Favorite Landscape Trees

What are the most popular landscape trees in Nebraska? We asked this question through our Shady Lane listserv and here are the results.  Remember, this is not a recommended tree list, but rather a favorite tree list. Even so, there are few, if any, trees on the list that cannot be grown somewhere in Nebraska given the right site qualities. If you have more to add, contact Eric Berg (eberg2@unl.edu). 

To view species recommendations, see ReTree Nebraska's 14 for 2014, a list of best-in-show species that grow well in Nebraska but are underplanted.

Remember that it's important to know your site before selecting a species to plant. Choosing the right tree for the right place is vitally important.  Know your site's soil, microclimate, maintenance regime and the intended use the tree is to fulfill.


Pine ConeEvergreen:

Cypress, Bald (Taxodium distichum) - Is there a site these trees won't grow on, great fall color and cones, not really "evergreen" but a deciduous conifer

Fir, Douglas (Pseudotsuga menziesii) - A false hemlock in reality and a wonderful tree for most sites

Fir, Concolor (Abies concolor) - An absolutely beautiful tree - so soft looking

Hemlock, Canadian (Tsuga canadensis)

Pine, Bristlecone (Pinus aristata)

Pine, Eastern White (Pinus strobus) - If you want to "touch trees," this is a good one

Pine, Japanese White (Pinus parviflora var. glauca)

Pine, Lacebark (Pinus bungeana) - What great-looking bark

Pine, Limber (Pinus flexilis) - Native to Nebraska in Kimball County

Pine, Ponderosa (Pinus ponderosa) - Native to Nebraska in the Pine Ridge

Spruce, Norway (Picea abies) - Lovely pendulous branching habit

Spruce, Serbian (Picea omorika)

Spruce, White (Picea glauca)

Cottonwood LeafDeciduous:

Alder, European (Alnus glutinosa)

Aspen, Quaking (Populus tremuloides)

Birch, River (Betula nigra)

Buckeye, Ohio or Yellow (Aesculus glabra or flava) - The palmately compound leaves and big seeds give these tough trees great character

Catalpa, Eastern (Catalpa speciosa) – A weird growth habit, late/fragrant blooms, tropical leaves, interesting seed pods and a great bird roosting tree too

Cherry, Montmorency (Prunus sp.)

Chestnut , American (Castanea dentata) - Difficult to find in the nursery trade due to Chestnut Blight disease

Chokecherry, Amur (Prunus maackii)

Coffeetree, Kentucky (Gymnocladus dioicus) - Another great native with a beautiful winter outline and wonderful coarse bark, good for planting in narrow spots since it grows upright when young and then gets broad as it matures, someone has to come up with a use for the seeds (how about buttons)

Cottonwood, Eastern (Populus deltoides) Not necessarily a favorite tree, but can you have an arboretum without the state tree from the state where Arbor Day started?

Crabapple (Malus sp.) - Many to choose from, "Prairiefire" mentioned specifically

Dogwood, Corneliancherry - (Cornus mas) - Yellow flowers and edible fruits

Dogwood, Pagoda (Cornus alternifolia ) - Awesome layered branching, great flower set and good fall color

Elm, American (Ulmus americana) - Disease or not, it is still one of the very best; hopefully, new disease-resistant varieties will help

Filbert, Contorted, Harry Lauder's Walking Stick (Corylus avellana) – So much character in one plant

Gingko (Ginkgo biloba) - The fan-shaped leaves are so cool,  plus it's good for the brain when chewed on, good fall color and the oldest living species

Goldenraintree (Koelreuteria paniculata) - Blooms late and full

Hackberry, Eastern - (Celtis occidentalis) - Yes it's a very common tree but we still love it - especially its warty bark and broadly arching habit, older neighborhoods in many Nebraska towns have great character because of this reliable native

Hawthorne, Thornless Cockspur (Crataegus crusgalli var. inermis)

Hazel, Turkish Tree (Corylus colurna) - Good form, great green color, and really neat fruit (when it sets)

Honeylocust, Thornless (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis) - Great tree over a part-shade perennial flowerbed, the shade patterns are unique

Hornbeam, Musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana) - The sinewy bark on this tree is great

Horsechestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

Ironwood (Ostrya virginiana)

Katsuratree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) - For anyone who doesn't have one of these - get one, requires good drainage

Larch, Eastern (Larix decidua)

Lilac, Japanese Tree (Syringa reticulata)

Linden, American or Basswood (Tilia americana)

Maple, Amur (Acer ginnala) - Not all trees under power lines have to be crabapples

Maple, Black (Acer nigrum) - Very interesting, large, droopy leaves on this nearly native cousin of sugar maple, should be planted more

Maple, Bigtooth (Acer grandidentatum) - A lovely tree/bush for Colorado, may be tried in the Panhandle

Maple, Red (Acer rubrum) - Great fall color

Maple, Shantung (Acer truncatum)

Maple, Sugar (Acer saccharum) - Fantastic fall color

Oak, Black (Quercus velutina) - A great native oak with soft, pubescent leaves and, in my opinion, the best fall color of the oaks.

Oak, Bur (Quercus macrocarpa) - The "Nebraska" tree, love its broad, coarse outline, if we could plant only one tree, this would be it

Oak, Chinkapin (Quercus muehlenbergii) - What a great name for this native tree. It's tolerant of alkaline soils of which we have in abundance in Nebraska, should definitely be planted more.

Oak, Dwarf Chinkapin (Quercus prinoides) - Another great, but almost unknown native tree with a form similar to redbud

Oak, Chestnut (Quercus prinus)

Oak, English (Quercus robur)

Oak, Northern Red (Quercus rubra) - A consistent performer in south central Nebraska, despite what the weather and man does to it

Oak, Shingle (Quercus imbricaria) - I like the way its narrow, willow-like leaves are held all winter which makes it good for bird habitat

Oak, Shumard (Quercus shumardii)

Oak, Swamp white (Quercus bicolor) - A tough tree that will grow from Omaha to Scottsbluff, very interesting bark texture.

Oak, White (Quercus alba) - Good fall color and great shape

Paw Paw (Asimina triloba) - It looks so tropical in Nebraska

Redbud, Eastern (Cercis canadensis) - Great understory tree with wonderful spring color

Serviceberry or Sarvis Tree, Shadbush, Juneberry (Amelanchier arborea) - Any tree with that many names must be good, we like its four-season interest - reliable flower set, great summer green, delicious fall fruit, good fall color and nice winter form, a great tree with edible fruit

Sycamore, American (Platanus occidentalis) - Love the mottled bark and majestic size, an added benefit of being one of the most trouble-free city trees (except for the big leaves)

Sycamore, European or London Planetree (Platanus x acerifolia)

Walnut, Black (Juglans nigra)

Willow, Diamond (Salix cordata)