23 tall-growing native trees that resist wind and ice damage
All of these trees can reach 75-100 feet in height or more when mature. All are native trees of North America with moderate to good resistance to damage by wind and ice.
Trees marked with an asterisk below should be considered moderately resistant. A general rule to remember is that strong evergreens are not as resistant to wind and ice damage as strong deciduous trees. Because of their foliage, they tend to catch more winter wind, snow, and ice. (That's why evergreen trees are often planted in windbreaks.)
1. Acer nigrum -- Black maple
2. Acer saccharum -- Sugar maple*
3. Carya cordiformis -- Bitternut hickory
4. Carya glabra -- Pignut hickory
5. Carya illinoensis -- Pecan
6. Carya ovata -- Shagbark hickory
7. Carya tomentosa -- Mockernut hickory
8. Fagus grandifolia -- American beech
9. Gymnocladus dioicus -- Kentucky coffeetree
10. Juglans nigra -- Eastern black walnut
11. Liquidambar styraciflua -- American Sweetgum
12. Magnolia acuminata -- Cucumbertree magnolia
13. Picea pungens -- Colorado spruce
14. Pinus ponderosa -- Ponderosa pine*
15. Pinus resinosa -- Red pine*
16. Platanus occidentalis -- Sycamore, American planetree*
17. Quercus alba -- White oak
18. Quercus bicolor -- Swamp white oak
19. Quercus borealis -- Northern red oak
20. Quercus macrocarpa -- Bur oak*
21. Quercus velutina -- Black oak
22. Taxodium distichum -- Common baldcypress
23. Tsuga canadensis -- Canada hemlock*
Remember -- if the weather is bad enough, any tree can lose branches, snap its trunk, or even lose its grip and fall over. You should use good judgment about keeping your home safe. It's not wise to have big trees next to your house, no matter what kind of trees they are.
For a (usually) safe distance between house and tree, allow half of the mature tree's spread (half of the diameter of its crown). If the mature tree will have a spread of 70 feet, it should be planted at least 35 feet from any buildings. This does mean that many suburban properties are too small for large trees.
If you want a guarantee that you will never have to cope with fallen branches or storm-damaged trees, simply remove all trees from your property. That should eliminate the problem.
Sources for the above list include:
Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: A Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers by Gary L. Hightshoe, published in 1988 by Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.
Ice Storm Damage to Urban Trees, an article in the appendix of Storms Over the Urban Forest, a publication of the USDA Forest Service. (This article's table, "Ice storm susceptibility of tree species commonly planted in urban areas" is reprinted in many reputable articles about ice damage susceptibility on the internet.)
Trees For Nebraska Ice Storm Recovery and Susceptibility of Trees to Ice Storm Damage in the Great Plains, published by the Nebraska Statewide Arboreum