Add one or more shade trees to your property for character, beauty and natural cooling. See below for species descriptions.
All of our trees are currently 20% off for our Spring Tree Sale! Select the tree in the dropdown menu above to see the sale pricing.
All of our shade trees we plant are bare root. Bare root plantings are a great value because bare root trees have a more intact or larger root system, as the digging process in the nursery allows for more of the roots to stay intact.
Bur oak | $432 | 1.5” diameter
This is the iconic tree that defines the oak savannas of the Driftless Area in southern Wisconsin. A mature bur oak is truly breathtaking, recognizable for its massive horizontal branches, mossy-looking acorns, and deep-furrowed bark. These trees grow incredibly large, easily reaching 80 feet high and spreading equally wide. Bur oaks adapt well to most soil conditions found in Madison, thriving in the alkaline, limestone rich soils that stunt and kill other oaks. And while they tolerate moist soil, they are also survive drought, thanks to their massive tap roots. For what it’s worth, they are exceptionally fire resistant too. Although they grow relatively fast for a white oak, they may not become a mature specimen tree in your lifetime, but they will certainly provide shade for you and habitat for native animals. Learn More
Green Mountain Sugar Maple | $420 | 1.5” diameter
Native to the Midwest, sugar maples provide excellent summer shade and brilliant fall color. Sugar maples form straight central trunks and strong branch attachments, which means they are less susceptible to split trunks and branch tear outs, unlike the inferior but for some reason popular Autumn Blaze maple. Green Mountain sugar maples grow at a moderate speed, ultimately reaching 50-60 feet. They are relatively tolerant of hot and dry conditions, and they are also tolerant of black walnut toxicity. Leaves turn vibrant orange to golden yellow in autumn. Did we mention that Wisconsin’s state tree is the sugar maple? Learn More
Hackberry | $420 | 1.5” diameter
This midwestern native is very easy to grow, tolerating most conditions. When mature, the hackberry is an excellent shade tree, with a large spreading canopy. The bark on this tree has an interesting corky appearance, and its small purple fruits persist into winter, attracting birds. Growing very quickly for a shade tree, a hackberry will reach 40 to 60 feet. Care should be taken to structurally prune these trees when young, otherwise they may produce codominant stems, which can lead to cracks. With a little bit of care upfront, a hackberry can quickly grow into a large spreading shade tree. Learn More
Ironwood | $510 | 1.75” diameter
Known for its hard and durable heart wood used for tool handles and longbows, this native Midwestern understory tree produces a dense canopy, providing excellent shade and screening in the summer. It grows very slowly, reaching maximum heights of 25-40 feet, making it great for small spaces or for planting in groups. Produces interesting seed pods that resemble hops. Works well in full sun or part shade. This tree is very tough, tolerant of dry conditions and resistant to most insects and diseases. However, it does not tolerate flooding, so its close relative, musclewood, is recommended for wet areas. Learn More
Kentucky Coffeetree | $420 | 1.5” diameter
Native to the Midwest, the Kentucky coffeetree provides winter interest with its unusual large pods, the seeds of which the Meskwaki roasted and brewed into a beverage that resembled coffee to European colonists (don’t try this at home--raw and partially roasted seeds are toxic). One of the last trees to leaf out in the spring and first to drop its leaves in autumn, coffeetrees spend nearly half the year without leaves, showing off their unique structure absent of small branches and fine spray. Kentucky coffeetrees grow slowly but can reach 60-80 feet, but probably not in our lifetime. They prefer moist, organically rich soil, but tolerate drought. Because they are the only species in the genus Gymnocladus, these trees are presumed to withstand future onslaughts of non-native pests. A Heartwood favorite, these rare trees are quite beautiful and unique. Learn More
London Planetree | $186 | 1.25” diameter
Platanus × acerifolia “Morton Circle”
We’re very excited to offer this low-maintenance shade tree! This is an old hybrid, resulting from the cross pollination of the American sycamore and the Oriental plane in the 1600’s. Legend has it that these two trees from opposite sides of the planet were brought together in England at the estate of John Tradescant the Younger. After Tradescant found the lovely tree on his property, testing showed that it thrived on London’s polluted streets. Foresters planted it extensively across the city, and it soon became so ubiquitous there that it took the name “London” for itself. Fortunately, it thrives in Madison’s urban environment too, and our hot humid summers make it very happy. We love it because of its excellent branch structure—so good that you won’t need much of our expertise with this tree in your yard. It also has beautiful flaking bark that adds wonderful winter interest. The cultivar we’re offering is more disease resistant than Tradescant’s original hybrid, and it also fruits less, which means less mess! This tree is great for poor, compacted soil and other inhospitable conditions. Learn More
American Sentry Linden | $522 | 1.5” diameter
Tilia americana 'McKSentry'
Native to Wisconsin, American basswoods are unbeatable when it comes to generating deep shade quickly, and they also provide abundant nectar early in the season for pollinators. This new cultivar reportedly has better resistance to Japanese beetles, which have been defoliating basswoods across the state. Although they grow fast, with proper care they can live hundreds of years. Some ancient Tilia in Europe are more than 700 years old! Because this is a new cultivar, its exact mature height isn’t known, but we expect it will reach 40 to 50 feet. Learn More
Northwood Red Maple | $420 | 1.5” diameter
Native to the Midwest, this red maple has showy red flowers in early spring, and its leaves turn vibrant red in fall. Reaches 40 to 50 feet when mature. This red maple is extremely cold hardy. Prefers moist, slightly acidic soil. Northwood red maple forms a straight central trunk and strong branch attachments, which means it is less susceptible to split trunks and branch tear outs, unlike the inferior but for some reason popular Autumn Blaze maple (Acer x freemani). Please don’t plant Acer x freemani. Yes, it grows fast, but without constant pruning and support systems, it will fall apart. There is nothing ‘free’ about an Acer x freemani. Learn More
Paper Birch | $168 | 1.25” diameter
Native to Wisconsin, the paper birch has beautiful white bark and excellent fall color. These trees grow extremely fast, so if you want a shade tree but don’t want to wait, this is the tree for you. They reach 50-70 feet when planted as a single trunk, or slightly less when planted in clumps. Plant five to ten scattered for an instant grove, or line your drive driveway with them for a sophisticated allée. You can even coppice them for a perpetual source of high-quality firewood. Plant in partial shade for best results. Pair with conifers for a naturalist look evoking the beauty of the northern forests. These comely trees require much less maintenance than the more commonly planted gray birch. Learn More
Quaking Aspen | $144 | 6’ tall
In the wild, it is common to find groves comprised of hundreds of aspen clones sharing a common root system. In fact, one clonal colony named “Pando” has more than 40,000 trunks, all growing from a root system that is 80,000 years old. While you could plant one and wait for it to clone itself, we suggest planting a few if you like the grove look. Even the slightest breeze produces a very pleasant fluttering noise as the aspen leaves “quake.” So if you do plant a grove, make sure it’s in a quiet area of your yard. These trees are relatively short lived, but they grow fast, making them great for screening. Reaches 40 to 50 feet. Learn More
Regal Prince Oak | $432 | 1.5” diameter
Quercus x warei ‘long’
If you want a formal tree to recreate that look of cypress-lined roads in Tuscany, this is the one for you. This hybrid of the upright English oak and our native swamp white oak has a columnar growth habit, which means it grows as a narrow tower of foliage, maturing at a height of 50 feet and a width of 20 feet. This isn’t exactly a shade trade, since it casts a narrow shadow, much like a sun dial. The shade is good while it lasts, but you must relocate every 30 minutes or so to keep up with it. When planted in a group, the Regal Prince makes an excellent screen. It is also a lovely accent tree and works great in spaces too tight to accommodate a wider tree. This tough oak grows fast and resists wind and ice. Learn More
River Birch | $168 | 1.25” diameter
Native to the floodplains of the Driftless Area, the river birch tolerates some flooding, and it also shows good resistance to bronze birch borer. While these are often planted in tightly packed clumps, we really like planting these as single stem trees since it gives the tree more space to grow and reach its full potential. While clumps tend to have wide, spreading canopy, single stem river birches takes a more upright form, which looks especially nice in formal landscapes designs. This birch grows fast, reaching 40 to 60 feet. The lustrous, peeling bark provides year-round interest. Learn More
Swamp White Oak | $192 | 6’ tall $432 | 7’-8’ tall
This native oak is smaller than the bur oak and has a more upright habit, making it a good candidate for formal landscapes or tight spaces. Swamp white oaks produce lovely, subdued gold fall color, and have attractive peeling bark, providing year-long interest. As its name indicates, this oak thrives in moist soil, but it also tolerates drier conditions. Their upright structure is quite striking, and these trees look great even when relatively young (no awkward adolescent phase). They reach 50 to 60 feet tall, growing at a slow to moderate pace. Plant these in a line along the entrance of your chateaux for instant, understated elegance. Or if you live in a swamp, plant these helter skelter for a swampy look. Learn More
Tuliptree | $600 | 2” diameter
Also known as the tulip poplar, this specimen is native to the eastern United States. It produces very showy flowers, which do resemble tulips. Unfortunately, flowers are often out of sight, high in the canopy. North America’s tallest hardwood species, it reaches 160 feet in the Appalachians, though in your yard it will probably mature at 60 feet to 90 feet. This is one of those trees you should probably only plant if you have a large space for it. These are relatively rare in Madison, so they’re a great choice for those looking to diversify their urban forest with a unique and beautiful tree. Learn More
Valley Forge Elm | $420 | 1.5” diameter
Native to the Midwest, the American elm is prized for its stately, vase-shaped branching. Dutch elm disease has decimated the vast majority of American elms, but the Valley Forge cultivar has excellent resistance to the disease. This elm grows at a moderately speed, reaching 60-80 fee when mature. Young elms can be a little gangly, but will mature into grand shade trees within a hundred years. The elm-lined streets of the twentieth century are gone forever, so this tree is a real throwback. Learn More
All tree orders include tree planting, mulch ring installation, and initial watering. We are happy to include a watering bag with your order (add here).
Heartwood sells only quality plant stock that are free of defects and disease. Transplanted trees and shrubs don’t make it for many reasons. The biggest reason is lack of water; if you can water your tree or shrub it should live. If we plant your tree and it doesn't make it past the first year, we'll return the next spring and plant a new one at no additional cost.