Grow the Best Trees For Minnesota Climate

Beautiful trees add a breath of fresh air for Minnesota residents and their lawns. Residents may plant trees for shade, windbreaks, privacy or beauty. As a result, the environment benefits from sustainability, and we enjoy the fruits of our labor for years to come.

Minnesota Tree Surgeon can guide you regarding tree care in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Let's find you the perfect tree!

How to Choose the Right Tree for Your Area

First, you must decide whether you want coniferous trees, deciduous trees or shrubs: 

  • Coniferous trees, such as firs and pines, retain their needle-like leaves all year. They're ideal if you're looking for windbreaks, shelterbelts or privacy.

  • Deciduous trees, such as maples and oaks, shed their leaves in the fall. They're perfect shade trees for hot summers, and their spectacular display of orange, yellow and red leaves as they fall in autumn is a bonus.

  • Shrubs are your go-to plants to add visual appeal to other planted trees. They won't grow beyond 15 feet high, so competition for growth is nonexistent.

Next, think about tree height and width. If you want to grow trees in a small area or fence your yard, consider medium and thin trees that grow 25-45 feet tall and about 20 feet wide. If you plan on planting trees in large parcels of land or growing shade trees, you can opt for tall and wide trees that grow to heights of 45 feet and breadths of 40 feet.

Lastly, check the soil conditions and space requirements of trees. If you're thinking of planting shrubs, assess their shade tolerance, as some thrive under shaded conditions while others don't.

Top Picks to Grow

The trees mentioned below can thrive during the harsh winters and humid summers of Minnesota:

  • Eastern red cedar: Native to Southeast Minnesota, this species grows best in areas with abundant sunlight and well-drained soils.

  • Bur oak: Also native to Minnesota, the bur oak flourishes under well-lit conditions and is a good shade tree.

  • White fir: This slow-growing coniferous tree requires little maintenance and withstands heat or drought.

  • Scots pine: This pine thrives in well-drained soils and bright sunlight, and many people love its long life and shading/wind-breaking abilities.

  • Serviceberry: An ornamental species, serviceberry is a top choice for landscaping due to its stunning visuals all year round.

  • Northern white cedar: This cypress species is a hedge tree loved by deer, so it's a good tree choice if you want to attract wildlife.

  • Red maple: Although salt intolerant, the red maple can grow in different soil types, and it exhibits a fall leaf color display perfect for aesthetics.

The Best Time to Plant Trees

Our professional tree arborists recommend planting trees in early spring. The ground is easier to dig up since it has just thawed. In addition, the seedling roots can grow into the surrounding soil before experiencing stress from new growth.

Fall is too late to start planting trees in Minnesota. Trees planted in autumn are unlikely to survive the cold temperatures that could cause root damage.

Tree Care

The kind of care you provide your trees from planting and throughout their lifetime determines their survival. 


Here are critical steps to take when tree planting:

  • Take a soil sample from the planting area to a nursery near you for testing, and follow the advice you receive.

  • Purchase smaller plants as they require smaller planting holes and often acclimate better when transplanted.

  • Dig holes at least three times the width of roots and as deep as the root ball size to accommodate new root growth.

  • Loosen the roots before planting because they get confined by the container they previously grew in.


It's best to water the planted seedlings consistently to establish a deep root system. That means daily watering for the first 1-2 weeks. From weeks 3-12, water them every 2-3 days, after which you can water them once weekly until the plantings are well-established.


Add several inches of mulch around the roots to retain soil moisture and prevent the growth of weeds. However, proper application is crucial here. Don't pile the mulch around the stem, as stem girdling roots could grow and kill your seedling.

The crew was very professional! The work was efficient and the clean up... spectacular.— Lora H.
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