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Extension > Garden > Yard and Garden > Trees and shrubs > Recommended trees for Minnesota: An ecosystem approach > Southwest

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Recommended trees for southwest Minnesota: An ecosystem approach

Gary R. Johnson, University of Minnesota Extension, Urban and Community Forestry
Katie M. Himanga, Heartwood Forestry

Technical Adviser: Gerald L. Jensen, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry
Reviewed and updated 2009 by Gary R. Johnson, University of Minnesota Extension, Urban and Community Forestry

Trees shade and cool us in the summer, protect us from cold winter winds, supply us with clean air to breathe, beautify our communities and provide habitat for wildlife. Selecting the trees that will survive and grow into healthy urban forests requires a thorough analysis of the planting site and a careful match of the trees to that environment.

The Recommended Trees series recognizes that Minnesota is an ecologically diverse state. For this series, the state is divided into six major ecological regions, each with characteristic soils, precipitation patterns, topography, and natural vegetation. Recommended trees for each region perform reliably in that environment, and should thrive for many years.

Recommended trees by region: Southeast | Southwest | Northwest and central | Northern tallgrass prairie

Southwest Minnesota ecological areas

Ecological areas of southwest Minnesota

Minnesota River Prairie

Level to gently rolling moraine, with well- to moderately well-drained loamy soils. A few soils are clayey, some sandy and gravelly. A very drying environment for woody plants. Original vegetation was prairie grasses and riparian forests of silver maple, cottonwood, elm and willow.

Inner Coteau

Soils are well-drained and consist of windblown silt with occasional bedrock outcrops. Plant communities were dominated by prairies; occasional riparian forests.

Coteau Moraines

Gently rolling to hilly land with windblown silt soils covering loamy, well-drained glacial material high in lime. Plant communities were dominated by tall grass prairies with occasional forests near streams.

Recommended trees for southwest Minnesota

Trees in these sections include species that have a history of performing well as street, boulevard, or landscape trees in general for Southwest Minnesota.

Limited use

Trees in these sections may have some value in certain instances, such as unusually harsh planting sites, or for wildlife cover, but are not recommended for general use.

Trees to try

Trees in these sections have shown promise in landscapes or as street trees, but either do not have a long history of use in Southwest Minnesota or require specific siting requirements such as wind protection or acidic soils. Use caution until their performance is better documented.

Deciduous trees for southwest Minnesota

Conifers for southwest Minnesota

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