Good trees to plant and trees to avoid in dry climates


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. In other great recource that has a much better visual appeal is our friends at ArborAdvisor. 

Most trees that you buy at nurseries will grown decently well in Colorado because most nurseries don’t sell trees that can’t grow here.  With that said there are many trees that will be difficult to grow in Colorado that are sold in nurseries.

Trees species to avoid :

  • 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 Birche (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 diseases and insects. We also recommend you avoid planting any ash trees because of 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 all the trees that will do well in Parker but it should give you plenty to choose from.  Other important factors to consider when choosing a tree are size, shape and purpose of the tree your planting.  Ask questions such as “do I want this tree for the shade that it produces or the aesthetic qualities that it has”?

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