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10 BEST Trees to Plant in Minnesota

A list of best trees to plant in Minnesota

Minnesota is ecologically diverse, which means, the health and life expectancy of a tree depends on the weather and soil characteristics here.  Remember, trees thrive well in their natural vegetation; some trees dwell quite well anywhere, while others fail to survive in extreme weather.  Finding the right type of tree makes it easy to grow them.  Therefore we made a list of 10 best trees to plant in Minnesota.   Elms, maples and oaks are some of the popular native trees among them. 

Landscaping has always enhanced the beauty of the property, as well as its pricing value.  While trees are a vital part of the landscaping, it is crucial to determine which type of tree is best suited to the climate in Minnesota.  This list of 10 best trees to plant in Minnesota will help you make your choice to pick the right tree to plant in your yard.

10 best trees to plant in Minnesota

Crabapple Tree

Crabapple trees are well known for their spring blossoms.  These gorgeous trees are just perfect to add elegance to the landscaping.  Some of the most popular varieties of crabapple trees include Snowdrift, Sugar Thyme, Harvest Gold, and Golden Hornet.

- Why grow a Crabapple Tree?

Crabapple trees are one of the easiest trees to grow.  In addition, they add color to the landscaping with beautiful red, pink, and white blossoms that sometimes long all spring and may last up to fall.  These trees can be planted anywhere in the yard, in any space, on any type of soil, in shade, or under full sun.  They are best planted near cherry, pear, and apple trees to attract pollinators and boost fruit growth.

- What could harm them?

Crabapple trees are one of the best trees to plant in Minnesota as there are very few things that harm them.  Fire blight, caused by the bacterium Erwina Amylovora, is the most devastation disease to kill a Crabapple Tree.   Most trees die of old age and hence there isn’t much to worry about. The only thing to keep in mind is that when these trees grow old, they may attract pests and insects that may pose a threat to other trees around.

Chestnut Tree

Chestnut trees are fast-growing trees that thrive well where there is heat and humidity.  It’s more of a southern Minnesota tree, however there are a few beautiful ones scattered around the Twin Cities.  A well known tree stands in St. Anthony.  The hotter the climate, the better they grow.  Hence, they are among the 10 best trees to plant in Minnesota.  When young, these trees have an attractive reddish brown or grey bark, with oval or lance-shaped dark green leaves that are darker at the top. But when they age, the barks become furrowed.  The most popular varieties of chestnut trees are American, Chinese, European, and Japanese

- Why grow Chestnut Tree?

They are among the best trees to plant in Minnesota because of the humidity and the weather there.  These trees grow up to fifty feet and provide are considered ideal if you are looking for some shade.  In addition, the chestnut tree produces up to 100 pounds of nuts in a year.

- What could harm them?

Chestnut trees can easily fight against garden pests, insects, various diseases, and heat. But if they are subject to excessive water, young chestnut trees will die young. Chestnut blight is a disease that came into the United States in the 1900’s, killing all of the American Chestnut Trees in the country.  The blight, like Crabapple blight, is caused by a fugus.  Cryphonectria parasitica, a member of the Ascomycota phylum.   Excessive water can also affect mature trees.  To prevent premature death due to excessive water, you may consider mulching around the tree once you plant them.

Illustration 10 best trees to plant in Minnesota

Dogwood Tree

Dogwood trees are single-trunk small to medium-sized flowering trees with distinctive barks which make it easier to recognize them.  These decorative trees produce white spring flowers.  They also produce green summer foliage that changes to beautiful reddish foliage during fall. Some of the most popular varieties include Common dogwood tree, cornelian, White, and Pagoda.

- Why grow Dogwoon Tree?

These trees are just perfect for a gardener who wants a small tree.  They fit into a yard of any size and enhance its beauty with mesmerizing flowers.  The enticing spring blooms of the dogwood trees add color to the yard. These little flowering trees attract pollinators in addition to serving as an abode to tiny animals that benefit the surroundings.  Furthermore, dogwood trees don’t need pruning or any maintenance, and hence are ideal to grow.  Therefore, they are in the top 10 of best trees to plant in Minnesota

- What could harm them?

Dogwood trees are prone to diseases that affect vegetables, fruits, and herb trees.  In addition, mildew, mold, canker, and root rot can harm them.  The Golden canker is the most common disease of the Pagoda Dogwood.  Infected branches turn bright yellow to orange in color and die off.  If you see this on your tree, it may be possible to remove the infected branch before it reached the main stem/trunk of the tree.  

Elm Tree | best trees to plant if you need shade

Elm trees are the best trees to plant if you are looking for shade.  They are one of the oldest types of trees that grow up to 100 feet tall and branch out 75 feet wide.  While some elm trees grow upright and tall, others grow an umbrella-shaped canopy.  But the most common feature is the oval-shaped leaf with visible veins, pointed end, and toothed edges.  With 35 different species of elm trees, some of the most popular varieties include American, Siberian, Chinese, and Ulmus Minor. 

- Why grow Elm Trees?

Elm trees can grow anywhere in Minnesota and they are perfect for gardeners and homeowners.   They love heat and are considered one of the most versatile trees.  These trees are perfect if you need shade as they grow incredibly wide. In addition, they give an ‘old country’ feel to the yard, making it a pleasant scenery.  No wonder they are among the 10 best trees to plant in Minnesota!

- What could harm them?

Unfortunately, elm trees are the most disease-prone trees.  Almost all the trees in North America are being destroyed by a disease called the Dutch Elm disease.  The disease is making it incredibly difficult for gardeners to protect and grow these beautiful trees. In addition to the Dutch Elm disease, these trees are easily destroyed by insects, especially five different species of beetles that attack different parts of the tree.  Today there are over 17 cultivars that are proven disease resistant to Dutch Elm disease.  Elms are still a wonderful choice.  

Fir Tree

Fir trees are can grow to a height anywhere between 32 feet to 262 feet.  Although they look like a spruce tree or pine tree, fir trees can be recognized by the type of cone and needle-like leaves that are green throughout the year.  Some of the species such as balsam, noble, and Fraser are popular Christmas trees.  The most popular varieties grown in Minnesota include Fraser, Korean, Nordmann, and White.

- Why grow Fir Trees?

As these trees grow tall and are wide at the bottom, they are best suited for those who like a little privacy. In addition, these trees when planted together, keep dust and other pollutants away.  They are hardy against warm and cold weather and can survive with little water.  These trees are best known for their low maintenance. Do you like little animals?  Then Fir trees are the best trees to plant because they attract little animals such as squirrels, rabbits, deer, and various types of birds. 

- What could harm them?

Although they are among the best trees to plan in Minnesota, please not that excessive water, untimely pruning, and diseases such as White Pine Blister Rust, Dwarf Mistletoe, and Swiss Needlecast can harm and even kill fir trees.

ten best trees to plant in Minnesota

Hickory Tree

These trees are large, with hard and dense wood, and a spreading canopy.  They have grey flaky and rigged barks, egg-shaped edible nuts, and leaves with toothed edges.  They grow between 60 to 80 feet tall and nearly 40 feet wide.  These trees can adapt to dry soil, but they need moist soil to grow well.  Popular varieties include Pecan, Bitternut, Shellbark, and Shagbark.

- Why grow Hickory Trees?

Hickory trees provide shade and add beautiful color to the yard.  They are some of the fastest-growing trees that grow tall and wide.  Most hickory trees produce edible nuts.  While some are edible for animals, others such as pecan are edible to humans. Furthermore, the nuts help in growing more hickory trees.

- What could harm them?

Insects are the only harm to a hickory tree, especially the Hickory bark beetles.  These beetles attack the barks of only these trees and leave them unprotected from fungus and diseases.

Japanese Lilac Tree

They are mid-sized flowering trees that grow white flowers that are 6 to 12 inches long.  They have a moderate growth rate, grow upright, and spread to a round shape.  The flowers bloom early in summer and the seeds that follow these flowers live through winter.  The best time to plant Japanese Lilac Trees is late winter or early spring.  Popular varieties include Signature, Ivory Silk, Ivory Pillar, and Golden Eclipse.  They are among the best trees to plant if you like colors in your yard!

- Why grow a Japanese Lilac Tree?

The Japanese Lilac Tree is just perfect for small spaces as the size can be controlled by pruning.  They add beauty to the yard by adding the perfect accent to plants, bushes, and shrubs in the yard.  The most prominent benefit is that they are low-maintenance.  They don’t need much pruning, require very little water, and are not prone to diseases or insect infestation.

- What could harm them?

Shade and poor soil can harm a Japanese Lilac Tree.  They need ample sunlight and well-draining loose soil.  They cannot survive in compact soil or clay.

Japanese Maple Tree

The Japanese Maple Tree, also called Smooth Japanese Maple grows anywhere from 4 to 30 feet tall.  They are priced for their colorful foliage that adds immense beauty to the yard.  These colors last through the growing season and autumn.  They are slow-growing species that best grow in shady woodlands.  The most popular varieties include Palmatum and Dissectumipse. If you like beautiful colors in your yard, the Japanese maple tree is one of the best trees to plant!

- Why grow a Japanese Maple Tree?

The Japanese Maple is an ornamental tree with beautiful shades of green, red, purple, and brown.  These trees are great for small spaces, whether you live in cities or the suburbs of Minnesota.  In addition, they are the easiest trees to shapen and bonsai.  A spectacular tree to experiment with.  One of the most favorable trees at our home.  

- What could harm them?

These trees are prone to insect attacks.  While several insects can attack them, the most harmful is the Japanese Beetle. Furthermore, these trees cannot bear cold weather.  If the weather drops below 20 degrees F, you may consider wrapping burlap around the tree.

Maple Tree

Maple trees are shady trees that have leafy foliage.  They have furrowed dark brown barks with narrow reddish brown twigs, and grow up to 150 feet tall.  These trees produce green lobed leaves that change color to yellow, orange, red, and dark burgundy during fall.  They also bear small, winged fruits. Popular varieties include Silver, Sugar, Sycamore, Norway, and Red.  

- Why grow a Maple Tree?

These trees grow incredibly fast and are perfect if you are looking for some shade in your yard.  They produce beautiful colored leaves in summer and fall, and amazing flowers in spring.  There are very few insects and pests that can harm them and they live up to 100 years due to their large root system.

- What could harm them?

While mature trees can withstand pests, deer, squirrels, and some birds can harm young maple trees.   Furthermore, extreme weather can affect young trees. Wrapping them with burlap during winter can help.

Oak Tree | best trees to plant in big yards

Oak trees are the most common species of trees and are known for their longevity and legendary strength.  They adapt well to suburban yards, cities, and natural forests.  If these trees must be a part of the landscaping, they are best suited in big yards, away from residential units.  There are nearly 500 different varieties of this tree.  The most popular varieties of oak trees are Bur, Northern, English, and White.

- Why grow an Oak Tree?

Oak trees are one of the fastest growing trees and can provide shade in a few short years.  They add color to the yard in summer and fall with beautiful shades of red, brown, and orange.  They can be grown anywhere in Minnesota, on any type of soil.  They are low-maintenance trees that can thrive in cold and hot weather.  They can also tolerate pollutants.

- What could harm them?

Young Oak trees are prone to pests and certain diseases that include chlorosis and hypoxylon cankers.  Oak worms, caterpillars, sawflies, and borer are some of the pests that can cause potential harm to young trees.  Oak Wilt is the largest killer of our Oak trees along with Twolined Chestnut Borer.  See our blogs about disease management and care.  

These trees are considered to be the 10 best trees to plant in Minnesota, and they have some common factors that make them ideal to be grown in this state.  These trees thrive in heat and cold, and some can even thrive in harsh weather, they are great cross pollinators, they can grow in any soil, they can fight against insects, pests, and diseases, and they add mesmerizing color to the yard throughout the year.

Get more information on the best trees to plant in Minnesota from the Department of Natural Resources in Minnesota

Are you looking to plant new trees at your property? And you are not sure which are the best trees to plant in your yard?  We here at Alliance Tree Care are here to help you pick the right trees. Give us a call at 651- 335-9565 and Melissa or Kelby would be happy to assist you, or fill in the form at our contact page.