Minnesota, officially The North Star State, though it is often known as The State of 10,000 Lakes, sits in the north-central Midwest along the United States’ border with Canada. It is here the Red Pine flourishes, a tall coniferous evergreen sometimes reaching upwards of 110 feet. The Red Pine grows well in full sun and even self-prunes, dropping dying branches to the ground. This makes the Red Pine excellent for lumber, since older trees trunks are often limbless for a desired length. The Minnesotan planter is not restricted to this commercially valuable lumber tree, though; there are hundreds of trees that grow well in Minnesota’s diverse climate.
Due to its large size, varying temperatures, and diverse precipitation factors, the smart Minnesotan grower will need to consider the following:
- Soil Type
- Average Precipitation
- Growing Zones
- Weather Damage
Best Trees for Minnesota
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:
- Autumn Purple Ash
Ideal for providing unique fall colors, shade, climate tolerance.
- October Glory Maple
Ideal for continuous color, adaptable growing conditions, and landscaping designs.
- Everbearing Strawberry
Ideal for bearing fruit, providing color, and delicious, edible profits.
- Willow Hybrid
Ideal for providing privacy, fast-growing properties, and easy care
Fast Growing Privacy Trees in Minnesota
New developments throughout the United States mean more infrastructure, more people, and more invasion of privacy. The residents of Minnesota 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 Minnesotan 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 Minnesotan 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.
Minnesota typifies a continental climate, showing hot summers and cold winters. The Upper Midwest often displays some of the most variable seasons, and Minnesota is no exception. Winter is cold, and temperatures are often below freezing. The record low temperature is -60°F, though temperatures often linger in the -20s for days. Summer is humid and hot in the southern parts of the state, with temperatures rising to as much as 114°F. Usually, temperatures are in the mid70s in the north and mid80s in the south. Unlike the rest of the state, the areas surrounding Lake Superior do experience milder weather, both in winter and summer.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. Minnesota is covered with Lester soil, which covers over 600,000 acres of the state. Corn and soybeans grow well in the soil, which was once covered by pines and hardwoods. These soils are well-draining and loamy, adding much to the Minnesotan agricultural economy. Regardless of the property’s location in The North Star 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.
Average annual rainfall precipitation is low, averaging 35 inches in the southeast and 20 inches in the northwest. Most of the state’s precipitation falls in the winter, with sometimes as much 160 inches of snow hitting the region. Albeit extreme, the variation is enormous. In some years, only 10 inches of snow fall. Surprisingly, the patterns of precipitation felt in Minnesota are connected to the Gulf of Mexico. Gulf stream air currents travel north, leaving most of the warm moisture in the areas in closest proximity. The currents carry the moisture north, and, as it cools, drop it on Minnesota. Sleet, freezing rain, and hail often accompany most Minnesotan winters.
With precipitation highly variable, irrigation can be an essential tool in ensuring successful tree growth. Newly planted trees are delicate, their roots and leaves still enduring stress from transplantation. These trees require consistent and constant access to water to ensure successful growth. Using a drip irrigation system can help to provide adequate and reliable water access to Minnesotan plants.
Minnesota is home to five 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. In the southern portion of the state, temperatures drop to -25°F at times. Temperatures cool as the zones move northward. In most of the north, temperatures can drop to as low as -40°F, with small pockets in the Red Lake Indian Reservation and the region north of Britt dropping to as low as -45°F. Again, regions near Lake Superior are often slightly warmer, and the direct coastline does not usually drop below -25°F.
Tornadoes, thunderstorms, and snowstorms are the most common severe weather occurrences in Minnesota. The peak tornado month is June, with Minnesota averaging 27 tornadoes a year. Thunderstorms drop rain in spring and summer, and winter brings its severe winter storms, often burying parts of the state in over 100 inches of snow.