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North Dakota Guide to Growing Trees

You're reading this because you're looking for a North Dakota guide to growing trees. You've come to the right place! We'll take you through some of our favorite tips and tricks for planting, maintaining, and harvesting your trees (and even offer some recipes if that's what you want). So grab your gloves and let's get started! 

Trees in North Dakota

The Best Flowering Trees to Grow in North Dakota

Miss Kim Lilac Tree

The Miss Kim Lilac is a hardy, easy-to-grow outdoor plant that can be planted throughout North Dakota with success! Plant your lilacs where they’ll get morning sun and afternoon shade, as they need at least six hours of full sunlight each day for best blooming. You'll want to keep them away from any air conditioners or heat sources. These are wonderful trees to have around the home because not only do their bright flowers soften up an old planter, but birds love these plants too! The Miss Kim Lilac Tree is not only aesthetically pleasing with its intoxicating fragrance, it makes an attention-grabbing conversation piece. That's because lilacs come in nearly every color of the rainbow. You'll get abundant lavender-blue clusters of flowers in May, pale pink blooms during their summer season, and bright green foliage that darkens into a deep purple hue by autumn. Adding a lilac tree to your garden or planting one in a container at the front entrance is an elegant way to make an impactful statement. This ever-popular traditional American favorite can even double as a screen, with its striking display of color and incredible aroma when cut for indoor decoration.

Planting & Care

The Miss Kim Lilac tree prefers conditions with full sun to partial shade in warmer climates, while they need 4 hours of blazing sunlight every day if you live in a cooler climate. After you choose a spot to plant the tree, dig a hole twice as wide and tall as the original container. Place your new tree in the hole so that its top sits even with ground level. Backfill and tamp it well for a firm fit of roots, then water well and cover with mulch to protect roots from more damage. Lilacs will need to be watered frequently and only watered when the top 1- to 2-inches of soil have dried out. Fertilize lilacs before they bloom in early spring to encourage growth and blooms. A 10-10-10 or all-purpose fertilizer will be adequate. These trees do not require much pruning, as evidenced by their natural appearance. Remove the flowers with faded or spent flowers to extend the harvest for your next year.

Lollipop Crabapple Tree

In the early 1900s, two men with a mission to produce an apple tree that would be hardy and grow in North Dakota developed this variety. The Lollipop Crabapple is aptly named for its distinctive shape, a short trunk ending at the wide top of branches forming a lollipop-like shape, and also because it has leaves that turn from green to red or yellow in autumn. They're good producers; small fruit size makes them ideal for home gardens where space is limited but they have excellent flavor when fully ripe! Lollipop Crabapples are very popular among homeowners looking for trees resistant to heat and cold due to their taste and withstand high winds up to 110 mph. These trees will tolerate dry soils and heavy clay soils. Landscaping with Lollipops means that you can plant your entire yard with these ornamental apples without worrying about diseases spreading through the tree population since they're so hardy!

Planting & Care

The Lollipop Crabapple tree grows best in soil that has been well-drained, mildly acidic with sun exposure. Dig a hole large enough for the root ball and backfill with soil. You should water the roots and surrounding soil to help them settle. The Lollipop Crabapple thrives in average watering. Water trees every few days for the first season, then continue to water them when the soil is dry about three feet below the roots. Use the 5-5-5 fertilizer in the spring of each year. Lollipop Crabapple trees are well-named. Their shape can be said to resemble a lollipop. Light pruning may be performed in the spring after flowering, but more substantial intervention will result in a tree with a deformed appearance.

The Best Shade Trees in North Dakota

Royal Frost Birch Tree

The Royal Frost Birch tree is a great choice for North Dakota's climate. It grows rapidly and thrives in moist soils, but also does well in dry areas with little water. Their vibrant purple foliage and exfoliating bark make this tree truly one of a kind. Add to that its upright, pyramidal shape, and you've got an all-season beauty guaranteed to be the focal point of your landscape. The ripening tree has lush foliage year-round because the tree is deciduous. The leaves of these trees have a purple-red color palette that changes to a deep burgundy, and then dark red, with the change taking place over time. That means you will get a tree with stunning colors that will make your yard look beautiful, even during the winter months.

Planting & Care

Birch is a fast-growing tree that is productive for many years on a planting site in full sun to partial shade. Soil should be moist and well-drained. To plant a Birch Tree, dig a hole around 5 to 6 feet deep. When the hole is dug, place your tree inside and backfill with soil, tamping it down to eliminate all air pockets and ensure roots are submerged. Then water thoroughly. The Royal Frost Birch Tree requires consistently moist soil. Weekly watering, construction of a soaker hose or bark mulch is advised. Trees require moisture in their root zone, but they can tolerate dry soil. The Royal Frost Birch Tree has little need for pruning, but if you do decide to prune, the best time to do so is during its dormant phase.

Northern Red Oak Tree

One type of American oak tree that you'll never have to worry about is the Northern Red Oak. Fast-growing, long-lasting, and incredibly hardy, this tree is appropriate for nearly every family living in America. Northern red oak trees acangrow in almost any environment, from rural pastures to city sidewalks. They can thrive under poor soil conditions with compact space or when planted by a polluted highway. The Northern Red Oak is the state tree of New Jersey and can be found in North Dakota, too. One of the most prolific lumber-producing trees, it's often found used in cabinetry and hardwood flooring. New Jersey isn't the only US state to hold this tree as a cherished member—it also happens to be an honored resident of our own North Dakota land!

Planting & Care

Plant your Red Oak in a spot with at least six hours of sun each day. Pick a spot that will give the tree enough elbow room to grow; avoid planting near power lines and buildings. Give this tree 50 feet or more of space, unless you're planning to keep it shorter by trimming off lower branches every three years or so. After you plant the tree, water it until the ground is wet and tamp down the soil all around. Put mulch down to keep moisture in. Young trees should be watered once a week. When the tree matures, you only need to water in dry months of 1 inch or less rainfall per month. If your tree is not gaining 2 feet per year, you may need to use a general-purpose fertilizer.

The Best Fruit Trees in North Dakota

Top Hat Blueberry Bush

Blueberries taste great, but they don't always grow year-round where you live. Top Hat Blueberry is self-pollinating and quick to bear delicious berries. One blueberry bush planted by itself in full sun can produce as much as 12 gallons of berries during a season! If you love the flavor of blueberries, you'll be intrigued by how much more flavorful these berries taste, when harvested fresh. The small and firm fruit is loaded with extreme flavor, perfect for snacking on or including in salads, jams, sauces, can growand pies. It can be planted in many small spaces, and even as a container plant. It also performs well with another tree nearby. Plant one to make use of small spaces you might have or garden among your other plants for great fruit. You can also bonsai the Top Hat. Blueberries are normally gray and dull-looking But the Top Hat Blueberry is an exception, bursting with colors that best represent the four seasons. Saintly white flowers emerge in the spring and dance amid a glossy green canopy. The color contrast between the three is impressive. As fall arrives, and you've picked all your berries, the Top Hat offers one more color. The leaves turn orange and bright red shades before falling for the winter; this is unusual in most blueberry varieties. When you want to spice up any setting, this is a great choice of tree.

Planting & Care

When choosing a planting site for your blueberry bush, find one that gets full sun and drains well. Blueberries do best in moist, acidic soil. When planted in soil with pH levels higher than 5.5 they are not able to absorb nutrients effectively and their disease resistance suffers as a result of high humidity or standing water. The first step in planting a blueberry bush is to dig a hole about twice the size of the root ball. Make sure it is at least as deep as the container it comes in and then mixes moss with soil before adding to the hole. Covering those roots with dirt mixed with peat moss will ensure that your bush produces delicious berries for years to come. If you want a blueberry bush to grow, be sure that the roots have proper access to water. This means soil should stay moist but not soaked for extended periods If your leaves are showing a brown or yellow color, you may need to water more. Blueberry bushes do not need to be fertilized after planting. However, you should fertilize twice a year, once in the spring and once after harvesting is completed. The blueberry plant needs very little pruning to keep it healthy. Cut off any lower branches that might brush against the ground, and trim away excessively vigorous upright shoots located more than two feet from the ground. Spindly or dead branches should also be trimmed during dormancy. When weeding near the blueberry bushes, be careful not to damage their shallow root system. Blueberries require two different varieties to cross-pollinate and honeybees are inefficient. The native southeastern blueberry bee is the best way to pollinate blueberries.

Meader Hardy Kiwi

The space-saving Meader Hardy Kiwi vine will grow on a fence or trellis, offering you huge benefits in the landscape. The kiwi vines produce beautiful white flowers followed by large green fruit well worth the wait. Fruits high in vitamin c, like kiwis, are popular because they taste yummy and give you an immunity boost. Springtime brings with it the first harvest of ripe green & fuzzy kiwis. But they're not yet ready to be eaten. The skins are too tough and need to be peeled off before you can enjoy them. These tropical kiwis are the size of a grape and have firm, smooth skin. They’re full of refreshing juice with sweet and tangy flavors that help you cool down on hot summer days. The Meader Hardy Kiwi is particularly popular for three reasons. First, it requires a low level of care with growth and a limited need to be checked on constantly. Second, the Meader Hardy has a higher resistance to pests and diseases than other varieties of kiwi. Lastly, this variety produces healthier and better fruit because it doesn’t require as much nourishment from pesticides or nutrients for fertilizing. This kiwi vine can thrive in any hot, dry climate. It is also highly cold-hardy and withstands temperatures below -30 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter.

Planting & Care

Kiwis grow best in soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0, do not tolerate poorly-drained soils, and benefit from adding compost before planting. Plant vines well after any frosts have passed in full sun, preferably in the late spring once the water has dried out. To support rapid growth, it is important to make sure that posts are at least 4” in diameter and 8 ft. long in length so they can accommodate both vines and fruit. Use 8-12 gauge wire, which can be as high as 6 ft. The wire provides access to the tree's fruits for attaching vines to grow more easily and produce a larger crop of fruit. A T-shaped trellis is commonly made from this system to provide even more space for the plant to thrive. In the summer, water your plants if you receive about an inch of rainfall per week or so. If your area is experiencing drought conditions, it is important to water your plants every 7-10 days; watering this way also prevents runoff. Place a trickle irrigation system to give the ater time to soak in or use a soaker hose for ease and efficiency. If you live in a region that receives an average of one inch or more rainfall during the first year of growth for your kiwi plant, you do not need to add additional water to the plants as doing so can risk drowning roots. Heavy rains during the growing season could lead to plants drowning after prolonged exposure, so make sure that you plant them in well-draining soil. When planting kiwis ensure that the area is well-fertilized before planting. Plant a fertilizer at 2 ounces in early spring. This amount is increased by an additional 2 ounces the following year up to 8 and in subsequent years thereafter. To ensure that your tree is healthy, trim during the dormant season and eliminate dead or dying parts of the plant. Trim back shoots at least 4 to 6 leaves past the last flower to maintain vigor. A thick layer of mulch will prevent weed growth, add organic matter to your soil, and retain moisture for plants. Hanging upside down from your windows and waiting until the fruits are ripe can be a good way to grow trees. Pick any that don't ripen then wait an additional 2-3 weeks. When you see the first fruit on the vine start to soften, pick all of them. Store hard-ripe fruits in airtight plastic containers or sealed bags in the refrigerator. Take out a few at a time and let them ripen until they are fully ripe.

When is The Best Time to Plant Trees in North Dakota

The best time to plant trees in North Dakota is in the spring. If planting a tree for shade, plant it on the north side of your house or building to maximize its effectiveness.

Can You Plant All Season Long?

Planting all season long in North Dakota is a dream for many gardeners, but the harsh winters make it difficult to keep trees alive. It is best if you only plant your tree in North Dakota during the spring and summer months of April through September, which happenstheaterWhite to be when there are more hours of daylight.

What are The Best Trees to Plant Each Season in North Dakota

Spring time

The best tree to plant in the spring is a flowering crabapple.


A white ash would be best for planting during the summer months.

Fall time

In North Dakota, you should plan on planting trees with fall colors like maple and sycamore trees.


The most popular choice of wintertime tree is Irish pine or Eastern white pine because they're both very hardy species who can stand up to extreme cold weather conditions without much trouble at all!

What Trees Have The Least Invasive Roots in North Dakota

The least invasive trees in North Dakota are the Norway Pine, or white pine. The Norway Pine is a fast grower and can be found throughout North Dakota.