There are some people who contend planting a tree is good no matter what tree it is; others who’ve studied ecology counter that, in fact, you could do more harm than good by planting invasive non-native trees.
My son, the future ecologist, is in the second camp. For Arbor Day (a day late since I was in town and busy all day yesterday), I’d like to feature one of his favorite plants, which is more of bush than a tree, but close enough: the Eastern Wahoo.
Here’s what Horticulture magazine had to say about it (bold is my emphasis):
Wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus) is an excellent North American native. An alternative to the invasive burning bush (Euonymus alatus), this tough plant can be managed as a small specimen tree (30 by 30 feet) or as a thicket/hedge (9 to 12 feet) for privacy with renewal pruning. It can grow in full sun to partial shade and in wet to dry soils. This makes it an excellent candidate for rain gardens that are occasionally flooded. The late spring flowers are a deep maroon; they are small but stunning on close examination. The fall color is a delicate pink. Once the foliage drops, the red fruits inside light pink capsules will stop traffic. Seeds are a preferred bird food during winter months. USDA Zones 4–9.
Native range: Eastern half of North America