Maple Trees

Maple Trees- great for sap collection (MAPLE SYRUP!), summer shade and fall color.

Silver Maple – fast growing but soft wood and many seeds

Sugar Maple- soil sensitive but the best fall color

Red Maple- nice hardwood but slower growing

Norway Maple- great dense shade

There are many cross breeds available (think Autumn Blaze). Check with a landscape or tree professional to pick the right variety for your yard.

Maple Syrup time- early March

Supplies and tools

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LATE SPRING BLOOMERS for MN: Shrubs and Trees

As early spring bloomers begin to fade the prelude to summer begins with many fragrant flowering woody plants.

Photo courtesy of JFSchmidt- https://www.jfschmidt.com/royalraindrops/index.html

Royal raindrops crabapple – Disease resistant Height 20 ft. Spread 15 ft. Beautiful red-purple foliage, pink-red flowers, red sparkling fruit. Easy care, all-season color. Add a pop of color to your landscaping!

Greenspire Linden -Fragrant, creamy yellow flower Height: 40-50 ft. Spread: 30-35 ft. Symmetrical, pyramidal shape with a straight trunk. Bright yellow fall foliage; drought tolerant.

Japanese tree Lilac- Disease and pest resistant Height: 25-30 ft.  Spread: 20-25 ft. Fragrant, creamy white flower clusters bloom mid-June; brown fruit capsules follow. Textured, striped cherry tree-like bark adds interest in winter. Can be trained to be a multi-stemmed shrub-like tree, or a tall, single trunk tree.

Mandarin Lights Azalea- courtesy of U of MN research

Northern lights azalea grow from 3-7’ tall with flowers that bloom in spring, coming in a multitude of colors, so you would be sure to find one that would work in your landscape! These shrubs look especially lovely when planted alone or near conifers, but can work in just about any garden with partial to full sun and acidic soil! FUN FACT: Festivals celebrating the bloom of Azaleas are held around the world, including Japan, Korea, and the US

Prairie Petite Lilac

Lilac sp.  These white to deep purple flowers bloom in late spring and have perhaps one of the most easily recognizable fragrances to a Minnesota dweller. These shrubs grow best in full sun and can grow anywhere from 4-15’, depending on the variety! FUN FACT: Lilacs represent love! So, the next time you’re looking for something sweet for that special someone, skip the roses and try a Lilac bouquet!

Blizzard Mockorange – Abundant, fragrant blooms attract butterflies and birds Height: 4-5 ft.Spread: 3 ft. Very hardy shrub with deep green foliage and white blooms that last for 4 weeks in June. Orange-brown bark that exfoliates (similar to birch bark) as it ages. Tolerant to full sun.

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Planting Harsh Sites- BLACK WALNUT TOXICITY

Living with Black Walnut Trees

When dealing with mature trees many times we just think about the shade factor and if the tree has dense or dappled areas under it. Also root competition comes to mind as well as dry ground from rain being caught in the canopy before it can get to the soil. But some trees emit substances that can negatively affect near by plants and Black Walnut is one of the most notorious for harming it’s neighbors.

As a popular choice for shade canopy, Black Walnut is also grown for its lumber production and dye properties in its ‘fruits’. The concern lies in the production of Juglone which is in the roots, leaves, nut husks and even carried by water dripping of its leaves during rain. Areas effected by a tree go well beyond the canopy through the root structure and may effect nearby roots as far as ½” away.

The only real solution to black walnut toxicity is to install tolerant plants. Fortunately there a few plants that show little or no effect in relation to Juglone toxins. Many symptoms are a mimic of diseases or physiological disorders so look up before diagnosing a plant. Even cutting the tree won’t solve the problem since the roots still contain the chemical.

Plants to steer clear of are: Nightshade (tomatoes, peppers etc), yews, Pines, Azalea, Potentilla, Hydrangeas and lilacs. Some resistant to Juglone include: Cherry, Crabapple, maples, dogwoods, carrots, onions, snap beans, arbor vitae and daylilies. Checkout the Morton Arboretum  for a comprehensive list of plants.

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Planting Harsh Sites- SALT TOLERANT

When designing street scapes, Boulevard plantings or landscapes that border driveways and sidewalks a consideration factor is snow/ice and the control method that will be used. Many of these areas will receive a dose of de-icing salts in the northern climates. Salt damage can show up through aerial spray or build up in the soil over time through direct contact or runoff.

Other then careful plant selection there are a few ways to control salt effects in the landscape including little to no use of de-icing salts, spread salt after shoveling, is salt with sand, alter drainage patterns and use temporary barriers to protect plants.

Some of the best plants with resistant characteristics include: Serviceberries, Honeylocust, white oaks, Japanese tree lilacs, Junipers, forsythias, hydrangeas and sumacs. Colorful perennials like daylilies, beebalms, sedums and Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass will add allseason interest to your mailbox planting. Be more careful with: maples, river birch, crabapples, arborvitae, boxwoods and viburnums.

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EARLY SPRING BLOOMERS for MN: Shrubs and Trees

After a long winter of grey days with piles of white snow our eyes long to see some signs of life in the bleak landscape. The following plants are some of the first to usher in Spring with glorious shades of pink, purple, yellow, orange and white.

Redbud Flower

MN Strain Redbud Tree- This lovely one is a Redbud Tree. The rose-pink flowers emerge in the spring and last for 2-3 weeks before the green leaves appear. Then in the fall, the leaves turn to yellow, making this a great tree choice for any area you’re looking to add a little color to!

FUN FACT: Those flowers aren’t only beautiful, but edible! They can be added to a salad for a burst of crisp sweetness! How sweet is that!

 ‘Leonard Messel’ Magnolia! Well-suited for colder climates, this stunning flowering tree adds an oriental flair to any landscape. It thrives in sunny areas with plenty of water.
8′-40″ x 10′-30″
FUN FACT: Magnolia flowers are typically pollinated by beetles, rather than bees or butterflies! Magnolias flowers do not produce nectar, but they do produce large quantities of high-protein pollen which the beetles use for food.

Royal Star Magnolia


‘Royal Star’ Magnolia H 8-10′ W 8-10′
Beautiful white double star shaped flowers appear in early spring before the strappy green leaves emerge. Protect from southern winds to prevent flower buds from freezing off.

‘Ann’ Magnolia Small upright-growing magnolia with red pink lily-shaped flowers in early May. H10’xW6’

First to flower- Forsythia

Show off Forsythia  First Bloomer in Spring Height 4-5 ft. Spread 4-5 ft. Golden flowers appear before the leaves emerge, and the green leaves turn burgundy in the Fall.

Northern lights azalea- These are Azaleas! Azaleas grow from 3-7’ tall with flowers that bloom in spring, coming in a multitude of colors, so you would be sure to find one that would work in your landscape! These shrubs look especially lovely when planted alone or near conifers, but can work in just about any garden with partial to full sun and acidic soil(ph4-5.5 ideal)! FUN FACT: Festivals celebrating the bloom of Azaleas are held around the world, including Japan, Korea, and the US

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