A Note About Changing Climate in Minnesota and Trees;
Average minimum and maximum temperatures and precipitation have all increased in Minnesota over the past century, and rain and snow patterns have shifted. And change continues: Over the lifetime of a tree planted today, meteorologists tell us that the number of frost-free days and the number of days with temperatures above 95 will increase; heat waves and storms will become more severe; and drought will become more of a problem. In addition, climate change is expected to worsen the threat of wildfires, insect and disease outbreaks, and invasive species. In fact, DNR Forestry has called climate change "the most significant threat to Minnesota's forests over the next century.”
—Minnesota DNR

*Trees below with an asterisk indicate trees that are anticipated to be more resilient in a changing climate.

Canopy Trees
American basswood* (aka Linden), Tilia Americana
American elm*, Ulmus americana (Dutch elm disease resistant hybrid elms only)
Balsam fir, Abies balsamea (not a canopy tree)
Bitternut hickory*, Carya cordiformis
Black cherry*, Prunus serotine
Black oak*, Quercus velutina
Black walnut*, Juglans nigra
Bur oak*, Quercus macrocarpa
Cottonwood*, Populus deltoids
Eastern white pine*, Pinus strobus (not a canopy tree)
Hackberry*, Celtis occidentalis
Honeylocust, Gleditsia triacanthos
Kentucky coffeetree*, Gymnocladus dioicus
Northern catalpa (non-native), Catalpa speciosa
Northern red oak*, Quercus rubra
Paper birch Betula papyrifera (not a canopy tree)
Red maple*, Acer rubrum
River birch, Betula nigra (not a canopy tree)
Shagbark hickory*, Carya ovata
Silver maple*, Acer saccharinum
Sugar maple*, Acer saccharum
Swamp white oak, Quercus bicolor
White oak*, Quercus alba

Small Trees
Blue beech (aka, musclewood, American hornbeam) Carpinus caroliniana
Downy serviceberry*, Amelanchier arborea
Eastern hophornbeam* (aka Ironwood), Ostrya virginiana
Eastern redbud* (native to neighboring Iowa), Cercis canadensis
Eastern wahoo* Euonymus atropurpureus 

Pagoda dogwood*, Cornus alternifolia

Tree Notes

 American basswood (aka Linden): Full sun to part shade. Prefers well-drained loam  soils. (Loam soil is a mix of clay, silt, and sand.) Average to moist soil moisture. Shade   tolerant. Flood intolerant. Can tolerate clay soil. Tolerates compacted soil. Intolerant of air  pollution. Tolerates some drought. Good shade tree. Fragrant flowers. Good suburban   boulevard tree. 

American elm: An iconic Minnesota overstory/boulevard tree. Tolerates part shade. Prefers average to wet soil. A variety of Dutch elm disease-resistant (but not immune) hybrid elms are now widely available. Do not plant elms closer than 75 feet in order to avoid the spread of Dutch elm disease through root grafts.   

Balsam fir: Full sun to partial shade. Tolerates clay soil. Tolerates compacted soil. Prefers well-drained soil. Drought intolerant. Sensitive to salt. Likes more moist conditions. Fragrant. Only fir native to Minnesota.

Bitternut hickory: Prefers rich, loamy soil. Drought tolerant. Can tolerate a range of soil moisture types. Can tolerate some shade. A slow growing, but large overstory tree that can grow to 100 feet.

Black cherry: Full sun to part shade. Dry to moist loam soils. Tolerates a wide range of soil types. Flood, shade, and drought tolerant. Sensitive to salt spray but tolerant of salt soils. Protect newly planted trees from rabbits. Very high wildlife value tree. Best to locate away from sidewalks and pavement due to fruit production. 

Black oak: Full sun. Very drought tolerant. Shade intolerant. Flood intolerant. Sensitive to salt spray. Susceptible to oak wilt. 

Black walnut: Full sun. Moist, deep loam soil. Tolerates salty soil. Good tree for tough sites. Drought tolerant. Produces edible walnuts. Certain plants should not be planted near a black walnut trees due to their intolerance of a chemical (juglone) produced by this tree.  

Blue Beech: A smaller tree growing to approximately 30-35 feet at maturity. An understory tree that tolerates, even prefers, shade. Average to moist soil. Adapts to a wide range of soil types, moisture levels, and pH levels. Interestingly, this tree is not in the beech family but is in the unrelated birch family. 

Bur oak: Full sun to partial sun. Sandy, clay, moist soils. Tolerates many soil types from slightly acid, to neutral, to slightly alkaline. Highly shade intolerant. Drought tolerant. Flood intolerant. Does not tolerate soil compaction well. Can be sensitive to salt spray. Needs room to grow. A good oak for urban/suburban sites. Very high wildlife value tree. More resilient to oak wilt than other oak species. 

Cottonwood: A fast-growing tree. Prefers full sun and medium to wet soil. Can tolerate some shade. Tolerates drought and pollution well. Male hybrid species are available that grow without the cottony seeds that are frequently bothersome in urban landscapes.  An iconic Minnesota tree, Cottonwood needs room to grow and is best grown in large, open spaces.

Downy serviceberry: An understory tree that can grow to 20-25 feet. Prefers sandy or sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil. Part shade to full sun. Tolerates air pollution. Tolerates clay soil. Spring blossoms followed by purple fruit make this a fine wildlife tree. 

Eastern hophornbeam (aka Ironwood): Sun, part shade, shade. Dry to moist soil. Prefers rich, well-drained soil. Very sensitive to salt. Sensitive to pollutants. Flood intolerant. Drought tolerant. Shade tolerant. Pest resistant. Good understory tree. Slow-growing. Needs watering during first few dry seasons. An ornamental tree that grows to 30-40 feet. Nutlets provide important food source for wintering birds and other wildlife. 

Eastern redbud: An ornamental understory tree that grows to 20-30 feet. Prefers part shade/shade but can tolerate full sun. Prefers moist, well-drained soil. Can tolerate clay soil. Beautiful pink blossoms in early spring. Deer tend to avoid this tree.

Eastern wahoo: A small understory tree that can grow to 20 feet. Can tolerate full sun to full shade. Prefers part shade and rich, moist soils. Tolerates clay soil. Good fall color. 

Eastern white pine: Full sun to part shade. Dry to wet soil. Prefers well-drained, sandy loam soils. An iconic Minnesota tree. Deer browsing a problem for this tree. Drought intolerant. Needs room to grow. Very sensitive to salt. Susceptible to white pine blister rust. Seeds provide an important food source for winter wildlife.

Hackberry: Full sun to full shade. Sandy loam to silty clay soils. Can tolerate dry to wet soil moisture. Tolerates alkaline soils. Tolerates compacted soil. Good tree for urban plantings. Good boulevard tree. Host to many butterfly species.

Honeylocust: Full sun. Shade intolerant. Fast grower. Hardy. Tolerates high soil pH. Tolerant of salt spray and soil salts. Flood tolerant. Tolerates clay soil. Scented flowers. Provides dappled shade. The female tree produces interesting pods. Good boulevard tree. 

Kentucky coffeetree: Full sun. Tolerates dry to moist soils. Tolerates clay soil. Tolerates adverse sites. Tolerates compacted soil. Interesting seed pods (female tree). Few pest problems. Good boulevard tree. A long-lived tree. Tolerates urban pollution fairly well. Late to leaf out in spring.  

Northern catalpa: Prefers part to full sun. Showy spring blossoms. Fast growing. Tolerates a wide range of soil types and a range of moisture types but prefers alkaline soil, moist, well-drained soil. Tolerates road salt. Tolerates air pollution. Sheds its flowers and seed pods so best not planted near sidewalks.    

Northern red oak: One of the faster growing oaks. Good fall color. Prefers acidic, moist, well-drained soil. Can tolerate some shade. Can tolerate moderately dry soil. A good urban tree as it can tolerate pollution. Should not be planted in high pH soils. Susceptible to oak wilt.

Pagoda dogwood: An understory tree that grows to 20-35 feet. Prefers shade to part shade. Cool, well-drained, acidic soils. A very high wildlife value tree. Unique horizontal branch pattern offers winter interest. Profuse spring blossoms, late summer berries, and good fall color.  

Paper birch: Sun to part shade. Moist, well-drained, fertile soil. Proper siting is especially important for this tree. Cool siting required to keep tree strong and less susceptible to bronze birch borer. Root system should be cool and shaded (although the tree itself requires sun).  Mulching is helpful for this tree. Siting should be free from competition from grass. Drought intolerant. Fast growing. Not well-adapted to the urban landscape. Lovely ornamental white bark.

Red maple: Full sun to part shade. Prefers medium to wet soil moisture. Avoid planting on hot, dry boulevard. Drought intolerant. Shade tolerant. Sensitive to salt spray and pollution. Flood tolerant. Prefers acid, moist, well-drained soil. Tolerates compacted soil.  

River birch: Full sun to light shade. Adapted to a wide range of soil conditions. Wet to medium soil moisture. Tolerates clay soil. Sensitive to salt spray. Can tolerate tough conditions. Tolerates compacted soil. Tolerant to flooding. Shade tolerant. Very useful along streambanks. Attractive bark.  

Shagbark hickory: Full sun to part shade. Slow-growing hardwood tree but long-lived. Moist loam to clay soil. Flood intolerant. Drought tolerant. Attractive gray bark. Good boulevard tree. Produces nutritious nuts for wildlife.

Silver maple: Full sun to part shade. Will tolerate moist soil. Can tolerate compacted soil. Shade tolerant. Tolerates clay soil. Flood tolerant. Needs room to grow. Sensitive to salt spray. 

Sugar Maple: Full sun to full shade. Does best in well-drained soil. Can be grown in loam, sand, and clay soils. Lovely fall color. Flood tolerant. Shade tolerant. Fast grower.

Swamp White Oak: Full sun. Prefers acid, moist, well-drained soil. Tolerates clay soil, compacted soil, wet sites, occasional drought, occasional flooding, road salt. 

White oak: Full sun. Prefers well-drained, acid soil. Slow growing. Drought tolerant. Tolerant to flooding. Sensitive to salt spray, but tolerates soil salts. Needs room to grow. More resistant to oak wilt than red oaks. A majestic tree with high wildlife value. Good shade tree.

Note - reference to Oak trees: To avoid deadly oak wilt disease, do not prune oaks during the growing season. For oaks growing in Minnesota, prune only from November through March.

Recommended Regionally Native Trees