Spring is here and now is a preferred time to plant some trees.
Colorado and Parker are hard areas to grow in because of the dry summers and the harsh winters. The fact is, most trees prefer consistency and have a hard time with the extreme weather here in Colorado.
Because of this, the Colorado Tree Coalition has put out a document that helps residents make tree planting decisions. Another great resource, that has a much better visual appeal, is our friends at ArborAdvisor.
ArborAdvisor has a sharp visual display of types of native trees that grow well in Colorado.
Most trees that you buy at nurseries will be grown decently well in Colorado because most nurseries don’t sell trees that are a challenge to establish in our high-desert climate. With that said, there are many trees that will be difficult to grow in Colorado that is sold in nurseries.
- Austree (Salix alba x matsudana)
- Aspen (populus tremuloides)
- Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)
- Russian-Olive (Elaeagnus Angustifolia)
- Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
- Tamarisk (Tamarix spp.)
- Willows (Salix spp.)
- White-Barked Birch (Betula spp.)
- Non-native hybrid poplars/cottonwoods (Populus spp.)
- Siberian elm (Ulmus punila)
We recommend you avoid the above trees because of various reasons ranging from their inability to deal with fluctuating weather to their susceptibility to common tree diseases and insects in Colorado. We also recommend you avoid planting any ash trees because of the presence of an emerald ash borer.
Best trees to plant
- Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)
- Austrian Pine (Pinus Nigra)
- Crabapple Species (Malus spp.)
- Hawthorn species (Crataegus spp.)
- Canyon Maple (Acer grandidentatum)
- Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
- American Linden (Tilia americana)
- Northern Catalpa (Catalpa Speciosa)
- Northern Maple (Acer platanoides)
- Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
- Littleleaf Linden (Tilia cordata)
- English Oak (Quercus robur)
- Bur Oak (Quercus Macrocarpa)
- Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymoncladus Dioica)
- American Elm (Ulmus Americana)
The above list is not a comprehensive list of trees that will do well in Colorado but it should give you plenty to choose from or to start your research.
Other important factors to consider when choosing a tree are the size, shape, and purpose of the tree you plant. Ask questions such as “do I want this tree for the shade that it produces or the aesthetic qualities that it has”? Also, look up from the spot you wish to plant and see if it will grow into structures or power lines, and try to alter plans if possible.