The Hawkeye State has a history of strong agricultural practice and wildlife sustainability. The traditional Oak, of which there are dozens of variants in North American, represents this tree. Chosen because it provides shade, shelter and food to both humans and animals alike, the Oak represents a way of life deemed essential to the Iowan. Soon-to-be planters are not relegated to just the Oak, but instead have hundreds of tree varieties perfect for Iowa planting. Sometimes call the American Heartland, Iowa is surrounded by the Mississippi on the east and two rivers, the Missouri and Big Sioux Rivers on the west.
Due to its rolling hills, many lakes, and cooler temperatures, the smart Iowan grower will need to consider the following variables; climate, average precipitation, irrigation, soil type, weather damage and growing zones.
Best Trees for Iowa
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. Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree – Ideal for providing stunning beauty and shade.
#3. Cold Hardy Avocado – Ideal for bearing fruit for delicious, edible profits, color, and adaptable qualities.
#4. Autumn Purple Ash – Ideal for providing unique fall colors, shade, climate tolerance.
Fast Growing Privacy Trees in Iowa
As property in Iowa 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 Iowa, 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.
Iowa experiences weather extremes, with hot summers and cold winters. The average temperature is 50°F with the northern regions slightly lower, at 45°F. Winters get quite cold, with temperatures falling as low as -47°F. Snow is frequent in the winter season. Spring brings seasonal severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Summer is hot and humid, with temperatures reaching as high as 118°F, though usually lingering around 100°F.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. The state soil of Iowa is called tama, one of the most well-renowned for its agricultural fertility. Deep, rich loam such as tama is ideal for the prairie grasses and crops for which Iowa is known. Regardless of the property’s location in The Hawkeye State, a soon-to-be tree planter can perform a simple test to determine his/her soil type.
The test requires a handful of fresh soil from the layer just below the top. It should be damp but not wet. The tester should hold the soil in the palm of his/her hand and, not surprisingly, squeeze. The squeeze will produce one of three events.
1. The soil will hold its shape, likely forming a snake. If you touch the snake, the soil will maintain its original shape. You have CLAY.
2. The soil will hold its shape, likely forming a snake. If you touch the snake, the soil will collapse. You have LOAM.
3. The soil will fall apart as you open your hands. You have SAND.
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.
Iowa receives on average 38 inches of rain per year, but flash floods and rising levels in lakes and rivers are frequent. Thunderstorms occur often in both spring and summer, bringing much of the year’s rain. In the same year, Iowa will receive over 40 inches of snow in winter. Precipitation varies frequently from year to year, with the wettest year bringing in over 74 inches of rain in the period of one season.
In a state with such variations in precipitation, irrigation is essential to the state’s infrastructure. Irrigation can help provide consistent and controlled water access to yards and plants. Rolling hills, multiple bodies of water, and extreme variations in yearly rainfall mean that with the necessities of newly planted trees, irrigation can assist with water availability and growth. New trees need to develop strong roots and irrigation is an important tool in this process. Consider a drip or sprinkler system to ensure successful plant growth.
For a state with such an enormous size, it may seem surprising that Iowa only has three 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, Iowa has relatively few. This is due, in part, to the relative level nature of Iowa. Despite some rolling hills, especially in the north, Iowa contains relatively flat farmland. The state can be split into two main zones: in the south, plants should withstand temperatures down to -20°F and in the north, -25°. There is a small region northeast of Waterloo where temperatures occasionally may drop to -30°F.
Severe thunderstorms hit first, spring and summer bringing over 50 days of thunderstorms, which is above the national average. Thunderstorms lead to tornadoes in late summer, with Iowa averaging at least 37 tornadoes a year. Iowa is one of the most dangerous states to live in due to tornadoes, with recent tornadoes wreaking havoc and death in the region. High winds and strong storms cause fallen power lines and buildings. When planting trees in Iowa, the Iowan planter should consider locations further away from buildings. Trees can also prevent erosions in flash floods.
If you prefer to purchase your trees or shrubs in person instead of online, we offer this comprehensive guide to purchasing a tree at your local Iowa nursery or garden center. However, since we don’t actually live in Iowa we can’t guarantee this list to be 100% accurate – but we did attempt to be as accurate as we possibly could. We have no affiliation with any of the businesses listed below and make no guarantees as to the businesses’ ability or the quality of trees you will receive. As with any purchase you make, be sure to check out the business with the Better Business Bureau, references, and any other sources you may have.
|Ames||Ames Landscape and Nursery||4320 US Highway 69||515-232-2840|
|Ames||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||1601 S Kellogg Avenue||515-232-2929|
|Ankeny||Des Moines Nursery Company||2538 NE 102nd Avenue||515-964-3642|
|Ankeny||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||1509 N Ankeny Boulevard||515-964-2884|
|Ankeny||Struthers Trees||2908 NE 94th Avenue||515-964-5145|
|Atlantic||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||315 Poplar Street||712-243-1765|
|Belmond||Aldrich Tree Farm||1941 Taylor Avenue||641-853-2365|
|Bettendorf||Wallace’s Garden Center Company||2605 Devils Glen Road||563-332-4711|
|Bloomfield||Clearview Tree Farm and Nursery||16247 285th Street||641-929-3320|
|Blue Grass||Ferris Tree Nursery||1610 Zachary Avenue||563-381-2034|
|Boone||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||1504 S Marshall Street||515-432-5941|
|Boone||Lowe-Berry Floral Creations||2204 Mamie Eisenhower Avenue||515-432-6275|
|Cambridge||Strautman Tree Farm||58976 290th Street||515-383-4675|
|Carroll||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||1607 Radiant Road||712-792-9660|
|Carroll||Enchanted Gardens||18923 Highway 71||712-792-1985|
|Carroll||Snyder Tree Service and Nursery||439 Washington Street||712-792-3389|
|Cascade||Cascade Forestry Service Inc||21995 Fillmore Road||563-852-3042|
|Cedar Falls||Dierks Tree Transplant Inc||9128 W Cedar Wapsie Road||319-277-7173|
|Cedar Falls||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||2501 Melrose Drive||319-277-2021|
|Cedar Falls||Jordan’s Nursery||1715 W 1st Street||319-266-4717|
|Cedar Rapids||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||1200 Edgewood Road SW||319-396-7684|
|Cedar Rapids||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||5155 Northland Avenue NE||319-377-7582|
|Cedar Rapids||Frontier Garden Center||1941 Blairs Ferry Road NE||319-393-8546|
|Clarence||Kevin Kelly Tree Farm||191 Quincy Avenue||563-452-4300|
|Clear Lake||Roma Flower and Garden Center||2200 4th Avenue S||641-357-0805|
|Clinton||Gateway Gardening Center||1845 Manufacturing Drive||563-243-6853|
|Clive||The Woodsmith Store||10320 Hickman Road||515-875-7076|
|Correctionville||Correctionville Nursery||4161 150th Street||712-372-4485|
|Council Bluffs||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||1718 Madison Avenue||712-322-8780|
|Council Bluffs||Hardiman’s Greenhouse||1221 N 16th Street||712-329-8910|
|Council Bluffs||Quality Curb Service||1128 Avenuenue D||712-322-6690|
|Cresco||Grube Lawn and Garden||112 2nd Street SW||563-547-3920|
|Cresco||Holub’s Greenhouse Nursery||429 8th Street E||563-547-3521|
|Creston||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||802 S Oak Street||641-782-4721|
|Cumming||Howell Tree Farm||3129 Howell Lane||515-981-4762|
|Dakota City||Oaks Garden Spot||707 3rd Avenue S||515-332-1778|
|Davenport||Garden Town USA||3324 Diehn Avenue||563-326-4590|
|Davenport||Green Thumbers||3030 Brady Street||563-323-4984|
|Davenport||Wallace’s Garden Center Company||6227 Northwest Boulevard||563-445-2458|
|Decorah||Ladybug Landscapes||906 S Mechanic Street||563-387-0217|
|Decorah||Willowglen Nursery||3512 Lost Mile Road||563-735-5570|
|Denison||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||1624 4th Avenue S||712-263-3348|
|Des Moines||Augustine Tree Farm||4946 SW 42nd Street||515-285-7782|
|Des Moines||Des Moines Feed and Garden Shop||2019 Hubbell Avenue||515-262-0154|
|Des Moines||Des Moines Seed and Nursery Company||6015 Grand Avenue||515-274-2586|
|Des Moines||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||5910 Douglas Avenue||515-276-5518|
|Des Moines||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||7701 Bloomfield Road||515-287-5727|
|Des Moines||Great Plains Garden Center||4365 NE 44th Drive||515-265-6058|
|Dixon||Schaecher’s Nursery||4965 280th Street||563-843-3744|
|Dubuque||Breitbach Tree Farm||7901 Hendricks Lane||563-557-3227|
|Dunlap||Willow Nursery Garden Center||600 Montague Street||712-643-2380|
|Dyersville||Deutmeyer Nursery and Sod||1020 1st Avenue W||563-875-8535|
|Earling||Tremel Nursery and Lawn Ornament||541 2200th Street||712-747-9411|
|Epworth||LA Don’s Gardens||502 W Main Street||563-876-3784|
|Estherville||Estherville Garden Center||408 2nd Avenue N||712-362-8733|
|Fairbank||Country Roads||1129 150th Street||319-635-2929|
|Fairfield||Drug Town Garden Center||407 W Burlington Avenue||641-469-5040|
|Farley||Hermsen Nursery||11431 Jamesmeier Road||563-744-3991|
|Farmington||Rider Nursery||32004 295th Street||319-878-3313|
|Fort Dodge||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||168 S 25th Street||515-576-4231|
|George||G and L Nurseries Inc||4041 250th Street||712-475-2642|
|Glenwood||Oakcrest Gardens||22871 Kane Avenue||712-527-4974|
|Glenwood||Terry’s Evergreen Valley Nrsry||22573 Norris Avenue||712-527-4915|
|Gowrie||Garden of Dreams||907 Market Street||515-352-3414|
|Granger||Dierks Trees Today Inc||10911 NW 115th Avenue||515-999-2799|
|Grimes||Hoys Tree Farm||8211 NW 114th Street||515-986-3540|
|Grinnell||Lawn and Garden Center||1807 West Street S||641-236-8115|
|Harlan||Flower Barn||1439 1120th Street||712-755-9603|
|Harlan||Garry’s Garden and Landscaping||2305 Chatburn Avenue||712-755-2216|
|Humboldt||Tree Farm||1645 220th Street||515-332-9855|
|Humboldt||Wempen Enterprises Inc||2095 K Road||515-332-1979|
|Ida Grove||Lunzman Nursery||2531 Jasper Avenue||712-364-2002|
|Independence||In the Company untry Garden and Gifts||2392 240th Street||319-334-6593|
|Iowa City||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||1901 Lower Muscatine Road||319-354-5028|
|Iowa City||Iowa City Landscaping||520 Highway 1 W||319-337-8351|
|Iowa City||Pleasant Valley Garden Center||1301 S Gilbert Street||319-337-3118|
|Jefferson||Jefferson Nursery and Tree Spade||900 W Mahlon Street||515-386-3371|
|Jefferson||Outdoor Artistry Nursey||305 E Lincolnway Street||515-386-2816|
|Jefferson||Squirrel’s Nest||702 E Lincolnway Street||515-386-4042|
|Johnston||Holub Gardens||6125 Merle Hay Road||515-278-8600|
|Johnston||Miller Nursery Company||5155 NW 57th Avenue||515-276-7505|
|Kalona||English Valley Trees||2140 Highway 22||319-656-3125|
|Lake City||Goins Garden Center||701 W Franklin Street||712-464-7638|
|Lake Mills||Tree Moving and Sales||709 E Main Street||641-592-8192|
|Larchwood||Williams Tree Farm||1072 110th Street #B||712-477-2468|
|Marion||Culver’s Nursery and Garden Center||Highway 151||319-377-4195|
|Marshalltown||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||3001 S Center Street||641-753-6124|
|Marshalltown||Isle of Green Garden Center||609 S 9th Street||641-752-1999|
|Mason City||Blackmore Gardens||1007 4th Street SW||641-423-5104|
|Mason City||Blackmore Nursery and Garden Center||650 S Garfield Avenue||641-424-1213|
|Mason City||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||12251 265th Street||641-423-7932|
|Monona||Riveland Nursery and Garden Center||10738 Falcon Avenue||563-539-2084|
|Monticello||Limestone Studios and Gardens||15457 Jones Delaware Road||319-465-3337|
|Monticello||Sunset Nursery and Garden Center||18136 County Road D62||319-465-6422|
|Moorland||Trees and More Nursery||1479 230th Street||515-549-3796|
|MT Vernon||Mount Vernon Tree Transplant||1000 Irish Lane||319-895-6516|
|Muscatine||Green Thumbers||5112 Grandview Avenue||563-263-4403|
|New Sharon||Mahaska Park Nursery||2660 170th Street||641-637-4450|
|Newton||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||2306 1st Avenue E||641-792-4404|
|Onawa||Gardenland||508 Emerald Street||712-423-2707|
|Osage||Happy Acres Nursery||2012 Highway 9||641-732-5173|
|Oskaloosa||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||1311 A Avenue W||641-673-6264|
|Oskaloosa||Holub Greenhouses and Garden Center||406 S 11th Street||641-673-8689|
|Ottumwa||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||2857 N Court Street||641-682-5617|
|Ottumwa||Thomas Tree Farm||17591 Highway 34||641-683-1835|
|Oxford||Lewis Brothers Tree Farm||1786 Iwv Road SW||319-828-4569|
|Palo||Cedar River Garden Center||2889 Palo Marsh Road||319-851-2161|
|Peosta||Splendid Valley Nursery||14973 Highway 20||563-557-8325|
|Red Oak||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||1701 N Broadway Street||712-623-4604|
|Remsen||Chip and Dale Nursery||13146 Shamrock Avenue||712-786-3136|
|Runnells||Morgan Oaks Tree Farm||1667 SE 88th Street||515-967-9766|
|Sac City||Lake’s Tree Farm||2361 Rolf Avenue||712-662-7332|
|Scotch Grove||Scotch Grove Nursery||16336 116th Avenue||319-465-3985|
|Shelby||Silver Creek Nursery and Gdn Center||30962 380th Street||712-544-2187|
|Shenandoah||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||301 S Fremont Street||712-246-2780|
|Shenandoah||Earl May Seed and Nursery Company||208 N Elm Street||712-246-1020|
|Sioux Center||Greenworld Inc||309 7th Street NW||712-722-2621|
|Sioux City||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||4141 Gordon Drive||712-276-4776|
|Sioux City||Mosher Garden Center||3235 N US Highway 75||712-293-1333|
|Sioux City||Mosher Garden Center||4305 Floyd Boulevard||712-239-2252|
|Sioux City||Mosher Greenhouses||4101 War Eagle Drive||712-233-2951|
|Spencer||Del’s Garden Center||1808 11th Street SE||712-262-4912|
|Storm Lake||Jones Nursery and Garden Store||861 Highway 7||712-732-6785|
|Story City||Lone Tree Nursery||12487 Timberland Drive||515-733-4435|
|Swisher||Horak’s Landscape Nursery||1354 Curtis Bridge Road NE||319-848-7222|
|Tipton||Kevin Kelly Tree Farm||1045 Streetone Mill Road||563-886-2995|
|Washington||Washington Nursery and Landscape||1820 W Main Street||319-653-2471|
|Waterloo||Meyers Nursery||1685 Independence Avenue||319-232-3954|
|Waterloo||Platt’s Nursery Garden Shop||3700 University Avenue||319-234-2686|
|Waverly||Tiedt Nursery and Forestry Service||2419 E Bremer Avenue||319-352-0418|
|West Burlington||Tender Top Gardens||2902 406th Road||319-752-3305|
|West Des Moines||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||1845 22nd Street||515-223-8827|
|West Des Moines||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||245 S 50th Street||515-223-3882|
|Winterset||Winterset Seed Store||615 S 2nd Avenue||515-462-2829|