15 Best Trees to Plant in Wisconsin

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Quick Answer: Best Trees to Plant in Wisconsin

The best trees to plant in Wisconsin are crabapples, American sycamore, ginkgo, northern red oak, sugar maple, river birch, serviceberry, hackberry, Chinese dogwood, concolor fir, Japanese tree lilac, honeycrisp apples, willow, tulip polar, and black gum. It is preferable to plant and prune these trees in early spring in these areas.

This is a complete guide to the list of best trees to plant in Wisconsin home yards.

I have collected the list after extensive research into articles and excerpts from fellow gardeners to help you choose better.

Let us get started!

Best Trees to Plant in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has a mostly warm-summer humid continental climate. Its climatic condition favors a variety of deciduous, evergreen, ornamental, and flowering trees to grow in the landscapes.

Here are the top fifteen trees to plant in Wisconsin gardens. These trees thrive in your yards and help add aesthetic beauty.

1. Crabapple

Crabapples (Malus spp) is one of the pretty flowering trees native to Wisconsin and can be grown to add color to your yard.

Why Grow Crabapple?

Crabapples are adaptable to the climatic conditions of Wisconsin. It is grown for both landscape beauty and edible tart fruits.

 Its compact size makes it suitable to fit into any garden space. Also, it helps in attracting native birds and pollinators.

Maintenance And Care

Crabapples thrive in full sun and well-drained soil with neutral to acidic pH. It can be propagated through graftings or cuttings.

It requires natural mulch and regular annual pruning. It can be affected by apple scabs and fire blight.

Check out this video to grow and care for crabapples:

2. American Sycamore

The American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) is a deciduous tree that is preferred by Wisconsin home growers for longevity, resilience, and shade.

Why Grow American Sycamore?

American sycamore is an easy-to-grow tree that can thrive in Wisconsin due to favorable growing conditions. It is hardy and tolerant of pollution and road salt. It provides shade due to its dense and broad canopy.

Maintenance And Care

Sycamore trees prefer well-drained loamy soil in a sunny spot. It can be propagated via seeds or cuttings.

It requires complete fertilizer in spring and occasional pruning of damaged limbs. One of the troublesome pests is aphids.

Here is a video on growing sycamore trees from seeds:

3. Ginkgo

Another popular tree that is widely grown throughout Wisconsin and prominent among urban gardeners is the ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba).

Why Grow Gingko?

Gingko is an old tree that can be grown in Wisconsin for both ornamental values and shade. It is resistant to drought, insects, and diseases.

It can tolerate different soil types and conditions. Also, it is not bothered by deer, salt spray, and pollution.

Maintenance And Care

Plant ginkgo trees in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. It is best propagated via cuttings.

It can benefit from spring feeding of fertilizer and occasional pruning to maintain the shape. It can sometimes be affected by caterpillars.

For more information on growing Ginkgo, click this link:

4. Northern Red Oak

Northern red oak (Quercus rubra) is a fast-growing tree that makes it ideal for providing shade and amazing addition to larger Wisconsin yards.

Why Grow Northern Red Oak?

Northern red oak is popular among home growers for its pop of red color in fall and shade. It can adapt to different growing conditions.

It tolerates urban conditions, including pollution and compacted soils.

Maintenance And Care

Northern red oak grows best in sandy, well-draining soil, and full sun. It can be grown from acorns and seldom needs fertilizers.

It requires pruning in the dormant season. Oak wilt is one of the primary diseases of red oak.

Check out this video for more tips on growing northern red oak:

5. Sugar Maple

Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) is one of the adaptable trees in Wisconsin for providing shade, beautiful colors, and edible maple syrup.

Why Grow Sugar Maple?

Sugar maple is a hardy tree that can live for over 400 years and provide excellent shade. Its fiery orange leaves in the fall provide ornamental value. It can thrive in different soil conditions.

Maintenance And Care

Sugar maple is best planted in a spot with full sun and deep, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH. It seldom requires fertilizers and heavy pruning.

It can be troubled by cosmetic diseases, including root rot, sap streak, and powdery mildew.

You may watch this video for additional information on planting sugar maple trees:

6. River Birch

Another excellent landscape tree well-suited for Wisconsin home gardens is river birch (Betula nigra).

Why Grow River Birch?

River birch is a fast-growing tree that adds landscape beauty and provides shade to any yard. It may tolerate drought once established.

It is undemanding and its shallow roots make them ideal to plant near buildings or pools.

Maintenance And Care

River birch prefers full to partial sun and well-drained soil with acidic pH (5-6.5). Spread hardwood mulch and add fertilizers only if the tree shows signs of distress.

It requires light pruning in the dormant season and may be affected by birch leaf miners.

The complete growing guide of river birch is covered here:

7. Serviceberry

Four-season Landscape Beauty Of Wisconsin

Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp) is a large shrub or small tree that can be used as a privacy border to add all-year-round beauty in Wisconsin.

Why Grow Serviceberry?

Serviceberry adds sour-season beauty to the Wisconsin yard with white flowers, lush foliage, and edible fruits. It has small and non-invasive roots making it suitable for smaller yards.

It is highly adaptable and doesn’t have any serious insect or pest issues.

Maintenance And Care

Plant serviceberry in moist, well-drained soil with acidic pH and full sun or partial shade. It can be propagated from seeds and benefit from a light dressing of manure every autumn.

It can be prone to fireblight, mildew, rust, and cankers.

Check out this video for additional information on serviceberries:

8. Hackberry

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) is a fast-growing and cold hardy tree of Wisconsin with a broad crown.

Why Grow Hackberry?

Hackberry is an attractive and tough tree that can withstand different soil types. It provides shade for your yard.

 It can tolerate drought, heat, pollution, salt, and strong winds. Also, it is a good companion plant with serviceberry, red cedar, and chokeberry.

Maintenance And Care

Hackberry prefers moist, loamy, well-drained soils and full sun but may tolerate partial shade. It can be propagated from seeds and seldom requires fertilization.

It may need occasional pruning and can be troubled by sooty mold, scale, and leaf spots.

You may check this video if you are interested in growing hackberry from seeds:

9. Chinese Dogwood

Chinese dogwood (Cornus kousa) is a perfect tree to add to your Wisconsin front yard for providing shade.

Why Grow Chinese Dogwood?

Chinese dogwood can add color to Wisconsin yards with white blossoms in the summer and scarlet or purple leaves in the fall.

It is relatively trouble-free and is resistant to both pests and diseases. Its compact size makes it suitable for smaller yards.

Maintenance And Care

Chinese dogwood thrives in rich soils and full sun. It can be grown from seeds and fertilized after testing the soil.

It requires consistent moisture and is prone to dogwood borer, scales, and sawflies.

Click this video to know more about Chinese dogwood:

10. Concolor Fir

Concolor fir (Abies concolor) is a resilient and fragrant evergreen tree of Wisconsin that stays green all year round.

Why Grow Concolor Fir?

Concolor fir is a native tree that has a long life span. Its citrus pine scent adds fragrance to your yard.

Its shallow spreading roots makes it ideal for home growers with smaller yard size. It is resistant to drought, insects, and diseases.

Maintenance And Care

Concolor fir does well in deep, rich, well-drained soils away from windy exposed areas. It does not need fertilization after established and needs occasional pruning.

One of the significant diseases is delphinella shoot blight.

The growing guide of concolor fir is covered here:

11. Japanese Tree Lilac

Accent Tree of Wisconsin

Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata) is a flowering tree that adds landscape beauty to Wisconsin yards with its soft white blooms.

Why Grow Japanese Tree Lilac?

Japanese tree lilac is perfect for Wisconsin homeowners looking for a small tree and is safe to plant near patios. It is a low-maintenance tree and is seldom affected by pests and diseases.

Maintenance And Care

Japanese tree lilac prefers full sun and well-drained loose soil in a site with good air circulation.

It needs balanced fertilizers if needed and maintenance pruning to remove damaged or dead limbs. Bacterial blight can be a troublesome disease.

Here is a useful video on features of the Japanese tree lilac:

12. Honeycrisp Apples

Honeycrisp trees (Malus domestica) are popular fruit trees in Wisconsin that can provide both white blossoms in the spring and apples in the fall.

Why Grow Honeycrisp Apples?

Honeycrisp is winter-hardy and preferred by Wisconsin gardeners for the bounty yields of fruits.

Also, its blossoms in the spring give an aesthetic feel to the yard. It requires little care once established.

Maintenance And Care

Honeycrisp apples prefer full sun and well-drained soil. Fertilize in spring and add two to three inches of mulch.

Prune in late winter to remove dead or diseased branches. It can be affected by scales, apple maggots, and aphids.

Check out this video for additional information on growing Honeycrisp apples:

13. Weeping Willow

Another popular shade tree that can be added to your Wisconsin yards is the weeping willow (Salix babylonica).

Why Grow Weeping Willow?

Weeping willow trees are easy to grow and require little care once established. It is a fast-grower, can live longer, and provides shade for the family.

It can tolerate a wide range of well-draining soils and pH.

Maintenance And Care

Weeping willow needs moist, slightly acidic soil and full sun.

It may seldom need fertilizer to support lush growth and prune it to a central leader. It is susceptible to gypsy moths, aphids, and borers.

Click this video to know the characteristics of weeping willow:

14. Tulip Poplar

The Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) is a native and fast-growing tree of Wisconsin with uniquely shaped leaves and large flowers.

Why Grow Tulip Poplar?

Tulip poplar is preferred for providing shade and a vertical accent in Wisconsin. It can live over 100 years under ideal conditions.

It is relatively low-maintenance and tolerant of urban conditions, including pollution.

Maintenance And Care

Tulip polar can thrive in a sunny location and moist, well-drained, compost-amended soil.

The established trees do not require fertilizers and need occasional pruning to remove dead or weak growth. It is prone to scales and aphids.

15. Black Gum

Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) is a deciduous tree that makes it a perfect addition to Wisconsin home landscapes.

Why Grow Black Gum?

Black gum makes an excellent landscape tree in Wisconsin with attractive fall color. It requires low-maintenance once established. Also, it is adaptable to different soil types and conditions.

Maintenance And Care

Black gum prefers acidic, well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Sprinkle annually in the fall using a slow-release fertilizer and prune lightly to retain the shape.

The common problems include leaf spots, scale, and leaf miners.

You may watch this video to know more about black gum:

What Is The Easiest Growing Tree In Wisconsin?

The easiest-growing tree in Wisconsin is crabapples.

Crabapples are easy and beautiful trees that can adapt to the climatic conditions of Wisconsin. Its compact size makes it ideal to fit into smaller yard spaces.

Its showy white flowers in spring and medium-green leaves add beauty.

Also, it gives deep orange-red fruits that are versatile. Many disease-resistant varieties are available for easy maintenance.

The other trees that can be grown easily are sycamore and ginkgo.

What Is The Best Time To Plant Trees In Wisconsin?

The best time to plant or transplant trees in Wisconsin is early spring.

It is preferable to plant deciduous trees in dormancy in early spring as the ground is evenly saturated allowing new root growth to penetrate and expand.

Add compost, fertilizer, and loosely compacted soil to the newly transplanted trees. Evergreen trees can also be planted in early spring to allow young plants to settle before summer.


What are the nut trees that can be grown in Wisconsin?

A few nut trees that are hardy and can be grown in Wisconsin are American hazelnut, butternut, buartnut, Chinese chestnut, shagbark hickory, and swiss stone pine. The other common nut trees that can be easily grown are pecan and walnut.

Can you grow fruit trees in Wisconsin?

Yes, fruit trees, including apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, and pears can be grown in Wisconsin. Also, small fruits, including currants, gooseberries, elderberries, grapes, raspberries, and strawberries can thrive in the state.

When is the best time to prune trees in Wisconsin?

The best time to prune the trees and shrubs in Wisconsin is early spring. The dead or unwanted branches will help you shape the growth of new branches. Some species require trimming later in the summer or autumn.

Quick Recap: Top Trees to Plant In Wisconsin

Here is a quick recap of the top trees that can adapt to Wisconsin climate and soil types:

TreesWhy Grow?
Crabapple1. Looks ornamental all year round with pretty blossoms
2. Compact in size and gives small edible fruits
American sycamore1. Easy to grow shade tree in Wisconsin
2. Tolerates urban conditions, including air pollution
Gingko1. Grown for both landscape beauty and shade
2. Resistant to drought, pests, diseases, and salt spray
Northern red oak1. The fast-growing tree is used as landscape beauty and shade
2. Tolerant to different growing conditions
Sugar maple1. Hardy and the long-lived tree of Wisconsin with ornamental value
2. Thrives in different soil conditions
River birch1. Fast-growing landscape tree suitable for providing shade
2. Requires little care once established
Serviceberry1. Suitable for smaller yards of Wisconsin
2. Easy to grow and trouble-free
Hackberry1. Wisconsin native and large shade tree
2. Tolerates tough growing conditions
Chinese dogwood1. Compact size makes it suitable for the smaller yard
2. Relatively trouble-free and resistant to pests or diseases
Concolor fir1. Reliably hardy, easy to care for, and ornamental
2. Resistant to diseases and pests
Japanese tree lilac1. Small tree with pretty blossoms
2. Requires low-maintenance and is trouble-free
Honeycrisp apples1. Produces bounty yields of delicious fruits
2. Requires little care once established
Weeping willow1. Prized for its ornamental weeping form
2. Adaptable and tolerant of urban pollution
Tulip poplar1. A fast-growing deciduous tree that can live longer
2. Provide shade and tolerates urban growing conditions
Black gum1. Ornamental trees that can add landscape beauty
2. Tolerates different soil types and conditions

Bottom line

Hopefully, our recommendations will help choose suitable trees for your Wisconsin yard and enhance the appearance of the landscapes.

If you have any questions about choosing trees that fit your homes, please write to me and I will respond very soon.

If you find the guide helpful, please share it with your friends and family!



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