The Cornhusker State is well-named, for Nebraska is known for its agricultural industry. Sitting in the central United States, Nebraska is home to many tree varieties, including the Cottonwood. These large, deciduous trees can reach heights of 70 feet, and are identifiable by their thick, deeply creviced bark and dual-green triangular to diamond-shaped leaves. Similar to dandelion puffs, the Cottonwoods release their seeds on cotton-like structures, which are carried by the wind or a furry pollinator. The Nebraskan grower is not limited to the Cottonwood, though; several varieties of trees are available for the choosing in Nebraska.
Due to its large size, climate differentials, and rainfall variations, the smart Nebraska grower will need to consider the following:
- Soil Type
- Average Precipitation
- Growing Zones
- Weather Damage
Best Trees for Nebraska
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:
- Bloodgood Japanese Maple
Ideal for adding color, providing ornamental beauty, and no-hassle maintenance.
- October Glory Maple
Ideal for continuous color, adaptable growing conditions, and landscaping designs.
- Sweetheart Blueberry
Ideal for bearing fruit for delicious, edible profits, color, and perimeter planting.
- Willow Hybrid
Ideal for providing privacy, fast-growing properties, and easy care
Fast Growing Privacy Trees in Nebraska
New developments throughout the United States mean more infrastructure, more people, and more invasion of privacy. The residents of Nebraska 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 Nebraskan 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 Nebraskan 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.
Nebraska is the 16th largest state in the United States, and its large size means that despite relatively low elevation variances, Nebraska is home to two distinct climates. In the east, Nebraska displays a humid continental climate. In the west, a semi-arid climate prevails. Generally, Nebraskan residents can expect hot summers and cold winters. Summer can be hot, and humidity decreases across the state from east to west. The record high temperature was recorded in 1936 at 118°F, and the record low temperature was set in 1899 at -47°F.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. Holdrege soil covers about 1,500,000 Nebraskan acres, providing rich soil for farming. This well-draining soil is best suited to growing soybeans, corn, and grain, though pastureland is also successful. Regardless of the property’s location in The Cornhusker 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.
Rainfall varies in average amounts throughout the state. The rainfall follows humidity, with higher averages in the southeast and lower averages in the northwest panhandle. The southeast corner receives, on average, 31.5 inches of rain, while the northwest receives, on average, 13.8 inches of rain. Nebraska’s cool to cold winters bring in a moderate amount of snow, usually between 25 and 35 inches.
With varying amounts of rainfall, newly planted trees are at risk for stunted or poor growth. New trees require consistent and constant access to water in order to ensure successful rooting and growth. Investigate the property for natural or manmade water systems. If none are present, consider a drip or sprinkler irrigation system, which will assist in managing water access for the Nebraskan garden. Even at its best, Nebraska receives only a moderate amount of rainfall. Consider trees best-suited to rainfall averages. Remember, many new trees should be watered every two to three days.
Despite being the 16th largest state, Nebraska is only home to 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. Most of Nebraska sits at an even elevation, which is part of the reason for the minimum growing zone dispersal. Most of the northern half of the state sits soundly in zone 4b, with temperatures lingering at -25°F. Both warmer and colder enclaves exist, with temperatures varying between -20°F and -30°F. In the southern half of the state, temperatures do not typically drop lower than
Nebraskan planters are at risk for thunderstorms and tornadoes. Violent thunderstorms occur in spring and summer, bringing much of the year’s annual precipitation. With such little variation in elevation, this can lead to flash-flooding. Nebraska also sits in Tornado Alley, and destructive tornadoes throughout the spring and summer, as well as the occasional autumn tornado, are not uncommon. Trees can be a benefit with severe weather of this nature; plant trees in loose soil along river banks or areas prone to flooding as thoroughly rooted trees can prevent erosion. Be sure to plant trees away from powerlines or buildings that could be damaged by an uprooted tree during a tornado.