The Sunshine State is rightly named, for Kansas is known for its hot, sunny summers. Cottonwoods adapt well to this environment, growing into 130 foot tall deciduous trees with cracked, thick bark. Native to North America, Asia, and the Greek and Macedonian regions referred to as Aigerios, Cottonwoods are so named because of their seeds, which display in a fashion similar to dandelion puffs, transported by strong winds. Though stunning emblems of Kansas, Kansans are not limited to the Cottonwoods and instead can choose from hundreds of tree varieties.
Due to its large plains, described by one as “flat as a pancake”, severe weather systems, and hot summers, the smart Kansan grower will need to consider the following:
– Soil Type
– Average Precipitation
– Growing Zones
– Weather Damage
Best Trees for Kansas
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. Royal Empress Trees – Ideal for providing fast-growing shade, year-round beauty, and drought resistance.
#2. Bloodgood Japanese Maple – Ideal for adding color, ornamental beauty, and no-hassle maintenance.
#3. Dwarf Cavendish Banana Tree – Ideal for bearing fruit, providing character, and moving between inside or outside.
#4. Willow Hybrid – Ideal for providing privacy, fast-growing properties, and easy care.
Fast Growing Privacy Trees in Kansas
New developments throughout the United States mean more infrastructure, more people, and more invasion of privacy. The residents of Kansas have the option to plant and tend trees that produce privacy, turning away prying eyes and loud noises and instead enjoying the quiet and peace of private property.
The Leyland Cypress is the perfect privacy tree for Kansan inhabitants. The Leyland Cypress grows quickly, adds distinct charm, and produces thick barriers between a private abode and unwanted chatter. Growing between 3 and 5 feet a year, the Leyland Cypress will give the Kansan yard the fast-growing privacy for which they have been searching. Alternatively, the Thuja Green Giant and American Holly will bring privacy, color, and solitude to the savvy planter’s yard.
Kansas is typically split into a one-third region to the west and two-thirds in the east. A humid continental climate with cold winters and hot, humid summers characterizes the east, and a semiarid steppe climate runs west of U.S. Route 281. The most southeastern regions enjoy a humid subtropical climate with more precipitation than the rest of the state. All three climates can be found throughout the state, however. Temperatures in summer have risen as high as 121°F and in winter they have dropped to -40°F. Winter temperatures can vary greatly, and western Kansas has seen winters with temperatures as warm as 80°F.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. The state soil of Kansas is Harney Loam silt, which is one of the reasons westward travelers stopped and settled the region. The soil is a valuable resource to the region, and supports the primary industry of agriculture. Regardless of the property’s location in The Sunshine State, a soon-to-be tree planter can perform a simple test to determine his/her soil type.
The squeeze test is a tool pedologists (soil scientists) use to determine the type of soil in a given area. Remove the first layer of soil and grab a handful of damp (but not wet) dirt. Then, squeeze the soil in the palm of your hand. When you open your hand, the results will help you to determine your specific type of soil.
1. The squeezed soil holds its squeezed shape. If you poke it, the soil will still hold its squeezed shape. You have CLAY.
2. The squeezed soil holds its squeezed shape. However, when you poke it the squeezed soil collapses. You have LOAM.
3. The soil collapses as soon 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.
Droughts and floods affect Kansas, and precipitation varies across the state. The southeast receives upwards of 45 inches of precipitation a year, whereas the southwest may only get about 16 inches annually. Similar patterns in snow are present, though these travel north to south. The far northwest can get 35 inches of snow in the winter, while the south may only receive 5 inches of snow.
With varying amounts of rainfall falling throughout the year, and a semiarid steppe, dry climate in the west balanced by humid continental climate in the east, the Kansan planter should consider irrigation essential prior to planting. Newly planted trees require access to consistent and controlled water resources, and the tree planter can provide this through use of a drip or sprinkler system.
Despite its relatively large size, ranking in at the 15th largest state in the nation, Kansas only contains four growing zones. This is in part due to its relative flatness. 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. Once described as “flat as a pancake”, Kansas planters can expect small corners of its northwestern border with Nebraska to experience pockets of temperatures as low as -20°F. For most of the state, temperatures never drop lower than -15°F, with a small area southwest of Wichita finding temperatures remain at -5°F.
Kansas is often represented in film and cultural impressions as being a state where severe weather is frequent, and this is justified. Many areas of the state are prone to strong collisions of multiple high pressure air systems, which result in tornadoes, supercell thunderstorms, and hailstorms. Kansas is behind only Texas in the number of tornadoes it sees a year. The spring and summer bring the worst, and summer thunderstorms often drop large hail. This leads to flooding and high velocity winds. Trees, once rooted, can help prevent erosion from flooding. Ensure trees are planted away from powerlines or buildings onto which they can fall.
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 Kansas nursery or garden center. However, since we don’t actually live in Kansas 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.
|Alma||Hinerville Gifts and Garden||28001 Hinerville Road||785-765-3337|
|Almena||Windmill Farms||806 Bourton Street||785-669-2526|
|Alta Vista||Double Bar Pine Nursery and Tree||9812 Highway K177||785-499-6328|
|Altamont||Lavender Landscapes Nursery||14076 US Highway 59||620-784-9985|
|Atchison||K and L Garden Center||2001 Main Street||913-367-0494|
|Atchison||Room To Breathe||507 Commercial Street||913-367-6171|
|Augusta||Phelps Tree Farm||110 S US Highway 77||316-775-3490|
|Baldwin City||C Designs||215 N 6th Street||785-594-3366|
|Baldwin City||Clearfield Farm||2152 N 600th Road||785-883-2078|
|Baldwin City||Vinland Valley Nursery||1606 N 600th Road||785-594-2966|
|Burlington||Huff Garden Inc||617 Juniatta Street||620-364-2933|
|Carbondale||Hooterville Garden Center||12165 S Topeka Avenue||785-836-7395|
|Cottonwood Falls||Anderson’s Greenhouse||RR 1 Box 76||620-273-6628|
|Derby||Flowers Tree Farm||15430 E 47th Street S||316-733-9443|
|Derby||Happy Plant Garden Center||7430 Mcintosh Road||316-788-1732|
|Dodge City||Mueting Nursery and Landscaping||607 S 14th Avenue||620-225-5923|
|Dodge City||Nature’s Corner Greenhouse||11192 Kliesen Street||620-225-5639|
|Douglass||Deerfoot Farm||12510 SW 200th Street||316-683-5617|
|Downs||Behind the Shed Garden Center||61 W 30th Dr||785-454-3519|
|El Dorado||Rogers Tree Farm and Spade Service||1276 SE River Road||316-321-0884|
|El Dorado||Tree Farm||1706 SW Mustang Road||316-322-8733|
|Ellis||Prairie Dell Pines||RR 2 Box 86||785-726-3480|
|Emporia||Davies Nursery and Garden Center||1601 Prairie Street||620-342-5736|
|Eudora||Jim’s Tree Service||1139 Acorn Street||785-542-2896|
|Fowler||Creek Side Farm||26131 A Road||620-646-5586|
|Fredonia||Letts Ornamentals||RR 1 Box 229||620-378-2047|
|Galva||Sheila’s Garden Market||1062 20th Avenue||620-654-3136|
|Garden City||Ward’s Garden Center||2703 N US Highway 83||620-275-1902|
|Gardner||Willco Landscaping Inc||13130 Gardner Road #B||913-856-5296|
|Great Bend||Pohl’s Nursery and Landscape||400 S Patton Road||620-793-9612|
|Hays||Hays Greenhouse||1327 Toulon Avenue||785-735-2888|
|Hays||Riedel Garden Center||1358 US Highway 40||785-628-2877|
|Hesston||Ruebke Landscaping||504 E Hickory Street||620-327-4278|
|Hiawatha||Wolf River Nursery||1460 195th Street||785-742-9653|
|Hillsboro||Garden Center||316 N Cedar Street||620-947-3020|
|Holton||Jarboe’s Nursery and Garden Spot||13474 198th Road||785-364-2905|
|Hugoton||Yardmaster Lawn and Landscape||225 S Main Street||620-544-8030|
|Independence||Garden Station||323 E Main Street||620-331-0005|
|Independence||Independence Nursery and Garden||1000 S 10th Street||620-331-8301|
|Junction City||West Acres Nursery Inc||2516 W Highway K18||785-238-2647|
|Kansas City||Jerry’s Nursery and Landscaping||5319 N 139th Street||913-721-1444|
|Kansas City||Larry’s Sunflower Market||7560 State Avenue||913-299-7030|
|Kansas City||Marc’s Gift and Garden Center||1281 Merriam Lane||913-722-6433|
|Kingman||Southwestern Nurseries||625 E D Avenue||620-532-2811|
|Lawrence||Clinton Parkway Nursery||4900 Clinton Pkwy||785-842-3081|
|Lawrence||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||3200 Iowa Street||785-749-5082|
|Lawrence||Water’s Edge||847 Indiana Street||785-841-6777|
|Leavenworth||Lange’s Nursery||24062 Tonganoxie Road||913-727-2308|
|Leawood||Grass Pad||5200 W 135th Street||913-681-8948|
|Lebo||Strawder and Daughters Tree Farm||1272 23rd Road NW||620-256-6629|
|Liberal||Mayhan Garden Center||401 S Clay Avenue||620-624-7946|
|Lindsborg||Lindsborg Greenhouse and Nursery||523 S 3rd Street||785-227-2751|
|Lyons||North Side Nursery||706 N Grand Avenue||620-257-2700|
|Manhattan||Lee Creek Gardens||3400 S 24th Street||785-537-8262|
|Mc Pherson||Nelson Nursery||1500 E 1st Street||620-241-4585|
|Minneapolis||Battle Creek Nrsy and Landscpg||612 N Rothsay Avenue||785-392-2989|
|Moundridge||Zerger Tree Farm||258 16th Avenue||620-345-3361|
|Newton||Schroeder’s Nursery||843 N Chisholm Trl||620-367-2328|
|Olathe||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||15060 W 135th Street||913-782-3479|
|Olathe||Grass Pad Warehouse||I 35 & Highway 150||913-764-4100|
|Olathe||Joe’s Market and Nursery||350 S Highway 7||913-829-1151|
|Olathe||Kat Nurseries||30050 W 135th Street||913-856-5288|
|Olathe||Loma Vista Nursery Inc||12905 W 143rd Street||913-897-7010|
|Osage City||Stromgren Greenhouse and Floral||1048 Laing Street||785-528-4644|
|Overland Park||Family Tree Nursery||8424 Farley Street||913-642-6503|
|Pittsburg||Longan’s Floral and Garden Center||2723 N Broadway Street||620-232-9051|
|Plains||Floral Gardens||802 W B Street||620-563-9224|
|Pratt||Pratt Tree Farm||10161 SE 25th Avenue||620-672-7134|
|Shawnee Mission||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||11725 Roe Avenue||913-338-1340|
|Shawnee Mission||Earl May Nursery and Garden Center||21700 Midland Dr||913-422-1505|
|Shawnee Mission||Family Tree Nursery||7036 Nieman Road||913-631-6121|
|Shawnee Mission||Hermes Nursery||20000 W 47th Street||913-441-2400|
|Shawnee Mission||Suburban Lawn and Garden Inc||10501 Roe Avenue||913-649-8700|
|Silver Lake||Lambert Greenhouse and Nursery||3036 NW Docking Road||785-582-4273|
|St George||Horticultural Services Inc||11524 Landscape Lane||785-776-5764|
|Tonganoxie||Countryside Garden Center||1601 Commerce Road||913-369-2100|
|Tonganoxie||Lost Corner Farm||19988 Tonganoxie Road||913-845-3238|
|Topeka||Big Trees||1000 NW Buchanan Street||785-233-5494|
|Topeka||Celtic Bonsai||1217 SW Mac Vicar Avenue.||785-220-7425|
|Topeka||Heifner Nursery and Garden Center||4707 SW 6th Avenue||785-272-1487|
|Topeka||Herynk’s Greenhouse and Nursery||7331 SW 61st Street||785-478-4862|
|Topeka||Metzger Nursery||4211 SW Gage Blvd||785-273-7138|
|Topeka||Montgomery Gardens||2835 SE 45th Street||785-862-7338|
|Topeka||Skinner Garden Store||4237 NW Lower Silver Lake Road||785-233-9657|
|Ulysses||Bird House Garden Center||224 N Missouri Street||620-356-3394|
|Wichita||Brady Nursery||11200 W Kellogg Street||316-722-7516|
|Wichita||DE Ree Nursery||3852 S Broadway Street||316-524-3403|
|Wichita||Hillside Nursery Inc||2200 S Hillside Street||316-686-6414|
|Wichita||John Deere Landscapes||3500 N Hillside Street||316-832-1701|
|Wichita||P and P Seed and Bait CO||1901 E 21st Street N||316-265-9930|
|Wichita||Plant Kingdom Garden Center||1842 S Woodlawn Street||316-684-5991|
|Wichita||Sunnyside Nursery and Landscape||9999 E Harry Street||316-686-2141|
|Wichita||Westside Garden Ctr and Nursery||544 S 151st Street W||316-722-0844|
|Wichita||Yard Art||4600 W Kellogg Dr||316-941-3508|