The trees of Lancaster County

Tree Categories

Lancaster County’s special trees are separated into 11 categories (a single tree might fall in more than one category).

Explore all Tree Categories

Each Tree Entry & Nomination

Each entry has a follow-up page with more information about the particular tree, its age, size, history, etc., and one or more photographs. The entry then finishes with an interesting fact about the tree’s species (“This amazing species…”). But this is a fan site for trees; only positives are noted here. If you want to read about trees that are messy, that disrupt water pipes, that pose threats as invasive species….you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Numerous tangential topics are touched upon here when special trees provide examples. These include pollarding (Little Leaf Linden), clonal colony (Oriental Plane), espalier (Apple), self-grafting (Hemlock), topiary (Arborvitae, False Cypress), modal fabric (European Beech), leaf-carving (Oriental Plane), coppicing (White Ash), genetic reversion (Dwarf Alberta Spruce), witch’s broom (Hemlock), and galls (Hackberry, Cottonwood, and the Grande White Oak).

A modicum of balance was sought in the entries. I could have included nothing but White Oaks, Silver Maples, and Sycamores and still had a lengthy list because Lancaster County is blessed with a superabundance of special trees from these three species. Then too, a list that included nothing but notable specimens from Masonic Village, Tanger Arboretum, and Conestoga Gardens — ignoring the rest of Lancaster County — would still have been plenty long. While these three horticultural gems are amply represented here, special trees in all corners of the county have been included.

In any event, many more special trees remain to be described. I received more nominations than I could pursue by the time of this website’s launching. I’ve not even had time to tap the greatest source of information about our local trees, the county’s arborists. And hopefully new nominations will be received as more people become aware of this effort. In sum, the listings here will most definitely be expanded over time.

But this is a beginning. And like all beginnings, corrections will be needed along the way. I’m not an arborist, horticulturalist, or even much of a trained amateur. I love trees, I’ve gathered information, and I’ve done the best I can. But this website no doubt contains mistakes, and comments concerning them are most welcome.

Other counties in Pennsylvania or other states may have compiled tree lists in a way similar to here, but I’m not aware of any. As a means of becoming more familiar with the resources of one’s locality, this effort is hopefully not a bad model that others could modify and follow. Certainly our immediate neighbors (Berks, Cecil, Chester, Dauphin, Lebanon and York Counties) have an abundance of special trees that could be surveyed in comparable fashion.

Finally, I’ve been repeatedly asked to identify “the very most special tree in Lancaster County.” Most people would vote for Old Sycamore in Centerville but that’s actually not my answer. The most special tree in Lancaster County is, in a very real sense, the tree living in your own backyard…

Cherish every tree!