The American Hornbeam is a slow growing, deciduous, small-to-medium sized understory tree with an attractive round form. Being a native forest understory tree, it is useful for shady landscapes and naturalized or woodland gardens. It is native to the midwest where it is typically found in rich moist woods, valleys, ravine bottoms, and rocky slopes along streams. That said, this tree thrives where many others do not—in 'partly shade' and 'mostly shade' areas in your landscape. It should be noted that this tree can be planted in full sun as well, but due to the very hot Denver sun (as compared to the midwest) it may do best with some shade. This tree is highly adaptable which is why ArborAdvisor recommends this tree for areas with questionable or varying sunlight.
This tree typically grows to be 20 feet tall by 20 feet wide. The trunk is a unique smooth grey color and larger branches of a mature tree exhibit a distinctive muscle-like fluting that has given rise to another common name of "musclewood" for this tree. Flowers appear in spring in separate male and female catkins, with the female catkins giving way to distinctive clusters of winged nutlets. New leaves emerge reddish-purple in the spring, changing to dark green, then turn yellow to orange in the fall.
The extremely hard wood of the Hornbeam was once used by early Americans to make bowls, tool handles, and ox yokes. Commercial use of the hornbeam is not practicable, however, due to the limited amount of wood that can be harvested per tree.
The American Sycamore is an excellent choice when a hardy, reliable tree resistant to pollution is needed for urban areas. It is a native tree from Eastern North America and grows well in most states including Colorado. This tree quickly grows into a large, attractive shade tree and will grow well on all but very dry soils. This tree is very popular due to its attractive mottled bark, fast growth rate, adaptability to many planting environments and soils. Its leaves turn yellow in the fall but it is not known for its brilliant fall color.
Its handsome mottled bark and large leaves make it an asset in any location where there is room for it to grow and display its best features. This tree will grow to 80-100 feet tall in time with a 30-50 foot spread, so plant your American Sycamore in the right spot with plenty of room. This tree can be pruned to make an effective privacy screen. This tree is a classic of small-town America and will look right at home on any larger property. It has large leaves and good branching structure make this a very striking tree which holds up well in Colorado rapid freezing/thawing.
The American Sycamore can tolerate some shade when it is young but ideal planting condition should be in full sun.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 6,000 ft.
Prunus avium ‘Bing’
The Bing Cherry is one of the best and most famous cherry tree varieties. This is ArborAdvisor's SWEET cherry tree recommendation for Colorado. The Montmorency Cherry tree is the SOUR variety recommendation. The main difference between the two is the Montmorency is self-pollinating so you can plant just one to get fruit, the Bing however, requires a pollinator tree nearby to help it produce fruit. (Yes, both cherries taste great in pies.)
The Bing Cherry is a beautiful small fruit tree with spring flowers and delicious sweet cherries. In early spring, this tree is covered in beautiful white flowers. Later in the spring and through the summer bright green leaves persist with deep garnet, almost-black looking fruit. At maturity this tree will reach 16-20 feet but can be held to any height with pruning. The cherries are very large, dark, delicious—great for baking and preserves. It's cherries will be ready to harvest in mid to late June.
Note: The Bing Cherry does require cross-pollination, so another variety cherry tree nearby is necessary if you want it to produce fruit. Although almost any other sweet cherry will cross-pollinate with a Bing, we recommend the Black Tartarian Cherry tree which does well in Colorado and is a great pollinator tree. You may consider looking at existing trees within 100 feet of your property to see if a pollinator tree already exists.
As with all cherry trees, the Bing has a beautiful round shape for a featured spot in the landscape. It is extremely winter hardy and very adaptable. Fruiting time can take a couple years depending on soil and weather.
Hardy to -30° Maximum elevation: 6,000 ft
Black Tartarian Cherry
Prunus Avium 'Black Tartarian'
The Black Tartarian Cherry is a beautiful tree that provides excellent fruit. ArborAdvisor recommends that this tree be planted within 100 yards of the Bing Cherry (a recommended sweet cherry tree) for pollination purposes. The Black Tartarian acts as a great pollinator for many cherry tree varieties and is a beautiful tree that provides years of delicious fruit. This cherry tree is the quickest to produce fruit after planting—about one year later.
The Black Tartarian will have an abundance of white, fragrant flowers in the spring which attracts butterflies. As the summer arrives, this cherry tree will fill out with shiny green leaves and begin to form dark cherry fruit which will be ready to pick around June. The Black Tartarian is about 1-inch in size with a deeply purple hue. The stone comes loose easily from the cherry, so even if you’re pitting the cherries, you won’t have to work very hard.
This tree is hardy, disease resistant, and tolerant of most soil conditions. It is bigger than the other (semi-dwarf) cherry trees in our catalog, growing to around 25-30 feet tall. This tree can be trimmed back to be smaller as needed.
Bloodgood London Planetree
Platanus acerifolia ‘Bloodgood’
Don't let this tree's name fool you! The Bloodgood London Planetree is a fantastic tree for the Colorado Front Range. This is a popular street tree which can also be used as a yard shade tree. This tree was discovered in London where the first hybrid was found thriving in the sooty air of 1645, while still providing wonderful shade. This tree can withstand pollution, drought, disease, and the challenges of urban growing environments.
This tree has great winter interest with exfoliating bark which reveals patches of light brown, olive, and cream. The Bloodgood grows medium to fast depending on the soil and will grow 13-24 inches per year. It has strong upward limbs which help reduce issues with snapping in freezing conditions. Its fall colors are not dramatic, however, due to its unique bark and branch shapes it has visual interest all year. Bloodgoods are long-living, big shade trees with a pyramidal shaped canopy so make sure you plant it in the right spot! It should grow to be about 75 feet tall and 50 feet wide, with a trunk circumference of 10 feet.
This tree needs to be planted in full sun and watered occasionally during the hot months during its first couple years after planted.
The Bur Oak makes an outstanding ornamental shade tree and is one of the most tolerant white oaks. It is sometimes spelled Burr Oak and is also called "Mossycup Oak".
Oak trees live a very long time—typically between 200-300 years. This beautiful tree is tolerant of most soil and water conditions and adapts well to urban settings. From Texas to Alaska, the Bur Oak adapts to its environment. Spring through summer the Bur Oak has distinctive shiny, deep green leaves. This tree is not know to be a brilliantly colored fall tree, but its leaves do turn an orange/brown before falling for the winter. Shortly after the arrival of the leaves in the spring, your oak will flower with yellow-green catkins. These small, elegant flowers are where the acorns will originate. The acorns of the Bur Oak are the largest of all North American oaks. They are very important to wildlife as a food source.
You can expect this tree to grow to between 50-60 feet tall and 40-50 feet wide at the canopy. This is a beautiful, rugged tree that will bring wildlife to your yard and last for many generations. The Bur Oak is a great choice.
Hardy to -50°F Maximum Elevation: 7,500 ft.
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.
The Coralburst Crabapple is a compact, slow growing tree which forms a symmetrically rounded crown. Ruby red buds open into semi-double, rose pink blossoms and are followed by reddish-orange fruit alongside deep green foliage.
This tree is very disease resistant to scab as well as fireblight, cedar-apple rust and mildew. It produces a light crop of small, bronze-red ornamental fruit which will attract birds and wildlife.
It is best used as an accent tree that will grow to be roughly 15′ tall with a spread of 15′. Requires full sun and moist to well-drained soil.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 7,000 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.
The Eastern Redbud is one of the first trees in the spring to burst into a pink cotton ball of blossoms. The flowers come straight out of the branches and even the trunk and pop out before the leaves do. This is a beautiful and popular accent tree in Denver. The Eastern Redbud tree is surprisingly hardy, has a yellow fall color and does well in protected spaces. This tree is an understory species and thus, much like the Quaking Aspen, is somewhat shade tolerant.
This tree is native to the Americas spanning from Michigan to Texas, and requires very little maintenance. It grows 1 to 2 feet per year until it peaks out at he redbud grows to 25 feet with roughly a 20-foot spread. When the leaves drop in the fall, the bean-like seed pods that have formed on the tree branches throughout the summer remain.
The Eastern Redbud adapts easily to most soils, is disease resistant, and thrives in the Colorado Front Range. Ideally planted in full sun, or a spot with partial shade.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 6,000 Feet
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.
Just as most flowering trees are beginning to fade, the Japanese Lilac tree blooms with fragrant-smelling, showy flowers.
The Japanese Lilac is typically planted as a multi-stemmed shrubby tree but can be formed into a taller single trunked tree over time if so desired. It is famous for its fragrant, creamy-white panicles of flowers and long bloom time in the summer. Unlike many of its peers, the Japanese Lilac's flowers and leaves are on the tree at the same time. This gives a beautiful and exotic look to your garden. Its rigid branches form a small tree or large shrub. Deep green leaves turn a golden yellow in fall.
This tree can be used in commercial landscapes and streetscapes as it is a very hardy tree. For the best floral display, plant the Japanese Lilac where it will get plenty of sun. The Japanese Lilac has textured and striped, cherry tree-like bark that looks great even during the winter. It is a slow growing tree and needs moderate watering, especially when young. A great tree for planting under power lines.
Mature Height: 15-20 feet, Mature Width: 10-15 feet Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 7,000 Feet
The Japanese Pagoda tree is actually native to China, not Japan. It was traditionally planted around Buddhist temples due to its beautiful flowers. It has strands of 1-2 inch leaflets and creamy white fragrant flowers in the spring. The flowers then turn into 3-8 inch green pods that mature into yellow-green fruits with large beans within thin pods that persist through the winter. It should be noted that these pods can result in some litter underneath the tree requiring periodic clean up especially if the tree is planted over walks or driveways. It should also be noted that the seed pods have poisonous qualities if ingested by animals and humans. Its fall color is not as showy as others on ArborAdvisor with leaves turning a green-yellow.
The Japanese Pagoda can be utilized either as a shade tree or a large ornamental accent tree. You can see this tree in Denver growing in lawns along York Street, in Washington Park, and in front of Union Station in cutout sidewalk pits.
The Japanese Pagoda has a rapid growth rate at a young age and a moderate rate in maturity. Tolerant of heat, pollution, and drought, the Japanese Pagoda grows well on the Colorado Front Range. At maturity this tree will grow to roughly 65 feet tall and 45 feet wide.
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
Prunus cerasus 'Montmorency'
The Montmorency Cherry Tree produces the United States' most popular sour cherry. It is considered the best cherry for pie making. This deliciously tart cherry matures in June and is bright red in color, medium in size, and has clear juicy flesh. Brilliant snow-white flowers appear in spring, and are followed by clusters of red sour cherries in July. Because it’s self-pollinating, only one tree is needed to produce buckets of delicious, tangy cherries.
The tree grows 15-20 feet tall with a similar spread. Montmorency Cherry trees can be maintained at any height with pruning. As with all sour cherry trees it has a beautiful round shape for a featured spot in the landscape.
It is extremely winter hardy and very adaptable. Fruiting time can take 3-4 years depending on soil and planting site.
Hardy to -30° Maximum elevation: 6,000 ft
Prunus cerasifera 'Newport'
The Newport Plum has unique purple colored leaves which makes it a great landscaping tree to break up the common green color of most landscapes. In the spring, the Newport Plum is one of the first trees to bloom delicate pink flowers. Its flowers produce a fragrant scent.
When the spring flowers are done flowering, a 1-inch purple fruit will develop which is a draw for birds in the area. The foliage of the tree turns a maroon-red in the summer and fall. The Newport Plum grows to 15 feet in height with an equal spread. Its spreading branches create a rounded crown. It’s a hardy tree requiring little maintenance and it's not bothered by deer.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 6,500 ft.
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
Looking to add color to your yard? The Profusion Crabapple has intense red flower buds which bloom into stunning purple-pink flowers. Not only is this tree extremely hardy, disease resistant, and tolerant of most soils, the new leaves, which appear early in the season, are a rich coppery red and provide color most of the year. The Profusion Crabapple has upright spreading branches with berry sized fruit; very little of it drops to the ground. It is not a messy tree.
The Profusion Crabapple does well in urban areas and the country. It is not bothered by pollution, salt, or deer. This is a great flowering tree for small yards in particular as it only grows to about 15-20 feet tall with a broad canopy that stretches no wider than 20 feet.
This tree grows moderately fast and does best in full sun, but can also be planted in partial sun.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 7,500 ft.
Prunus persica 'Reliance'
Considered the hardiest of all peach tree varieties, the Reliance Peach thrives on the Colorado Front Range. The Reliance also typically produces more peaches than other varieties. This tree bears medium-to-large freestone fruit around mid August with a sweet, mild flavor. The Reliance Peach, after exhibiting beautiful pink flowers in early spring, produces a peach with dark red skin. This a tough tree that is fast growing and can adapt to many soil types as long as it is well-draining. For optimal fruit production it should be pruned annually. This tree should be planted in full sun. Reliance Peach trees grow naturally to average heights of 8-15 feet tall by 10-12 feet wide, but can be trimmed to fit most areas.
Hardy to -25° Maximum elevation: 6,000 ft
The Robinson Crabapple is a very popular tree in Colorado due to its huge pink blossoms (1.5" in diameter) in the spring and year round good looks. It's also a flowering tree that resists most of the diseases and pests that plague other varieties of crabapples.This tree typically blooms a little earlier than the other flowering trees which is a welcomed sight after winter. Its summer foliage is a bronze-green that changes to a nice coppery-orange in fall.
The Robinson Crabapple is best used as a landscaping tree in the yard or a featured tree in the landscape. This tree produces small red berries (3/8" in diameter) which attracts birds and butterflies. The fruit can also be harvested and used for jams. It has an upright and wide spreading canopy which grows to 15-20 feet tall and 15 feet wide at maturity. This tree is extremely easy to grow and requires little maintenance other than occasional summer watering during the first couple years. This tree grows fast and should be planted in full sun. Although it is not necessary, pruning every couple years can help define its shape. For best results, prune in the winter.
Hardy to -30 F Max. Elevation 7,500 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.
Explore our curated collection of the best evergreen trees for Denver metro.