Why Buy Our Trees?
Here at TNF we concentrate on supplying quality trees
that will give shade, beauty and a host of other benefits
for decades and maybe even centuries to come. Many
of the trees we sell are superior for landscaping but are
not sold by large commercial nurseries because they
are difficult to propagate or grow slowly the first several
years. Trees such as oak and hickory may grow slowly
at first, but once established in your yard, the growth rate
can surpass that of other species that start out more
Provenance is a term describing the geographic area
that a particular species of seed has been collected
from and is an important consideration when growing
native trees. Trying to grow a white oak in Minnesota
from a seed that was collected in Kentucky is doomed to
failure! Research has shown that provenance affects
hardiness, flowering and the growth rate for a wide
variety of native tree species. Because of this we collect
local native seeds for our stock whenever possible, and
if we do buy seed commercially, we pay particular
attention to the location of the seed source. The
advantage for you, the customer, is a better tree!
The hardiness ratings listed below are compiled from
review of native range data, extension service research
in various states, other catalogs, and our personal
experience. Sometimes, there is no agreement
whatsoever among these sources about hardiness of a
particular species, and we have to make our best
guess! Complicating the picture is the fact that the last
"hard" winter here (-35 to -40 F) was 1996-97 and many
zone 5 trees have been growing without winter dieback
here on our farm for several years.
Most of our trees are sold as either bare root or potted
seedlings. Bare root seedlings establish quickly and
can adapt to many different soil types, but can only be
planted in the spring or fall. Typically, these are 1, 2 or
3 year old plants.
Our potted seedlings are 2-3 month old actively growing
seedlings sold in either 2" diameter 4" deep plug pots
or 2 1/4" diameter 4" deep Rootmaker root pruning
trays. Potted seedlings must be ordered by April 1. After
being adapted to outdoor conditions, they are ready to
ship in late May. In the upper Midwest, I would
recommend planting out by mid June so that the
seedlings can harden off properly by fall. This is an
easy way to get many types of tree seedlings started.
Rootmaker growbag trees are larger specimens grown
in root constriction bags. These bags allow small
nutrient gathering roots to leave the bag (typically 12-24"
in diameter), but larger nutrient storing roots stay within
the bag. The result is an easily transplantable larger
tree that establishes quickly in its new location.
Because we are a small operation, collecting seed
locally and growing locally, the selection of species and
sizes will vary greatly from year to year.
Oaks are some of the best trees for landscaping a large
yard. They provide a stately shape that few other trees
match and most exhibit a great fall color. Oaks do not
shed branches and are not prone to limb breakage like
some other commonly sold lawn trees. Also, oak root
systems are relatively deep, avoiding some of the
problems with grass growth and sidewalk lifting that are
often seen with maples. Oaks grow very slowly their first
several years while building their deep taproot system.
Should I avoid planting oak trees because of oak wilt?
Disease resistance of oaks is typically excellent,
although if you live in a locality with a lot of oak wilt, a
member of the white oak group will be a better choice,
as members of the red oak group are more
susceptible. Since oak wilt spreads mainly via root
systems, oak wilt shouldn't be a concern for someone
considering planting oaks in their yard, so long as the
yard is not adjacent to a stand of oak wilt infected trees
and so long as all pruning is done in late fall or winter.
Establishing Oak Trees
Because they develop a large, deep root system when
very young, oaks will become established more quickly
and perform best if planted in their permanent location
when they are still very small. I shudder when I see a 2"
diameter/10' tall oak sitting in a 10 gallon pot in a
nursery, as getting this oak to grow and prosper in a
yard will be very difficult. (If you really want to fork out a
lot of money for a larger sized oak, get one balled and
burlapped, buy one that has been raised in some type of
root pruning container, or buy a spaded tree that has
had its roots pruned periodically by the spade in the
years prior to sale.)
Sorry, due to quarantine regulations, oaks may not be
shipped to CA, FL or OR.
White Oak, Quercus alba
Anyone who has seen a huge old white oak knows that
this really is the king of the forest. In the yard, white
oaks provide a stately look and a beautiful deep red late
fall color. White oaks grow at a snail's pace their first
several years but after that make up for lost time by
growing very quickly. Prefers a well drained site and will
tolerate more shade than most other white oaks.
Usually has good resistance to oak wilt. Unfortunately,
in many forests of the Midwest, white oaks are not
regenerating in adequate numbers and the huge old
white oak forest may someday be very rare. Help
preserve the king of the forest by planting some white
oaks this spring. Grown from locally collected seed.
Hardy to zone 4.
Bare root (3-0) 2-3' tall: $ 3.00 each, 10 for $ 20.00,
$ 1.50 each for 100+
Growbag: 6-8' $ 120.00 plus freight
Swamp white oak, Quercus bicolor (white oak group)
Large oak that prefers lowlands and mildly acidic soil.
Interesting plate-like bark when young and intense
orange leaves in the fall. Grown from native seed
collected around LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Hardy to zone 4.
Bare root (2-0) 12-24" tall: $ 5.00 each, 10 for $ 40.00
Growbag: 6-8' $ 100.00 plus freight
Northern Pin Oak, Jack Oak, Hill’s Oak, Quercus
ellipsoidalis (red oak group)
Relatively fast growing oak with bright red color late in
the fall. Quite adaptable and does well in partial shade
and poor soils. Grown from locally collected seed, zone
Bare root (2-0) 8-16" tall: $ 5.00 each, 10 for $ 40.00
Shingle Oak, Quercus imbricaria (red oak group)
The shingle oak has thick intense green summer
leaves that lack lobes, similar to a live oak. Fall color is
a brick red. Farther south this is a medium sized tree,
here in zone 4 is more shrublike, especially in the sun.
Grown from seed collected in central Iowa. I’ll call it
hardy to zone 4, as we haven’t had any winter dieback
here in Minnesota for the last several years.
Bare root (3-0) 2-3' tall: $ 4.00 each, 10 for $ 30.00
Bur Oak Quercus macrocarpa (white oak group)
Growing faster than most other white oaks, the bur oak
is the lord of the prairie with massive branches that
resist fire, wind, and ice damage better than any other
tree. Fall color is usually a dull orange to brown. Prefers
deep rich soil and plenty of room. Relatively resistant to
oak wilt. Grown from locally collected seed. Zone 3.
Bare root (3-0) 12-24" tall: $ 5.00 each, 10 for 40.00
Chinkapin Oak, Quercus muehlenbergii (white oak
This is one of my favorites. The chinkapin oak is
relatively fast growing and tough like the bur oak but has
a better fall color, typically brick red on the soils here at
TNF. In the wild it is found either at the bottom or top of
limestone bluffs, so it will thrive in any dry, alkaline and
rocky soil you may have; however, it also does well in
any non-swampy setting. The acorns are supposed to
be some of the sweetest, but I can’t really say that my
palate is good enough confirm this. Summer leaves on
mature trees are deep green and look a lot more like
chestnut leaves than the chestnut oak.
A word of caution: A lot of the "chinkapin oak" seedlings
we have seen are actually hybrids of the chinkapin oak
and some other member of the white oak group. When
collecting out in the field we collect only from pure
stands and avoid collecting seed from sites where other
white oaks are nearby. Also, some strains (and hybrid
seedlings) of the chinkapin oak seem quite susceptible
to mildew. The seedlings we sell have shown good
resistance to mildew. Grown from seed collected from
the northern and westernmost ends of the chinkapin
oak's range in northeastern Iowa and western
Wisconsin. Hardy to zone 4.
Bare root (3-0) 2-4' tall: $ 4.00 each, 10 for $ 30.00
Growbag: 5-8' $ 120.00 each plus freight
Pin Oak, Quercus palustris (red oak group)
A black oak with a broad pyramidal shape and intensely
red fall color. Needs a mildly acid soil. Seed collected
locally from trees showing good zone 4 hardiness.
Bare root (3-0) 2-4' tall: $ 4.00 each, 10 for $ 30.00
Quercus robor, English Oak (white oak group)
Large, relatively fast growing oak from northern Europe.
Dull brown-yellow fall color. Prone to mildew so should
be grown in an area with good air circulation. Hardy to
warmer parts of zone 4.
Bare root (3-0) 2-3' tall: $ 4.00 each, 10 for $ 30.00
Northern Red Oak, Quercus rubra (red oak group)
Relatively fast growing oak with a striking deep red fall
color. Usually found on deep upland soils and
becoming very large after the first century of growth. The
acorns from this northern strain are much smaller than
southern varieties. Grown from locally collected seed,
Bare root (3-0) 2-3' tall: 4.00 each, 10 for $ 30.00, $
1.50 each for 100+
Growbag: 4-6' $80.00 plus freight
Post Oak, Quercus stellata (white oak group)
Medium sized tree preferring dry soils throughout the
southeastern US. Seed collected in Missouri. Hardy to
warmer parts of zone 5.
Bare root (2-0) 6-12" tall: $ 3.00 each, 10 for $ 20.00
Black Oak, Quercus velutina (red oak group)
Large native of the east, prefers light soils, orange-
yellow to maroon fall color. Zone 4. Grown from seed
collected in Illinois.
Bare root (2-0) 8-12" tall: $ 4.00 each, 10 for $ 30.00
Growbag: 4-5' $ 80.00 plus freight
Though generally thought of as high and mighty, some
oaks are small and shrubby, meaning they could suit a
small yard much better than the big guys. The small
oaks as a group are not very fast growing, but often
produce large crops of acorns once established.
Gambel Oak, Gambel's Oak, Quercus gambelii (white
Native of the western USA, the Gambel oak grows in dry,
sunny locations, usually getting no more than 30 ft.
high. Brown to yellow fall color. Grown from seed
collected in Utah. Zone 4.
Bare root (2-0) 6-12" $ 3.00 each, 10 for $ 20.00.
Dwarf Chinkapin Oak, Quercus prinoides (white oak
This is a shrub or small tree of the eastern USA that
often forms thickets. Tolerates poor soils well and has
a nice deep red fall color on our soils here. These are
grown from seed collected in central Iowa. Zone 4.
Sorry, dwarf chinkapin oak is sold out for 2009 (see
what's new). I should have some seedlings available in
Bear Oak, Quercus ilicifolia (red oak group)
This is another small thicket forming oak from the
eastern USA. Bears acorns at a young age and has a
brilliant red fall color.
Growbag: 2-3' $ 120.00 each plus freight
These are medium sized oaks with varying degrees of
hardiness. Most seem to grow relatively quickly. With
more news of exotic diseases of oaks such as sudden
oak death cropping up, we may someday badly need the
Asian genetics that these trees provide.
Japanese white oak, Quercus aliena (white oak group)
I really like this oak because of its fast growth, uniquely
shaped leaves and nice orange to red fall color, similar
to a swamp white oak. Bears acorns at about 5 years of
age here. Good zone 4 hardiness here thus far.
Sorry, unavailable in 2009.
Mongolian Oak, Quercus mongolica (white oak group)
Medium sized tree favoring dry soils. Fall color ranges
from red to brown. Hardy to zone 3, very limited number
Bare root 6-12" $ 5.00 each
Growbag: 4-7' $ 120.00 each plus freight
Moosewood Maple, Striped Maple, Acer
Small maple perfect for shady, cool spots. Rich yellow
fall color with green and white striped bark adding winter
interest. May need protection from deer browsing when
young. Grown from seed collected in Pennsylvania.
Occasional dieback here in zone 4.
Bare root (3-0) 2-4': $ 8.00 each, 10 for $ 60.00
Large native of the upper Midwest providing dense
shade and striking fall color. Black maple is a type of
sugar maple better adapted to the soils and winters of
the Midwest than eastern sugar maples. Collected in
southeastern Minnesota from trees showing
outstanding timber form and fall color. Most of the
seedlings tend toward an iridescent yellow or orange
fall color. Grows in sun or shade, at its best on the north
side of your house or somewhere where the roots can
Bare root (2-0) 10-16": $ 3.00 each, 10 for $ 20.00
American Hazel, Corylus americana
Hazels are important understory shrubs occurring
throughout deciduous woodlands of the northern and
eastern US. Besides bearing sweet nuts that are
prized by wildlife, hazels put on a show of orange to red
fall colors, making them a favorite shrub for native
landscaping. These seedings come from our farm here
in SE Minnesota and should be hardy to zone 3.
Bare root (2-0) 8-12": $ 3.00 each, 10 for $ 20.00
American Chestnut, Castanea dentata
Before being mostly wiped out of North America by the
chestnut blight in the early and mid-1900’s, the chestnut
was one of the dominant trees of the eastern American
forest. It was valued for its giant size, rot-resistant
timber, and huge crops of sweet nuts. Fortunately,
intensive breeding efforts of the American Chestnut
Foundation are beginning to pay off and the American
chestnut will someday return to its rightful place in the
In the upper Midwest, outside the original range of the
chestnut, isolated plantings of the chestnut have
continued to thrive, producing handsome trees and
bountiful crops of real American Chestnuts. If you live in
the upper Midwest or some other region where chestnut
blight is not endemic, you too can grow the American
Chestnut. Chestnuts do no self-pollinate, so plant at
least two (preferably several) chestnuts grouped
together for good nut production.
American Chestnuts grow quickly and do very well here
in the Midwest, so long as the soil is well drained and
mildly acidic. Our chestnuts are grown from seed
collected here in Minnesota, from trees that are blight
free and very hardy. Hardy to zone 4. Sorry, no
shipments to CA, FL, OR or WA.
Bare root (3-0) 2-3': $ 5.00 each, 10 for $ 40.00
Growbag: 4-6' $ 120.00 plus freight
Chinkapin, Allegheny Chinkapin, Castanea pumila
This is a small tree from the eastern and southeastern
US that is related to the American chestnut. The nut is
sweet but very small and the trees have some
susceptibility to chestnut blight. The seedlings I offer
here come from a group of trees growing in my front
yard that are blight free and seem to tolerate the
Minnesota climate remarkably well. Hardy to zone 4.
Sorry, no shipments to CA, FL, OR or WA.
Potted seedlings $ 3.00 each or 10 for $ 20.00.
Hybrids of the American and Chinese chestnuts that
grow quickly and produce nuts of variable size. Variable
blight resistance. Blight free stock. Great for wildlife
plantings, will usually bear nuts within 5 years.
Bare root (3-0) 2-3' $ 4.00 each or 10 for $ 30.00
Northern Catalpa, Catalpa speciosa
Large native tree with white flowers followed by long
seed pods which ripen in the fall. Planted widely by
pioneers as they settled in the Midwest and still used as
a landscape tree because of its resistance to disease
and tall, cylindrical growth habit. Grown from locally
collected seed, hardy to zone 4.
Growbag: 5-7' $ 80.00 each plus freight
Common Hackberry, Celtis occidentalis
Medium to large tree with corky bark and yellow fall
color. Hackberries are often a favorite of park
departments to replace elms, given their similar size
and leaf form. The fruit was eaten by native Americans
and the seedlings we offer are grown from local trees
bearing particularly sweet berries. Medium growth rate,
disease resistant. Hardy to zone 3.
Sorry, no availability in 2008.
Kentucky Coffee Tree, Gymnocladus dioicus
Medium sized native of the Midwest that is very well
suited for the yard. Has a nice yellow fall color and
rugged branching pattern adds winter interest. Grown
from locally collected seed, hardy to zone 4.
Bare root (3-0) 16-24"": $6.00 each
Native to the eastern, southern and midwestern regions
of the United States, the hickories play an important role
in many forest ecosystems, provide valuable timber and
some of the best tasting of all nuts. Hickories grow very
slowly in their first several years of life, but after
establishing a massive root system begin to grow
quickly at a rate of 1-2 ft. per year. Most hickories start
producing nuts at 20-25 years of age. Hickories do not
self pollinate, so plant two or more seedlings or
varieties for good nut production. With their long taproot,
hickories are best planted as seedlings no older than 2-
3 years. Older trees are impossible to transplant
unless some type of root pruning growth system is used.
Shagbark Hickory, Carya ovata
One of the great forest trees of North America, the
Shagbark Hickory is an important timber tree and
produces sweet, edible nuts. It has a yellow fall color
and distinctive shaggy bark. Prefers rich, well drained
upland soils. Grown from local seed collected from
native stands in southeastern Minnesota, and
northeastern Iowa. Hardy to zone 4.
Bare root (3-0) 8-12": $ 2.00 each, 10 for $ 15.00, $ 1.00
each for 100+
Bitternut hickory, Yellowbud hickory, Carya
A nice hickory for the yard, the bitternut grows faster than
other hickories, has smooth, pale bark (similar to a
beech) and has a nice deep yellow fall color. The nuts
and husks are small and won’t cause a mess in your
lawn. Grown from seed gathered in southeastern
Minnesota. Zone 3 hardiness.
Bare root (3-0) 6-18": $ 4.00 each, 10 for $ 30.00
Shellbark Hickory, Kingnut hickory, Carya laciniosa
Shaggy bark and yellow fall color like the shagbark but
grows a bit larger and produces very large sweet nuts.
Native of the Midwest that occurs in deep rich
bottomlands. Has been timbered out to near extinction
in the western part of its range. Grown from seed
collected from an isolated planting in northern Iowa,
outside of the natural range. Hardy to warmer parts of
Bare root (3-0) 8-12": $ 4.00 each, 10 for $ 30.00
Butternut, White Walnut, Juglans cinerea
Medium to large tree with leaves similar to the walnut
but lighter colored bark and sweet, flavorful nuts prized
for baking and candies. The butternut grows quite
quickly both when young and in later years. Over the
past two decades, a fungal disease called butternut
canker has decimated native butternut populations
throughout much of its range. As mentioned on our
butternut page, we have been scouring the upper
Midwest for healthy butternut trees for the last decade
and have been able to collect and plant thousands of
butternuts to screen for signs of resistance to butternut
Dave's Better Butternut: Now we are able to offer
seedlings of trees that have shown signs of tolerance to
butternut canker for the last 15+ years. These seeds
are collected only from cankered trees that show good
timber form and minimal or no crown dieback.
Currently, planting seeds from these trees types of trees
offers the best hope of finding trees resistant to
butternut canker. Grown from seed collected in
southeastern Minnesota and Northern Iowa. Hardy to
zone 3. Sorry, no shipments to AZ, CA, NM and TX.
Bare root (1-0): 12-24"': $ 5.00 each, 10 for $ 40.00
Highly prized Midwest native with valuable wood and
flavorful (if not hard to crack) nuts. Black walnut prefers
the sun, heat (grow in a spot with a lot of southern
exposure if possible), and a neutral to slightly alkaline
soil. Seed collected in southeastern Minnesota. This
local variety will thrive in the upper Midwest when more
southern and eastern strains fail.
Bare root (3-0): 3-4': $ 5.00 each, 10 for $ 40.00
Larch or Tamarack
The tamarack is one of the few deciduous conifers,
putting on showy soft lime green needles in the spring
and later exhibiting a deep yellow fall color. A beautiful
addition to larger yards. Prefers moist or heavy soils
and part to full sun. May need protection from deer the
first few years. Seed collected in northern Minnesota.
Hardy to zone 2.
Bare root (3-0): 3-4': $ 5.00 each, 10 for $ 40.00