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The Best Trees to Line a Long Gravel Driveway

By Dannah Swift
Long driveways look striking when lined with trees.

Some people may hesitate to plant trees along a paved driveway out of fear that the roots will grow under the asphalt and crack it. Luckily, this is not something to worry about if you have a gravel driveway. The following trees are all exceptional to look at during one or more seasons of the year and are all easy to acquire through a wholesale supplier.

Ginkgo Biloba

Gingkos have distinct, fan-shaped leaves.

Gingko trees are reported to live up to 3,000 years, according to Marianne C. Ophardt, area extension agent for the Washington State University Extension, and they could be the oldest living plant seed in the world. The male trees are preferable to the female trees, which begin to drop foul-smelling fruit around age 20. Gingko trees are tall and tough, reaching 50 to 90 feet in height with a spread of 30 to 40 feet. Their fan-shaped leaves turn a brilliant yellow-gold in the fall, and drop very quickly once cold weather arrives. According to Ophardt, they do particularly well in areas with wet winters and hot summers, like the Pacific Northwest. While the trees aren’t especially beautiful in their youth, males grow up with an eye-catching branch pattern.

Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

Tap rows of sugar maples for sap.

The sugar maple’s upright growth habit make it the perfect tree for lining driveways, according to Stadler Nurseries. This tree is adored for its brilliant fall foliage. While its bark is smooth and gray in youth, it will get “shaggy” with age, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Stadler Nurseries notes that “Commemoration” variety change color earlier than the species, while other cultivars like “Legacy” and “Green Mountain” grow faster on average than the species. Sugar maples grow 60 to 80 feet tall and have a spread of 40 to 60 feet.

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Pink flowers cover the Eastern Redbud tree in the spring.

Eastern redbud puts on a real show in the spring with branches covered in bright pink flowers. Redbud is a member of the pea family (Fabiacaea). It is an understory tree, a smaller choice for lining a driveway, but very appealing to the eye. Redbuds generally don’t grow taller than 20 feet. The bees, however, will thank you for planting them once all those flowers open in the spring, and you might venture to try eating the buds themselves, which may be used in salads or fried. This decorative tree may have one or several trunks. Cercis canadensis requires the most water and grows the tallest, while the Texas redbud (Cercis texensis) grows even smaller.


About the Author


Based in Fort Collins, Colo., Dannah Swift has been writing since 2009. She writes about green living, careers and the home garden. Her writing has appeared on various websites. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature from the University of New Hampshire and is currently pursuing a certificate in paralegal studies.