15 Best Trees to Plant in Alaska

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Quick Answer: Best Trees to Plant in Alaska

The best trees that can adapt to Alaskan growing seasons are western hemlock, sitka spruce, quaking aspen, paper birch, amur chokecherry, mayday, tamarack, Siberian larch, western red cedar, Japanese maples, hybrid poplar, western silver birch, black spruce, red alder, and yellow cedar. It is preferable to plant these trees in early fall or spring.

Are you considering planting trees in your Alaska yards and want to know which ones are the best options?

This guide provides a comprehensive list of the top trees suitable for planting in the state, helping you make informed choices for your landscapes.

Shall we get started?

Best Trees to Plant in Alaska

In Alaska, growing trees in the home gardens can be challenging due to its short growing season and harsh climates. However, few tree species can adapt and withstand the climatic conditions of Alaska.

Here is the list of the best fifteen trees that are easier to grow in Alaska:

1. Western Hemlock

Adaptable Conifer Tree Of Alaska

Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) is a common conifer tree with different-sized needles and conical habit that makes it ideal for larger Alaska yards.

Why Grow Western Hemlock?

Western hemlock is grown in Alaska due to its adaptability to the state’s growing conditions.

It enhances landscape beauty, tolerates shade, and adapts to different soil types. It is a reliable choice for Alaskan gardeners due to its long lifespan and trouble-free nature.

Maintenance And Care

Western hemlock does well in full sun to partial shade and moist soil.

It can be propagated through seeds and need occasional pruning. One potential challenge is the hemlock woolly adelgid.

Here is a useful video on the identification and description of Western hemlock:

2. Sitka Spruce

Popular Evergreen Tree Of Alaska

Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) is a native evergreen tree of Alaska, known for its glossy-green needles and ability to withstand the harsh winters.

Why Grow Sitka Spruce?

Sitka spruce is a hardy, fast-growing, and versatile tree that thrives in Alaska due to favorable climatic conditions.

It tolerates shade and provides nesting cover and food for birds. Also, its wood is highly prized making it a valuable choice for Alaskan gardeners.

Maintenance And Care

Sitka spruce prefers deep, well-drained yet moist, acidic soil for optimal growth. The common method of propagation is cuttings.

 It requires occasional pruning to remove damaged branches.  It can be potentially challenged by bark beetles and pine weevils.

Check this video for growing and caring for Sitka spruce:

3. Quaking Aspen

Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) are medium-sized deciduous trees with light-colored bark and heart-shaped leaves that are suitable to grow in Alaska’s climates.

Why Grow Quaking Aspen?

The favorable climatic conditions of Alaska support the growth of quaking aspen. Its visually appealing fall colors enhance the landscape.

 It tolerates different soil types, provides wood products, and increases the wildlife value making it ideal for Alaskan gardens.

Maintenance And Care

Quaking aspen prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It can propagate through root systems and via seeds.

Apply a complete fertilizer in spring and prune while the trees are dormant. It is susceptible to poplar borers.

The complete growing profile of quaking aspen is covered here:

4. Paper Birch

Paper birch (Betula papyrifera) is a fast-growing deciduous tree that thrives in Alaska’s climate with distinctive peeling bark and pyramid shape.

Why Grow Paper Birch?

Paper birch enhances Alaskan landscapes with its beauty and adaptability to different soil types.

Its narrow canopy provides dappled shade. Additionally, it attracts a variety of birds to the yard adding to the beauty of your garden.

Maintenance And Care

Paper birch prefers full sun to partial shade and moist soil. Propagate through root branch cuttings or seeds.

Apply a slow-release fertilizer in spring and prune occasionally to retain the shape. Be mindful of pests, including bronze birch borers and aphids.

Here is a useful video on growing paper birch:

5. Amur Chokecherry

Amur chokecherry (Prunus maackii) is a hardy deciduous tree that thrives in Alaska’s climate and provides year-round appeal to the yards.

Why Grow Amur Chokecherry?

Amur chokecherry is an ideal choice for Alaska gardens as a landscape specimen tree near patios or decks.

 It offers shade with its dense canopy and thrives in drought conditions. Its showy flowers attract pollinators to the yard. It remains resistant to many pests and diseases.

Maintenance And Care

Amur chokecherry does well in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. It is commonly propagated via softwood cuttings.

Minimal pruning is required for developing a strong structure. Pay attention to aphids, scales, and borers.

Click this video for tips on growing amur chokecherry:

6. Mayday Tree

Mayday tree  (Prunus padus) is a medium-sized deciduous tree with showy white flowers that makes it a perfect accent tree for Alaska gardens.

Why Grow Mayday Tree?

Mayday trees are recommended for accent and shade in Alaska yards. It is not particular about soil types and thrives with minimal maintenance.

It can tolerate different urban growing conditions, and the showy flowers attract birds to your yard.

Maintenance And Care

Mayday trees prefer fertile, well-drained soil and full sun exposure. Fertilize them with slow-release feed in spring.

Pruning in late winter helps remove dead branches. However, be cautious of black knot fungus that affects these trees.

Check out the video for additional information on growing mayday tree:

7. Tamarack

The tamarack tree (Larix laricina) is a medium-sized deciduous conifer with a long lifespan that is well-suited for Alaska’s climate.

Why Grow Tamarack?

Tamaracks are easy to plant in Alaska’s climatic conditions. It offers four-season interest with its needle-like leaves and vibrant fall colors.

This versatile tree tolerates varied climatic conditions and soil types. It requires little care once established.

Maintenance And Care

Tamarack trees do well in full sun exposure at least 15 feet away from other trees. It seldom requires fertilizers.

Supplemental watering is beneficial during drought. However, be aware of potential issues like larch sawfly and larch casebearer, which can affect these trees.

Here is a useful video on the features of tamarack trees:

8. Siberian Larch

Siberian larch (Larix sibirica) is a large pyramidal conifer with spreading lateral branches that is an ideal choice as a landscape tree for Alaska.

Why Grow Siberian Larch?

Siberian larch is a hardy landscape tree with striking fall colors, enhancing the beauty of the

Alaskan yards. It is undemanding making it easier to maintain. Moreover, it provides valuable nesting sites for songbirds.

Maintenance And Care

Siberian larch prefers moist, well-drained sites with full sun exposure. It rarely requires fertilizers if the soil is fertile.

It needs occasional pruning to remove dead or damaged branches. It may be occasionally affected by Melamspora leaf rust.

If interested, you may watch this video for identification of Siberian larch:

9. Western Redcedar

Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) is a large, long-lived evergreen tree with a pyramidal shape and swooping branches that is well-suited for landscaping in Alaska.

Why Grow Western Redcedar?

Western red cedar is versatile for large Alaska yards and serves as a specimen tree, hedge, or windbreak. It has minimal insect or pest problems.

It tolerates shade well and provides valuable nesting sites for birds.

Maintenance And Care

Western red cedar needs full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil within a pH range of 5-8. Minimal pruning is needed to remove dead branches and maintain its shape.

It is prone to bagworm infestations and root rot.

Check out this video for detailed information on growing western redcedar:

10. Japanese Maple

Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) are hardy trees prized for their reddish-purple flowers in spring and lacy, finely cut leaves that add exquisite beauty to Alaska gardens.

Why Grow Japanese Maple?

Japanese maples are widely used as specimen trees, and shrub borders in smaller Alaskan yards.

It is easy to grow and requires minimal care. It adds beauty and elegance to any garden with ease.

Maintenance And Care

Japanese maples do well in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch and prune in late winter.

Established trees rarely require fertilizers. Common pests like aphids, mealybugs, mites, and borers, may affect these trees.

Click this link for growing and caring for Japanese maples:

11. Hybrid Poplar

Hybrid poplar (Populus spp.) is a fast-growing and hardy tree with silvery-green leaves that is highly adaptable to various weather conditions in Alaska.

Why Grow Hybrid Poplar?

Hybrid poplar trees are versatile and can be used as specimen trees, windbreaks, or privacy screens. These trees adapt well to different soils, requiring little maintenance.

It provides nesting sites and habitats for various birds.  It is also resistant to many pests and diseases.

Maintenance And Care

Hybrid poplar prefers full sun and wet soils away from sidewalks. Fertilize in the fall using a slow-release fertilizer.

Occasional pruning in spring helps maintain their shape. It can be prone to aphids, mealybugs, borers, and scales.

The complete profile of tulip poplar is covered here:

12. Weeping Silver Birch

Weeping silver birch (Betula pendula) is a deciduous tree with bright white bark and long, downward-growing shoots that is well-suited for Alaska yards.

Why Grow Weeping Silver Birch?

Weeping silver birch provides all-season visual interest to your Alaskan yards. It adapts well to various soil types and environmental conditions. It can fit into any garden space.

Maintenance And Care

Weeping silver birch prefers moist, well-drained soil, and full sun. Apply a thick layer of mulch around the tree.

Use slow-release fertilizer in spring and fall. Prune in late winter to encourage growth from side shoots. One of the significant pests is the bronze birch borer.

Here is a video on growing birch trees from cuttings:

13. Black Spruce

Black spruce (Picea mariana) is a small, slow-growing coniferous tree with a distinct crow’s nest shape at the top and is well-suited for the weather conditions in Alaska.

Why Grow Black Spruce?

Black spruce is a resilient tree that can withstand poor growing conditions, making it suitable for challenging Alaskan environments. It can also tolerate shade and is valued for its wood.

Maintenance And Care

Black spruce thrives in full sun to shade and well-drained slightly acidic soils. It reproduces through layering.

Feed it with slow-release organic fertilizer. Trim dense or diseased branches as needed. Pay close attention to the eastern dwarf mistletoe.

Check out this video for detailed information on identifying black spruce:

14. Red Alder

Red alder (Alnus rubra) is a fast-growing, broadleaf deciduous tree with bruised red-colored wood that makes it an attractive choice for Alaskan gardens.

Why Grow Red Alder?

Red alder thrives in Alaska, adapting to a wide range of soils.

It aids in erosion control and faces minimal issues with pests and diseases. The wood of red alder is highly valued and commonly used in furniture.

Maintenance And Care

Red alder prefers deep, well-drained sandy loamy soils and can tolerate full sun to full shade. It can be propagated through seeds and cuttings.

Pruning is necessary to remove suckers and dead wood.  It can be affected by stem cankers, tent caterpillars, and sawfly.

Check out this video for tips on growing red alder from seeds:

15. Yellow Cedar

Yellow cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) is a medium-sized, slow-growing conifer tree with a broad, grooved trunk that thrives in the challenging condition of Alaska.

Why Grow Yellow Cedar?

Yellow cedar thrives in Alaska’s favorable climatic conditions. It is a long-lived tree with valuable wood.

It faces few insect and disease problems, making it low-maintenance. It also provides excellent cover for birds.

Maintenance And Care

Yellow cedar does well in deep, slightly acidic, and moist soils.

It can be propagated through cuttings. Occasional pruning helps maintain its graceful shape. It is susceptible to aphids and scales.

Click this link for additional information on growing Alaskan cedar:

What Is The Easiest Growing Tree In Alaska?

The easiest-growing tree in Alaska is the western hemlock.

Western hemlock is relatively easy to grow in Alaska. It is well-adapted to the region’s climate and can thrive in various soil types.

It can add beauty and greenery to Alaskan landscapes. Also, it is prized for timber and wood pulp. The other trees that can be grown in Alaska with minimal care are Sitka spruce and quaking aspen.

What Is The Best Time To Plant Trees In Alaska?

The best time to plant trees in Alaska is the fall season. It will allow the trees to develop stronger roots before the harsh winter hits the state.

The evergreen trees can be planted in spring, summer, and early fall while the soil is warm to establish itself. Avoid planting in the late fall as it may cause foliage to brown.

Dig a hole about twice the size of the root system and then plant the tree. Avoid fertilizing at the time of planting.


What are the factors to consider while choosing a tree for your Alaskan yard?

The different factors to consider while planting trees for your Alaskan yard are hardiness to cold temperatures, adaptability to Alaska’s climate, aesthetic appeal, availability of space, size of tree at maturity, growth rate, susceptibility to diseases, and preference of soil.

Which fruit trees grow in Alaska?

The different fruit trees that can grow in Alaska are crabapple, cherry, blueberry, plum, aronia chokecherry, grape, kiwi, serviceberry, raspberry, and strawberry. These trees and small fruits survive the harsh winters of Alaska.

What are the native trees of Alaska?

The native species of Alaska are white spruce, sitka spruce, black spruce, quaking aspen, balsam poplar, larch, mountain alder, willow, black cottonwood, lodgepole pine, and paper birch. These trees contribute to the diversity of Alaskan landscapes.

Quick Recap: Top Trees to Plant In Alaska

Here is a quick recap of the top trees that can adapt to Alaska’s climate and soil types:

TreesWhy Grow?
Western hemlock1. Tolerates shade and adapts to different soil types
2. Long-lived and trouble-free
Sitka spruce1. Hardy and fast-growing evergreen tree
2. Adaptable to Alaska’s climatic conditions
Quaking aspen1. Medium-sized deciduous tree with fan-shaped leaves and bark
2. Tolerates to different soil types
Common chokecherry1. Provides dappled shade to the yard
2. Provides landscape beauty and adapts different soil types
Amur chokecherry1. Adds landscape beauty to the yard
2. Attracts beneficial pollinators to the yard
Mayday tree1. Acts as landscape, accent, and shade tree
2. Requires little maintenance and thrives in urban growing conditions
Tamarack1. Easy to plant and care for in Alaska
2. Provides four-season interest to your yard
Siberian larch1. Provides landscape beauty due to its fall colors
2. Undemanding growing conditions
Western redcedar1. Popular as a specimen tree, windbreak
2. Tolerates shade and provides a nesting site for birds
Japanese maples1. Easy to grow and requires minimal care
2. Fit into any garden space
Hybrid poplar1. Versatile and provides shade for the yard
2. Adaptable to Alaska’s climatic conditions
Weeping silver birch1. Provides all-season visual interest to the yard
2. Can fit into any garden space
Black spruce1. Tolerates different growing conditions
2. Prized for wood
Red alder1. Bothered by fewer pests and diseases
2. Adaptable to different pests and diseases
Yellow cedar1. Favorable climatic conditions
2. Low-maintenance and relatively trouble-free

Bottom line

I hope that this guide has offered valuable tips to assist you in selecting the appropriate trees for your Alaska landscape.

Please feel free to share this guide with your friends and family to help them out!

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