Best Trees to Plant to Fight Climate Change and Reduce Air Pollution

As more CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere, the temperature rises, hence people should be cautious about CO2 levels. The lengthy half-life of CO2 in the atmosphere (hundreds to thousands of years) has a considerable impact on the long-term warming trend.

While all three species filter airborne pollutants, some are more effective than others at removing greenhouse gases.

The East Palatka holly, slash pine, live oak, southern magnolia, and bald cypress are the trees that are best at absorbing carbon.

The least successful at storing carbon is the palm tree family. So, it’s recommended to avoid palm trees in favor of broadleaf trees and conifers, which may each absorb more than 3,000 pounds of CO2 during their lives.

What Trees Capture CO2?

To find trees that can successfully absorb and gather carbon dioxide, botanists and tree experts are collaborating.

In reality, these investigations have revealed that willows release more volatile and hazardous chemical compounds while accumulating little carbon.

The following trees are among the finest at assisting the planet in its fight against climate change:

Silver Maple

This fast-growing deciduous tree can store over 25,000 pounds of carbon dioxide over 55 years, according to the Center for Urban Forests.

Yellow Poplar

According to New York City research, the Yellow Poplar, sometimes known as the tulip tree, is regarded as the best C02 scrubber.

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The inferior wood quality and limited lifetime that are typically associated with fast-growing trees are not present in this tree despite its rapid growth.

The tree is one of the best tree species for reducing pollutants in metropolitan settings, according to studies.

American Sweetgum

This tree (which is a deciduous species) is also known as a hazel pine or alligator wood, and thrives in the warm climates of eastern North America, including the tropical portions of Central America and Mexico.

The blue-needled coniferous tree known as the blue spruce is a top carbon dioxide absorber in addition to being a popular decorative species. The Rocky Mountains are where blue spruce first appeared.


There are numerous subspecies in this genus. Among conifer trees, White pines, Hispaniola, and Ponderosa are frequently cited as being the best in capturing carbon dioxide.

How Trees Best Suited for Climate Change Are Selected

Since climate change is anticipated to be a slow process, trees selected to match the site’s and soil’s current characteristics should be able to tolerate changes for a long time.

To choose plants that are suitable for the current environment, use the RHS Plant Finder. 

More than 69,000 species, including more than 4,200 new plant introductions, are included in the RHS Plant Finder’s current edition.

The RHS Plant Finder is virtually the horticultural bible. It was first published in 1987 and has provided a glimpse of British garden plants and developments for over three decades.

It’s best to consider these details when deciding which trees to plant:

  • Trees with broad crowns and huge leaves photosynthesize more effectively.
  • It is vital to learn what trees are native to your area because native tree species will thrive there.
  • The first ten years of a fast-growing tree are thought to be its most productive years because they are better at removing carbon dioxide from the environment.
  • Long-lived trees release less carbon dioxide during the process of their decomposition after they die.
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Best Trees Species for Climate Change

Trees capable of withstanding hot, dry conditions.

Future trees in southern regions that are intended for free-draining, south-facing slopes are likely to suffer from hot, dry summers and protracted drought. The following tree species are ideal for such conditions;

Little trees
  • Crataegus Crus-Galli: Long-thorned little spreading deciduous tree.
  • Prunifolia: A more superior garden tree that is nearly as hardy.
  • Juniperus scopulorum: A little conical pine tree with brilliant blue-green leaves and reddish bark. J. scopulorum ‘Skyrocket,’ whose stunning slender form is a wonderful addition to many gardens, is almost as hardy and better for use in gardens.
  • Gleditsia triacanthos: The RHS AGM-certified cultivar with yellow leaves, dubbed “Sunburst,” is best for usage in gardens. Its young, vivid yellow leaves turn pale green by late summer, and it is considerably smaller than the species with green foliage.

Medium trees

  • Catalpa speciosa: Although it’s uncommon, C. bignonioides possesses the same leaf and flowers as the more widespread but less drought-tolerant C. bignonioides, albeit with more sparse blooms.
  • Eucalyptus pauciflora subsp. niphophila AGM:  A tough evergreen tree prized for its colorful peeling “snakeskin” flaking bark. Eucalyptus has, however, frequently been linked to subsidence, therefore gardeners should use caution when planting them next to structures.
  • Ginkgo biloba AGM:  A sturdy deciduous tree with eye-catching leaves. Fruits produced by female plants during the autumn season might be a nuisance. Male plants are worry-free.
  • Koelreuteria paniculata AGM:  It’s grown for the fruits that resemble bladders that follow its golden summer blossoms.
  • Pyrus calleryana:  A sturdy deciduous tree that is frequently used in landscaping. With a tidy conical habit that makes it ideal for massive gardens.
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Large Trees

  • Cedrus Atlantic cedar: A big conifer that grows higher and spreads out as it gets older.
  • Quercus ilex AGM: Suitable for larger gardens and parks, this spreading huge evergreen has lovely green foliage.

Trees that can endure waterlogging

  • Prunus padus (little trees): A little deciduous tree with attractive blossoms, new growth, and shoots.
  • Alnus glutinosa (medium trees): A compact, medium-sized tree that tolerates moist soils well.
  • Acer rubrum (large trees): A big spreading deciduous tree with stunning fall foliage. The variety is a great tree for very big gardens and parks in particular:
  • Taxodium distichum AGM (large trees): A sizable deciduous conifer that can withstand both waterlogging and drought conditions effectively. Despite having a Garden Merit Award, this tree is best suited for large gardens or broad open spaces.

Practical Considerations

Effect of a drought

In England, drought crack is probably going to get worse and lead to wood flaws. Trees potentially run a higher chance of limbs falling off on their own.

Gardeners should make sure their insurance includes damage from trees because they are legally responsible for damage caused by trees.

Effects of waterlogging

Additionally, when soils swell from wetter winters and trees lose more water to evaporation due to dry summers, subsidence may worsen.

Humid and warm winters

Roots may suffer more severe damage due to these perhaps causing more active root infections. More trees and bushes will therefore perish because of the root systems being stressed during the hotter summers.



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