What are some low maintenance trees I can plant for the North Carolina region?

Priorities in order of importance

  1. Low Maintenance, Both my wife and I work demanding jobs and we have two kids. I doubt between all those thing we can spend a ton of time trimming, watering, replanting, etc.
  2. Provide decent shade
  3. They aren't stinky or an invasive species (no bamboo)
  4. They produce a lot of fresh oxygen. I'd like to do my small part if I can to help provide fresh air for myself and neighbors.
  • 1
    Do you want deciduous or coniferous suggestions? If deciduous, trees with showy flowers (like crabapple, horsechestnuts, catalpa) or non-showy (maples, oaks, birch). Also, some people are allergic to trees (my wife is allergic to maples, for example). Would this be a concern for your family? Note that the slower-growing trees like oaks require less trimming, pruning, etc. Oaks, though, also tend to drop lots of small twigs during the course of a season, which could need picking up before mowing. Would this be too much in the way of maintenance? Max height? Max width? Distance from house?
    – Jurp
    Commented Dec 8, 2021 at 15:02
  • 1
    Thanks for the questions, The trees will be 40 feet away from the house. Want to keep them below 40 feet tall.
    – Walker D
    Commented Dec 9, 2021 at 17:06
  • 1
    Dropping twigs isn't an issue. AFAIK, allergies are not an issue. Thinking coniferous, but that's not a primary concern. Raking leaves a few times in the fall isn't high maintenance.
    – Walker D
    Commented Dec 9, 2021 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


My suggestion would be to walk around your neighborhood and figure out what trees do well there (native trees) and also fit your criteria. Asking the neighbors if they have given any special treatment to their now-adult trees can also help you gauge the amount of work you'll need to put in.

Another thing I would try is visiting a local gardening store. Usually these guys will know what trees are fit for your zone, and you can also field your criteria to them.

Good luck!

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