Tree Canopy Spread
& Coverage in Urban Landscapes
Click here to go to the database
VNLA has maintained the tree canopy spread and coverage database for nearly a decade. The database was originally developed by Virginia Tech horticulture professor, Dr. Bonnie Appleton and her colleagues at the Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center. In 2009, Virginia Tech urban forestry professor, Dr. Eric Wiseman and his colleagues in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation expanded the database and added new features to the website.
The purpose of the database is to provide horticulture enthusiasts, city planners, landscape designers, and urban foresters with information on the typical canopy dimensions of common landscape trees at functional maturity. This information is valuable for planning and designing urban landscapes. In particular, the data provide guidance on proper species selection and appropriate planting densities. In recent years, urban foresters have increasingly relied on the database for managing tree canopy coverage, which is a prominent issue in urban sustainability.
The values depicted in the database are good-faith estimates of expected tree growth in urban landscapes of the mid-Atlantic region. Most of the values are based on anecdotal observations published in a wide range of horticultural texts, bulletins, journals, and websites. Some values are based on actual tree growth trials. Because the mid-Atlantic region has a wide range of physiography, climate, and land use, caution must be exercised in using these values for a particular application.
The database is presented in its entirety on the main webpage – grouped by deciduous and evergreen trees and sorted alphabetically by botanical name. The database is also available for download in Microsoft® Excel and Adobe® PDF formats. The webpage database is sortable by either botanical name or tree size. In addition, the botanical name of each species is hyperlinked to a fact sheet, published by University of Florida and U.S. Forest Service, that provides information on ecology and cultivation of the species.