When selecting trees and shrubs for your landscape, always plant several different species to help protect against invasive species or an insect or disease infesting and damaging your plantings. Properly selected and placed trees and shrubs in the landscape can offer multiple benefits to both urban and rural areas. These benefits include producing edible fruit or nuts, saving energy (heating and cooling), protection from the wind or snow, increase property value, protect soil and water resources, increase wildlife habitat, provide living screens and beautify the land.
Arbor Day is celebrated every year on the last Friday in April, and May is Arbor Month www.arborday.
org. The University of Minnesota Extension offers resources to help you decide what kind of trees to plant in your region. The Extension forestry website at www.extension.umn.edu/go/1027, has materials which can help you identify trees suitable for your location. Minnesota residents must consider planting shade trees other than ash, since emerald ash borer (EAB) was found in the state in 2009. Visit Extension’s emerald ash borer website at www.extension.umn.edu/issues/eab, to learn more about EAB and alternative shade trees.
Shade tree species to consider in rural or urban areas include ginkgo, hackberry, American linden or basswood, sugar maple (Fall Fiesta), Freeman maple (Sienna Glen, Autumn Blaze), red maple (Northwood), and disease-resistant elms; Discovery and Princeton. Residents can plant trees that produce nuts and pods to add diversity, but they need to consider debris or maintenance in these areas. Trees that produce nuts include Ohio buckeye (Autumn Splendor), shagbark hickory, bitternut hickory, bur oak, white oak, bicolor or swamp white oak, and black walnut (can inhibit some plants from growing near it). Trees that produce pods are northern catalpa, Kentucky coffeetree (podless cultivar Stately Manor), honey locust (podless cultivars are Shademaster and Sunburst).
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and produces four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.”
Before planting, call Gopher State One Call at (800) 252-1166, to identify where underground utilities might be. For windbreak planting fact sheet, see: www.extension.umn.edu/agroforestry/
Remember landscape diversity by planting several different species of trees, shrubs and plants in your landscape. No one species should represent more than
15 percent of your landscape. Make it a family activity to plant trees or shrubs this year. You can pass on the benefits of trees when you explain them to your children.