15 Best Trees to Plant in Colorado

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Quick Answer: Best Trees to Plant in Colorado

The best trees to plant in Colorado are Colorado blue spruce, crabapple, serviceberry, Japanese tree lilac, Callery pear, Austrian pine, chinkapin oak, Canadian red cherry, golden raintree, Gingko, sugar maple, sycamore, honey locust, Kentucky coffee tree and American elm. These trees are preferably planted in fall and spring for adding landscape beauty.

Are you wondering about the best trees to grow in Colorado?

If yes, check out this guide to help you shortlist the appropriate trees to grow in your Colorado home spaces.

Keep reading to know more!

Best Trees to Plant in Colorado

Colorado has a complex and varied climate throughout the state. It has typically hot summers and cold winters with temperature differences in a day.

Many evergreen, deciduous, and ornamental trees can be grown throughout the state. But, it is appropriate to choose suitable trees to plant in the area.

Next, let us discuss the compiled list of tough and appropriate trees to plant in Colorado.

1. Colorado Blue Spruce

Popular Landscape Tree Of Colorado

Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens) is a state-native evergreen tree and is widely grown in Colorado as a landscape tree.

Why Grow Colorado Blue Spruce?

Colorado blue spruce is fast-growing and are well-suited to the climate of the state. It can tolerate drought once established.

 It can resist strong winds during the winter. It can adapt to different soil types and conditions.

Maintenance And Care

Colorado blue spruce prefers well-draining, loamy soil and full sun to partial shade. It can be propagated from cuttings.

It requires slow-release fertilizer in the spring and occasional pruning. It is susceptible to bagworms, spruce gall aphids, cankers, and spider mites.

You may watch this video to know more about Colorado blue spruce:

2. Crabapple

Versatile Tree Of Colorado

Crabapples (Malus spp) are versatile landscape trees that are well-adapted to Colorado climatic conditions and soil types.

Why Grow Crabapple?

Crabapples can thrive in Colorado home gardens and add beauty with its pretty blossoms in the spring. Most varieties can produce a bounty of edible fruits.

 It is relatively drought tolerant and requires low-maintenance once established.

Maintenance And Care

Crabapples prefer full sun and well-drained soil but may tolerate light shade. It needs a light sprinkling of composted manure in the late fall and pruning out suckers annually.

A few problems of these trees are fire blight, apple scabs, and rust.

Check out this video for tips on planting crabapples:

3. Serviceberry

Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp) is a small tree or large shrub that is grown in Colorado for its showy white flowers and edible fruits.

Why Grow Serviceberry?

Several cultivars of serviceberry are grown in Colorado as landscape plants. It is extremely cold hardy and drought-resistant.

It can also tolerate alkaline soils of the Rocky Mountains and High Plains region. Also, it is easy to maintain with little care and attention.

Maintenance And Care

Serviceberry trees prefer moist, well-drained, acidic soil and full sun but tolerate partial shade. It requires all-purpose fertilizer in the dormant season but seldom requires extensive pruning.

It can be subject to rust, leaf blight, powdery mildew, and fire blight.

Here is a useful video on growing and caring for serviceberries:

4. Japanese Tree Lilac

Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata) is a small tree of Colorado that adds ornamental value with its creamy, white flower clusters and showy, dark bark.

Why Grow Japanese Tree Lilac?

Japanese tree lilac is an attractive and hardy ornamental tree that adds beauty to Colorado home gardens. It is relatively trouble-free and is not bothered by pests and diseases.

It can be planted near patios or walkways as it lacks an aggressive root system.

Maintenance And Care

Japanese tree lilac needs well-drained soil and full sun with adequate airflow. Apply balanced fertilizer every spring and perform maintenance pruning to maintain the shape.

It can be troubled by borers and scales.

Click this video on features of Japanese tree lilac:

5. Callery Pear

Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) is one of the popular urban tree species suitable to grow in Colorado home gardens for its resiliency and visual appeal.

Why Grow Callery Pear?

Many varieties of Callery pears can adapt to Colorado home gardens. It adds landscape beauty with showy, white flowers in spring and glossy foliage.

It can tolerate different soil types and urban conditions. It is resistant to most diseases.

Maintenance And Care

Callery pear does well in full sun and well-drained, acidic soil away from too close to a structure. It requires regular pruning in the initial years and mulching around the base.

It may be susceptible to fireblight.

You may watch this video to know more about callery pears:

6. Austrian Pine

Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) is a medium to fast-growing evergreen with a pyramidal shade that is suitable for larger lawns.

Why Grow Austrian Pine?

Austrian pine is a hardy tree that can live for over 80 years in Colorado urban settings. It works well in a windbreak or as an accent tree.

It is drought tolerant and requires little care and maintenance once established.

Maintenance And Care

Austrian pine prefers a sunny location and rich, well-drained soil. It seldom requires fertilizer but needs a three-inch layer of mulch to release nutrients.

It may be susceptible to blight, pine sawfly, and weevils.

7. Chinkapin Oak

Chinkapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) is a native oak tree with chestnut-like leaves that make it a perfect landscape addition for Colorado gardens.

Why Grow Chinkapin Oak?

Chinkapin oak is grown in Colorado for its attractive glossy foliage and landscape beauty. Its dense foliage makes it suitable to provide shade.

 It is tolerant of different soil and growing conditions. Also, it is a low-maintenance tree requiring little attention once established.

Maintenance And Care

Chinkapin oak prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It may benefit from occasional mulching and pruning of broken or diseased branches when the tree is dormant.

It can be affected by anthracnose and fungus oak wilt.

Click this video to know more about growing chinkapin oak:

8. Canadian Red Cherry

Canadian red cherry (Prunus virginiana), also known as chokecherry, is a deciduous tree that is valued by Colorado gardeners for its ornamental and edible qualities.

Why Grow Canadian Red Cherry?

Canadian red cherry is popular among Colorado gardeners for its attractive foliage and showy red edible fruits.

Its small canopy makes it ideal to grow under power lines. It is tolerant of urban pollution and different soil conditions.

Maintenance And Care

Canadian red cherry thrives in full sun and average to moist conditions. It is self-pollinating and doesn’t require another cultivar.

It requires regular pruning in winter. One of the significant pests is cytospora canker.

You may watch this video for additional information on chokecherry:

9. Golden Raintree

Golden raintree (Koelreuteria paniculata) is a medium-sized ornamental tree that is an apt choice for Colorado gardens for its showy flowers.

Why Grow Golden Raintree?

Golden raintree is a lovely shade and ornamental tree that can be grown in most Colorado home gardens. It can fit into smaller yards.

It can grow in a different range of soil types and is undemanding once established. Also, it is rarely troubled by pests or diseases.

Maintenance And Care

Golden raintree does well in full sun and well-drained soil. It requires slow-release fertilizer in the dormant season and light pruning of the tips of the branches.

It may be troubled by verticillium wilt.

The complete growing guide of golden raintree is covered here:

10. Gingko

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is the best-known tree in Colorado for its unique pyramidal and symmetrical broad crown.

Why Grow Gingko?

Gingko is preferred by Colorado home gardeners for its pretty fall colors and distinctive leaf shape.

It is relatively trouble-free and is bothered by fewer insects and pests. It can tolerate heat, drought, and pollution once established.

Maintenance And Care

Gingko prefers well-drained, sandy soils and full sun to partial sun. It is propagated using stem cuttings.

It can benefit from slow-release fertilizer to encourage new growth and occasional pruning. It can be bothered by snails, slugs, and mice.

Check out this video for a beginner’s guide to the Gingko tree:

11. Sugar Maple

Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) is a large deciduous tree that forms a beautiful crown and is grown in Colorado home gardens due to its ornamental value.

Why Grow Sugar Maple?

Sugar maple adds beauty to the Colorado landscape with its vibrant fall colors. It can handle drought once established and are wonderful shade tree.

It is easy to grow and care for under appropriate conditions.

Maintenance And Care

Sugar maple prefers slightly acidic, well-drained soil and full sun. It seldom needs fertilizer in nutrient-rich soil but requires occasional pruning.

 It may be affected by cosmetic diseases, including root rot, powdery mildew, and lichen.

Click this video for additional information on growing sugar maples:

12. Sycamore

Another well-known and popular tree of Colorado with a wide-spreading crown and distinctive bark is the sycamore (Platanus occidentalis).

Why Grow Sycamore?

American sycamore is a fast-growing and hardy tree that is suited to different soil types in Colorado.

It is adaptable, long-lived, and disease-resistant. Also, it is a large attractive tree suitable for providing shade.

Maintenance And Care

Sycamore trees do well in deep, moist, rich soils and full sun. It can be propagated using seeds or cuttings.

Fertilize using a complete fertilizer in early spring and prune only after limbs have been damaged. One of the significant pests is aphids.

Here is a video on growing sycamore from twigs:

13. Honeylocust

Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos inermis) is a hardy tree of Colorado that is a perfect addition to the home landscapes.

Why Grow Honeylocust?

Honeylocusts are popular trees that provide dappled shade with its fern-like foliage.

It makes a lovely addition to the landscape due to its vibrant fall color. It is hardy and can handle different growing conditions.

Maintenance And Care

Honeylocusts thrive in full sun and loamy, well-drained soil. Plant them away from confined areas, powerlines, or other overhead equipment.

The established trees seldom need fertilization and heavy pruning. It is susceptible to mites and webworms.

You may watch this video to know more about growing locust trees:

14. Kentucky Coffee Tree

The Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioicus) is a light and graceful tree that is well-suited to Colorado home spaces.

Why Grow Kentucky Coffee Tree?

The Kentucky coffee tree is a hardy and resilient tree that is suitable for Colorado. Its unique foliage with fragrant flowers produces dappled shade throughout summer.

It requires low maintenance and tolerates drought and pollution.

Maintenance And Care

Kentucky coffee trees do best in a sunny spot and sandy loam, and well-drained soil.

Fertilize using products to promote woody growth and prune in late winter or early spring to remove damaged branches.

One of the issues is cleaning up leaf litter.

Check out this link to know more about growing Kentucky coffee tree:

15. American Elm

American elm (Ulmus Americana) is a fast-growing deciduous tree with a stately shape that provides landscape beauty and shade.

Why Grow American Elm?

American elm makes a good shade tree and adds visual appeal to the landscape. It can adapt to a wide variety of soils. It can tolerate urban growing conditions.

Maintenance And Care

American elm can be grown in full sun and well-drained, rich soil. Plant them away from sidewalks and fertilize them every spring with a balanced fertilizer. 

Prune them in the late winter to thin the branches and it is susceptible to Dutch elm disease.

The complete growing guide of American elm is covered here:

What Is The Easiest Growing Tree In Colorado?

The easiest-growing tree in Colorado is Colorado blue spruce.

Blue spruce is a native tree that can adapt to the climatic conditions of Colorado with little care. It is strong and resilient making them ideal as landscape trees.

Many varieties are available that can fit into any garden space. The other trees that can be grown with minimal care are crabapple and serviceberry.

What Is The Best Time To Plant Trees In Colorado?

The best time to plant trees in Colorado is spring from March 15 to June 15. It can also be planted in the fall from September 1 to October 15 when outdoor temperatures are workable.

You may stake the trees to keep the root ball from shifting. Apply 3-4 inches deep mulch, including wood chips, bark, and leaves,  and keep the soil moist.


What is the fastest-growing tree in Colorado?

Cottonwood trees are one of the fastest-growing trees suitable to grow in Colorado. It is tall and deciduous adding about six feet each year and is ideal as a shade tree. It will grow well along marshy areas and prefer sandy or silty soil.

What are the native trees of Colorado?

A few native trees of Colorado are cottonwood, Colorado blue spruce, Engelmann spruce, wasatch maple, gambel oak, rocky mountain juniper, aspen, chokeberry, fir, rocky mountain maple, and lodgepole pine. These trees can adapt well to the growing conditions of the state.

Do any fruit trees grow in Colorado?

Many fruit varieties, including apples and plums, can be easily grown in Colorado. Different berries and bush fruits, including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, currants, gooseberries, and grapes are prolific and can adapt to Colorado’s climate and soil types.

Quick Recap: Top Trees to Plant In Colorado

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

TreesWhy Grow?
Colorado blue spruce1. Native tree adaptable to growing conditions of Colorado
2. Tolerates different soil conditions and types
Crabapple1. Well-adapted to the climate and soil conditions of Colorado
2. Requires little maintenance and are drought tolerant
Serviceberry1. Cold hardy and the drought-tolerant tree of Colorado
2. Requires little care once established
Japanese tree lilac1. Attractive and hardy ornamental tree of Colorado
2. Relatively trouble-free and free from pests or diseases
Callery pear1. Adaptable to urban conditions and adds landscape beauty
2. Tolerant to many diseases and pests
Austrian pine1. Provide accent, shade, or windbreak in Colorado
2. Requires little care once established
Chinkapin oak1. Grown for landscape beauty and shade tree
2. Tolerates different growing conditions
Canadian red cherry1. Popular for its landscape beauty and edible fruits
2. Low maintenance and resistant to urban pollution
Golden raintree1. Low-maintenance tree that is used as ornamental and shade tree
2. Tolerates different soils and growing conditions
Gingko1. Grown for its ornamental value and fall colors
2. Bothered by fewer pests and diseases
Sugar maple1. Large deciduous tree with ornamental value and shade tree
2. Requires little care once established
Sycamore1. Deciduous trees suitable for landscape beauty and shade tree
2. Tolerant to pollution, diseases, and adverse growing conditions
Honeylocust1. Hardy and adapt well to different growing conditions
2. Add landscape beauty and provide shade
Kentucky coffee tree1. Adaptable, low-maintenance, and resilient tree of Colorado
2. Tolerant to drought and pollution
American elm1. Adapt to different urban growing conditions
2. Can grow in different soil types and conditions

Bottom line

I hope this guide has helped you choose the apt trees to maximize the chance of them surviving and adapting to your Colorado home gardens.

I am interested to hear your suggestions for growing different trees suitable for the Colorado climate.



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