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Ohio Guide to Growing Trees

Ohio is a state with many different kinds of climate zones. This means that many different trees thrive here. Looking to plant your own tree? Here are some things to consider before making this big decision! 

Trees in Ohio

The Best Flowering Trees to Grow in Ohio

Snow Fountains Weeping Cherry Tree

One of the easiest ways to get a touch of nature in your backyard is by planting cherry trees, but this is especially true if you opt for Snow Fountain Weeping Cherry Trees. By only growing to about 15 feet tall and flowering multiple times per year with different colors each time, they can fit into even small yards or city lots. When planted in rows or alongside driveways and sidewalks, they do not overtake a space. They are often used as accent pieces for larger gardens of another variety as well. The Snow Fountain Weeping Cherry is covered in thousands of pure white blossoms every spring. The flowers cover the tree from top to bottom, giving it an elegant appearance that reminds many people of a water fountain completely frozen over with snow. These trees exhibit changing colors in all seasons due to their glossy green leaves which turn vibrant shades of orange and gold during the warmer season while displaying color with a mahogany trunk that stands out against an empty winter landscape. The blooming of the tree can be equally as attractive to bees and other important pollinators. Bees will not only visit your Cherry blossom trees, but also any flowering plants in your garden.

Planting & Care

For your tree to thrive, it must have well-drained soil and 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. Dig a hole for your tree that is three times as wide and with the same depth as the root ball. Position your tree in the soil, ensuring it’s standing upright. The top of the root ball needs to be even with ground level. Fill in the hole, tamping down lightly as you go. Once the hole has been filled, water to allow the soil to settle and eliminate any air pockets. Add a 3-inch-deep mulch around the tree’s root system, making it about an inch thicker than you watered for added protection against wintertime The best way to water these types of trees is in the morning at the base of the tree. As a rule, just check for dryness about 2 inches down when you’re not sure if it’s time to water your plants or shrubs. Fertilize trees once a year in early spring, before new growth emerges. Water the surrounding soil for better absorption. Pruning these trees is minimal. Prune broken branches in the spring before new growth.

Royal Purple Smoke Tree

The Royal Purple Smoke Tree has one-of-a-kind purple foliage that thrives almost anywhere. This purple-flowered tree is drought tolerant and will tolerate most soil types. It's a show of color that lasts all year. The oval-shaped leaves then transition to an orangey-red in the fall. Slow to grow, it tops out at 15 feet and is suitable for many landscapes or gardens as an accent tree.

Planting & Care

Look for an area that gets at least six hours of sun a day. It can tolerate some shade but would grow better with full exposure to the sun. The soil should be well-draining and capable of supporting whichever type of tree you choose. Carefully remove your tree from its container, loosen the roots with your hands and place it in a hole that is 3 times as wide as the root ball and equal in depth. Positioning the top of the roots so they are even with ground level make sure you stand up against a fence or stake to keep it stable. Fill the hole in with soil, giving it deep watering to remove any air pockets, then cover exposed soil around select areas around the trunk with mulch. When it starts life, doesn’t need constant water. The first few months of a new tree's life call for well-hydrated soil that is consistently moist but never wet; the depth at which to test the moisture is 2–3 inches below ground level. After this time has passed and roots have grown deep enough into the earth, trees are very long-lasting with regards to water needs: watering every 1–2 weeks in areas of high summer heat or drought seasons. Fertilizing this type of tree is not recommended, since it grows well on its own. When grown as a shrub, there's hardly any maintenance required. Dead or diseased branches can be pruned in early spring before growth appears. They should be pruned while planting to act like a tree, but only from the main stem. Prune other branches away and preserve growth at the top.

The Best Shade Trees in Ohio

Coral Bark Japanese Maple Tree

The Coral Bark Japanese Maple Tree is ideal for patios and small yards because while it can grow on a larger scale, its compact shape provides more room than other Maples. It has bright red bark even in winter, which makes this tree the perfect statement piece to add any time of year. In the winter, the red bark of a tree leaves a statement. Throughout spring and summer, green leaves emerge and have reddish-pink tints to them at their tips. As fall approaches, leaves on many types of trees will gradually change color from green to shades of rusty orange, bright yellow, and fiery red.

Planting & Care

Before you plant your Coral Bark tree, make sure that the area you choose has well-drained soil and gets a lot of direct sunlight. Also, keep in mind that this type of tree ideally shouldn't be planted near buildings or structures with harsh sun exposure like walls. Dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the root ball, so that the ground line of the stem is level with the ground's surface. Put soil in and tamp it down; fill up the remainder of the hole with water, then put mulch on top to protect the moisture in this parcel. Japanese Maple Trees enjoy regular water. Seek out the dryness of the soil in the late morning or evening, and you should be fine to water your tree during either period if it is still dry. Japanese maples can be propagated by seeds or cuttings. To improve the chances of success and growth, apply a balanced fertilizer before the leaves appear in early spring. Trees need 2-3 years to become healthy before they can withstand pruning. After that, you may choose to allow pruning if desired.

Green Vase Zelkova Tree

The Zelkova Tree is a pretty, pest- and disease-resistant shade tree. It grows well in all different climates and has a ton of ornamental features all year long. The vase-shaped Zelkova tree offers color and visual interest, with many variations of red, orange, golds, and yellows in the fall. This species is native to Japan, and its branches grow in an attractive scaffolding pattern. During the dormant season, a peeling bark reveals an orange color beneath - making it ornamental as well as drought-tolerant with no serious disease or pest issues, able to tolerate hot dry summers and pollution from cities.

Planting & Care

The green Vase Zelkova is an easy tree to grow in your yard. The broad range of conditions it tolerates means you can plant this tree almost anywhere as long as there are 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. The mulch on the base will help keep moisture in and prevent weeds and grass from growing up, soaking into the soil without stirring at all. Planting requires a hole twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball to accommodate its growth. This tree has a harder time dealing with hot or wet conditions, so be sure to water the plant thoroughly for its first couple of years before decreasing watering. You can tell if you need to water your tree by how dry the soil is around it. If the soil is too far down, just check the surface of the ground under your tree for signs of moisture. Pruning the Zelkova is not necessary, but may help remove dead bark and branches when they are more mature.

The Best Fruit Trees in Ohio

Bonfire Patio Peach Tree

This variety produces an excellent crop of sweet and juicy peaches year after year, making it a great all-around option for those who live in Ohio. It also has high productivity as well as resistance to weather conditions which makes it even better! It also bears excellent quality peaches that stay sweet and juicy each year, unlike some types that can be tart at their peak ripeness but then become bitter before they're picked from the tree. No yard space or garden is too tight for the Bonfire Patio Peach Tree. It can give you gorgeous greenery and luscious peaches without taking up much space, especially because of its height (about 4 or 5 feet). Despite its size, the Bonfire Patio Peach Tree has no problem bearing delicious fruit for friends and family to enjoy. So if you want an all-around good tasting peach with high productivity as well as resistance to weather conditions, the Bonfire Patio Peachtree is a prime choice for you.

Planting & Care

Trees should be planted in soil that drains well. They should also be planted on the sunny side of a building or your home to protect them from strong winds. When you're ready to plant, dig a hole twice the size of the tree's rooting system and just barely shallower than it. Separate the roots by using your hand so that they are all angled downward to see what they look like before filling back in around them with soil. Once you have covered up all of the roots, water as necessary. When planting in a container, make sure the pot is at least two times wider than the Bonfire's container. The pot should also have many drainage holes to ensure water can escape. Lastly, find a location that can receive plenty of sunlight such as on your patio or backyard, and wait no longer! Bonfire Patio Peach Trees require moist soil to thrive. Keep the tree well-watered at all times, but do not overwater it by letting water collect around the base of the root system. When in doubt, let your finger touch the soil about an inch down from where you see roots coming out; if it feels dry and sandy, more water is needed. Apply a well-balanced fertilizer, such as the 12-12-12 formula, before new growth emerges in the spring. Repeat this process twice with 50% of the first application each time during summer and fall. Should you prune your peach tree in winter or early spring before the leaf buds open.

Jefferson Filbert Hazelnut Tree

If you find the Barcelona Filbert hazelnut attractive, then just wait until you find out about the Jefferson Filbert. Like a more superior and improved version of the Barcelona, and with greater yields than its predecessor, this Oregon university-bred tree is resistant to many of Kentucky's problems that plague the Barcelona's do. With concerns like blight, canker, and pests eliminated because of this rare genetic mutation in Cedarville’s most precious native species for future generations to enjoy, it sounds unbelievable! Hazelnut-crusted fried brie cheese is the best way to experience the taste of this sought-after nut. From pasta with hazelnut sauce to dishes fragrant with roast hazelnuts - there's almost a no better way to enjoy your filberts than cooking them first and then frying down a decadent cheese snack. Although the Jefferson Filbert has lower production and tolerance than our other trees, its large green leaves make for an eye-catching addition to your yard or garden. It typically grows up to 12 feet tall, but can also be maintained as a shrub for harvesting. The Jefferson (Hazelnut) tree only produces nuts when preceded by a pollinator such as the Theta Filbert (Hazelnut).

Planting & Care

In the fall, plant your hazelnut tree six weeks before the first frost. In the spring, wait until after the final frost has come to plant. Hazelnut trees are more susceptible to partial shade, so make sure there is an area of your yard that gets full sunlight. Make sure not to plant hazelnuts in areas of your yard that flood or have standing water for prolonged periods. Once you have your potential tree location found, dig a hole that is twice as big around and one-third the depth of the root ball. After digging, use a shovel or pitchfork to loosen the dirt around the sides of the hole. Remove any rocks or debris from the area before placing your tree in it. The new roots should be level with the surrounding ground. Cover your hole, fill it in and tamp down any air pockets that may form as you backfill. Finally, water your tree well and surround it with mulch to attract no competing weeds or grasses nearby. Keep your hazelnut tree's soil moist at all times, giving it only a limited amount of water per week. Hazelnut trees don’t need fertilizer often, so wait two to three years before fertilizing them. To give your tree a boost in the summer, feed it some well-balanced organic fertilizer. Pruning your tree is an important step to maintain its health. Dead, damaged, or broken branches should be removed in the winter or early spring before new growth has begun. When pruning to open up space in the middle of the tree for more airflow and sunlight be sure to plan ahead and only remove what you need before making any cuts. Keep in mind that fruit-bearing branches should be left alone. Before pruning makes sure you have a sharp and sterilized pair of tools. To protect newly planted trees from competing weeds, remove any that are within two or three feet of the tree’s base. Take a firm hold on them and pull upward in a twisting motion. To prevent weed growth when mulching around your tree, spread mulch two inches thick that completely reaches the root system of your new plant.

When is The Best Time to Plant Trees in Ohio

The best time to plant trees in Ohio is from late fall through early spring. If you planted your tree on a windy day, it's important to stake it for its first year because the stress can lead to root rot that will kill your tree. You'll need to keep an eye out for insects that chew holes into leaves.

Can You Plant All Season Long?

Planting all season long in Ohio is a tough task. Except for hardy evergreens, most plants are best planted in Spring or Fall and not winter because it's so cold that they will die from being frozen all day long for weeks at a time. Chances are your neighbors will get tired of looking at your tree every year when there's snow on the ground too! The only trees you can plant year-round in Ohio are pine trees, but unless you live north or east of Columbus, these climates won't be well suited to growing them outdoors due to the climate changes each season.

What are The Best Trees to Plant Each Season in Ohio


Ash trees are common and good for this season because they have a lot of shade leaves that provide shade during long days. The tree's canopy also provides shelter from rainstorms which can be frequent during springtime storms. You can also choose a Dogwood tree.


During the summer months it is better to plant red maple or sweetgum since these trees grow quickly and will make your yard look more beautiful with their colors changing each season.

Fall time

Fall brings cold weather so we should put white oak in our yards at this time because these trees offer protection against winter winds and snow by shedding their leaves early on before the harshness sets in. Wintertime Black walnuts are an option for winter because they provide great shade and a lot of nutrients to the soil which helps keep other plants healthy through cold periods.

What Trees Have The Least Invasive Roots in Ohio

The least invasive trees in Ohio are the Eastern Redbud, Empress Tree (Paulownia), and Western Flowering Dogwood.