Did you know that Minnesota has 52 native trees?
With spring starting in Minnesota I started to think about planting some trees and got curious about our trees. Questions like what species do we have? Are there specific areas that certain trees grow in? Do we have invasive trees? Can I grow fruit trees here?
I did some looking and found out that our own Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has a wonderful site on the subject of native trees.
From reading I found out that we have two basic categories of trees in Minnesota, Deciduous and Coniferous, more commonly known as Evergreens. Basically, deciduous are trees that drop their leaves each autumn and coniferous trees are cone-bearing trees that have thin, needlelike leaves. Another great source on native trees is, A Beginners Guide to Minnesota Trees, produced by the University of Minnesota.
When traveling from south to north through Minnesota a person will notice that coniferous trees become more and more prevalent. Coniferous trees tend to stand up to harsh winters better than deciduous trees. This is why the landscape changes as you move north.
For wildlife, both trees have there places. Deciduous are for, most species, a better source of food where the coniferous is a better shelter during bad weather. Spruce grouse in far northern Minnesota have a diet consisting of almost all pine needles. One of the few animals in Minnesota that dines so exclusively on pine needles.
Here is fly in the ointment, there is a coniferous tree that sheds its needles each fall. Say it ain’t so! Aren’t they called evergreens? The Tamarack tree, that you see in wetter areas, has needles but drops them each fall.
We also have an invasive species of deciduous tree, Buckthorn, that does not drop it’s leaves in the fall. If you see green leaves late in the fall into winter it is most likely Buckthorn. This is a very invasive species that our DNR wants you to to eradicate. They have nasty thorns so watch out.
Take a few minutes and look into our varied family of Native Trees in Minnesota. We have fruit bearing trees, nut trees, maple syrup producing trees, etc., etc. Minnesota has very large timber and pulp industry too.
Learn something about Minnesota’s 52 Native Trees, you will be glad you did!