Tree planting and care

Choosing the right tree or shrub for your area

Answering these key questions can help you choose the right tree or shrub for your area:


1. Coniferous, deciduous or shrub?

photo: White Pine conifer image form forestry imagesConiferous trees keep their needles all year. They are good trees to plant for privacy and wind breaks or shelterbelts

  • Pines include native white, red, jack, etc. They have long needles.
  • Spruces and firs include black and white. They have short needles. They are important sources of wood fiber in northern Minnesota, and are excellent choices for windbreaks or shelterbelts.
  • Cedars include white or red. Cedars have scaled needles. Smaller than pines, and spruces, cedars can provide wildlife cover and food.

photo: Red Oak image from forestry imagesDeciduous trees lose their leaves in fall or winter. They are good trees to plant on the south side of your home to provide shade in the summer and warmth in the winter when the sun can shine through. Deciduous trees are known for their beautiful leaf color when they drop their leaves each fall.

  • Native elms, maples, oaks, walnut, beech, etc. are used to provide excellent cover and food for wildlife, maple syrup, nuts, and lumber for furniture building.
  • Native aspens, basswoods, butternut, and basswoods, cherry etc. are fast-growing and are often used for windbreaks, fiber, and biomass.

Photo: Grey Dogwood image from Forestry ImagesShrubs are multi-stemmed woody plants that rarely exceed 15 feet in height. Mix shrubs with tree plantings and add visual diversity, and wildlife cover, and food.

  • Shrubs include native dogwoods, hazelnut, crabapple, etc. Shrubs provide excellent year-round cover and food source for wildlife.

2. What size tree or shrub?

Tree species vary in their height and width. For large restoration projects or planting several trees in one area, consider their mature size. (Some of the trees listed are available through Minnesota State Forest Nurseries).

Note: Use trees with a mature height of 18 feet or less within 18 feet of a power line.

Short and skinny trees or shrubs: Grow up to 18 feet tall and about 20 feet wide.

Sample list

  • American Hazelnut
  • Common Chokecherry
  • Wild plum
  • Crabapple
  • Dogwood
  • Nannyberry
 

Medium and skinny trees: Grow 25 to 45 feet tall and about 20 feet wide. They are great for areas near fences and smaller places.

Sample list

 

Tall and wide trees: Grow higher than 45 feet tall and 40 feet wide. They provide the most shade for homes, driveways and other large, hot areas.

Sample List

 

Tall and skinny trees: Grow higher than 45 feet tall and about 20 feet wide. They provide shade in areas that do not have a lot of room.

Sample List


3. Other tree and shrub factors?

Trees can add more to your home than shade or a wind block. Consider trees for their:

  • Flowers: Flowers add color to the landscape and attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other wildlife.
  • Fall color: Red, orange, yellow, and purple are all colors that add beauty in the fall.
  • Fruit/nut: Many varieties of trees and shrubs can provide food for wildlife.
  • Soil moisture/texture: Different tree varieties have different growing soil needs and requirements. More information
  • Shade Tolerance: Different tree varieties have different levels of shade tolerance, from very tolerant to very intolerant. More information
  • Shape: Trees can be V-shaped, pyramidal, oval, round; all add interest to your landscape.
    image: Drawing of tree shapes

4. Location, location, location

Minnesota State Forest Nursery offer tree seedlings and shrubs for conservation and restoration purposes to the public. All are native to Minnesota. Minimum purchase is 500 trees or shrubs.

Note: Only short trees that reach a maximum of 18 feet tall can be planted under overhead utility lines. You must stay at least 10 to 15 feet away from the house foundation and at least 5 feet away from fences, patios, and other surface structures.


5. Decision

  • Collect the answers to steps 1–4.
  • Go to your local nursery and pick out the tree and or shrub that will fit into your area.
  • Plant your tree and don't forget to water This link leads to an external site. it every day.
  • Fence your tree to prevent animals from browsing.
  • Sit back and watch it grow.