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Best Evergreen Trees for Minnesota Landscape Designs

Best Evergreen TreesOne of the most majestic trees Minnesota residents and property owners appreciate is the evergreen. With so many varieties of evergreen to choose from, there are plenty of options to consider for your next landscaping project. However, some evergreens fare better in the Minnesota climate, and others don’t.  

Before you select which trees will work best in your yard, you’ll want to know which are the best evergreen trees for Minnesota landscapes, as well as which are the best coniferous trees for Minnesota landscapes. If you stick with varieties of evergreens that thrive in the Midwestern climate, you’ll be able to enjoy the many benefits of these conifers in your landscape all year long. Here is a breakdown of what you should know about the various types of evergreen trees, based on the ever-changing Minnesota seasons:

Understanding the Types of Evergreens

Evergreen trees can be separated into two primary types-the conifer and the broadleaf. The conifer refers to those with needle-like foliage, usually bearing cones, and the broadleaf varieties have leafy foliage instead. While both types tend to be the best evergreen trees for Minnesota landscaping, you’ll want to first familiarize yourself with your soil’s growing conditions before you plant anything. Some are hardier than others in certain conditions, and maintenance will play a role in how well your evergreens, conifer, or broadleaf will thrive.

There are some conditions to consider before selecting the best evergreen trees for your Minnesota landscape, such as:

  • Lighting
  • Soil Type
  • Growth Space
  • Hardiness Zone

The Best Coniferous Trees for Minnesota Landscapes

Starting with the coniferous varieties, these tend to be the most favorable for Minnesota climates and landscape designs. Each one brings its own unique color and charm to any yard space. These evergreens should be at the top of your consideration list:

#1. Eastern White Pine

One of the most prominent and fastest-growing varieties of evergreens in Minnesota is the eastern white pine. It’s popular because of its soft, wispy-like needles. When they’re young, these trees have shiny bark, and upon maturity, they can grow up to 100 feet tall. They’re native to Minnesota, so you’ll often see them dotting across the natural landscape of your home state.

#2. Red Pine

You can’t have an evergreen list of the best conifer trees for Minnesota landscapes without mentioning the official state tree. The red pine, sometimes called the Norway pine, is another native variety you’ll love to incorporate into your landscaping project. It’s been named for the brilliant red bark it bears that somewhat resembles puzzle pieces. When they reach maturity, they can grow upwards of 80 feet and make for a beautiful surrounding and shelter on windy days.

#3. Scotch Pines

Another common conifer in Minnesota is the Scotch pine, which is usually grown for Christmas trees during the winter. Found all over the world, these hardy varieties are darlings in any landscaping design. They can grow between 60 and 80 feet in height, which creates a picture-perfect backdrop to any yard, park, or commercial property line.

#4. White Spruce

Spruce trees thrive in Minnesota’s harshest temperature changes, making them a top pick for many landscaping projects. While the white spruce will grow at a slower rate than a Norway spruce, it is always a well-adapted addition to both urban and rural settings. These evergreens typically grow to 60 feet tall and are easily identified by their moderate size and thick shape.

Coniferous Trees for Minnesota

#5. Austrian Pines

If your soil tends to be dry, or you’re in a more densely populated area with winter salt spray or pollutants, consider adding the non-native Austrian pine to your landscaping design. These are some of the best conifer trees for Minnesota landscapes in both urban areas and along the side of roadways. At their peak, these trees can stretch up to 60 feet tall.

#6. Arborvitae

For full and partial sunlit areas of your landscape, you might consider the soft, lacy needles of the arborvitae. These varieties of conifers are smaller and reach around 6 feet in height at maturity. They’re great for borders and mass planting due to their narrow, pyramid-like shape. However, it is important to remember to be mindful of foraging deer who love these trees as a source of food.

#7. False Cypress

If you’re looking for feathery-looking foliage with growth patterns of tall and narrow columns, then you’ll love the blue & gold false cypress. These are some of the best conifer trees for Minnesota landscapes, especially when they are used as privacy accents and border aesthetics in any landscape. These trees can get as high as 20 feet in height and 6 feet wide at full maturity, and also enjoy full to partial sun, so pruning is absolutely required.

Broadleaf Evergreen Varieties to Consider

If you’re looking for more leafy foliage, then you should consider an evergreen of the broadleaf variety. These are the best evergreen trees for Minnesota landscaping projects, and should be among your top picks:

Southern Magnolia

Also called the “little gem,” the southern magnolia is a full, sun-loving evergreen capable of growing up to 20 feet tall and  10 feet wide. Unlike most Magnolia tree varieties, this type features a narrow growth style that is perfect for smaller landscaping areas and gardens.  These trees also have a large, aromatic white flower that you will be able to enjoy throughout the spring and summer months.

Japanese Holly

These are some of the best evergreen trees for Minnesota landscaping because of their super-narrow hedge appearance and ability to withstand harsh climates. The Japanese holly (also known as “sky pencil”) can grow up to 10 feet tall, but does not grow more than 2 feet wide, and is another great option for borders and privacy. If you enjoy shimmery green foliage year-round, with dark blue berries during the fall months, then you should consider planting the Japanese holly in your garden

Minnesota LandscapesChoosing the Best Evergreen Trees for Minnesota Soil Types

If you’re still not sure what variety of evergreen is perfect for your landscaping project, consider narrowing your selection based on your soil’s growing conditions. Here is a general outline of which evergreen trees thrive in different common Minnesota climates:

  • Windy and Exposed Areas: Jack Pines, Mugo Pines, Red Pines, Ponderosa Pines, Rocky Mountain Junipers, Douglas Fir
  • Wet Soils: Balsam Firs, Black Spruce, American Arborvitae
  • Clayish Soils: Austrian Pines, White Firs, Ponderosa Pines, Arborvitae
  • Shaded Areas: Canada Yew, Japanese Yew, Canada Hemlock
  • Sandier Soils: Mugo Pines, Junipers, Scotch Pines
  • High pH Levels: Black Hills Spruce, Mugo Pines, Junipers, Ponderosa Pines, Arborvitae

If you’re contemplating which evergreens to incorporate into your landscaping project, these varieties are known to be some of the hardiest and best evergreen trees for Minnesota landscape designs. Enjoy some of these broadleaf trees, or the best conifer trees for Minnesota landscaping accentuators. Regardless of what variety you choose, you’ll know your evergreen will be able to withstand the constantly changing Minnesota climate year-round. Contact us today to schedule your first consultation with an ALD landscaping professional.