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Extension > Environment > Agroforestry > Discovering profits in unlikely places: agroforestry opportunities for added income > Trees, shrubs and herbs used in agroforestry

Part 4 of Discovering profits in unlikely places: agroforestry opportunities for added income

Trees, shrubs and herbs used in agroforestry

The following is a short list of tree, shrub, and herbaceous plant species that produce valuable products and that can be used in agroforestry systems. This list is far from complete, but it will give you an idea of the wide range of plant species appropriate for the Midwest and Eastern Great Plains. We know that some species work better than others in particular agroforestry practices, but there is still a lot to learn about how to best use and combine species for maximum benefit. Each species or cultivar has specific climate zones and growing conditions where it will do best. You will want to investigate the suitability of the species you are interested in for your farm's climate and particular conditions.

Fast growing trees

  • Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)
  • Hybrid Poplar (Populus hybrids)
  • Hybrid Willow (Salix hybrids)

Products: Wood fiber for pulp and oriented strand board (OSB), lumber production, biomass for energy

High value hardwoods

  • Basswood (Tilia americana)
  • Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
  • Butternut (Juglans cinerea)
  • Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)
  • Maples: Red, Sugar (Acer rubrum, Acer saccharum)
  • Oaks: Bur, Red and White (Quercus macrocarpa Quercus rubra, Quercus alba)
  • Russian-olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)
  • Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra)

Products: High value lumber, pulpwood, fuelwood and biomass, specialty wood products for artisans

High value conifers (softwoods)

  • Black Hills Spruce (Picea glauca var. densata)
  • Colorado (Blue) Spruce (Picea pungens)
  • White Spruce (Picea glauca)
  • Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) "Glauca"
  • Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginia)
  • Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis)
  • Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)
  • Pine, Austrian (Pinus nigra)
  • Pine, Ponderosa (Pinus ponderosa)
  • Pine, Red (Pinus resinosa)
  • Pine, Scotch (Pinus sylvestris)
  • Pine, White (Pinus strobus)
  • Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)
  • Concolor Fir (Abies concolor)

Products: Fence posts, specialty wood products for use by artisans, furniture, distilled oils, lumber, Christmas trees, alcohol products, edible pine nuts

Nut trees and shrubs

  • Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
  • Butternut or White Walnut (Juglans cinerea)
  • Hybrid Chestnut (Castanea hybrids)
  • Chinese Chestnut (Castanea mollissima)
  • Hybrid Hazelnut (Corylus americana hybrids)
  • Northern Pecan (Carya illinoensis)

Products: Nut meat and shell products

Fruit trees and shrubs

  • American Cranberrybush or Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) "Wentworth," "Redwing"
  • American (wild) Plum (Prunus americana)
  • Black or Clove Currant (Ribes odoratum) many cultivars
  • White Currant (Ribes sativum) many cultivars
  • Red Currant (Ribes rubrum) many cultivars
  • Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) "Boughens Yellow," "Boughens Chokeless," "Garrington," "Goertz," "Robert," "Lee Red"
  • Crab Apple (Malus species)
  • Elderberry or American Elder (Sambucus canadensis) "Adams," "York"
  • Gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa, Ribes hirtellum) "Pixwell," "Welcome"
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus species)
  • Juneberry or Saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia) "Pembina," "Honeywood," "Northline," "Smokey," "Regent," "Martin," "Thiessen"
  • Nanking Cherry (Prunus tomentosa)
  • Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) many cultivars
  • Red Mulberry (Morus rubra) "Johnson," "Travis," "Wiseman," "Cooke"
  • Western Sand Cherry (Prunus besseyi) "Black Beauty," "Hansen's"
  • White Mulberry (Morus alba) "New American," "Wellington"

Products: Berries and fruits for jellies, jams, syrups, pies, and other food products

Woody decorative floral shrubs

  • Cherries, Apples, Plums (Malus and Prunus)
  • Basket Willow (Salix purpurea)
  • Corkscrew Willow (Salix matsudana hybrids) "Tortuosa," "Golden Curls," "Scarlet Curls"
  • Goat or Pussy Willow (Salix caprea or Salix discolor) several cultivars
  • Holly (Ilex opaca) "Winter Red"
  • Red Stemmed Dogwoods (Cornus sericea) "Cardinal," "Bailey" (Cornus coloradensis) "Cheyenne" (Cornus sanguinea var. atrosanguinea) "Bloodtwig"

Products: Woody decorative floral products foods and many others


  • Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)
  • Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
  • Dandelion (root) (Taraxacum officinale)
  • Ginseng (Panex quinquefolius)
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

Products: Medicinal products, health foods and many others

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