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University of Minnesota Extension

Trees for Minnesota

Planting a tree? Consider one of these

Amur maackia tree in summer
‘Summertime’ Amur maackia

Fall and spring are good times to plant trees, providing you water and care for them as needed. But what should you plant? 
“Recommending trees that grow well across the state is very difficult,” says Gary Johnson, University of Minnesota Extension urban forester, but these favorites of his are hardy to at least zone 3, meaning that they should survive winter temperatures of 30 to 40 degrees below zero.

Northern Acclaim honeylocust

Reaches 40 feet. An attractive, tough prairie native, this tree appeals to those who want shade, but need some sun to shine through onto their lawn. 

Silver Queen silver maple

Reaches 50 feet. This smaller well-built tree handles windstorm damage better than regular silver maples. Plant at least 5 to 6 feet from concrete surfaces. 


Can exceed 60 feet. “I call this shade tree a junkyard dog,” says Johnson. “There’s nothing special about its foliage, but it’s tough in challenging urban sites.”

Summertime Amur maackia

Reaches 20 feet. This smaller tree is actually a legume, like the honeylocust. Legumes have the reputation of doing better than other trees on hostile, urban sites.

Northern pin oak

Can exceed 60 feet. A good performer, but make sure the soil is not too alkaline. Johnson’s favorite cultivar is ‘Majestic Skies.’ “With deeply indented leaves, it looks pretty fancy,” he says. “And, yes, it has acorns.”

Bur oak

Ranges from 35 to 40 feet in the Red River Valley, to 50 feet or higher in southeast Minnesota. “Despite concerns about bur oak blight, it’s still the monarch of Minnesota’s trees,” says Johnson. It, too, has acorns.

American elms

Can grow higher than 70 feet. These take work to maintain. “‘Prairie Expedition’ and ‘St. Croix’ have pretty good resistance to Dutch elm disease,” says Johnson. “But resistance should never be interpreted as immunity.”

Learn more about choosing and caring for trees

Extension offers more detailed information about trees, including recommended trees by region, how to care for trees and shrubs in your landscape and how to identify and deal with pests and diseases.

Tree selection and care tips
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