April 4

5 Best Trees to Plant in Indianapolis



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Menchhofer Tree Care has been caring for trees in the Indy area for over 40 years.

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Do you need ​help planting trees in your yard?

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Trees have a way of pulling a yard together and making your house look more like a home. They are one of the most versatile additions to any yard - from providing shade in the summertime to security on those long winter nights. Every yard should have a tree! Getting the right tree is even more important. Given the sometimes harsh climate in Indianapolis and our weather patterns, it makes sense that not all trees are made for our yards.

Still, some trees are absolutely perfect for Indianapolis weather, soil, and seasonal changes. These trees wear each season beautifully, will not tip over at the first snowfall, and can withstand generations of children playing on the swing.

If you are thinking about planting a tree in your Indianapolis yard, consider one of these:

5. Crab Apple Tree

Crab Apple tree in full bloom.
Photo Credit: Bruce Marlins

  • Thrive in small spaces
  • Require neutral to acidic soil
  • Requires little water
  • Hardy against diseases

Despite the somewhat off-putting name, crab apple trees are absolutely perfect for an Indianapolis yard. They are disease and pest resistant, hardy, and require very little upkeep according to Arbor Day. The actual “apples” or the fruits that fall are small and don’t make a huge mess. There are perfect for smaller spaces and look even better when there are a few in a row. In the spring, the white flowers capture attention and are a favorite space for photos and playing pretend. For fall, the orange-red fruits develop, transitioning from season to season beautifully.

For a beautiful tree that isn’t a lot of work, the crab apple is a fantastic choice.

4. Japanese Tree Lilac

Blooms on a Japanese Tree Lilac.
Credit: Phil Roeder on Flickr!

  • Doesn’t grow too tall
  • Requires little water
  • Tolerates clay soil
  • Hardy against diseases

Another smaller, flower tree, the Japanese Tree Lilac is absolutely gorgeous. It is the perfect tree for areas that are tough to grow anything in, like Indianapolis can be. It resembles more of a shrub, with very little trunk and spread out branches. The white flowers appear in early summer, when many other flowering trees have already shed their flowers, according to the Bernheim Arboretum. If you are looking for a mixture, consider pairing this with a Crab Apple Tree for a full six months of flowers.

Once again, this tree is hardy and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. It does need full sun in order to perform at peak and it does need some space around it so that there is proper air circulation.

3. Pagoda Dogwood

Purple fruits on the Pagoda Dogwood tree.
Credit: Cody Hough

  • Requires moist soil
  • Doesn’t grow very tall
  • Changes with the seasons
  • Hardy against diseases

Many gardeners and tree fans absolutely love the unique and beautiful Pagoda Dogwood for many reasons. For many homeowners, the fragrance that carries throughout the spring thanks to the white flowers takes this tree to the next level. However, the blue fruits and purple colors make it a tree that will have neighbors slowing down as they drive by your home. It does take a little more work than some of the other trees on the list, but the beauty is worth it. One key thing to know is that you should plant this back in your yard and away from the streets, if possible.

According to the Morton Arboretum, “If planted in full sun, the shallow root system benefits with a layer of mulch to moderate soil temperature and conserve moisture.”

2. Korean Fir

Fully grown Korean Fir tree.
Photo Credit: Cyrillic

  • Extremely hardy under the right conditions
  • Unique look and feel
  • Grows tall
  • Requires water in the early growth stages

For something a little more unique, a Korean Fir adds a shape to your yard that you don’t typically find in a tree. It is shaped more like a pyramid, with green needles that have white undersides. This marking also creates a unique look and feel to the tree, one that changes with the wind. In the right light, the Korean Fir has an “ombre” look that many modern homes covet. In Indianapolis, this tree really shines thanks to the breezes and the soil, which is perfect for a hardy growth. According to Horticulture Magazine, these can get very tall and wide: up to thirty feet tall and fifteen feet wide. Make sure you have the space for these to grow.

Once again, you may want to plant this tree away from the road due to urban pollution.

1. Serviceberry

Ripe berries on the Serviceberry Tree.
Credit: I.Sáček, senior

  • Hardy tree when cared for
  • Produces edible fruit
  • Manageable height
  • Requires water

This is a unique tree that not many people have heard about, but it is absolutely one of the best trees to grow in Indianapolis. One of the reasons many homes need this tree in their yards is because that it wears each season so beautifully. In the spring, it has flowers and edible berries that can be used “for pies, preserves and fresh eating,” according to the National Arbor Day Foundation. Throughout the rest of the year it shows off spectacular colors, especially in the autumn months. Even the bark on this tree is beautiful. Maintenance is extremely low, with no series pest or disease problems apparent.

There are a few different varieties of this tree that work extremely well in the same space. If you have a large yard to fill, consider getting one of each.

Trees are such an important part of the human experience that it doesn’t make sense to have a boring tree in your yard. These trees will give you more color, more fun, and a more beautiful outdoor space with very little work required from you. Even better, they are made to thrive in Indianapolis.

If you have any problems with your trees or you want to have a tree removed to make room for one of these beauties, contact Menchhofer Tree Care at 1 (317) 661-4240Our team of experts will work with you to achieve the look and feel you are going for in your yard – whether that means trimming, planting, or cutting down. Better yet, our team is trained to deal with all kinds of trees, even if they are left of center.

Header photo courtesy of rockerBOO on Flickr!

Menchhofer Tree Care

About Steve Menchhofer

Steve Menchhofer has been caring for the trees of the Indianapolis, Indiana metro area for over 40 years. Steve and his team of experienced, certified arborists are members of the International Society of Arboriculture and the Indiana Arborist Association.

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