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Nebraska Guide to Growing Trees

The Northeast region of the United States has long been known for its beautiful forests and lush, green trees. If you are a Nebraska resident who is looking to grow trees in your yard, this guide will help get you started.

The Best Flowering Trees to Grow in Nebraska

Blue Moon Wisteria Vine

One specific type of Wisteria, Blue Moon, blooms in the spring and twice more during the summer. This means that when other Wisterias are done with their bloom cycle, yours will be still going strong. Plant these Wisteria plants and their fragrant, blue-purple blooms will cover your fence or trellis all season. Their sweet floral scent will make your yard the prettiest on the block, attracting butterflies to visit as well. Everyone will like coming back for their elegant beauty.

Blue Moons grow on fences, trellises, and the side of decks as they quickly cover all your summer with fragrant blooms. Blue Moons adapt to different climates with ease, tolerating cold temps and drought. You’ll see these vines grow season after season. And once they flourish, the blooms are all yours.

Planting & Care

The best location for a Blue Moon tree is in well-draining soil that gets 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Dig the hole three times as wide as the root ball and just as deep (if you are planting more than one, space them 10 to 15 feet apart). Hold the plant upright while filling in with dirt on your other hand, making sure to include any roots that were visible when you dug out holes for it. Wisteria can require staking. Plant it near a stake to secure the tree, and then use planter’s tape every 8 inches for support.

For your first year, you should give your plants one inch of water per week. This is about four gallons a week. Water in the morning or evening to avoid evaporation on hot days; a slow trickle from the hose works best and will allow the soil to absorb the water before it runs off. After that, rainfall alone can sustain them.

Your Blue Moon needs little fertilizing. If your soil is bad or sand, you should use a small amount of fertilizer like formula 5-10-10 or 5-10-5. Wisteria likes to eat about 3/4 cup of food each year during the spring, so pile it on. It’s important to trim your wisteria twice a year, typically in late winter and again in mid-summer. Winter trims help prepare for springtime blooms, and summer pruning keeps the shoots from getting out of control.

Korean Lilac Tree

Korean Lilac trees are becoming a new favorite among gardeners, landscapers, and the owners of upscale neighborhoods. This is the best lilac you can find in Nebraska, and for good reason. It has some of the most beautiful flowers, with colors that are among the brightest around and never too light or too dark. And, it smells wonderful! Planting this tree will make your house smell like Spring all year long (or at least until they start to shed their leaves in the Fall).

These trees grow well in tight spaces like near your home, providing an area where space isn’t available but you prefer to have something different from other plants or flowers. Korean lilacs grow up quickly, and they will have already grown over fences by the time you notice them.

Planting & Care

Before planting, you need to carefully select your location. The Korean Lilac tree needs 6 hours of sunlight per day and well-drained soil to thrive. Dig a hole twice as deep and wide as the root ball of your new tree. Fill in with fresh soil, and gently place the tree in the ground. Once your roots are in place, get ready to water the ground until things start looking good again!

Although the Korean Lilac Tree is fairly drought tolerant once established, you should have a regular watering schedule before then. You can tell when to water by checking the soil 2 or 3 inches down. If there’s no moisture in this area, you need to water your tree.

Fertilize your Korean when it starts to blossom, preferably with a balanced fertilizer once or twice yearly. It is best to both prune and picks off flowers once they have faded. Pruning keeps shaping in mind while picking off excess flowers will allow your tree’s roots to grow stronger.

The Best Shade Trees in Nebraska

Crimson King Maple Tree

Planting Crimson King Maple trees in Nebraska will provide beautiful foliage, cooling relief, and a place for children to play. One of the few trees that provide good-quality foliage color in colder climates, Crimson King Maples are known for their bright, deep purple leaves all summer long. Planting a Crimson King Maple tree will not only give you colorful leaves but is also easy to plant. Plus, with its shade and foliage, it blocks the sun and offers cooling relief.

Planting & Care

Though it can tolerate damp soils, Crimson Maples prefer well-drained areas. Once established and even in dry conditions, it will thrive with occasional deep irrigation in hot summer climates. Select a spot where the tree receives full or partial sunlight at 4 to 8 hours of daily sun exposure.

Fish out a hole in your garden 2 to 3 times the width of the King Maple’s root ball deep, and plant it. Maintain the top level with the ground surface while planting and fill it with some soil. Fill up the rest of the hole with mulch and water thoroughly afterward. To keep competitor growth away, put mulch over that site too.

Crimson Maples require weekly watering during their formative years, and experienced trees will need to be watered in the summer months. Look for drooping leaves if your tree is overwatered or under watered.

Your new Maple tree should be fertilized with slow-release fertilizer tablets at the beginning of its first season. Fertilize it twice in the dormant period and once per month during warmer months. When all the leaves have matured, remove any branches that look dead or dying. But don’t worry! The next step will be to cut only live branches so you get a better idea of what your tree looks like. The first step is to identify which branches you want to be removed. You should trim the ones with large angles, ones that are touching others or growing inward into branch piles.

Regal Prince Oak Tree

The Regal Prince Oak Tree is an amazingly hardy oak tree that produces tall and upright growth. The Regal Prince tree has a narrow, cylindrical habit that provides a unique spin on the typical shade tree. The glossy dark green foliage can transition to brilliant yellow in the fall.

One of the benefits of this tree is that it’s extremely cold hardy. Not only can you grow beautiful shade trees, but they also have enough strength and durability to withstand ice storms or heavy winds. The Regal Prince is resistant to powdery mildew, which often affects similar varieties, so not only will you get a pretty tree with lots of brawn- you’ll also get one that doesn’t require frequent fungus treatments. 

Planting & Care

When planting your Regal Prince Oak, place it in a yard that receives at least four hours of direct sunlight each day. And choose a spot with room for the tree to grow. Plant a tree by digging a hole that is large enough to accommodate the root ball. Tamp down the soil around the roots and add enough mulch to keep them moist.

Young Regal Prince Oak needs watering to grow, but it should only be watered deeply once a week. Check the soil around the base of your plant about 3 inches down for dry feet, and then water if desired.

Once your tree matures and can stand on its own, you only need to water in periods where rainfall is less than 1 inch per month. Fertilize your tree once a year and prune 1-3 main branches to thin overcrowded ones.

The Best Fruit Trees in Nebraska

Honeygold Apple Tree

The Honeygold Apple Tree is the most popular choice for Nebraska tree farmers. This variety’s cold hardiness makes it a favorite among apple growers, especially in colder climates. Few fruits will grow in our climate. But your Honeygold Apple Tree will withstand the harshest winter and produce a plentiful harvest of fruit without fail. The Honeygold apple is quite an impressive producer of fruit and it also has a sweet taste without any tartness. You’ll love biting into this healthy dessert right as the temperatures drop in early autumn.

Planting & Care

If you have a spot in your yard that doesn’t receive much sunlight, don’t fret! Many Honeygold trees can grow on pavement and walkways as long as they’re given well-drained soil. Be sure to have plenty of water for the tree if it’s planted on hard ground.

The best time to water your Honeygold tree is dependent on the amount of rain it gets. If you get less than an inch of rain every ten days, water the soil around the root line. Otherwise, check the soil two or three inches down from the surface for moistness–if it’s dry here then it’s time to water.

To keep your tree healthy, fertilize in late winter or early spring by purchasing commercial fertilizer produced for fruiting trees. From late winter to early spring, remove all dead leaves and branches from the tree. Cut off branches from the bottom of your tree. Leave them in a layout pattern to ensure that the entire tree gets sunlight throughout the day.

When planting a Honeygold Apple Tree, be sure to plant it alongside other varieties of apple trees. Good choices for neighboring plants are Fuji, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Empire, or Macintosh.

Kieffer Pear Tree

Kieffer trees can grow to exceptional sizes, produce fruit with a preferred taste and texture, and are especially cold-hardy. Besides all that, you get versatility – cook with a Kieffer pear for breakfast one day then use it creatively in the evening for dinner!

Planting this Kieffer Pear ensures you’ll enjoy it now and for years to come. This variety is cold-hardy, drought-resistant, and tolerant of heat, and a variety of soil types. Kieffer Pears have been around for almost two centuries with little change, so this grizzly-textured fruit tree will be around for generations to come.

Planting & Care

Bury the tree with the roots in a hole three times bigger and just as deep as its root ball. The entire root ball needs to be buried, then cover up gently with soil. Fill in any leftover gaps. Wait until the ground is damp before you water again.

To ensure optimum water consumption, you should wash your pear tree once per week. In hotter months, increases in a fluid will be necessary to keep the soil at an appropriate level and plant healthy. Frosty winter weather means that watering can cease because it won’t make a difference. Re-start watering in spring as soon as there is no more frost scheduled for that year. You can determine when to water by checking the soil about 2 or 3 inches beneath the surface. If the soil is dry in this area, it’s time to water.

When pruning, trim back the central leader so that the tree maintains an upright position. Remove branches competing for resources to help maintain a natural branching pattern. Dead or wilted limbs should always be removed to keep the Pear Tree healthy. If you are using a cutting tool, you may want to sterilize it with rubbing alcohol first to cut down on any spread of disease.

When is The Best Time to Plant Trees in Nebraska

Nebraska’s growing season is much shorter than many other states. Fall is the best time for planting because it gives new seedlings a chance to grow before winter sets in. If you’re looking for an earlier start on your tree project, then January through May is also good as well. There’s not much difference between these two periods of planting other than cost and risk factors. 

Can You Plant All Season Long?

In Nebraska, you can plant trees year-round. Springtime can be windy which means there may be some damage from potential storms; however, this could happen throughout the fall so just take precautions during any season when planting!

What are The Best Trees to Plant in Each Season in Nebraska

Springtime

You can plant any tree you like in Nebraska during the spring. The cottonwood, willow, and aspen trees are especially good choices.

Summertime

The best tree to plant during Nebraska’s summer months is the redbud tree. They’re beautiful flowering trees that require little maintenance from you or your family.

Fall time

Elm trees love cooler temperatures like those we get here in Nebraska so they can thrive instead of struggling against warmer weather conditions found nearby other states, they also provide us with beautiful natural shade for our homes, and they have great fall leaves.

Wintertime

Trees such as evergreens are more suited for colder weather climates than most other types of trees. However, other deciduous varieties will do well too if they’re given protection from frost after planting them! If you live in an area where there is considerable snowfall over the winter months- perhaps consider adding some juniper shrubs around your plants so that deer have less access to your greenery when food becomes scarce each year due to abundant snow cover (and potentially bitter cold).

What Trees Have The Least Invasive Roots in Nebraska

The least invasive trees in Nebraska are the Quaking Aspen, Paper Birch, and American Elm trees. These are also some of Nebraska’s fastest-growing tree species which means they can fill in an area quickly to create a forest type effect without much work on your part!