Tree & Shrub Information

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BENEFITS OF TREES:

Improve Health

      • Trees improve moods and emotions, and they create feelings of relaxation and well-being.

      • Trees provide privacy and a sense of security.

      • Foliage helps to settle out, trap and hold particulate pollutants (dust, ash, pollen and smoke) that can damage human lungs.

      • Because of their potential long life, trees frequently are planted as living memorials. We often become personally attached to trees that we or those we love have planted.

      • In cities, trees can act as buffers, absorbing a significant amount of urban noise.

Trees add Natural Character to our cities and towns

      • Provide us with colors, flowers, and beautiful shapes, forms and textures.

      • Trees add interest by changing with the seasons.

      • Trees and associated plants create habitat and food for birds and animals.

Trees Save Energy

      • Deciduous trees provide shade and block heat from the sun during hotter months. By dropping their leaves in the fall they admit sunlight in the winter.

      • Shade from trees over hard surfaces such as driveways, patios and sidewalks minimizes landscape heat load.

      • Shade trees can reduce air conditioning costs up to 30%.

      • Evergreens planted on the north sides of buildings can intercept and slow winter winds.

Trees REDUCE Pollution!

      • Trees absorb carbon dioxide and other dangerous gases and, in turn, replenish the atmosphere with oxygen.

      • An acre of trees produces enough breathing oxygen for 18 people every day.

      • An acre of trees absorbs enough carbon monoxide over a year's time, to equal the amount you produce when you drive your car 26,000 miles.

      • A single mature tree can absorb 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support two human beings.

      • Over 50 years, a tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion.

      • City streets lined with trees show a 60/cent reduction in street-level particulate readings.

Trees Conserve Water and Prevent Soil Erosion

      • Trees reduce surface runoff from storm water, and prevent soil erosion and sedimentation of streams.

      • Trees increase ground water recharge to help make up for losses in paved areas.

      • Trees prevent wind from eroding soil.

Trees Increase Economic Stability

      • Trees enhance community economic stability by attracting businesses and tourists.

      • Healthy trees can add up to 20% to residential property values.

SOURCE: https://landscapeontario.com/benefits-of-trees

What's the difference between Conifers/Evergreens and Deciduous?

Deciduous trees have leaves that fall off yearly, changing with the seasons.
Coniferous trees have needles or scales that do not fall off.

Evergreen Information

Deciduous Information

Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea)

Zone 3-5

Native Habitat: Moist soils, shaded forests, and along bogs mainly in the northern half of Wisconsin.

Mature Size: 45-75 feet tall, 20-25 feet wide

Growth Rate: Slow rate growing, with height increases of less than 12" per year.

Sun Preference: Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference: Prefers moist, cool, well-drained, acidic soil but will tolerate some salt.

Description: The Balsam Fir is a native evergreen well-adapted to the cold climates of the northern United States and Canada. It's a symmetrical spire-like crown, shining dark green color, and spicy fragrance have made it a favorite Christmas tree for hundreds of years. The branches are also popular in holiday wreaths and other greenery. It's bark is smooth grayish, and prominently marked by blisters filled with resin. The needles are flat with rounded points, dark green and lustrous above and silvery-white beneath. Showy female cones are upright, bluish purple, 2 to 3 inches tall, and clustered near the tops of the trees. Balsam Fir is often found growing with white spruce in native stands.

Landscape Use: Balsam Fir tends to be a little sparse-looking as it ages, especially when you compare it to a spruce. It is a good choice for naturalizing on a north slope or in moist conditions. Plant a group of three in a large shade garden.

Wildlife Value: The seeds and buds are food for birds including grouse, squirrels, mice and voles. Moose and white-tailed deer use the Balsam Fir for food, cover and shelter. The bark is browsed by black bears.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BALSAM AND FRASER? A Balsam is more traditional choice for a Christmas tree, since it naturally grows in this area. Balsams grow faster meaning their branch strength is less than a Fraser, however, Balsams are often "fuller", with more, closer growing branches. Unlike the Fraser, Balsams have "soft" needles. This means the needles lay flat so when you grab a branch with your hand, it's not sharp. The fuller, flat look of the Balsams branches and needles make them ideal for wreaths and other Christmas decorations. Balsams are also deemed to have a stronger scent than a Fraser.

White Birch (Betula Papyrifera)

Beauty and romance may be the first images many people associate with the gleaming white paper birch. But this symbol of the north country — and state tree of New Hampshire — has earned its place in history as a continuously useful tree that has served North Americans since the earliest days of human activity.

Today it is one of the best-loved trees of the New England landscape, planted often for the beauty of its distinctive bark and golden fall color.

Zone 2-7

Mature Size: 50-70 feet tall, and 20-30 feet wide

Growth Rate: This tree grows at a medium to fast rate, with height increases of anywhere from less than 12-24" per year.

Sun Preference: Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference: Acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. While it prefers normal moisture, the tree has some drought tolerance.

Description: It has a attractive bright-white bark that peels away in sheets to reveal salmon-colored under-bark. Fall color is a good yellow. It is fast growing and rather short-lived, especially in landscape situations.

Landscape Use: Offers landscape interest year round thanks to its unique peeling bark. It is one of the few large trees that can be grown as a clump.

Wildlife Value: Wintering moose find the sheer abundance of paper birch in young stands important, despite the poor nutritional quality. White-tailed deer eat considerable amounts of paper birch leaves in the fall. Snowshoe hares browse paper birch seedlings and saplings, beavers find it a good second choice food and porcupines feed on the inner bark. Voles, shrews, Redpolls, siskins and chickadees eat the seeds. Numerous cavity-nesting birds nest in paper birch, including woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches and swallows. Pecking holes in the bark, the yellow-bellied sapsucker finds the paper birch a favorite tree. Hummingbirds and red squirrels then feed at sapwells created by sapsuckers. Ruffed grouse eat the catkins (flowers) and buds.

Attributes:

  • Develops a smooth white bark that curls and peels (once mature)

  • Provides bright yellow fall color

  • Features simple leaves that are 2-4" long, borne on leaf stems about 1" in length and medium green in color. Margins are double-toothed and leaves are arranged alternately

  • Produces brown or green catkins in April and May

  • Grows in an oval shape

  • Yields very small seeds that are smooth and oval or elliptical in shape, nestled between two wings

Fraser Fir (Abies Fraseri)

Zone 4-7

Mature Size: 30 - 50 feet tall, 10-25 feet wide

Sun Preference: Full sun to part shade

Description: This is a narrow, pyramidal, evergreen conifer with a spire-like crown. It is very similar to Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea) the primary difference being in the bracts of the cone scales. Flattened, shiny, dark green needles (to 1" long) are white-banded beneath. Needles are densely borne on resinous stems. Resin blisters may appear on the bark, giving rise to a regional common name of she-balsam for this tree. Seed cones are purple with conspicuously protruding bracts. As is distinctive with the firs, the cones appear upright on the branches.

Landscape Use: Ornamental yard tree. Species is popular commercially grown Christmas Tree. Trees provide winter cover for wildlife. It is one of the most popular Christmas trees, since it holds its needles well and smells wonderful. Although they are rare in nature, Fraser Fir is one of the most popular Christmas trees sold in commerce today, and is commonly grown in tree farms for that purpose.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BALSAM AND FRASER? The Fraser Fir and Balsam Fir are closely related and share many characteristics. The two trees may have evolved from the same species. Both trees make excellent Christmas trees for their needle retention, deep green color, ideal shape and pleasing scent.
The main difference between
Fraser Fir and the Balsam Fir is the construction of their pine cones. The bracts, specialized leaves associated with the tree's reproduction, are longer than the scales on a Fraser Fir pine cone, which makes them curve downward. On a Balsam Fir pine cone, the bracts are shorter and hidden beneath the scales.
Fraser
Firs typically reach heights of 80 feet, while Balsam Firs are shorter, at 40 to 60 feet. In Christmas tree farms, the Fraser Fir matures slightly faster than Balsams reach the same height in nine to ten years.

Crabapple Midwest (Malus Baccata Var. Mandshurica)

Description: Midwest Manchurian crabapple is a moderately rapid growing medium-size tree. It is densely branched and oval shaped. This tree is extremely winter hardy and disease resistant, making it well suited to the harsh climatic extremes of the upper Midwest and Great Plains. Midwest may reach a height of 20 feet in 16 years. The dense and rounded growth form is very desirable. When planted in single-row windbreaks and given sufficient growing room, it maintains its branches close to the ground. It is one of the earliest species to leaf out in the spring and is fully leafed before blooming. The blossoms are snowy white. Fruit size ranges from ¼ to ½ inch in diameter. Young trees will grow rapidly at first, as much as 2 feet/year, but the growth rate slows in 7 or 8 years. The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate to oval, finely serrated to irregularly toothed or lobed, and usually dark or olive green above and paler green below. The bark is ridged to scaly and dark gray or reddish gray. Midwest has proved to be insect and disease resistant. Occasionally, fire blight will affect a few leaves, but the infection has never been severe. This tree cannot tolerate chemical sprays, and heavy drift may cause stunting or deformed trees.

Conservation Uses: Manchurian crabapple is an excellent tree for windbreak, wildlife habitat, and recreational plantings. It is suitable for single-row field windbreaks where a medium-height tree is desired and width is not a factor. It is also suitable for farmstead windbreaks. Wildlife, especially some songbirds and game bird species, waxwings, and squirrels, consume the small fruit readily. The fruit is especially small and often less than one-half the size of Siberian crabapple. The tree provides good nesting and ground cover. It provides browse for rabbit and deer. Since the fruit dries (‘raisins’) on the trees, a winter supply of food is available.

Establishment & Management for Conservation Plantings: Midwest is easy to grow from seed and produces vigorous seedlings. Field plantings are also easy to establish. Plant spacing should be from 8 to 14 feet for windbreaks. Plant in the spring when moisture conditions are best. Control weeds the first few years of establishment and preferably for the life of the planting. Irrigation may be needed to ensure early survival on drier sites. If animal populations are high, the trees should be protected, or the deer and rabbits controlled until the trees are large enough to withstand the browse.

Seed & Plant Production: The propagation of Midwest is from open-pollinated seed because large quantities are needed for farm and ranch plantings. Commercial production will be the same in most cases. The seed is picked and cleaned in the fall and stored until 30 days before planting. It is then mixed with damp, fine sand and kept at temperatures of 34 to 36º F. A close watch must be maintained the last few days to determine when it breaks dormancy. Seed is then planted about ½ inch deep in beds or rows and mulched lightly, and the surface is kept moist until seed emerges. The planting stock should be two-year-old seedlings that are not in containers and are 12 to 24 inches high before they are transplanted.

White Pine (Pinus Strobus)

A hardy, valuable tree. Clustered soft blue-green needles. Ideal screen or windbreak. Likes moist, well-drained soils. Grows 50' to 80' with a 20-40' spread in the landscape, up to 135' or more in the wild. (zones 3-8)

Zone 3-8

Native Habitat: Wide variety of soil, from dry and sandy to moist upland sites, throughout most of Wisconsin.

Mature Size: 50-80 feet tall, 20-40 feet wide

Growth Rate: This tree grows at a fast rate, with height increases of more than 24" per year.

Sun Preference: Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference: Grows in acidic, moist, well-drained and dry soils. While it does best in moist soil, the tree can has been known to tolerate everything from dry, rocky ridges to bogs.

Description: White pine is the largest conifer in Wisconsin. It has a pyramidal shape and whorls of horizontal branches evenly spaced along the trunk. The bark is thin, smooth, and greenish gray on young trees, but thick, deeply furrowed, and grayish brown on older trees. The soft, flexible, gray-green needles are 2 1/2 to 5 inches long and occur in clusters of five. Cones are 4 to 8 inches long, thick, and usually gummy.

Landscape Use: There's nothing like the scent of pine trees or the sound of wind whistling through their branches. They can be used as specimens on large landscapes, but are usually used for screening and windbreaks. They don't adapt well to urban conditions.

Wildlife Value: White pine seeds are favored by black bears, rabbits, red squirrels and many birds, especially red cross bills. While potentially damaging to the trees, the bark is eaten by mammals such as beavers, snowshoe hares, porcupines, rabbits and mice. White pines provide nesting sites as well for many birds including woodpeckers, common grackles, mourning doves, chickadees and nuthatches.

Attributes:

  • Transplants easily

  • Works well for windbreaks

  • Widely used as a Christmas tree

  • Features long, slender, blue-green needles, sometimes reaching 5" in length, grown in bundles of 5 that are soft and flexible

  • Produces elongated brown cones that are 3-8" in length. Each is curved slightly and has smooth scales

  • Grows in an oval, pyramidal shape

  • Sensitive to air pollution, road salt and soil compaction

Cranberry American Highbush (Viburnum Trilobum)

Excellent fall foliage color which may be yellow, red, orange or burgundy is just one of the many attributes of this large and attractive native shrub. Showy, snow-white, flat-topped flowers are 3"-4 1/2" in diameter that bloom in mid to late May. Beginning in September, bright red fruits serve as food for birds and wildlife. Grows 8'-12' high with an equal spread. Prefers good, well-drained, moist soil and partial shade to full sun.

Zone 2-7

Mature Size: 8-12 feet tall, and 8-12 feet wide

Growth Rate: This shrub grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13-24" per year.

Sun Preference: Full sun and partial shade are best for this shrub, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference: The American cranberrybush viburnum grows in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam, well-drained and wet soils.

Description: High-bush cranberry is a large, rounded shrub with gray, smooth branches. From late May into June, it has lovely, white, lace-cap flowers that grow up to 4 inches across. The indented dark green leaves turn beautiful shades of yellow-orange to red in fall. The edible, showy, deep red fruits appear in August and often persist through winter.

Landscape Use: High-bush cranberry has something to offer the landscape all year. Use it in shrub borders, as a specimen plant, in foundation plantings, and for screening. The edible fruits can be used for preserves and are attractive for birds.

Wildlife Value: The fruit serves as food for various birds and wildlife.

Attributes:

  • Produces showy white flowers in flat-topped clusters that are 3-4" in diameter and bloom in mid-to late May

  • Yields edible bright red drupes from early September to February

  • Features lustrous medium to dark green leaves that provide lovely fall color, turning variety of hues from yellow to red-purple

  • Grows in a rounded shape

  • Makes an excellent choice for screening and informal hedges

Red Pine (Pinus Resinosa)

Zone 3-8

Native Habitat: Native to dry, sandy soils, often in pure stands, in all but the far southeastern corner of Wisconsin.

Mature Size: 40-100+ feet tall

Growth Rate: This tree grows at a fast rate, with height increases of more than 24" per year.

Sun Preference: Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference: Grows in acidic, moist, well-drained and dry soils. While it does best in moist soil, the tree can has been known to tolerate everything from dry, rocky ridges to bogs.

Description: Bark develops reddish brown plates as it matures, giving this tree its common name. The stiff, 4- to 6- inch needles appear in clusters of two. Cones are about 2 inches long, light brown fading to gray and free of resin. Red Pine thrives on sandy loam and dry soils in full sun and it is disease and insect resistant. Winter burn can be a problem on younger trees.

Landscape Use: There's nothing like the scent of pine trees or the sound of wind whistling through their branches. They can be used as specimens on large landscapes, but are usually used for screening and windbreaks. They don't adapt well to urban conditions.

Dogwood Red Osier (Cornus Sericea)

The redosier dogwood is loved by gardeners, landscapers, and homeowners for its hardiness and versatility. It can grow in a myriad of conditions, including wet soil. Its thicket-forming habit makes it a great hedge option. And the fibrous root system provides effective erosion control on banks and slopes.

The biggest selling point, though, is the shrub’s deep red stems. This vibrant hue remains through winter, creating a pop of color in the snowy, gray months.

Zone 2-7

Mature Size: 7-9 feet tall, and 10 feet wide

Growth Rate: This shrub grows at a fast rate, with height increases of more than 24" per year.

Sun Preference: Full sun and partial shade are best for this shrub, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference: Very adaptable, growing in acidic to alkaline soils. It prefers moist soils and often grows in wet swamp lands. It does not, however, tolerate excessively dry soil.

Description: Native to swamps, low meadows, and forest openings and margins throughout Wisconsin. An attractive 10- to 12- foot landscape shrub, it has deep red stems and twigs that are showy in winter; creamy-white flowers in spring followed by attractive white fruits; and maroon-colored fall leaves.

Landscape Use: This is an ornamental shrub, typically planted for the visual interest and beauty it can bring to landscape.

Wildlife Value: Provides dense cover for wildlife. The white berries are eaten by at least 18 species of birds including ruffled grouse, bobwhite quail, wild turkey and gray catbird. The twigs and foliage are browsed by elk, deer, moose, rabbits and chipmunks.

Attributes:

  • Features vibrant red stems that make a bold statement in the wintertime landscape

  • Produces attractive clusters of white flowers in mid- to late spring

  • Yields pea-sized white drupes that mature in late summer to early fall

  • Easy to transplant

  • Needs to be pruned only once a year

  • Can be cut back to the ground regularly for the red color of the younger stems to be more prevalent

  • Features opposite, simple leaves, ovate to oblong-lancelolate in shape and 2-5" in length. The medium to dark green summer color changes to a ruddy red or purple in the fall

  • Has slow horizontal growth

  • Grows in a rounded shape

  • Can be planted 3-4" apart to make a hedge

Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea Pungens)

A magnificent sight of silver blue-green spruce. Rated one of the most popular evergreens. It grows well while young and matures at 50-75'; 10-'20' spread in the landscape, up to 135' and 35' spread in the wild.

Zone 2-7

Mature Size: 50-75 feet tall, and 10-20 feet wide

Growth Rate: This tree grows at a slow to medium rate, with height increases of anywhere from less than 12" to 24" per year.

Sun Preference: Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference: Adapts well to many soils - growing in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. It requires normal moisture with moderate tolerance to flooding and drought.

Description: Picea pungens, commonly called Colorado Spruce (also Blue Spruce), is a medium to large, narrow, pyramidal conifer with horizontal branching to the ground. Stiff, bristly, four-angled, green to blue-green to silver-blue needles (to 1.5” long) point outward from the branches in all directions. Cylindrical light brown cones (to 4” long) have flexible scales. Dark gray bark furrows on mature trees. From a horticultural standpoint, trees with blue or silver blue foliage are generally more coveted than trees with green foliage.

Landscape Use: Spruces are vital to northern landscapes and long-lived if properly cared for. Their large size restricts their use, but they can be used for screening, windbreak and shelterbelt plantings.

Wildlife Value: Provides food and shelter for birds, such as; siskins, nuthatches and crossbills.

Attributes:

  • Displays its unique silvery blue-green color year-round

  • Withstands wind better than most spruces due to a wide-spreading and moderately deep root system

  • Is a long-lived specimen

  • Features needles that are stiff, prickly and roughly 1-1 1/2" in length

  • Provides privacy and a windbreak when planted in a row

  • Yields light brown, 3-4" cones which hang downward on the branches and are concentrated in the upper crown

  • Grows in a columnar, pyramidal shape

Hazelnut (Corylus Americana)

The American Filbert is a multi-stemmed shrub with a rounded top and an open, often wide-spreading base. Because of its size, it is adapts well to naturalizing and other non-formal areas. It bears annual, abundant crops of small, sweet tasting nuts. It will bear in 2-3 years after planting. The nuts are easy to crack and drop free of the husk when mature. (Plant multiple trees with the same flowering time to ensure pollination) (zone 4-9)

Zone 4-9

Mature Size: 15-18 feet tall, and 10-12 feet wide

Growth Rate: This shrub grows at a medium to fast rate, with height increases of anywhere from 13" to more than 24" per year.

Sun Preference: Full sun and partial shade are best for this shrub, meaning it prefers a minimum of 4 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference: Grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. It is drought-tolerate.

Description: This multi-stemmed, rounded shrub has dark green leaves that are slightly hairy above and soft hairy beneath. Fall color is sometimes yellowish. The small but interesting dangling catkins appear in early to mid-April and are followed by edible nuts that mature in fall. Plants often form large thickets.

Landscape Use: American hazelnut has attractive summer foliage and interesting fall fruits, but its large size and coarse growth habit limit its landscape use to screening, naturalistic plantings, or large shrub borders. The nuts are favorites of squirrels.

Wildlife Value: The nuts produced by this shrub are a preferred by squirrels, deer, turkey, woodpeckers, pheasants, grouse, quail and jays. The male catkins are a food staple of ruffed grouse throughout the winter.

Attributes:

  • Can be harvested typically from September to October

  • Will begin producing nuts approximately 2-3 years after planting, 8 years if grown from seed

  • Grows in a rounded shape

  • Takes on a multi-stemmed form with an open, often wide-spreading base

  • Produces red female flowers and yellowish-brown male catkins on the same plant (but it is not self-fertile)

  • Should be planted in multiples (2 or 3) to ensure cross-pollination

Norway Spruce (Picea Abies)

Fastest growing of the spruces. Develops strong graceful branches that are covered with dark green needles. Ideal windbreaker. Matures at 60'; 25' spread. (zones 3-7)

Zone 3-7

Mature Size: 40-60 feet tall, and 25-30 feet wide

Growth Rate: This tree grows at a medium to fast rate, with height increases of anywhere from 13" to more than 24" per year.

Sun Preference: Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference: Acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. It has some drought tolerance.

Description: Their bark is orange-brown, finely flaking, becoming gray-brown, scaly on old trees. Branches are short and stout, the upper level or ascending, the lower drooping; twigs are orange-brown, usually glabrous. Buds are reddish brown.

Landscape Use: Spruces are vital to northern landscapes and long-lived if properly cared for. Their large size restricts their use, but they can be used for screening, windbreak and shelterbelt plantings.

Wildlife Value: Supports a wide variety of wildlife. They are important as winter cover for deer and small game including grouse, hare and woodcock. Song birds and fur bearers also frequent these forest types. Norway spruce also makes a good roosting tree for hawks and owls.

Attributes:

  • Fastest growing of the spruces

  • Easy to transplant

  • Can be planted on a wide variety of sites

  • Works well for windbreaks

  • Features dark green needles that are roughly 1/2-1" in length

  • Yields light brown, stiffly scaled, 4-6" cones that sit upright on the branch until fertilized, once fertilized, they gradually turn downward

  • Grows in a pyramidal shape

  • Can begin to look a little unkempt in its old age

Lilac (Syringa Vulgaris)

Zone 3-7

Mature Size: 8-15 feet tall, and 6-12 feet wide

Growth Rate: This shrub grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13-24" per year.

Sun Preference: Full sun and partial shade are best for this shrub, meaning it prefers a minimum of 4 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference: Grows well in acidic, alkaline, moist, sandy and well-drained soils.

Description: The lilac is a deciduous, multi-stemmed shrub with an irregular, rounded outline. It is fast growing when young, but slows to about one foot a year with age. The stems are dark gray to gray-brown, and the wood is strong. The leaves are dark green to blue-green above and pale green below. In shades of lilac, light purple, or lavender, the clusters of four petal flowers bloom in April or May. They are extremely fragrant, While the lilac grows best in sunny sites, it will not tolerate hot, humid conditions. It prefers well drained, moist soil with a neutral or slightly alkaline pH. The soil can be supplemented with peat or leaf mold. Old flowers should be removed as soon as they fade. The best time to prune lilacs is just flowering. It is preferable to prune the shrub to emphasize medium-aged wood, which will produce good blooms and still lend good size to the plant. To do this, remove one-third of the oldest stems at ground level every year. At the same time, any corrective pruning, such as removing conflicting branches or sucker growth can be done. Older lilacs that are a major landscape feature can be pruned as small multiple-branched trees, removing sucker growth and emphasizing a few large, old trunks. The shrub also can be trimmed into a single stemmed tree. Overgrown lilacs can be cut to within a few inches of the ground. Within 3-4 years, they will flower again, For a hedge, plant about 3-4 feet apart depending upon the mature height.

Wildlife Value: Lilacs attract butterflies, provide caterpillar food and offer cover for birds and butterflies.

Attributes:

  • Produces very fragrant, light purple, 1/2" florets borne in 4-8" panicles usually in pairs on previous year's growth

  • Blooms in April or May

  • Features simple, ovate leaves that are dark green to bluish-green in color and 2-5" long

  • Grows in a rounded shape

  • Should be planted 3-4' apart for a hedge

  • Will not tolerate hot, humid conditions

  • Can be pruned into a single-stemmed or multi-stemmed tree

White Spruce (Picea Glauca)

A straight, tall tree easily recognized by its needles. Cones always hang down. Beautiful year-round color. Tolerates most soil conditions. Grows to 60'; 15' spread. (zones 2-6)

Zone 2-6

Mature Size: 40-60 feet tall, and 10-20 feet wide

Growth Rate: This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13-24" per year.

Sun Preference: Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference: Acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. It has some drought tolerance.

Description: This large tree is pyramidal when young, becoming narrower as it matures. Bark is scale and dark gray or grayish brown. The stiff, bluish green needles are crowded along branchlets. Slender, 2-inch cones hang from branches.

Landscape Use: Spruces are vital to northern landscapes and long-lived if properly cared for. Their large size restricts their use, but they can be used for screening, windbreak and shelterbelt plantings.

Wildlife Value: Besides providing nesting sites and shelter, white spruce provide food for many kinds of wildlife. Birds, such as; crossbills, evening grosbeaks and red-breasted nuthatches prefer the seeds. The foliage is eaten by grouse, rabbits and deer. Red squirrels cut open cones to eat the seeds, and they feast upon young, tender spruce shoots. The bark is enjoyed by both porcupines and black bears, sometimes to the detriment of the trees.

Attributes:

  • Transplants readily

  • Can withstand wind, heat, cold, drought, crowding and some shade

  • Works well in cities and rural windbreaks

  • Widely used as a Christmas tree

  • Features slightly curved, pale green needles that are roughly 1/2-3/4" in length and crowded on the upper side of the steam

  • Yields slender, cylindrical cones that are light brown in color and 1 1/2 - 2 1/2" long with flexible scales

  • Grows in a pyramidal shape, becoming more columnar with age

Poplar Hybrid (Populus Deltoides x Populus Nigra)

Zone 3-9

Mature Size: 40-50 feet tall, and around 30 feet wide

Growth Rate: This shrub grows at a fast rate, with height increases of more than 24" per year.

Sun Preference: Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference: Hybrid poplar grows in acidic, alkaline and wet soils.

Description: A very fast-growing tree, up to 5 to 8 feet per year. Has silvery-green leaves and broad shade-tree shape. Usually planted for very fast shade, or can be harvested for firewood in 5 to 7 years. This is a cottonless hybrid. Plant back from sidewalks. Grows to 40' to 50', 30' spread.

Wildlife Value: Hybrid poplar bark, twigs and leaves are eaten by rodents, rabbits, deer, beavers and porcupines. It provides forage for browsing wildlife such as white-tailed and mule deer up through the sapling stage. It also provides important nesting and roosting habitat for various species of birds.

Attributes:

  • Grows at a very rapid rate, as much as 5-8" per year

  • Is a cottonless hybrid

  • Features triangular leaves that are 3-6" long and 4-5" wide with slightly rounded teeth around the margin. The leaves are dark to silvery green on top with paler undersides

  • Can be grown for a number of uses including firewood, chemical runoff filtration, windbreak protection (while slower-growing species mature), paper and fuel

  • Grows in an oval shape

  • Has a relatively short lifespan

  • Prone to limb breakage and is therefore not recommended for planting next to play areas, patios, sidewalks or anywhere else damage may be caused

White Cedar (Thuja Occidentalis)

This native evergreen is a hard-working, versatile specimen. The narrow, pyramid shape makes it a natural choice for windbreaks. It requires almost no care when used as a hedge or screen. Pairs of these hardy trees make great accents for doors and garden gates. And single trees soften house corners.

Tall and elegant, the American arborvitae may be the right solution to your landscaping challenges.

Zone 3-7

Mature Size: 40-60 feet tall, and 10-15 feet wide

Growth Rate: This tree grows at a slow to medium rate, with height increases of anywhere from less than 12-24" per year.

Sun Preference: Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference: Acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam, well-drained, wet and clay soils.

Description: This upright, pyramidal evergreen has dense, scalelike, green to yellowish green foliage arranged in flat, fanlike branches. On mature trees the bark is gray to reddish brown, separating in long shreds, and the trunk is often twisted. Foliage and bark are aromatic. Foliage often looks slightly yellow, purple, or brown in winter but returns to green in summer.

Landscape Use: This tree is an evergreen that keeps its foliage year-round. The large size of the species limits its use to screening and windbreaks. The cultivars are good choices for hedging, specimen plants, and foundation plantings. All provide excellent shelter for birds.

Wildlife Value: Providing shelter in the winter and nesting sites for birds, such as; grackles, robins and house finches in the summer, this evergreen is also browsed by deer, cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hares and an occasional moose. The seeds are eaten by red squirrels and birds such as pine siskins.

Attributes:

  • Features tiny, scale-like leaves that are packed closely together in overlapping rows on branchlets, displaying in a flattened, fan-like spray. The leaves change from bright green in the summer to a multitude of rich yellow-brown-green hues in the winter

  • Grows in a pyramidal shape

  • Adapts well to shearing and shaping

  • Releases a pleasing aroma when leaves are squeezed

  • Yields light brown or reddish-brown oblong cones that are 3/8-1/2" long and persist through winter

  • Can be planted 3' apart for a low-maintenance hedge

Red Maple (Acer Rubrum)

Brings color to your landscape year-round. Green stems turn red in winter, new leaves are red-tinged, turning to green. Fall color is deep red or yellow. Flowers are also red. Fast growing and tolerant of many soils. Grows to 40' to 60', 40' spread. (zones 3-9) Consuming .03% of dry wilted leaves can cause toxicity to horses.

Zone 3-9

Mature Size: 40-60 feet tall, and around 40 feet wide

Growth Rate: This tree grows at a medium to fast rate, with height increases of anywhere from 13" to more than 24" per year.

Sun Preference: Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference: The red maple grows in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam, well-drained and clay soils. It prefers wet soil conditions but has slight drought tolerance.

Description: Red maple is a medium-sized tree with a broadly rounded symmetrical crown. The smooth, light gray bark on young stems turns dark gray and shaggy on older limbs. Leaves have three- to five- pointed, saw-toothed lobes. The upper surface is light green and the lower surface is whitish and partly covered with pale down. It is the first of the native maples to turn color in fall. Fall color is usually a brilliant red, but it can also be orange or yellow. The small red flowers five the care branches a red glow for a week or so in early to mid-April, before the leaves appear.

Landscape Use: Red maple is a good shade, lawn, or street tree. Its ability to survive in heavy soils means it can tolerate the poorer, compacted soils of streets and parking areas. The red flowers are a welcome sight in early April when few other trees are showy. All maples have shallow roots and produce deep shade that can make it difficult to grow grass under them.

Wildlife Value: The fruits provide food for squirrels and many other rodents. Rabbits and deer eat the tender shoots and leaves of red maples.

Attributes:

  • Provides amazing fall color that is yellow to red

  • Produces red (sometimes yellow) clusters of small flowers winter to spring

  • Features simple, medium to dark green leaves 2-6" in length with 3 or 5 lobes and sinuses that are irregularly toothed

  • Yields twin seeds bound at their tips to a long, drooping stems. The seeds ripen in late spring and have attached wings that are up to 1" in length

  • Can grow in an oval, rounded, upright or erect shape

  • Can be toxic to horses if dry, wilted leaves are consumed

Sugar Maple (Acer Saccharum)

The Sugar Maple is a landscape standout. Medium to dark-green leaves turn yellow, burnt orange or red in fall. Tolerates shade, likes a well-drained, moderately moist, fertile soil. Do not plant in confined areas or where salt is a problem. Grows to 60' to 75', 40'-50' spread. (zones 3-8)

Zone 3-8

Mature Size: 60-75 feet tall, and 40-50 feet wide

Growth Rate: This tree grows at a slow to medium rate, with height increases of anywhere from 12" to 24" per year.

Sun Preference: Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference: The sugar maple tree grows in deep, well-drained, acidic to slightly alkaline soil. It prefers moist soil conditions but has moderate drought tolerance.

Description: Sugar maple is an excellent choice for landscape use where the soil conditions are right. It prefers heavy clay or loam soils that are moisture retentive and on a north-facing slope, but it will tolerate drier, sandier sites. Avoid compacted, alkaline soils. it is larger than red maple. Its greatest attribute is the brilliant fall color, which ranges from yellow to orange to scarlet. It is slow growing when first transplanted. It is sensitive to salt damage, so avoid using it as a street tree. It is also susceptible to leaf scorching and tattering when planted on open, exposed sites, which can make the leaves somewhat unattractive in late summer.

Wildlife Value: Sugar maples are commonly browsed by white-tailed deer, moose and snowshoe hare. Squirrels feed on the seeds, buds, twigs and leaves.

Attributes:

  • Puts on a show in the fall, with leaves turning yellow, burnt orange and red

  • Develops a dense crown, offering great shade

  • Features 3-5" medium to dark green leaves with 5 (rarely 3) distinct lobes that are slightly coarsely toothed

  • Produces small, greenish-yellow flowers in groups that curve downward on long, delicate stems, blooming in April and May

  • Yields pairs of winged seeds about 1-1 1/2" long that mature in September or October. Seeds are produced annually, with particularly heavy crops every 2-5 years

  • Grows in a round or oval shape

  • Should not be planted in confined spaces or areas where salt is a problem

Evergreen Conifers

Planting:

Before planting, amend the soil with a good amount of organic matter such as compost, peat moss, or well-rotted manure. Mix this organic matter thoroughly with the planting-hole soil. Place the evergreen at the same depth it was growing in the container or burlap wrap. Bare-root plants should be planted so that the crown is level with the ground. Newly planted evergreens should not need additional fertilizer, but it is a good idea to surround them with a 2 to 4 inch layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips, shredded bark, or pine needles. Replenish the mulch as needed throughout the growing season.

Care:

The first two or three years after planting, make sure the soil is evenly moist from spring until the ground freezes in fall. Once established, many evergreens can tolerate some dry periods, but don’t hesitate to water as needed, especially in sandy soils. Always saturate the soil thoroughly with each watering to encourage deep rooting. To avoid brown needles in the winter, make sure the plants have plenty of moisture right up until the ground freezes.

Maintenance needs of evergreens differ depending on the species. Most shrubs will benefit from regular trimming to help maintain their natural shape. Do not cut branches too far back — stay in young green growth. Remove any dead, damaged, or diseased parts of evergreens at any time of the year.

Source: Landscaping with Native Plants of Wisconsin by: Lynn M. Steiner

Deciduous Shrubs

Planting:

Deciduous shrubs are best planted in spring, but early fall is also a good time. If you have the opportunity to move a native tree or shrub, more it in early spring. Bare-root plants must be planted in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Container plants can be planted any time but the hottest days of summer, during July and August; spring planting is still the best, however.

Before planting, amend the soil with a good amount of organic matter such as compost, peat moss, or well rotted manure. Mix this organic matter thoroughly with the planting– hole soil. Place the shrub at the same depth it was growing in the container. Bare-root plants should be planted so that the crown is level with the ground. Newly planted shrubs should not need additional fertilizer. It is a good idea to surround all newly planted woody plants with a ring of organic mulch 2-4 inches thick. Good mulches are wood chips, shredded bark, and pine needles. Replenish the mulch as needed throughout the growing season.

Care:

The first two or three years after planting, make sure the soil is evenly moist, from spring until the ground freezes in fall. Once established, many shrubs can tolerate some dry periods, but don’t hesitate to water as needed, especially in sandy soils. Always saturate the soil thoroughly with each watering. Most woody plants will benefit from a spring application of fertilizer. Spread a layer of rotted manure or compost around each plant or use Milorganite or fish emulsion. If possible allow leaves to fall and decay under shrubs to return nutrients to the soil. Keeps weeds pulled or smother them with organic mulch. Do not use rock or black plastic as mulch.

Best Native Deciduous Shrubs for Landscape Use:

Serviceberries, New Jersey Tea, Dogwoods, Leatherwood, Winterberry, Ninebark, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Canada Plum, Hop Tree, Bladdernut, and Viburnums

Source: Landscaping with Native Plants of WIsconsin by: Lynn M. Steiner

Deciduous Trees

Planting:

You will have the best success planting locally grown nursery trees that have been properly root pruned. They will survive transplanting the best and start growing quickly. If you have the opportunity to move a native tree, stick with one that is 1 or 2 inches in diameter or less, and move it in the early spring. Bare-root trees must be planted in spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Balled-and-burlapped, container-grown, and tree-spade trees can be planted any time but the hottest days of summer, during July and August. Spring is still the best time or planting, however.

Before planting, amend the soil with a good amount of organic matter, such as compost, peat moss, or well-rotted manure. Mix this organic matter thoroughly with the planting-hole soil. Place the tree at the same depth it was growing at in the container or the burlap wrap. Bare-root trees should be planted so that the crown is level with the ground level. Newly planted trees should not need additional fertilizer. Do not stake them unless they are on an extremely windy, open site. Any stakes should be removed as soon as the tree has rooted well, usually after the first year. It is a good idea to surround all newly planted trees with a ring of organic mulch 2-4 inches thick. Good mulches include wood chips, shredded bar, and pine needles. Replenish the much as needed throughout the growing season. Do not use rock or black plastic as mulch.

Care:

The first two or three years after planting, make sure the soil is evenly moist, from spring until the ground freezes in fall. Once established, most trees can tolerate some dry periods, but don’t hesitate to water as needed, especially in sandy soils. Always saturate the soil thoroughly with each watering to encourage deep rooting. Most young trees will also benefit from a spring application of fertilizer. Spread a layer of rotted manure or compost around each tree or use fertilizer such as; Milorganite or fish emulsion. If possible allow leaves to fall and decay under trees to return nutrients to the soil. Keeps weeds pulled or smother them with organic mulch.

Best Native Deciduous Trees for Landscape Use:

Maples, River Birch, Blue Beech, Hackberry, Kentucky Coffee Tree, Black Gum, Ironwood, Hop Hornbeam, Oaks, Basswood

Source: Landscaping with Native Plants of Wisconsin by: Lynn M. Steiner

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