Indiana, resting at the foot of the Great Lakes, enjoys a diverse economy and rich agricultural industry. The Hoosier State, as its residents are fondly called ‘Hoosiers’, elected the Tulip Poplar to be its state tree in 1931. The Tulip Poplar is a shade producing tree, standing as the tallest eastern hardwood at 165 feet. It is a highly valued lumber tree, with its initial branches starting at 80 feet. Although the fast-growing Tulip Poplar is a favorite among Hoosiers, there are many other trees to choose from when planting in Indiana.
Due to its large size, severe tornadoes, and varied temperatures, the smart Hoosier grower will have to consider the following items; climate, irrigation, average precipitation, soil type, growing zones and weather damage.
Best Trees for Indiana
Read about the specifics for your state in the following sections. If you’re looking for some quick ideas on what to plant, consider the following trees as expert-tested and The Tree Center approved:
#1. Muskogee Crape – Ideal for mildew resistance, fragrant lavender blooms, and fast-growing height.
#2. Bloodgood Japanese Maple – Ideal for adding color, ornamental beauty, and no-hassle maintenance.
#3. Cold Hardy Avocado – Ideal for bearing fruit for delicious, edible profits, color, and adaptable qualities.
#4. Tulip Poplar – Ideal for providing fast-growing shade, year-round beauty, and drought resistance.
Fast Growing Privacy Trees in Indiana
As property in Indiana continues to be developed, land owners are searching for trees that will provide privacy from prying neighborly eyes and loud, unwanted noise. There are many fast growing privacy trees in Indiana, which will quickly grow after initial planting to offer your property and family long sought-after privacy.
The Thuja Green Giant, a staple of privacy trees throughout the United States, is a fast-growing pine that will quickly provide a barrier between you and your neighbors. Growing between 3-5 feet a year, the Thuja Green Giant will offer your yard classic French design with minimal hassle. Alternatively, the Leyland Cypress and American Holly will also add color and privacy to your yard’s perimeter.
Indiana sits comfortably in the humid continental climate, with small regions of the south balancing on the threshold with a humid subtropical climate. Indiana is large in area, and as such, temperatures do vary across the state. Indiana has cold winters, dropping to as low as -36°F with moderate to severe snow. Summers are warm and wet, and do not typically rise above 100°F. Summer temperatures vary less, with most of the state lingering in the high 80s and low 90s.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. The state soil of Indiana is Miami soil, which is rich with nutrient matter and contains moderate amounts of water. It covers most of the state. Soybeans, corn, and wheat grow well in the soil, which is a deep fine-loam. Regardless of the property’s location in The Hoosier State, a soon-to-be tree planter can perform a simple test to determine his/her soil type.
In order to determine the type of soil in your yard, try this test to give you a basis for finding the best matched trees. For this test, you will need a healthy handful of soil from the layer beneath the topmost piece of soil. The soil should be a little damp, but not recently watered or wet. Simply squeeze the soil sample and one of the following events will occur.
1. You have CLAY if, after opening your hands, the soil maintains its shape, forming a ball. If you touch the sample, it does not fall apart.
2. You have LOAM if, after opening your hands, the soil maintains its shape, forming a ball. If you touch the sample, it falls apart.
3. You have SAND if, after opening your hands, the soil immediately collapses.
Once you know what soil type you have, you can find trees best suited to the dirt’s properties. Loam is the best soil to have, as its unique qualities make it ideal for holding and transferring water to trees.
Droughts do affect the state at times, though Indiana typically receives enough moisture to withstand the weather. Precipitation in the form of rain falls on average 40 inches annually, with slightly more rain falling in the south near the Ohio River. Snow can hit heavily, with areas near Lake Michigan in the northwest receiving 80 inches of snowfall and areas in the south only hit in the low teens. Proximity to the Great Lakes influences the weather greatly, often increasing snowfall by increasing both moisture and temperature in what is called the lake effect.
It is not uncommon for areas in urban and suburban Indiana to suffer from low quality water. Runoff in urban areas can be dangerous to overall environmental health, but planting trees can actually dampen this affect, since trees will store the water and use some of the pollutants to grow. Irrigation can help to manage the water flow, and in cases, decrease the toxicity of soil that is too rich in salt or chemicals. Installing a drip or sprinkler system is useful for newly planted trees, which require consistent and constant access to water to ensure successful plant growth.
The 38th largest state in the nation, Indiana only has four unique growing zones. A growing zone simply refers to the USDA’s determination of areas where certain plants are most likely to thrive, preferring to focus on minimal temperature ranges in which a plant can survive. Unlike many of its closely related relatives in size, which can have upwards of ten zones, Indiana is relatively level in elevation across the state. Plants in in the northwest portion of the state can expect temperatures to get low in Zone 5a, where the thermometer can dip below -20°F. In the farthest regions of the north near Lake Michigan and the farthest parts of the south temperatures do not often drop below -5°F.
Tornadoes, drought, and floods plague Indiana. Rated 8th in the country for risk of tornadoes, Indiana is strangely not part of Tornado Alley, where most tornadoes wreak havoc. Droughts occur occasionally, though precipitation falls evenly throughout the state. Heavy rains can cause Indiana’s many rivers and lakes to overflow, and low plains mean floods are frequent. However, they are rarely too damaging and often minimal in size. Trees offer great protection from floods, as the roots will cling to the soil preventing erosion. Furthermore, trees will take in excess water to a point, providing natural air and water control.