Shade Trees


This list is designed to highlight alternatives to ash trees. Emerald ash borer appears to be on the verge of spreading through Minnesota. No one knows the timeline of its arrival in Moorhead, but the general consensus is to stop planting ash trees.


  • A native tree species
  • Tend to perform well without major disease or insect problems
  • Should not be planted too deeply
  • Drop fruit bracts in summer, can be messy
  • All would be allowed for boulevard use


Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Boulevard Linden  Tilia americana'Boulevard'   
Redmond Linden  Tilia americana 'Redmond'   
Frontyard Linden  Tilia americana 'Bailyard'   
Greenspire Linden  Tilia cordata 'Greenspire'   
Norlin Linden  Tilia x 'Ronald'   
Shamrock Linden  Tilia x 'Baileyi'   
Harvest Gold Linden  Tilia mongolica 'Harvest Gold'   
Northern Debut Littleleaf Linden  Tilia cordata 'Steele'  NDSU introduction 


  • A popular tree that tends not to do well in alkaline soils
  • Many varieties are not recommended for boulevard planting
  • Some varieties have potential chlorosis problems (yellowing leaves)
  • Tend to be over planted, which can lead to problems during insect or disease outbreaks
Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Emerald Lustre Norway Maple  Acer platanoides Pond'    High success rate on boulevards 
Green Mountain Sugar Maple  Acer saccharum 'Green Mountain'   
Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple  Acer saccharum 'Bailsta   
Sienna Glen Maple  Acer x freemanii 'Sieneca'  Reportedly more winter hardy than Autumn Blaze maple 
Black Maple   Acer saccarum ssp. nigrum  Subspecies of Sugar Maple 
Northern Flare Sugar Maple  Acer saccharum 'Sisseton'  


  • American Elm has been decimated by Dutch Elm Disease (DED) for decades
  • Resistant American Elm varieties are slowly being developed
  • Resistant hybrid elm varieties are available
  • Fast growing and adaptable to tough sites
Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Discovery Elm  Ulmus davidiana var. japonica 'Discovery   
Cathedral Elm  Ulmus x'Cathedral'   
New Horizon Elm  Ulmus x 'New Horizon'   
Vanguard Elm  Ulmus x 'Morton Plainsman'   
Prairie Expedition Elm  Ulmus americana'Lewis & Clark  DED resistant NDSU introduction Difficult to find in nurseries
Washington Elm  Ulmus americana 'Washington'   
Discovery Elm  Ulmus davidiana var. japonica 'Discovery'   


  • Resembles elm in shape when mature
Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Common Hackberry  Celtis occidentalis  Height 50-75ft and spread 50ft 

Honey Locust

  • Unique leaf structure gives dappled shade
Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Northern Acclaim Honeylocust  triacanthos var. inermis  Harve' Seedless and thorn-less NDSU introduction 
Prairie Silk Honeylocust  Gleditsia triacanthos var    'Dursan' Originated in Manitoba, Canada

Amur Corktree

  • Seems to be winter hardy and slow growing
  • No serious insect or disease problems
Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
His Majesty Corktree  Phellodendron schalinense  His majesty' University of MN introduction 
Amur Corktree  Phellodendron amurense   


  • Hardy tree for the area
  • Ohio Buckeye is prone to leaf scorch
  • Produces a nut that attracts wildlife
Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Prairie Torch Hybrid Buckeye  Aesculus x 'Bergeson' 

Height is smaller than species NDSU introduction 

Autumn Splendor Buckeye  Aesculus x arnoldiana  Autumn Splendor' University of MN introduction 
Homestead Buckeye  Aesculus x 'Homestead?Homestead  Red fall color SDSU introduction 

Kentucky Coffeetree

  • Looks like a stick when first planted, but fills out nicely
  • Keep sod away to avoid competition
  • Ask for a northern seed source
Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Kentucky Coffeetree  Gymnocladus dioica   
Stately Manor Kentucky Coffeetree  Gymnocladus dioica  'Stately manor' University of MN introduction 

Mountain Ash

  • Not a true ash, so it is not a host to the emerald ash borer.
  • Tend to be small to medium height trees
  • Not recommended due to problems with iron chlorosis and fire blight
Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
European Mountain Ash  Sorbus aucuparia   
Oakleaf Mountain Ash  Sorbus x hybridia   
Russian Mountain Ash  Sorbus aucuparia 'Rossiea'   

Amur Chokecherry

  • Similar to Mountain Ash
  • Will reach 30 ft. in height, so it will grow into overhead wires
  • Allowed on boulevards to diversify species
  • Copper colored bark that peels similar to birch
Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Amur Chokecherry  Prunus maackii   


  • Smaller, native species
Common Name  Scientific Name  Comments 
Ironwood  Ostrya virginiana  Height 30 feet, spread 25 feet