How to plant a container tree
How to plant a bare root tree seedling (step by step print instructions)

REMEMBER: IF I AM TOO LOW I WON’T GROW, IF I AM TOO HIGH I WILL DIE. 

NORTHERN RED OAK (Quercus Rubra)

OVER 400 SPECIES OF BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS USE OAK TREES AS A HOST PLANT!

 

My name is  Quercus Rubra  but my nickname is Northern Red Oak. I am a native Ohio tree with large deep roots. I have bristle-tipped leaves  that turn different shades of red in the fall. My leaves have 7 to 11 waxy lobes.  I’m a good street tree or yard tree because I can tolerate pollution well and I don’t mind compact soil. I won’t lift up your sidewalk or driveway as my roots run deep into the ground rather than across the soil.  I will give you lots of shade as I get older and will help keep you cool in the summer. I am a fast grower and can grow as much as two feet a year for 10 years. I get up to 60 – 75 feet and I spread out 45 feet and have a nice round shape. I love the feel of the sun on my leaves and I should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day. I also prefer to have my roots in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. I like moisture but I can also tolerate dry weather once I am established. I provide lots of food with my acorns for many different animals. Blue jays, wild turkeys, squirrels, whitetail deer, raccoons and black bears have me at the top of their list of favorite foods.  I won’t live over the  winter in a container so please plant me before the ground freezes and is too hard to plant. The hole you dig must be deep and wide enough to cover my roots but not high over my trunk. IF I AM TOO LOW I WON’T GROW, IF I AM TOO HIGH I WILL DIE.  My soil needs to stay moist so please make sure I get lots of water for the next 3 weeks. You can place mulch around me to keep in moisture but not right up against my small trunk. Thank you for caring for me!
   

SHUMARD OAK (Quercus shumardii)

OVER 400 SPECIES OF BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS USE OAK TREES AS A HOST PLANT!

My name is Quercus shumardii, but my friends call me Shumard oak or red swamp oak. I will grow to be very old but I need your help to be healthy and strong. My leaves turn a beautiful red with some yellow and brown hues in the fall but I have dark green leaves in the summer. I am a deciduous tree which means I lose all my leaves for winter. My bark is a dark grey as I get older but a light grey when I am young and my trunk is straight and vertical with little to no drooping which makes me a good yard tree. I grow acorns once I turn 25 years of age that provide food for turkeys, song birds, waterfowl, whitetail deer, squirrels and many other birds. I am very valuable to caterpillars and butterflies and they depend on me to survive. Because I can tolerate different environments I am found all over the US from Florida to Texas and all the way north to Canada. I grow larger in more southern states and smaller the more north I am planted.

MORE INFO – PDF

   

BLACK CHERRY (Prunus serotina)

Many species of butterflies and moths use black cherry as a host plant and the fruits are very popular with birds.

 

● Mature size: Large- 50 to 60’ tall, 20- 30’ spread
● Growth rate: Fast
● Sun preference: Full sun to partial shade
● Soil and water: Prefers acidic, moist, well-drained soil. Tolerates alkaline soils, and is moderately tolerant of drought and flooding.
● Warning: The bark, leaves, twigs, and seeds can cause cyanide poisoning if ingested. Most livestock deaths come from eating wilted leaves, however. White-tailed deer may browse saplings without harm.
● Produces pea-sized edible fruit
● Cherries can be used in jellies, wine, and to flavor rum and brandy. They can be messy, however.
● Produces clusters of white flowers
● Has dark, scaly wood that is used for furnitureWILDLIFE: Fruits are an important food for many animals, including passerine and game birds, as well as mammals such as red fox, raccoon, opossum, squirrels, rabbits, and black bears.MORE INFO – PDF
   

RED MAPLE (Acer Rubrum)

OVER 200 SPECIES OF BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS USE MAPLE TREES AS A HOST PLANT!

● Mature size: Large- 40-60’ tall, 40’ spread
● Growth rate: Medium to fast- 13 to more than 24” per year
● Sun preference: Full sunlight
● Soil and water: Prefers wet soil, but has slight drought tolerance. Grows in acidic, rich, moist, well-drained, loamy, sandy, silty loam, and clay soils.
● Leaves turn a vibrant yellow to red color in the fall.
● Yields samaras- twin seeds, bound together, with attached wings 1” in length. Seeds are ripe in Late spring.
● Produces clusters of small red (sometimes yellow) flowers winter to spring
● Can be toxic to horses if dry, wilted leaves are consumedWILDLIFE:
Fruit (samaras) provide food for squirrels and other rodents. Rabbits and deer eat the shoots and leaves of red maples.MORE INFO – PDF
   

HACKBERRY – (Celtis Occidentalis)

OVER 40 SPECIES OF BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS USE HACKBERRY TREES AS A HOST PLANT

 

 

Hi my name is CELTIS OCCIDENTALIS but those who know me call me Hackberry. I am a medium-fast growing, large shade tree. When I have help to grow right, I can grow 14-20 inches per year. I average 30-50 feet but can grow as high as 75 feet if I have the right environment. I can live as long as 150-200 years old if you take good care of me.

I have a pretty vase-like symmetrical shape that can be ideal for growing in your yard.My leaves are shaped like spearheads and are 2-4 inches long and 1-2 inches wide with small teeth edges. My leaves have an alternate bud arranged with no terminal bud. I am a monoecious plant so I produce male and female flowers on the same tree. I am also deciduous and my leaves turn yellow for autumn before they fall. I provide an abundance of black fruits that are great food for lots of wildlife. I am a favorite of the waxwing and orioles but robins, cardinals and mockingbirds also have me high on their list. Beavers, possums, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, wild turkeys, quail and gray fox eat my hackberries. Other pollinators that like my berries are the American snout butterfly, hackberry butterfly, mourning cloak and tawny emperor butterfly. I have a butterfly named after me because they like to lay their eggs on my leaves. Its name is the Hackberry Emperor! Even humans can eat my berries. My berries are generally ready for eating mid autumn and are a dark purple pea size berry. Please do not eat any berries from plants without asking your family first!

MORE INFO – PDF

 

   

TULIP TREE – (Liriodendron tulipifera)

ALMOST 20 SPECIES OF BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS USE TULIP TREES AS A HOST PLANT

● Mature size: Very large- 70-90’ tall, 40’ spread ● Growth rate: Fast- more than 24” per year
● Sun preference: Full sunlight
● Soil and water: Grows well in acid, moist, well-drained, loamy, sandy, and clay soils. Prefers normal moisture but can tolerate drought in humid regions.
● Produces tulip shaped flowers with green petals and orange bases, 1 ½ to 2’ in diameter, during May and June
● Yields colorful 2’ long cone-shaped samaras (winged seeds) ● Produces distinct four-lobed leaves that turn a vibrant yellow in the fall
● Grows in an oval shape
● Has aromatic stemsWILDLIFE: This tree provides food for many forms of wildlife. It is browsed by white-tailed deer and rabbits in the fall and winter. Ruby-throated hummingbirds drink nectar from the flowers in the spring. The seeds, which mature in summer and last into winter, provide food for many birds and mammals.MORE INFO – PDF
   

EASTERN REDBUD (Cercis canadensis)

OVER 20 SPECIES OF BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS USE REDBUD TREES AS A HOST PLANT

 

Light: Full sun and partial shade
Soil and Moisture: Acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained and clay soils.The Henry’s elfin butterfly (Callophyrus henrici) and hummingbirds utilize eastern redbud for nectar. Honeybees use the flowers for pollen. Whitetail deer browse the foliage and twigs during the spring and summer. Squirrels occasionally eat the buds, bark, and seed. Bobwhite quail and songbirds eat the seeds. However, for the animals which utilize eastern redbud, it is considered a less desirable or emergency food. The flowers can be fried and eaten. Eastern redbud is usually one of the first trees to bloom in spring. Pink to reddish purple flowers are grown on old twigs, branches, and trunks. Flowering occurs in March to May before leaf growth.MORE INFO – PDF
   

AMERICAN ELM (Ulmus Americana)

ALMOST 200 SPECIES OF BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS USE ELM TREES AS A HOST PLANT

My name is Ulmus Americana but I go by American Elm. I am a beautiful, large, shade tree that turns a gorgeous yellow in the fall. I can grow up to 100 feet tall in an umbrella like form but most of the other elm trees you see are much smaller because of the Dutch Elm Disease. I don’t want to be extinct so I need your help to make sure I grow up big and strong. I can grow in full sun or part shade. I prefer rich, well-drained soil, but I can grow well with poor drainage or compacted soil. I am a very low maintenance tree and I grow really fast. I can grow 3-6 feet in one year. I don’t really have deep roots so don’t plant me near sidewalks or driveways where I can disrupt things. You can most easily identify me by my leaves. I look like I have teeth around my leaves and underneath I feel like sandpaper. I’m very unique in that way.

My flowers are small and inconspicuous, appearing in drooping clusters in early spring. Bees can use my flowers pollen so I’m also considered a pollinator. The fruits I produce are also inconspicuous while on the tree and provide food for many different animals. I am a prolific producers of seeds, and birds, rabbits, opossums, squirrels, and rodents eat my seeds. Deer eat my leaves and twigs in the spring. So I am very important to our ecosystem. I won’t live over the  winter in a container so please plant me before the ground freezes and is too hard to plant. The hole you dig must be deep and wide enough to cover my roots but not high over my trunk. IF I AM TOO LOW I WON’T GROW, IF I AM TOO HIGH I WILL DIE.   My soil needs to stay moist so make sure I get lots of water for the next 3 weeks. You can place mulch around me to keep in moisture but not right up against my small trunk. Thank you for taking care of me!

   

BUR OAK (Quercus macrocarpa)

OVER 400 SPECIES OF BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS USE OAK TREES AS A HOST PLANT!

My name is  Quercus macrocarpa but my friends call me Bur Oak.  I will give you lots of shade if you plant me in your yard. I don’t mind pollution or heat stress so I’m a perfect urban tree.  As I get older my stout limbs are resistant to wind and ice damage, and the corky bark protects me from sunscald as well as fire — to some degree. I’m a perfect tree to hang a swing on as my limbs are super strong. I can survive drought periods because I have a tap root that grows down and can get water from deep in the ground when rain can’t be found. This also makes me a great choice for your yard.  My deep roots won’t break sidewalks like other trees might.My Acorns are the preferred food for wood ducks, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, rabbits, mice, squirrels and other rodents. I also attract butterflies. My acorns are pretty large but I don’t get as many as other oaks.  Don’t plant me under electric wires as I can grow to be 80 feet tall. I grow 1-3 feet per year and can tolerate different soils.I can grow well in acidic, alkaline, loamy, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils. I prefer moderate moisture, but I am drought tolerant and I like full to part shade.  I can live to be 300 years old.  I won’t live over the  winter in a container so please plant me before the ground freezes and is too hard to plant. The hole you dig must be deep and wide enough to cover my roots but not high over my trunk. IF I AM TOO LOW I WON’T GROW, IF I AM TOO HIGH I WILL DIE. My soil needs to stay moist so make sure I get lots of water for the next 3 weeks. You can place mulch around me to keep in moisture but not right up against my small trunk. Thank you for taking care of me!
   

CHESTNUT TREE (Castaneda Dentata)

OVER 100 SPECIES OF BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS USE CHESTNUT TREES AS A HOST PLANT!

My name is Castaneda Dentata but I go by American Chestnut. I am a native tree but I lost most of my family that lived in the US and Canada in the early 1900s.  So I really need your help to thrive and repopulate so I’m no longer endangered.I have long canoe shaped leaves with a prominent lance-shaped tip, with a coarse, forward hooked teeth at the edge of the leaf. My leaf is dull or “matte” rather than shiny or waxy in texture. I like to grow on hills in full sun to part shade. I like soils that don’t flood and are loose and not clay-like. I have a large, deep, tap root system so I won’t break your cement sidewalk or driveway as my roots don’t spread out. I generally grow 50-75 feet tall, but in ideal circumstances, I could grow up to 100 feet tall. So plant me where I have plenty of space to grow. I can live between 200-800 years old in the right conditions.  I am a very important tree for wildlife. My nuts provide fall food for humans, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, blue jays, black bears and carrier pigeons.  I contain more nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium in my leaves when compared to other trees so I replenish the soil. This means I return more nutrients to the soil so other plants, animals, and microorganisms can grow. So mulch my leaves or let them stay where they lay but don’t get rid of them  because I help the ecosystem.  I won’t live over the  winter in a container so please plant me before the ground freezes and is too hard to plant. The hole you dig must be deep and wide enough to cover my roots but not high over my trunk. IF I AM TOO LOW I WON’T GROW, IF I AM TOO HIGH I WILL DIE. My soil needs to stay moist so make sure I get lots of water for the next 3 weeks. You can place mulch around me to keep in moisture but not right up against my small trunk. 
   

PIN OAK (Quercus Palustris)

OVER 400 SPECIES OF BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS USE OAK TREES AS A HOST PLANT!

My name is  Quercus Palustris but people call me Pin Oak. I’m a fast grower if I am put in the right spot in your yard. I can grow 2 feet or more every year and can grow 25 feet wide. I like wet, acidic, rich soils but I can tolerate most poor soils well and can survive a drought. I prefer full sun to part shade. I don’t mind pollution so I’m a great tree for your urban yard. I have a shallow fibrous root system so don’t plant me next to driveways or sidewalks. I will need pruned periodically to help me grow strong.  I have green, glossy leaves  that show brilliant red to bronze in the fall. I am a symmetrical decorative tree with small, distinctive acorns with a saucer shaped cap and smooth, gray bark. I provide food for lots of different animals including: deer, gray squirrels, red squirrels, chipmunks, wild turkeys, crows, flying squirrels, rabbits, opossums, blue jays, quail, raccoons, and wood ducks. I won’t live over the  winter in a container so please plant me before the ground freezes and is too hard to plant. The hole you dig must be deep and wide enough to cover my roots but not high over my trunk. IF I AM TOO LOW I WON’T GROW, IF I AM TOO HIGH I WILL DIE.  My soil needs to stay moist so make sure I get lots of water for the next 3 weeks. You can place mulch around me to keep in moisture but not right up against my small trunk. Thank you for taking care of me!
   

SWAMP WHITE OAK (Quercus Bicolor)

OVER 400 SPECIES OF BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS USE OAK TREES AS A HOST PLANT!

 

My name is Quercus Bicolor, but my nickname is Swamp White Oak. I will make an excellent shade tree when planted in your yard but not a good street tree. My roots are  more shallow than other oak trees and spread so I can’t be planted too close to a sidewalk or driveway.  I’m found in low-lying moist sites, along bottomlands and swamps that are subject to periodic flooding. I can also tolerate drought once I am established. I thrive in full sun or part shade so I’m a very versatile tree.I grow faster than most other white oaks and I get 60 to 70 feet tall. I can live 300 years or more! My leaves are large (5 to 7 inches long) with rounded, shallow lobes. I have 2 tone leaves, dark green above and gray to shiny white below which is reflective in my name “BICOLOR”. My bark is smooth on small branches. They are purplish-brown and separate into large, papery scales. On large branches and trunks, they break into broad, flat ridges, with deep fissures and are gray-brown. My acorns usually occur in pairs on a very long stalk that is 1 to 4 inches long. My acorns are a valuable source of food for wood ducks, deer, turkey, squirrels and other rodents.  I won’t live over the  winter in a container so please plant me before the ground freezes and is too hard to plant. The hole you dig must be deep and wide enough to cover my roots but not high over my trunk. IF I AM TOO LOW I WON’T GROW, IF I AM TOO HIGH I WILL DIE. My soil needs to stay moist so make sure I get lots of water for the next 3 weeks. You can place mulch around me to keep in moisture but not right up against my small trunk. Thank you for taking care of me!
   

SYCAMORE (Plantanus Occidentalis)

OVER 40 SPECIES OF BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS USE SYCAMORE TREES AS A HOST PLANT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My name is Plantanus Occidentalis but my nickname is Sycamore. Don’t mess with me because I belong to the largest tree family in the world and we have been around for over 100 million years. You can tell I’m a Sycamore tree because my bark flakes off like a snake so I can grow big and tall. I average 75-90 feet tall and 4-6 feet around. I lose my broad flat leaves every autumn and I produce a brownish woody ball of seed in October. These seeds are how other sycamore trees get planted and provide food for different animals like the purple finch, chickadee, goldfinch, dark eyed Junco, muskrats, beavers, and squirrels. I also have drinkable sap for creatures like hummingbirds and sapsuckers. I can provide shelter for animals including owls and red tailed hawks and can even provide a den for a mother bear.

I can live 200-600 years BUT I NEED YOUR HELP TO GET THERE!! I like to be planted in moist soil close to streams and rivers like in the Olentangy watershed where most of you live. Please plant me at least 15 feet away from sidewalks or buildings because I need room to spread my roots. (15 feet away) I like living in cities because I’m very good at cleaning the air and water in your neighborhood. I can also give a lot of shade to cool the temperature in your home and city so I can do well in your yard.

I come to you as a bare root tree which means I’m a baby tree and I need to be planted right away. If you can’t plant me today please put me in water to be planted within 7 days. Please ask an adult to call 811 before you plant me so that utilities and underground wires can be marked and avoided. The hole you dig must be deep and wide enough to cover my roots but not high over my trunk. IF I AM TOO LOW I WON’T GROW, IF I AM TOO HIGH I WILL DIE. My soil needs to stay moist so make sure I get lots of water. You can place mulch around me to keep in moisture but not right up against my small trunk.