The American Sentry Linden is a large, fast-growing shade tree also referred to as an American Basswood Tree. It is a hardy shade tree, with a tall stately presence, providing great shade during hot summer months. This is a low maintenance tree–basically just plant it in a full sun location and watch it grow. (Just water occasionally in the first couple years during the hot summer months).
It grows to roughly 45 feet in height with a spread of 20 feet, substantial enough for a large landscape, but not too big or wide for a more smaller yard. It has heart shaped leaves that give a full effect to its spreading branches. The Linden is resistant to Japanese Beetles which are plaguing the Ash trees around Colorado.
This tree has fragrant smelling yellow clusters of yellow flowers that grace its branches in the spring. As summer progresses you’ll enjoy watching woody, pea-sized seeds form. Their light green shade provides a slight variation in color throughout your tree for the late summer. When autumn appears, your Linden’s leaves will take a dramatic step as green leaves transform to brilliant yellow.
The American Linden starts out pyramidal in shape but becomes rounded at maturity. Its benefits go far beyond its ornamental features. The wood is valued for its light but strong nature and is suitable for a wide variety of uses. Parts of the tree have medicinal uses, and some consider the honey from Linden flowers to be some of the best available. Be careful when applying street or sidewalk ice melt/salt as Linden trees don’t do well with salts.
The American Linden tree is an excellent choice for almost any yard or landscape–simply plant it in full sun and enjoy it for years.
Hardy to -40°F Maximum Elevation: 6,000 ft.
The Austrian Pine is a fast growing pyramidal evergreen with wide spreading branches. It is 'Christmas Tree' shaped when young, but at maturity, sometimes achieves a picturesque flat topped head. Its 4-6 inch long needles are uniquely shiny green.
This is an extremely hearty tree that will tolerate limestone or acidic soils, dry rocky locations and windy conditions. A number of Austrian Pines were planted during the dust bowl because they are one of the only varieties that could handle the dry, windy conditions and nutrient depleted soil—needless to say, this baby is tough.
This tree is great for urban settings due to its tolerance for salt and pollution. Austrian pines are also good for use as thick screens or windbreak. (To use as a screen, space 6 feet apart.) These trees do really well in Colorado and grow to be roughly 35-45 feet tall by 25-35 feet wide.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 7,000 ft.
Autumn Blaze Maple
Acer x freemanii 'Jeffersred'
This Maple was introduced in 1982 as a cross between the red and silver Maple to provide a stronger and more color-consistent Maple making it a highly sought after Maple variety in the United States. Autumn Blaze Maple trees are the fastest growing Maple tree with a hardy nature and brilliant color. Due to upward limb growth, the Autumn Blaze Red Maple trees fare well in snow and ice with minimal limb snapping. It's leaves emerge as green with a slight reddish tint. It grows rapidly through the summer—almost 3 feet! It has one of the most vibrant red fall colors which hold longer than most other trees. It is also has a more narrow width than many shade trees, which makes it desirable for small yards and along streets. The Autumn Blaze Red Maple is disease and pest resistant and does well in drought conditions. Just plant this tree in a full sun area and water occasionally during the middle of the summer and watch this tree rapidly grow. In Colorado you can expect this tree to grow to roughly 45 feet tall by 20-25 feet wide.
The Autumn Blaze Maple tree has won several “tree of the year” awards for its amazing unequaled qualities. For all of the reasons listed above, it is one of the most popular trees in the Colorado Front Range.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 7,000 Feet
The Chinkapin Oak tree is also known as bray oak, chestnut oak, rock chestnut oak, yellow oak and rock oak.
The Chinkapin oak is a medium sized deciduous oak of the white oak group that typically grows 30-50’ tall with an open globular crown. This oak produces small oval acorns with scaly cups that extend to approximately 1/2 the acorn length. These acorns are valued food for a variety of wildlife.
Chinkapin Oak trees have narrow, shiny green leaves which provides light shade. Its fall color is variable, but it usually displays shades of yellow and brown.
It is one of the more alkaline tolerant oaks, and will adapt to many soil types. This is a slow growing tree which will look great for many years—it can be planted as a street tree or yard tree.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 6,500 ft.
Colorado Blue Spruce
Picea pungens var. Glacier Blue
The Colorado Blue Spruce is the iconic tree of Christmas. This tree is native to the Rocky Mountain states of the US, so needless to say, it thrives in Colorado. These trees grow to be 30-60 feet tall with a narrower width than other conifers—only growing 10-20 feet wide. he unique blue/green/silver color of the tree makes it stand out year round, especially in the winter.
The Colorado Blue Spruce makes for both a great landscaping tree, privacy screen, or wind break if several are planted in a row. It is cold hardy, drought tolerant, and low maintenance, requiring little more than planting it and watching it grow (no pruning required). It can be planted in either full sun or partial sun. The growth rate ranges from 10 to 18 inches per year which is fast for a conifer. Birds, rabbits, and other small animals love the shelter it provides, but you don’t have to worry about them (or deer, for that matter) nibbling on the tree. This tree also grows perfectly shaped pinecones.
Hardy to -40°F Maximum Elevation: 9,000 Feet.
Concolor Fir (White Fir)
The Concolor Fir (White Fir) tree lives over 100 years and naturally occurs at an elevation between 2,950-11,200 ft. It is native to the mountains slopes of the western United States including the Cascade, Sierra, and Rocky Mountains. This tree is best grown in rich, medium moisture, slightly acidic, sandy/gravelly, well-drained soils in full sun to partial shade. (Best in full sun.) Established trees tolerate some soil dryness, but best performance usually comes with moist soils. The Concolor produces lightly barrel-shaped cones (to 3-6” long) that are most often yellowish-green, maturing to brown or purple. As is distinctive with the firs, the cones appear upright on the branches. This tree may not produce cones and seeds for up to the first 40 years. Its bark is ash-gray and smooth, but will furrow with age. The word Concolor means "all one color" and thus, you can expect a beautiful bluish green color year round with this tree.
This is a popular tree for use as ornamental landscaping and as a Christmas tree. This is a durable tree for the Colorado Front Range and has no serious insect or disease problems. This tree does not do well with urban pollution—so it's not recommended along busy streets or in areas with poor air quality. This tree grows in an elegant pyramidal shape with a symmetrical outline. The height and width can vary depending on soil and site, with mature height ranging between 40-60 feet tall and 20-30 feet wide.
Hardy to -40°F Maximum Elevation: 10,000 ft.
Crimson Spire Oak
Quercus robur 'Crimschmidt'
The Crimson Spire Oak is one of the most popular new tree varieties to appear in decades, and has become a favorite all over the United States. The Crimson Spire Oak is a hybrid of White Oak and English Oak trees, inheriting the upward branches and adaptability of the English Oak and the dark green, mildew-resistant foliage and adaptability of the White Oak. This tree is a fast-growing, hardy columnar tree that’s a great fit for both streetscapes and landscape settings. It reaches about 35 feet in height with a 7-10 foot spread in a typical urban landscape setting—making it an excellent choice for narrow spaces.
The dark green leaves turn rusty red in mid to late autumn. The leaves will turn brown and many will persist through the winter. Dense foliage creates living screens for blocking unsightly views and muffling traffic sounds. Its columnar form is a perfect fit for narrow or confined spaces. You can plant this tree alone, in groves, or in rows—it’s the perfect vertical design element. The Crimson Spire Oak thrives in Colorado's front range and requires low maintenance. It is cold hardy, drought tolerant, disease resistant, and adapts to varied soils and tough urban growing conditions. It is a long lived tree that will provide many years of shade, privacy, and enjoyment.
Available in either a low-branched form or with the branching starting higher up. (Please specify in the notes section if you have a preference).
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 6,000 ft.
Tilia cordata 'Greenspire'
Do you have a challenging site for a tree? Perhaps it’s windy. Maybe it’s too wet or too dry? Does the tree need to live in the ‘hell-strip’ between the sidewalk and the street? How about a small patio yard in a big city?
The Greenspire Linden is one of the most hardy and adaptable trees you’ll find. If you have a difficult place on your property that is windy, salty, wet, dry, questionable soil condition, or near the street—this is your option. This tree is extremely versatile and requires very little maintenance as long as it has full sun. It is also a fantastic shade tree with a strong, pyramidal shape.
The Greenspire produces fragrant yellow flowers that bloom in early summer when few other trees are in bloom. Then, the dark green heart-shaped leaves turn a gold color in the fall. It has a strong central trunk, nice upward branches which start to branch out at 6 feet above the ground and helps it minimize limb snapping during freezing rain and snow. This makes it perfect for parking areas and parks, as well as your yard.
Be careful when applying street or sidewalk ice melt/salt around the tree as Linden trees don't do well with salts.
Hardy to -40°F Maximum Elevation: 7,000 ft.
Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis 'Impcole'
The Imperial Honeylocust is a favorite of ArborAdvisor—it's essentially the perfect tree for the Colorado Front Range. With its beautiful rounded shape, it makes a great lawn or street tree. In the spring it has yellow and white small flower strings which provide a nice fragrant scent. It has thin fern-like leaves which provide nice filtered shade all summer and then turn a lovely golden yellow in the fall. This tree does so well in lawns partly because it provides a filtered shade that allows the grass and other partial sun plants below it to still grow. Also, when its leaves fall they are so small that they don't need to be raked! The leaves aren't big enough to hurt the grass below them. Another great thing about the Honeylocust is it drops its leaves earlier in the fall which keeps it from being damaged by early Colorado hard freezes and heavy snow.
The Imperial Honeylocust is native the the United States and has been bred to be extra hardy. It holds up well in urban environments where there is air pollution, salt, soot, and varying soil types. All this tree needs is a full sun location and occasional watering (especially in the first couple years after planting) but otherwise it is an extremely low maintenance tree. This is a fast growing tree so you wont have to wait decades to see a beautiful large tree on your property. It's roots stay well below the surface as well, so no worry about pushing up the sidewalk or creating trip hazards in the yard. Unlike other Honeylocust varieties which have thorns and large seedpods this variety has neither—the Imperial Honeylocust is both thornless and seedless. This tree is slightly smaller than the Shademaster Honeylocust and will grow to be roughly 40 feet tall and 30 feet wide at maturity.
The Kentucky Coffee tree is a large, hardy, moderately fast growing tree which provides filtered shade, growing up to 40 feet tall. This tree can be seen all around Denver as it is a very popular street and yard tree due to its fast growth rate, adaptability, and low maintenance needs. It has leathery, olive-brown pods which are 5-10 inches long with large round seeds. Its leaves emerge pinkish, turn dark green in summer and golden yellow in fall.
NOTE: This trees seeds, leaves, and pulp are toxic for dogs and humans if eaten.
This tree requires very low water maintenance once established. Recommended planting site is in full sun with well drained soils. It is prone to snow loading damage which should be considered when planting near areas where snow is piled up in winter. It has very strong bark, and can withstand damage by animals, including deer. The Kentucky Coffeetree is a top choice by city foresters in cold climates such as Denver. This tree can be planted in landscaping as a shade tree, alongside the street, or in problematic areas.
Hardy to -40°F Maximum Elevation: 6,500 Feet
The Northern Catalpa tree is a fast growing tree with amazing spring blooms. It is a unique ornamental shade tree with large, showy white, trumpet-shaped spring flowers and bean shaped pods persisting into the winter.
It may reach heights of 70 feet tall and 40 feet wide, making a great shade tree that is known to attract hummingbirds. The huge heart shaped leaves can be as big as 12 inches across which help provide great shade and easier leaf raking in the fall.
The Northern Catalpa is very tolerant of tough conditions. It withstands wet, dry, alkaline soils and hot, dry environments, but prefers moist, deep soil. It should be planted in full sun or at least partial sun.
Tolerates heat and cold well. This tree is easy to grow and tolerates many conditions.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 6,000 ft
A medium sized, upright deciduous tree native to Colorado. Small, heart-shaped leaves are a waxy-green in summer and brilliant shades of yellow to gold in the fall. A fast growing tree with smooth, white bark that becomes furrowed with age. This tree can be purchased in single stem or multi-stem "clump" form. Aspens can be planted in full or partly sunny areas. A very adaptable tree for a wide range of soil conditions.
It should be noted that Aspen trees don't always do well in the Front Range and have been know to have roots that spring up small sucker trees around the area below. Aspens are naturally a “succession” tree, moving into areas where other trees and shrubs were removed by logging, fire, erosion, insects or disease. As a succession species, they are not long lived and can be prone to disease and insect damage. It is smart to plant a few of these together as they seem to do best planted in groves. We did not remove them from the ArborAdvisor list however because of their iconic Colorado status, shimmering beauty, and the fact that they are perfect for certain types of planting locations—just not all.
Mature Height: 30-35 feet Mature Width: 15 feet Hardy to -50°F MaximumElevation: 10,000 ft.
Ruby Red Briotti Horsechestnut
Aesculus x carnea 'Briotti'
The Ruby Red Briottie Horsechestnut tree is a mouthful...so let's just call it Horsechestnut for short. It is our #1 recommended Horsechestnut for Colorado.
This is a small hybrid tree with prominent 10 inch ruby red clusters of flowers which bloom in mid-spring above the green foliage. It has dark green leaves which emerge light green in the spring. In the fall the leaves are not overly dramatic in color, but turn a pleasant yellow. This tree grows very well in Colorado and is ideal for use as an accent tree or a yard tree as it's canopy is low, roughly 4 feet from the ground. Unlike other Horsechestnut trees it doesn't have many seeds which makes for easy cleanup/maintenance.
This tree is more compact than other Horsechestnut trees, growing to be about 40 feet tall and 40 feet wide at maturity. It has a a rounded form and can be pruned every couple years to shape the tree (best pruned in the winter). This tree can be expected to live for 60 years or more and grows at a medium rate. It does best in full sun to partial sun with average moist conditions—not overly dry or wet soil. It is a very adaptable tree and is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. It is very resistant to most disease and pests.
Hardy to -20°F Maximum Elevation: 6,000 ft.
Swamp White Oak
Native to the United States, the Swamp White Oak is a beautiful tree which grows very well in the Boulder and Denver metro areas. This oak also grows well in either normal or poorly-drained, swampy soil. A Front Range favorite, this is a fast growing tree that produces small yellow flowers in spring. As with all oak trees, this tree produces acorns, which shed in September or October.
This tree can live to be 300-350 years old and is one of the best shade producing trees with a rounded crown and dense foliage. The Swamp White Oak has dark green leaves, which become golden orange and red in fall. Its bark sheds in ragged, papery flakes providing great winter interest. It has stiff branches and it holds up well in tough conditions such as ice freezing and thawing.
This tree grows to be 40-60 feet at maturity, is highly adaptable, and should be planted in full or mostly full sun.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 7,000 ft.
Texas Red Oak
The Texas Red Oak, also commonly referred to as Spanish Oak, Nuttall's Oak, Spotted Oak, Rock Oak, and Buckley Oak, is a large deciduous tree native to Oklahoma and Texas. The Texas Red Oak is the red oak tree recommendation by ArborAdvisor for Colorado. (It is almost indistinguishable from the Schumard Oak.)
This is a stately tree with a wide rounded crown which provides great summer shade. Like all oak trees it produces oval acorns (to 1 1/2" long) with scaly cups that mature in two seasons after planting. (The acorns are loved by small mammals.) This tree has dark green leaves that are 4-8'' long. Its fall leaves range in color from yellow-gold to bright red depending on seasonal and soil conditions. This tree's colors change later in the season, so while other trees are already turning brown, this tree will still be brightly colored.
The Texas Red Oak is very popular due to its fast growth rate, ease of care, fall color, and ability to thrive in varying soils including semi-wet areas. This tree is popular with city foresters along the Colorado Front Range. It does well in winter conditions and makes a perfect shade tree, street tree, or ornamental tree. This tree usually reaches a height of around 35-50 feet and a canopy width around 30-35 feet at maturity.
Hardy to -20°F Maximum Elevation: 5,500 Feet
Explore our curated collection of the best evergreen trees for Denver metro.