The Best Trees to Line a Long Gravel Driveway

Written by dannah swift
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The Best Trees to Line a Long Gravel Driveway
Long driveways look striking when lined with trees. (autumn driveway image by graham tomlin from

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.

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Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo 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. Ginkgo 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.

The Best Trees to Line a Long Gravel Driveway
Ginkgos have distinct, fan-shaped leaves. (Ginkgo image by Angelika Bentin from

Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

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 grey in youth, it will get "shaggy" with age, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Stadler Nurseries notes that "Commemoration" variety change colour 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.

Tap rows of sugar maples for sap.
Tap rows of sugar maples for sap. (making maple syrup image by michele goglio from

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

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.

The Best Trees to Line a Long Gravel Driveway
Pink flowers cover the Eastern Redbud tree in the spring. (redbud branch image by Carbonbrain from

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