Photo of maple seeds

In the east half of the state, sugar maples reign supreme. Who doesn’t like maple syrup? However, the silver maple (Acer saccharinum) is still a wonderful tree found in Dickinson County. They have actually been hybridized with red maples for a pretty, fast-growing tree (Acer freemanii). Size Silver maples grow 75-100 feet tall. It is…

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Photo of a green ash in fall

Iowa has several different species of ash trees: Black ash (Fraxinus nigra), green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) and white ash (Fraxinus americana). However, only one kind is native to the northwest corner of the state — green ash. Black ash is found in the eastern half of Iowa, and white ash is common in the southeastern…

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Photo of basswood tree

It seems like, when people list the trees of Iowa, that many don’t think about, or possibly know about, basswood (Tilia americana). However, basswood is a common tree that occurs statewide and is often interspersed with maples and oaks. Size Basswoods grow 75-100 feet or more, and they grow quickly. If planted at the same…

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Photo of cottonwood seeds

If you walk around the Iowa Great Lakes, you’ll see plenty of towering cottonwood trees (Populus deltoides). They live to be 80-100 years old, although they have weak branches that struggle to withstand ice and rain. The heartwood of the trunk tends to rot inside a cottonwood, and sometimes when branches break off, that allows small…

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Photo of bur oak trees

Iowa’s state tree is the oak, although the State Legislature never designated a specific species of oak. The state has 12 species of native oak trees: Pin oak Red oak Shingle oak Northern pin oak Black oak Blackjack oak White oak Bur oak Swamp white oak Chinkapin Post oak Dwarf chinkapin oak Of those, two…

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Photo of trail in Kenue Park

Kenue Park has three different ecosystems in its 70 acres, which makes it a great place to explore. You can see a wetland with rehabilitated trumpeter swans, prairie with native tallgrass species and a restored oak savanna. (Four ways to tell apart swans and snow geese) Iowa is not really known for its forests, but…

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