Shade Trees for Iowa

Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus)
Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus)

“What tree should I plant in my yard?” is perhaps one of the most frequent questions we get.  It’s a perfectly legitimate question, but one that can be difficult to answer.  Difficult because there are so many choices, and the fact that not every tree will succeed in every landscape situation.  It’s a little bit like choosing a companion animal (dog, for example) for your family.  There are an endless array of breeds, but not all will be suitable for any given family unit.  Similarly, trees must be matched to the site.  Spatial, environmental, and aesthetic needs and features top the list of important considerations.

Tree lists like the ones provided are a good first step, but they must be interpreted and understood.  So, if you see a species or cultivar that sounds interesting, do some research to find out what the tree needs in terms of space and growing conditions.  Remember, tree lists are not like restaurant menus.  Not every entrée or tree is suitable for every occasion.

Recommended Shade Trees for Iowa

Deciduous Shade Trees Height Width Growth Habit

Acer ×freemanii – Freeman maple

     

     'JFS-KW78' (Armstrong Gold)

40'

12' 

Upright-narrow

     'Jeffersred' (Autumn Blaze®)

50'

45'

Broad-oval

     'Marmo'

50'

30'

Upright-oval

     'Bailston' (Matador)

40'

30'

Upright-oval

     'Sienna' (Sienna Glen®)

45'

35'

Pyramidal

     'UMNAF#1' (Firefall)

50'

30'

Upright-oval

Acer miyabei – miyabe maple

40' 30' Upright-oval

     'Morton' (State Street®)

45'

30'

Upright-oval

     'JFS-KW3AMI' (Rugged Ridge)

55'

40'

Upright-oval

Acer truncatum – Shantung maple

25-30' 20-25' Rounded

     'WF-AT1' (Main Street®)

25-30'

20-25'

Upright-oval

Acer truncatum × platanoides – hybrid maple

     

     'Warrenred' (Pacific Sunset®)

30'

25'

Upright-spreading

     'JFS-KW202' (Crimson Sunset)

35'

25'

Upright-oval

Acer rubrum – red maple

50' 40' Oval

     'Franksred' (Red Sunset®)

45'

35'

Upright-oval

     'Magnificent Magenta' (Burgundy Belle®)

50'

40'

Oval

     'Frank Jr.' (Redpointe)

45'

30'

Pyramidal

     'New World'

40'

20'

Narrow-oval

     'Somerset'

45'

35'

Broad-oval

Acer nigrum – black maple

60'

60'

Round-spreading

Acer saccharum – sugar maple

60' 40' Rounded

     'Barrett Cole' (Apollo®)

30'

10'

Narrow-columnar

     'Bailsta' (Fall Fiesta)

50'

50'

Upright-rounded

     'Commemoration'

50'

35'

Oval-rounded

     'Legacy'

50'

35'

Oval

     'Green Mountain'

45'

35'

Broad-oval

     'Sugar Cone'

25'

15'

Conical

     'Whit XLIX' (Powder Keg®

50'

40'

Upright-oval

Aesculus ×carnea – red horsechestnut

30' 25' Broad-Rounded

     'Briotii'

30'

35'

Round

     'Fort McNair'

30'

30'

Round

Aesculus glabra – Ohio buckeye

30' 30' Rounded

     'LavaDak' (Lavaburst®)

25-30'

15-20'

Upright-oval

     'J.N. Select' (Early Glow)

30'

20'

Oval-round

Aesculus hippocastanum – common horsechestnut

60'

50' Upright-oval

     'Baumannii'

50'

40'

Broad-oval

Alnus hirsuta – Manchurian alder

20-40' 20-30' Upright

     'Harbin' (Prairie Horizon®)

40'

30'

Upright

Betula nigra – river birch

70' 60' Pyramidal-oval

     'Cully' (Heritage®)

45'

30'

Oval

     'Dickinson' (Northern Tribute®)    

35'

30'

Upright-oval

Betula populifolia – gray birch

40' 30' Narrow-irregular 

     'Whitespire Sr.'

40'

25'

Pyramidal-oval

Catalpa speciosa – northern catalpa

60'

35'

Oval

Celtis occidentalis – hackberry

50' 50' Oval

     'JFS-KSU1' (Prairie Sentinel)

45'

12'

Columnar

     'Chicagoland'

50'

40'

Broad-pyramidal

     'Prairie Pride'            

50'

40'

Oval

     'Windy City'   

45'

40'

Upright-spreading

Cercidiphyllum japonicum – katsura tree

40-50'

20-30'

Upright-spreading

     'HSl1' (Claim Jumper)                 

18-24'

10-12'

Upright-irregular

Cladrastis kentukea – yellowwood

30-50'

40-55'

Broad-round

Corylus colurna – Turkish filbert    

40'

30'

Pyramidal

Ginkgo biloba – ginkgo

50' 30' Broad-rounded

     'Autumn Gold'           

45'

35'

Broad-pyramidal

     'Blagon' (Goldspire)

45'

12'

Narrow-columnar

     'PNI 2720' (Princeton Sentry®)    

40'

15'

Narrow-pyramidal

     'JFS-UGA2' (Golden Colonnade®)

45'

25'

Narrow-oval

     'The President' (Presidential Gold®)

50'

40'

Broad-pyramidal

Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis – honeylocust

30-70' 30-70' Upright-spreading

     'Draves' (Street Keeper)

45'

20'

Narrow-upright

     'Harve' (Northern Acclaim®)        

50'

35'

Upright-spreading

     'JFS-GMorgenson1' (Northern Sentinel®)

45'

25'

Narrow-upright

     'Skycole' (Skyline®)             

50'

35'

Pyramidal

Gymnocladus dioicus – Kentucky coffeetree

60' 40' Oval

     'Espresso'

50'

35'

Oval

     'Stately Manor'

50'

30'

Oval

     'UMNSynergy' (True North®)        

55'

35'

Oval

Liquidambar styraciflua – sweetgum

60' 40' Pyramidal-Oval

     'Clydesform' (Emerald Sentinel®)        

30'

12'

Narrow-pyramid

     'Moraine'

40'

25'

Pyramidal

     'Slender Silhouette'              

60'

8'

Columnar

Liriodendron tulipifera – tuliptree 

60'

30'

Oval

     'JFS-Oz' (Emerald City®)

55'

25'

Upright-oval

Magnolia acuminata – cucumbertree

50-80"

40-60'

Upright-oval

Nyssa sylvatica – black gum

50' 30' Pyramidal-oval

     'David Odom' (Afterburner®)        

35'

20

Upright-oval

     'JFS-red' (Firestarter®)

35'

18'

Upright-oval

     'JFS-PN Legacy1' (Gum Drop®)   

30'

20'

Upright-oval

     'Haymanred' (Red Rage®)              

35'

20'

Broad-pyramidal

Phellodendron spp. – cork tree

45' 45' Broad-rounded

     'Longenecker' (Eye Stopper)     

40'

35'

Rounded

     'His Majesty'              

40'

35'

Vase-shaped

Platanus ×hispanica – London planetree

70' 65' Broad-pyramidal

     'Bloodgood'

50'

40'

Broad-pyramidal

     'Morton Circle' (Exclamation)

55'

35'

Upright-pyramidal

Quercus alba – white oak

50-70'

40-80'

Spreading

Quercus bicolor – swamp white oak

60'

60'

Round

     'JFS-KW12' (American Dream®)  

50'

40'

Broad-pyramidal

     'Bonnie and Mike' (Beacon®)        

40'

15'

Narrow-columnar

Quercus ×bimundorum – English × white oak

     

     'Crimschmidt' (Crimson Spire)

45'

15'

Columnar

     'Midwest' (Prairie Stature)          

50'

40'

Broad-pyramidal

     'JFS-KW2QX' (Skinny Genes®)   

45'

10'

Columnar

     'JFS-KW1QX' (Streetspire®)         

45'

14'

Columnar

Quercus imbricaria – shingle oak

50'

40'

Broad-oval

Quercus macrocarpa – bur oak

50-80'

40-80'

Spreading

     'JFS-KW3' (Urban Pinnacle)      

55'

25'

Narrow-pyramidal

     'JFS-KW14' (Cobblestone®)         

55'

45'

Broad-oval

Quercus muehlenbergii – chinkapin oak

45'

45'

Round

Quercus rubra – red oak

60-75'

60'

Spreading

Quercus ×warei – English × swamp white oak

     

     'Long' (Regal Prince®)       

45'

18'

Narrow-oval

     'Nadler' (Kindred Spirit®)

40'

10'

Narrow-columnar

Styphnolobium japonicum – Japanese pagodatree

50'

50'

Round-spreading

Taxodium distichum – baldcypress

70' 30' Pyramidal

     'Mickelson' (Shawnee Brave®)     

55'

20'

Narrow-pyramidal

     'JFS-SGPN' (Green Whisper®)

55'

30'

Pyramidal

     'Skyward' (Lindsey’s Skyward)

25'

10'

Upright-columnar

Tilia americana – American linden

60' 40' Pyramidal

     'Boulevard'

60'

30'

Pyramidal

     'Kromm' (Sweet Street)   

50'

25'

Pyramidal

     'McKSentry' (American Sentry®)

45'

30'

Pyramidal

     'Lincoln'

35'

25'

Pyramidal

     'Redmond'

50'

35'

Pyramidal

Tilia cordata – littleleaf linden 

60' 40' Pyramidal

     'Baileyi' (Shamrock®)

40'

30'

Pyramidal

     'Corzam' (Corinthian®)       

45'

15'

Narrow-pyramidal

     'Ronald' (Norlin®)    

40'

30'

Pyramidal

     'PNI 6025' (Greenspire®)

40'

30'

Pyramidal

Tilia ×flavescens – American × littleleaf linden

     

     'Glenleven'

50'

30'

Pyramidal

Tilia mongolica – Mongolian linden

40' 30' Rounded

     'Harvest Gold'

30-40'

25-30'

Upright-oval

Tilia tomentosa – silver linden

70' 50' Pyramidal-oval

     'PNI 6051' (Green Mountain®)

45'

35'

Broad-pyramidal

     'Sterling'

45'

35'

Broad-pyramidal

Ulmus americana – American elm

70' 50' Vase-shaped

     'Jefferson'

70'

50'

Vase-shaped

     'Princeton'

60'

40'

Vase-shaped

     'Lewis & Clark' (Prairie Expedition)

60'

50'

Umbrella-shaped

     'New Harmony'

70'

70'

Vase-shaped

     'Valley Forge'            

70'

70'

Vase-shaped

Asian Elm Cultivars and Hybrids

     

     'Morton' (Accolade)          

70'

60'

Vase-shaped

     'Morton Glossy' (Triumph)

55'

45'

Vase-shaped

     'New Horizon'            

55'

40'

Upright-oval

     'Prospector'

40'

30'

Vase-shaped

     'Discovery'

50'

40'

Vase-shaped

     'Burgundy Glow' (Northern Empress®)

30'

25'

Round

     'JFS-KW2UD' (Greenstone)

60'

40'

Vase-shaped

Zelkova serrata – Japanese zelkova

50-80'

30-40'

Vase-shaped

Last reviewed:
June 2023