Missouri, known as The Show-Me State, showcases the Flowering Dogwood, a deciduous tree admired for its wide canopy and delicate flowers, thriving despite being endangered in northern regions like Ontario. With a maximum height of 30 feet, the Flowering Dogwood blooms in April with small, flat-edged ovate leaves and tiny flowers. While it’s a charming addition to Missouri landscapes, growers have a plethora of tree options to consider, given the state’s varied climate, soil types, precipitation levels, irrigation needs, growing zones, and susceptibility to weather damage.
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:
A state that without doubt deserves its millions of residents, Missouri is continuing to attract new inhabitants from other parts of the United States. Although a boon for the local economy, new infrastructure can be invasive and annoying. Solutions exist for prying eyes and sound-producing highways. Trees that are cultivated to form protective barriers, better known as ‘privacy trees’ can be planted to afford the Missouri yard the solitude and peace it deserves.
Although there are many privacy trees the Missouri planter may plant, none is as fitting as the Willow Hybrid. The Willow Hybrid grow quickly, at upwards of 6 feet a year, and provides fast-growing privacy. Unlike many privacy tree species, the Willow Hybrid is not an evergreen but a subset of the willow, providing a unique barrier against intrusions of every kind. The Willow Hybrid is not the only option to choose from in Missouri. Alternatively, consider the Thuja Green Giant or Juniper ‘Witchita Blue’.
Missouri sits in the interior of the United States, between Illinois and Kansas, though it borders eight states in total. Complete with a humid continental climate, Missouri displays humid, hot summers and cold winters. With no mitigating geographical factors, such as distinct elevation changes or large bodies of water, Missouri’s climate is largely determined by air from the Arctic and the Gulf of Mexico. Average temperatures are meaningless in Missouri, where 30 to 40 degree fluctuations in the course of a day are not uncommon. Summers can have extended days above 100°F, with the average only lingering at 73°F. Winters can average about 26°F, but drop frequently below 0° with a record -40°F.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. Missouri is known for its agricultural growth in corn, soybean, and specialty crop industries. This is in large part due to its Menfro soil, a rich, deep, and dark silt-based loam. Regardless of the property’s location in The Show-Me 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.
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.
Where temperature varies dramatically, so does precipitation. Missouri’s northwest corner may only see 34 inches of rain while the southeast may garner as much as 50 inches. The northwest precipitation totals are more intertwined with continental influences, with January precipitation five times smaller than June. The southeast, on the other hand, is more affected by the air masses from the Arctic and Gulf, allowing for more even precipitation totals. Snow can be quite heavy, falling primarily in December through February. Northern Missouri averages between 18 and 24 inches of snow a winter, while the southern regions should only expect between 8 and 12 inches.
With inconsistent rainfall, newly planted trees risk poor initial growth and rooting. Irrigation is one effective method to ensure successful growth of your new tree. Drip or sprinkler systems are especially effective, allowing for maximum control and consistency in water management. As this is essential to newly planted trees, investigating your property for a preexisting natural or man-made irrigation system can be beneficial. If none exists, consider installation. Controlled water management can help ensure successful tree growth.
Missouri is home to six distinct 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. These zones move in bands horizontally across the state, from north to south. Most of the north can expect temperatures to drop to -20°F, with small regions north of Moberly, southwest of St. Joseph, and north of Maryville experiencing slightly lower temperatures reaching -25°F. In contrast, regions south of Cape Girardeau and the West Plains will not experience extended temperatures below 0°F.
Thunderstorms and tornadoes are the most common severe weather systems to affect Missouri. As recently as 2011, residents of Joplin were affected by a tornado that caused approximately $2 billion in damage and took the lives of 158 people. Thunderstorms usually hit the state in the spring and the summer, and can bring flash-flooding to low-lying areas. Trees can be effective at maintaining loose soil, which can prevent some erosion. Carefully plant trees in loose banks away from powerlines and buildings to ensure safety for all.