Tree List for Climate Change

by Neal Lemery

Here is a list of suitable trees for our north Oregon coastal climate, given that our climate is changing, growing warmer, and often drier.  This list comes from a lecture, “Coastal Trees for a Changing Climate” by Oregon Department of Forestry forester Jim Gersbach. (Hoffman Center, June 17, 2023)

Silk Tassel Bush, Garrya elliptica
  • Silk Tassel Bush, Garrya elliptica. Flowers in late winter
  • Incense Cedar
  • Willamette Valley ponderosa pine (tolerates wet soils)
  • Coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). (I buy saplings at the Jonsteen Co. ( There is also a variety that is native to elevations above 1000 feet).
  • Lavalle Hawthorne, Cratagus x lavallei. It is salt tolerant and has late fall color.
  • Paperbark Maple, Acer griscum. It has November color, and “paper bark” that peels.
  • Catalina ironwood, Lyonothemnos floribundos, species asplenifolius
  • Cabbage Tree, cordyline australiis
  • Summersweets. Not drought tolerant, but are disease resistant.
  • Lily of the Valle Tree, Clethra arborea
  • Japanese Summersweet, Clethra barbinervis

Chilean Trees: (that part of Chile south of Santiago is similar to the Oregon coast and is also experiencing similar climate change and “migration” of species):

Sawtooth Azara, Azara serrata
  • Monkey puzzle tree, Auraucaria
  • Rauli, nothofagus alpina
  • Coigue de Magallenes, Nothofagus decivloides
  • Winter’s bark, drumys winteri (like a rhododendron)
  • Nyman’s eucryphia, Ecryphia x nymansensis “Nymansay”
  • Boxleaf azara, Azara microphylla (flowers smell like chocolate)
  • Sawtooth azara, Azara serrata
  • Arrayan, luma apiculate (Chilean myrtle), has paper bark
  • Peumo, Crpto carya alba
  • Tineo, Weinmannia trichosperma
  • Notro, Embothrium coccineum

Many Chilean varieties can be found in Oregon nurseries.  Many are the subject of experimental plantings by the Portland street tree agency, and the Oregon Department of Forestry’s experiments.

Native Trees

Pacific Madrone, Arbutus menziesii
  • Douglas fir can be scorched by hot, dry weather, as well as Swiss needlecast disease, which stunts growth.
  • Western hemlock is susceptible to drought and heat.
  • Sitka spruce.  They do not like drought and heat.
  • Port Orford cedars. They are susceptible to a fungus.
  • Western red cedars.  They are susceptible to a fungus, and do not like long droughts.
  • Oregon oak.  There are new fungal diseases, including Sudden Oak Death, (which is raging in Curry County) and a new bug, Mediterranean oak borer, which spreads a fungus fatal to oaks.  It is now unknown if all oak varieties are susceptible, or whether entire populations or just some trees are susceptible. 
  • Madronas.  These like well drained roots and are difficult to transplant. Once established, they are drought tolerant.

Other Trees

Eucalyptus.  There are many varieties.  They are very flammable. They produce a lot of leaf litter, which is difficult to compost, as the trees take out all the nutrients before the leaves drop.  They also use a lot of water.


3 Comments on “Tree List for Climate Change

  1. Thanks, very interesting. Wish I had room to plant a tree.

  2. Climate change is an added stress to our native plants and all the creatures that depend on them. One response might be that instead of giving up in our natives and planting things from Chile, we might chose to plant native plants in their ideal habitats or chose native plants that are more tolerant if hotter and drier conditions but that might migrate here naturally. If you choose plants from far away they rarely provide benefuts fir pollinators or other beneficial insects and often bring their own insects and diseases. That’s also where we have gotten our most aggtressive, non-native invasives

  3. I very much agree with you Hope. Additionally, we have such a plethora of lovely local trees and shrubs to choose from that will provide pollinators with excellent sources of food and blossoms and berries (!) there is no need to purchase and ship plants from outside our region.

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