Best Trees for Winter & Early Spring Landscaping

Winter: a gardening enthusiast’s nightmare. While spring, summer, and even the fall months offer the perfect conditions for planting, those cold, desolate days feel too short and too constricting to landscape anything, right? Wrong!

Landscaping in the winter only feels like a challenge, when in fact it’s an opportune time to focus on trees. Take a look at our guide on the best trees to plant in the winter and early spring!


An obvious classic, evergreens are the epitome of landscape beauty during those cold, snowy months. Since these trees, commonly called conifers, maintain year-round needles, they also maintain year-round vibrancy. And their wide variety of needle color and shape creates endless excitement in the world of evergreens.

Consider planting cedars for their overall shape and strength under snow, or spruces for their ability to blend with one another. Or try a blue spruce as an exciting alternative to the typical green hue.

Deciduous Trees

Just because these tree types lose their leaves in the fall doesn’t mean they lose their beauty! Focusing on branch architecture and layout can create a striking focal point against a bare or snowy backdrop. And seeking out trees with intricate clusters of small, thin branches will create a hospitable environment for collecting snow and ice.

Look into bark color and texture, too, as you plot out your new additions! These tiny details can add character to an otherwise dull, dreary backdrop.

Trees like the Osage Orange provide beautiful branch architecture while Japanese Maples are smaller with an eye-catching overall structure. For exciting texture, look no further than River and Paper Birch trees, or invest in a Cherry tree for its stunning burgundy color.

Fruit-Bearing Trees

Creating enticing colors and unique shapes, these trees produce beautiful backdrops in a once ho-hum landscape. And whether you want to brighten up your lawn or take advantage of their functionality, these trees create an inviting winter landscape.

The Sargent Crabapple instills dense pops of red and sits well in gardens due to its low height. Or, try the Redosier Dogwood -- it’s deep red branches provide rich color and windbreak during those harsh Northeast storms.

Since Pittsburgh’s winters tend to be a little extra tough, consider contacting the tree and shrub experts here at Custom Turf Inc. We’ll help your trees thrive so you can enjoy a beautiful landscape all year long!