Trees that Grow in Washington State

By Fawn Farley , last updated June 14, 2011

Washington State has a diverse array of landscapes and therefore a great variety of trees. Twenty-five different tree species are native to Washington State, most of which are coniferous trees. If you want to plant trees in Washington, choose native species. Tall, green firs and cedars thrive in the cool and wet climate of the Pacific Northwest. Here is a description of some of the state's most common trees.

The state tree of Washington is Western Hemlock. The Pacific Northwest is the only place in the world where this tree is found. Western Hemlock is an evergreen tree that can grow to heights of 200 feet and live up to 800 years. This tree is often harvested for use as lumber, newsprint, and paper. In coastal forests, Western Hemlock can be found growing with Douglas Fir.

Douglas Fir grows in two forms: coastal and mountain. The coastal variety is one of the fastest growing species in the United States. For this reason, it is the most important lumber species and is used for plywood and Christmas trees, among other uses. This tree reaches its maximum ornamental potential when grown in full sun.

Western red cedar, on the other hand, prefers a bit more shade. Its needles and cones are quite small, and its wood is highly prized for its resistance to decay. Nearly all wooden shingles in the United States are made from Western red cedar. It grows tallest near the coast. Other very popular coniferous trees of Washington include: Sitka Spruce, Ponderosa Pine, and Pacific Yew.

To mention a few deciduous trees, Red Alder is considered the most important hardwood in the Northwest. It is used for furniture, pulpwood, and fuel. It is aggressive in seeding and is often the most visible tree in disturbed sites, including alongside many roadways. Many more varieties find their homes in Washington, including: Pacific Madrone, Quaking Aspen, Black Cottonwood, Pacific Dogwood, and Netleaf Hackberry.

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