Figuring out what tree to plant this spring?

“What tree should I plant?” This is one of the most common questions urban forestry professionals are asked. Well, the answer depends on many different factors.

  • What is the size of my planting location, i.e. is there enough room for my tree to grow to its mature size?
  • Are their overhead utility lines?
  • What type of soil do I have?
  • Is it a sunny or shady location?
  • Does the tree produce fruit or nuts that I may or may not want?
  • What special traits am I looking for? E.g. fall color, showy flowers, interesting bark…
  • Does this tree provide diversity in my yard and neighborhood?

There are many great lists and tools to help with you find a tree based on your answers to these questions.

The Lowland Reforestation Species Guide, will be especially useful for those looking to regenerate lowland natural areas after the loss of ash trees due to emerald ash borer.

Article written by: Olivia Witthun, WI DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator, 414-750-8744,

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