May 17, 2017 0

The Best Trees for Colorado’s Front Range

The Colorado Front Range presents many challenges for landscapers with its extreme and unpredictable weather. That becomes especially important when it comes to choosing trees, since they represent considerable, long-term investments.

Fortunately, local horticulturists have joined with Colorado State University and the US Forest Service to compile a list of trees that do well in our unique growing conditions. This information has been published in a brochure listing their recommendations along with planting and care tips.

We’ve summarized the lists here for you, and you can download the complete brochure as a PDF file.

Large Shade Trees

These trees can grow to over 50 feet tall and nearly as wide, so bear that in mind when planning your landscape. Several species are drought tolerant, so are good choices for high, windy locations that don’t get supplemental irrigation. Many large shade trees do well on the Front Range including:

  • American linden
  • Black walnut
  • Burr and Chinkapin oaks*
  • English, Swamp white, and Shumard oaks
  • Ginkgo
  • Hackberry*
  • Honey locust*
  • Horsechestnut*
  • Kentucky coffeetree*
  • Northern catalpa*
  • Norway and Sugar maples
  • Sycamore

* Drought tolerant
† Colorado native

Medium Shade Trees

These trees grow to 30-45 feet tall at maturity and are good choices for most urban landscapes. Some also flower in the spring for extra interest and several are drought tolerant. Popular choices include:

  • Amur corktree*
  • Japanese pagodatree*
  • Littleleaf linden
  • Ohio buckeye*
  • Turkish filbert*
  • Thinleaf alder†

* Drought tolerant
† Colorado native

Small Ornamental Trees

Add a little pizzazz to your landscape with these show-offs. Typically under 25 feet tall at maturity, most flower profusely, others are chosen for their bright colors, and some bring year-round interest due to their unusual characteristics, but all bring an extra measure of interest to your yard. Some are small enough to be used as shrubs. Because of their variety, do a little extra research to make sure they’re right for your landscape needs.

  • Amur maple*
  • Callery pear*
  • Canada red cherry*
  • Canyon maple†
  • Crabapple species*
  • European mountain-ash
  • Gambel (scrub) oak†
  • Golden raintree*
  • Hawthorn species*
  • Japanese tree lilac
  • Mayday tree
  • Redbud
  • Tatarian maple*
  • Ussurian pear*

* Drought tolerant
† Colorado native

Large Evergreens

These stately beauties look great in large open spaces but can overwhelm a small yard. If you have room, though, you can’t go wrong with native Colorado species like the Colorado blue spruce (the state tree), Ponderosa pine, or Southwestern white pine. Because of their tall mature height and low, wide spread, they shouldn’t be planted along streets or anywhere they might interfere with overhead power lines.

  • Austrian pine*
  • Colorado blue spruce†
  • Concolor (white) fir*
  • Limber pine*
  • Ponderosa pine†
  • Southwestern white pine†
  • Short needle pine

* Drought tolerant
† Colorado native

Small Evergreens

For tighter spaces, grouping with other plants, or just because you like the way they look, these trees that top out around 15-25 feet are a great choice for year-round foliage.

  • Eastern redcedar*
  • Piñon pine†
  • Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine†
  • Rocky Mountain juniper†

* Drought tolerant
† Colorado native

Landscape trees are an important investment and can add considerable value to both residential and commercial property. This list is not exhaustive and horticulturalists are developing cultivars that are tailored to specific environments, so discuss your tree choices with an expert arborist or landscaper before deciding which ones to buy. For extra information about many tree species that do well in Colorado, take a look at the Treeology Blog on the Donovan Arborists website.

If you need a helping hand, we offer planting, pruning, and shearing services as well as a complete landscape maintenance package for property in the Denver area that includes care of trees, shrubs and turf. We’re committed to maintaining and protecting Colorado’s natural beauty and health in accordance with the best practices of urban forestry. We use environmentally friendly practices and a holistic approach to create optimal outdoor environments for your plants to thrive!

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