Insects and diseases affecting trees are not new; in fact, both occur naturally and help keep trees and forests healthy. But when
invasive, non-native species are brought into the lifecycle, the results can be overwhelming.
The overplanting of ash trees in the years following Dutch elm disease (DED) contributed to our state's current situation with the
emerald ash borer. Drawing on the lessons from DED, the Nebraska Forest Service and our many partners are seeking to change that.
Planting it forward, a mission driven through ten years of the ReTree Nebraska initiative, is critical to rebuilding our community forests and rural landscapes for the
When we focus on replanting with tree
diversity, we continue to build on a tree planting legacy that Nebraskans will be able to enjoy for decades to
Medium and Large Deciduous Trees to Replace Ash – typically over 25’ tall at maturity
Red Oak - and related species
Bur Oak - and related species
): Bur oak is an outstanding, majestic
native tree with amazing drought tolerance; great for wildlife; 50-70’ x 50-75’. Related species to plant more of include Chinkapin
Oak (Q. muehlenbergii
), Swamp White Oak (Q. bicolor -
limit to eastern Nebraska), and Gambel Oak (Q. gambelii
species well-suited to western Nebraska.
): Red oaks are generally less tolerant of high pH
soils and are generally more suited to eastern Nebraska; closely related species include Red Oak, Shumard Oak, Black Oak, Buckley Oak,
and Shingle Oak; most species tough and reliable with lustrous sharp-pointed leaves and beautiful fall color from russet to bright red in
fall; 40-60’x 40-60’.
): Includes American linden, littleleaf linden and silver linden;
American linden is native to the region and favored by many bees and other pollinators; tough and adaptable; pyramidal shape; 60’x
: Native; amazingly adaptable; coarse outline with
beautiful winter form; females have fairly large seed pods containing the very hard “coffeetree” seeds; 50-60’x 40-50’.
): Beautiful tree that should be planted more
especially in eastern Nebraska; nice fall color and attractive chalky bark; ‘Caddo’ is a drought tolerant cultivar from Oklahoma;
40-60’x 35-50’. Bigtooth Maple (Acer grandidentatum) is a related species native to Rocky Mountains that is better suited for western
): Pecan and Bitternut Hickory are the most adaptable hickories
for eastern Nebraska and both deserve to planted in much greater abundance; relatively upright and fast growing; transplant when small;
): There are several disease-resistant elms available now including
American elm (Ulmus americana
) cultivars ‘Princeton’ & ‘Jefferson’ that provide high-canopy shade growing 60-80’ x
60-80’. David Elm is a tough, adaptable and slower-growing species from Asia growing 30-40’ tall and wide. Worthy hybrid elms
include ‘Accolade’, ‘Cathedral, ‘Frontier’, ‘New Horizon’, ‘Triumph’, and ‘Vanguard’ that are mostly fast-growing, drought tolerant
and easy to establish.
): Great native with legendary adaptability; irregular
habit when young but matures to stately rounded crown; great for a variety of wildlife; 50-70’ x 40-60’.
): Native to region; upright and reliable;
large, heart-shaped leaves, showy flowers and long seed pods; 50-70’x 30-50’.
): Sycamore and it’s hybrid cousin the London
Planetree are terrific choices for Eastern Nebraska; both are tough and tall growing with beautiful mottled and creamy/white bark; good
on wet sites; up to 80’x 50’.
- (Aesculus glabra
): Native; tough & adaptable; low, rounded form; ‘buckeye’ seeds produced in
spiny husks; good drought tolerance and good fall color in western Nebraska; 30’x 30’.
): An ancient species dating to the age of dinosaurs; distinctive
fan-shaped leaves that turn golden-yellow in fall; upright branching structure; slow growing; tolerant of poor soils; 60’x 40’.
: This tough native can be a bit messy, but it is a great tree that should be planted
more; incredible drought tolerance and good yellow fall color; great for wildlife; good lumber tree; 60’x 45’.
(thornless) (Gleditsia triacanthos
): A very tough
and adaptable tree that seems to thrive on neglect; graceful habit and feathery leaves that turn a rich golden yellow in the fall;
): Rounded tree with dense canopy casting heavy
shade; drought tolerant and easy to grow; less reliable in western Nebraska; 40’x40’.
): Popular tree with red fall color; prefers moist sites and not
as drought tolerant as other species; ‘Autumn Blaze’ is an overplanted, silver-maple hybrid that should be used sparingly; 40-60’x
): Surprisingly adaptable to Eastern Nebraska;
prefers some protection and consistent moisture; tulip-like orange-yellow flowers in spring; distinctive leaves can turn butter
yellow in fall; 50-70’x 35-50’.
): Native to western Nebraska; tough and
reliable with great drought tolerance; with age and size, becomes a useful shade tree as lower limbs naturally prune off; 40-60’x 30-40’.
Rocky Mountain Juniper
): Western Nebraska
relative of eastern red-cedar; amazingly drought tolerant; old trees become useful shade trees; great for wildlife; 30-50’ x 20-30’.
Download and print this list as a PDF, developed by the
Nebraska Statewide Arboretum!
Special thanks to all our partners!