Top Five Trees for Your Minnesota Property

By MNR News posted 22 days ago

Did you know that Minnesota is home to 53 native tree species? Research shows that trees can filter pollutants and airborne particles, and act as a natural barrier against the sun's harmful rays, lowering the risk of sunburn. Additionally, trees help reduce mental fatigue and help diminish stressful, urban noises. On your home’s property, trees enhance curb appeal, provide serenity and shade, and often span generations.

If you plan to plant a tree in your yard for Arbor Day, you’ll first want to determine the right species and location. Whether you're a seasoned green thumb or just getting your hands dirty for the first time, there are trees for every homeowner’s need or aesthetic style. We’ve compiled a list of the top five tree species native to Minnesota that you may want to consider adding to your property.  

River Birch (Betula nigra)
Let's kick things off with a Minnesota favorite––the River Birch tree. With its graceful branches and peeling bark, this tree adds northern charm to any location. Not only is it visually striking, but it's also a native species to the flood plains of Minnesota along the Mississippi River, making it well-suited to our local climate. River birch can grow up to 24 inches over a season, and once fully grown they can be between 50-100 feet tall with a broad canopy. Plant a River Birch near a water feature or along a stream to create a haven in your backyard, where you can relax and unwind to the gentle rustle of its leaves.

White Spruce (Picea glauca)
If you're dreaming of a winter wonderland right in your backyard, look no further than the White Spruce. With its conical shape and evergreen needles, this tree brings a touch of holiday cheer during the cold season and sense of security in the warmer months. Its dense, tightly packed cones make it a natural noise barrier. Plant a row of White Spruces along your property line for added privacy or create a cozy nook beneath its branches for reading and relaxation. At maturity, this tree can reach 40-60 feet.

Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
Ah, the mighty Sugar Maple––the crown jewel of fall foliage and one of the most common deciduous trees planted across Minnesota. There's nothing quite like the sight of a Sugar Maple ablaze in shades of gold and crimson against a crisp autumn sky. These trees can reach upwards of 100 feet in the air and offer a large blanket of shade below. Not only does the Sugar Maple add beauty to your property, but it can produce maple syrup, making it both a feast for the eyes and perhaps for the taste buds. Plant a Sugar Maple in your yard for a splash of seasonal magic and ample shade during spring and summer. But note that Sugar Maples do not make great street trees, as they are relatively intolerant to salt spray and compacted soil. It’s a slower growing tree that’s well worth the wait.  

Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
Looking to add some drama to your outdoor space? The fast-growing Red Oak is your go-to tree for making a statement that stands the test of time. With its broad canopy, durable wood and bold leaves in the fall, this tree can serve as a focal point for any property. Plus, it's a long-lived species––often surviving 300 or more years––so its majestic presence can be enjoyed for generations to come. Plant a Red Oak as in your front yard or line your driveway with these stately beauties for a grand entrance that leaves a lasting impression. Red oaks grow between 50 to 75 feet high.

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
Last, but certainly not least, we have the Eastern Redbud––a more petite yet powerful addition to any property. Known for its delicate pink to purple blooms in early spring, this tree is a harbinger of warmer days ahead after a long Minnesota winter. Its heart-shaped leaves add charm to any setting, whether planted as a standalone specimen or incorporated into a mixed border. For a whimsical touch, plant an Eastern Redbud near a window where you can enjoy its blossoms up close and personal. These trees typically grow between 20 to 30 feet tall, making them suitable for planting in many yards.  

There you have itthe top five tree species to plant on your Minnesota property for a picture-perfect landscape. Whether you're drawn to vibrant fall colors, year-round greenery, or early spring blooms, there's a tree on this list for every homeowner's taste. So, grab your shovel, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to watch your yard transform into a leafy oasis that you'll love coming home to. Happy Arbor Day planting!