Trees for Coastal Locations

Strong, often salt laden winds present a challenge when selecting trees for coastal locations.

The sea winds also means the trees are prone to dry out more quickly. Trees on the coast therefore need first and foremost to be wind resistant, tolerant to drought and impervious to salt. Trees that are grown in a coastal climate don’t tend to reach the same size as those inland and often have a windswept shape.

Almost all pines are suitable for coastal areas with Pinus sylvestris (Scots Pine) being the most common in Ireland.

The Oaks, Quercus Ilex (Evergreen or Holm Oak) and Quercus cerris (Turkey Oak) are two other great choices for Irish conditions.

Feel free to browse through our stock, we are always happy to talk about our trees. Visits to the nursery are welcome by appointment and are a great way to experience our trees for yourself.


  • "Acer campestre is a small to medium tree of rounded form. In autumn its leaves turn not just clear yellow, but also red and golden brown. Doing best in rich, well drained soils, Acer campestre is equally at home in virtually any soil type, and will readily tolerate drought, soil compaction and air pollution. A versatile, resilient and attractive species with a wide range of uses, it is available as multi-stem and single stem. Field maple also makes an excellent hedgerow plant as it is very wildlife friendly and it can cope well with rough pruning during the dormant season to keep the hedge to shape."
  • "Acer pseudoplatanus Negennia is a vigorous, large and conical cultivar. It was selected in the late 1940s in the Netherlands where it is widely used as a street tree. It has dark green, red stalked leaves. Tolerating air pollution, Acer pseudoplatanus Negennia thrives in most soils and is particularly useful for coastal sites where it can make an effective defence against strong winds and salt-laden air. Like many clones, as it matures it represents a model shape and form of its seedling parent."
  • "Acer pseudoplatanus Spaethii is also know as Acer pseudoplatanus Purpureum Spaethii and Acer pseudoplatanus Atropurpureum. Introduced in the early 1860s this large tree is effective in exposed, windy sites as the underside of its foliage is purple. Tolerating air pollution, Acer pseudoplatanus Spaethii thrives in most soils, and is particularly useful for coastal sites where it can make an effective defence against strong winds and salt-laden air. There are very few varieties of tree that can offer an alternative leaf colour to green that can still be planted near the coast. As sea breezes are always a factor in these settings the contract between the top and bottom of the leaves is constantly on display. Autumn colour is also quite dramatic so one gets an ornamental quality that can lift a drab landscape for difficult and exposed sites."
  • "Alnus cordata, known as the Italian Alder, is a fast growing pyramidal tree that sometimes holds onto it green glossy leaves as late as December in mild urban areas making it a very good screening tree. Introduced in the 1820s from Italy, it is very hardy and thrives on wet or dry soils after establishment. The vigour of Alnus cordata makes it unsuitable for paved areas near to buildings but it makes an excellent windbreak and screen for large open boundaries. Yellow catkins are produced in the spring and its leaves eventually turn yellow before they fall in the late autumn."
  • "Alnus glutinosa (Common Alder) is a medium sized tree which has a conical growth habit and produces yellow catkins in March. Its natural habitat is boggy land and river banks. However it is also very good for urban plantings as it thrives in all soils and tolerates air pollution. It is available as both multi-stemmed and as a single stem. Alnus glutinosa is a wonderful host to a wide range of wildlife. It is a very useful tree where the ground is liable to flood and can survive many weeks with its roots under water."
  • "Alnus incana (Grey Alder) is a hardy and tough medium tree, capable of coping with cold, wet soils and exposed situations. It is a fast grower, well suited to industrial areas and street plantings. Its pointed grey leaves readily distinguish it from Alnus glutinosa. Alnus incana was introduced from Europe in the 1780s and it does best on calcareous soils and tolerates air pollution."
  • "Amelanchier lamarckii (Service berry) is a stunning sight when in full bloom with its white flowers produced in plentiful racemes. It is a small, shrubby tree with emerging copper coloured leaves turning green by late spring before they mature to a rich red as autumn progresses. The rounded fruits, red in summer before turning black in autumn are edible. Amelanchier lamarckii is available in multi-stem form or as a single stem."
  • "Amelanchier Ballerina is a small tree that is naturalised over much of Western Europe and has the significant benefit of providing some interest at all points of the year. The profuse white flowers emerge in the spring, followed by foliage which is a coppery colour that turns to bright green by late spring. The autumn colour is brilliant red, emerging in conjunction with rounded fruits which are initially red in summer before turning black in the autumn. Although not the sweetest of tasting fruits, they are edible, adding to the attraction of this little tree as a superb addition to any garden planting scheme."
  • "Amelanchier arborea Robin Hill (Service berry) is a wonderful small tree which forms a dense oval habit and produces its masses of spring flowers that open pink and turn white. The young leaves emerge coppery red and then harden to green by late spring before they turn vivid red in autumn. A very good choice for street planting and residential areas, Amelanchier arborea Robin Hill provides plenty of interest with virtually no maintenance. Being such a small tree of ultimate size, it can be placed much closer to buildings than most trees which make it a fantastic choice for urban areas. It does best in moist, well drained, lime free soils."
  • "Corylus avellana is a small tree with a rounded habit which looks particularly striking in the early spring when it is adorned with its long yellow lambs tail catkins. It is a very good choice for gardens, parks and woodlands. As well as in single stem form, it can be supplied as a multi-stemmed coppiced specimen that makes a great under plant for a woodland or instant infill within a hedgerow."
  • "Crataegus monogyna are deciduous trees and shrubs, usually with spiny branches, lobed or toothed leaves, and clusters of creamy white flowers followed by red or black fruits. The berries are of particular high ecological value which provide nutrition for many small mammals and birds. The Crataegus monogyna which is native to Ireland, is a small, rounded deciduous tree with deeply lobed green leaves and thorny stems. Flat sprays of fragrant cream flowers appear in late spring, followed by greenish berries or haws which ripen to red up to September and are held on the trees well into winter. The bark is a greyish dark brown which in older specimens becomes cracks into thin rectangular plates."
  • "Pinus nigra Austriaca (Austrian Pine) is sometimes referred to as Black Pine and is a tough two needled evergreen. Its needles are much greener and longer than the Scots Pine and its growth more solid giving it a denser habit. An ideal choice for coastal areas and exposed, windswept sites, Pinus nigra Austriaca thrives even in very chalky soils. This large evergreen has a pyramidal form but retains its bushy, juvenile appearance mush longer than Scots pine."
  • "Pinus sylvestris (Scots Pine) is a large evergreen tree which is distinctive by its tall, bare trunk and broadly pyramidal crown. It is best suited in parks, gardens, heath land and woodlands. It is tolerant of most soils but will not thrive in areas prone to flooding or near the coast. A familiar sight in bleak and inhospitable landscapes it has paired needles which can be very variable in colour from green to almost blue, especially when juvenile."
  • "Prunus avium Plena is the spectacular double flowered variety of the wild cherry which has been in cultivation for over 200 years. Prunus avium Plena is a medium sized, deciduous tree which can reach up to 15m in height and grows with an conical open shape and an even, symmetrical crown. Ideally it is planted as a park or woodland tree but it can also be used in urban environments given the right conditions. In Spring, the magnificence of this tree shows when it is laden with the brilliant double white flowers, hanging in pendulous clusters from the branches. The leaves emerge with a bronze tinge to them, becoming mid green and elliptical as they mature. In Autumn they turn vibrant shades of reds, oranges and yellows. Prunus avium Plena is a sterile variety and so has no fruit unlike Prunus avium. Like most varieties of ornamental cherry, Prunus avium Plena grows best in a position with full sun and a neutral-alkaline, free draining soil (not acidic). They don’t like to get their feet wet and so will not tolerate waterlogged or wet ground."
  • "Prunus serrula Kanzan is a widely planted and very popular flowering cherry. Its large green leaves can turn to a glorious display in the autumn but first emerge a coppery red. This cherry has stiffly ascending branches forming a columnar crown when young before becoming more rounded at maturity. It is of medium height Prunus serrula Kanzan reliably produces plenty of very showy, dark pink flowers in the spring and is ideal when planted in parks."
  • "Quercus cerris (Turkey Oak) is a large rounded tree and is probably the fastest growing oak in Ireland. It does well even in chalky soils and in coastal areas. The dark green, lobed leaves are resistant to mildew, which affects some others of the genus. A tough tree Quercus cerris is ideal for wide verges and parks."
  • "Quercus ilex (Holm Oak) is a variety of evergreen oak, growing to approximately 20-25m in height. Its tolerance of many growing conditions and pollution make it a very versatile plant, often used in urban and coastal settings. Alternatively it can be used for hedging, windbreaks and topiary. Left to grow on its own, it will become a large, structural tree with a rounded crown. Catkins appear in the Spring, followed by small acorns which will mature the same year. The leaves of Quercus ilex are dark green and leathery with a whitish underside. Often the lower leaves are spiny, giving a resemblance to the Common Holly, which is also where the name comes from. It is thought that it may have developed this characteristic to prevent grazing by animals. Native to the Mediterranean region and is often found growing on its own or with Cedrus atlantica in the Moroccan Atlas mountains."
  • "This stunning whitebeam tree has foliage which emerges from purple shoots in the spring, soft and silvery-white. As the seasons progress the leaves harden to become a more distinct grey on the underside and green on the surface. The clusters of creamy white flowers appear in April and May, followed by bright orange-red fruit in the autumn time, when the leaves turn a golden brown before falling. At maturity this small tree retains a rounded and compact shape, requires little maintenance and will thrive on all soils, including chalky ones. A wonderful choice of tree for planting as feature specimens in gardens."
  • "Sorbus aria 'Majestica' is, as the name suggests, a larger and more majestic cultivar of the species. In every other aspect it shares its appearance with Sorbus aria. The initially upright crown gradually spreads with age. Rich green leaves with a downy, white underside. Sorbus aria Majestica has white spring flowers followed by red fruits in autumn. An easy to grow tree. Hardy."
  • "Hop like greenish flowers are produced in the spring before large vigorous leaves cover the weeping crown in the summer months. It is mushroom shaped with thick branches cascading downwards and this is why it is considered Dutch elm disease resistant as it generally grows lower than the 15 feet of the infecting flying beetle. Green leaves turn yellow in autumn and Ulmus glabra Camperdownii thrives on most soil types."

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