf color is also a standout later in the season.

Norway Spruce

Height: 70-80′

Width: 35-45′

Light: Full to Partial Sun

The Norway Spruce is most notable for the way its weeping-like bows as it matures. This evergreen is great for screening large spaces. While this tree does great in full sun, it thrives in a part-shade environment as well. Fun fact: Norway Spruce is usually the tree you’ll see at Rockefeller Center during the holidays.

Weeping Youngii Birch

Height: 8-10′

Width: 15′

Light: 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 provide great winter interest to any landscape.

Red Obelisk Beech

Height: 10-12′

Width: 3-5′

Light: Full Sun

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

Newport Plum 20'x20' Full Sun

Height: 20′

Width: 15′

Light: Full Sun

A stunning tree with bronze-purple leaves which darken to deep purple as it ages. It produces delicate, light pink and white blossoms, which later turn to purple fruit. This tree works in a variety of sites, including lawns and patios.

Cherokee Princess Dogwood

Height: 15-30′

Width: 15-30′

Light: Full Sun to Partial 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’s great for woodland gardens. Its cherry red fruit in the fall is great for attracting birds. It’s also disease-resistant.

Princeton Elm

Height: 50-70′

Width: 30-50′

Light: 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. This is a great shade tree with an unmistakable silhouette.

Ruby Falls Weeping Redbud

Height: 6-8′

Width: 5-6′

Light: Full to Partial Sun

If you’re looking for a tree that’s ideal for a small area, this is the one. Ruby Falls adds stunning spring color with bright pink flowers. After it flowers, deep burgundy red leaves emerge. Unlike other red leaf types, Ruby Falls holds 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!

Blue Spruce Baby Blue 20’x8’ Full Sun

The blue spruce for anyone that doesn’t have 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 home run 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 the 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 your 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 blue spruce and 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 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 for it.

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

Red Dragon is one of my most admired laceleaf 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 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.

Heritage River Birch 50’x30’ Full Sun

What first comes to mind is the beautiful salmon and the tan color of its flaky bark. Very striking at 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 wet soil as well. Great as specimen or mass planting. As you drive down Valley Road on your way to the garden center you’ll see some planted in the landscape which are stunning. Native variety.

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 of 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 from 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 lobster! 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 contrasts nicely against the stems. It is a smaller tree so it is great for small areas. If you like what you are reading make sure you get one early in the season. Coral bark Maples tend to sell out early in the season when they still show their 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 a single leader at the top which for those of you that know this plant that can sometimes be tricky to find without pruning. Its dark green needles have an unusual rubber-like texture along the stems. This setup resembles the ribs of an umbrella for which it gets its name.

Gingko Tree 50’x30’ Full Sun

No matter which exact type of ginkgo you select you’re going to love it. The leaves are 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.

Rhode Island Red Japanese Maple 6'x6' Full Sun to Part Shade