The Quick Reference to Tree and Shrub Characteristics (Table 2-1) gives, at a glance, the plant's ability to meet the needs of the user with respect to 26 different plant and adaptation characteristics. Spend a few minutes reviewing the following definitions to better utilize the data contained.
Determination of adaptability or representation of characteristics is based on the best literature, experience and observation available. Trees and shrubs have the ability to do the unexpected. They may die when planted in ideal situations and they can do well when planted on very challenging sites. Recommendations are based on average situations likely to be found throughout North Dakota. Individual experiences may vary.
Y = Yes, best, well adapted, or representative of the characteristic. Generally recommended for a particular application. Presents the greatest number of desirable characteristics with the fewest number of drawbacks for each listed characteristic.
M = Moderately well adapted, or representative of the characteristic. May work for a particular application or have potential but will require greater inputs to be successful. Still provides predominantly desirable benefits, but exhibits a few more negative attributes for some of the listed characteristics.
N = No, not well adapted or representative of the characteristic, or generally not recommended. Perceived or actual negative attributes outweigh any potential positive benefits for the listed characteristic.
The numbers listed before each plant and adaptation characteristic below correspond to the numbers in parenthesis under the column headings in Table 2-1, "Quick Reference Guide to Tree and Shrub Characteristics."
Slow = < 1 foot per year. Med = 1-2 feet per year. Fast = > 2 feet per year.
Y = Has few if any objectionable characteristics that would require extra maintenance efforts. M = Has a few characteristics that are not appropriate for a landscape setting, that with advance planning, can be overcome. N = Actual or perceived drawbacks of this plant make it unacceptable in a landscape planting.
Y = Obvious color, shape or structure when viewed from a distance. M = Unique color, shape or structure when viewed up close. N = Inconspicuous color, shape or structure when viewed up close.
Y = Commonly used as a food. M = Infrequently used, varying with individuals or cultural preferences. N = Rarely or not used as a food.
RED = red YEL. = yellow ORG. = orange BRN. = brown PUR. = purple or reddish purple NONE = do not turn color in the fall.
Y = Provides three or more of the cover types. M = Provides two cover types. N = Provides only one of the cover types.
Y = Excellent source of winter food. M = Provides food prior to winter. Most food is utilized during the growing season. N = No food supplies carried into winter and little food available or utilized during the growing season.
Y = Ability to withstand exposed field conditions and eventual vegetative competition. M = Ability to withstand exposed field conditions but survival and growth rates are significantly reduced. N = Inability to withstand exposed conditions and vegetative competition.
Y = Currently utilized in North Dakota. M = Currently utilized in other places but not North Dakota. N = Currently not utilized for forest products.
Y = Commonly develops root suckers. M = Rarely develops root suckers unless roots are damaged but may produce basal trunk sprouts or spread by layering. N = Does not develop root suckers or basal trunk sprouts.
Y = Tree and shrub species that are appropriate for planting under or near powerlines. Mature trees under most North Dakota conditions grow 25 feet or less. These trees do not require significant pruning to eliminate problems for public safety or reliable service. M = Tree and shrub species that may reach an ultimate height where they are not compatible with power lines. These species may not reach their full height on a poor soil condition whereas on a fertile, well watered site the tree may achieve a taller mature height. N = Trees that should not be planted under or near powerlines due to excessive height.
Certain trees rated M or N, particularly those with narrow growth habit, can be compatible if offset at planting to minimize contact with powerlines. For further information, contact your city forester, nurseryman or electric utility before planting trees under or near powerlines.
Y = Ability of established plants to survive and grow satisfactorily on excessively drained or shallow, droughty soil. M = Same capability as plants designated in Y, but may not survive extended drought. N = Established plants will require supplemental water (e.g. snow collection, high water table, irrigation, etc.).
Wet Soils - An established plant's ability to withstand saturation or surface pond-ing. NOTE: Most plants will withstand extended periods of flooding when dormant. Excess wetness may be corrected with subsurface tiling or surface drainage, but may require cooperation from neighbors and will require periodic maintenance for the life of the system.
Drained soils may periodically become too wet to support nonadapted species during times of flood or excessive precipitation.Y = Ability to withstand flooding or soil saturation for more than three weeks during the growing season. M = Ability to withstand flooding or soil saturation for one to three weeks during the growing season. N = Inability to withstand flooding or soil saturation for one to seven days during the growing season.
Sodic/Saline Soils - Excess soluble salts or sodium in the soil limit the ability of trees to survive. Soluble salts restrict the availability of water to the plant.
Y = Established plants able to withstand moderate salinity from 8 to 16 deciSiemens per meter (millimhos per centimeter). M = Established plants able to withstand slight salinity from 4 to 8 deciSiemens per meter (millimhos per centimeter). N = Established plants not able to with stand saline conditions exceeding 4 deciSiemens per meter (millimhos per centimeter).
Certain plants will do well on soils that are moderately saline. Deterioration of a soil's physical properties, including the development of a dense soil layer associated with sodium salts, limits rooting depth. Many of these soils are droughty and the ability of woody plants to withstand extended periods of drought is limited. Even adapted species will not grow to their maximum potential and chances of mortality increase on sodic and saline soils. The problem of excessive salt in the soil is nearly impossible to correct. Any methods that might work are prohibitively expensive. (See glossary for additional information under Saline Soil.)
Alkaline Soils - This chemical property of soils affects tree survival. Tree and shrub survival decreases as pH (alkalinity) increases. Few plants will do well on soils that have a pH in excess of 8. In certain situations soil pH can be lowered with the addition of soil amendments such as sulfur. If successful, this practice will likely need to be repeated throughout the life of the tree.
Y = Ability to survive and perform satisfactorily on soils with a pH greater than 8.0. M = Ability to survive and perform well on soils with a pH of 7.5 to 8.0. N = Ability to survive and perform well on soils with a pH lower than 7.5.
Cold/Wind - The ability of established plants to withstand intense cold and desiccating wind. This is of particular importance to those plants that are outside, or on the edge, of their hardiness zone. Site specific microclimates may allow plants to survive outside their native range. (Use same legend as under Hot/Wind below.)
Hot/Wind - The ability of established plants to withstand hot temperatures and dry summer winds that exert a strong transpiration demand, especially on young plants. Survival can be increased by providing irrigation and mulch. (See legend below.)
Y = Established plant is able to withstand North Dakota temperature/wind extremes without supplemental care beyond initial weed control. M = Established plant will survive if protected from temperature/wind extremes in a favorable microclimate (e.g. in developed urban settings or protected by established windbreaks, native timber stands or in protected valleys). N = Established plants of certain seed sources will often not survive North Dakota temperature/wind extremes even when located in a favorable microclimate. Select a better adapted seed source or species.
Y = Tolerant M = Moderately tolerant N = Intolerant
Y = Plant survives planting well, with little extra care beyond occasional weed control. M = Plant will do well but will need good weed control and supplemental water on occasion for the first few years. N = Plant will do well but only if pro vided excellent weed control, extra water and protection from sand blasting and desiccating winds.
Wind protection could include wood shingles, grass or crop rows, other tree/shrub rows, snow fence, etc. In addition, snow trapped by these barriers protects new seedlings from winter desiccation and provides needed water during the growing season.
Y = Withstands heavy snow/ice loading with minimal damage. M = Heavy snow/ice loads cause damage to small limbs and branches, but basic plant form and function is maintained. N = Heavy snow/ice loads cause severe deformity and destruction to plant form and function, respectively.
Note: Throughout this quick reference, shrubs are generally listed as moderate (M) even though they are often broken or deformed from snow and ice loading. Most shrubs, however, have the ability to regrow vigorously and usually provide continuous habitat and wind protection. Most deciduous trees handle snow well once the canopies grow above the snow drift elevations.