The Russian Hawthorn is a relatively small deciduous tree growing to about 15 feet tall at maturity. This tree is primarily planted as an accent tree in yards and landscaping. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 50 years or more. In mid spring, the entire tree is covered in stunning clusters of white flowers. The flowers are followed by showy red berries that persist through late fall which attract birds. Throughout the season this tree has green foliage. Its oval leaves turn slightly yellow and red but are not as dramatically colored in the fall as other tree species.
Note: The fruit can be messy if planted directly alongside a driveway or sidewalk.
This tree should only occasionally need maintenance and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. This tree should only be grown in full sunlight. The Russian Hawthorn is a highly adaptable tree to both dry and moist soil as long as there is no standing water. It does very well with urban pollution and can thrive in inner city environments.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 8,000 Feet
The Saskatoon Serviceberry is a deciduous shrub or small tree which typically grows to 15-20 feet tall, and 6-8 feet wide in Colorado. Its growth form varies from single stem to clumped. It has leaves which are nearly circular and has clusters of white flowers which appear in the spring. These flowers are quite fragrant and appear on the upright arching branches as deep green leaves develop. Around mid summer, small purple-black fruit appears. The fruit tastes similar to blueberries and can be eaten many ways. They are delicious raw and can also be used in pies and jams. The Saskatoon Serviceberry's fall foliage is yellow to red. This tree is very adaptable and has low water needs once established.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 9,000 Feet
Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis 'Shademaster'
The Shademaster Honeylocust is a favorite here at ArborAdvisor. This tree has a beautiful rounded shape and may be the perfect lawn or street tree for the Colorado Front Range. In the spring it has yellow and white small flower strings, which provide a nice fragrant scent. It has thin fern-like leaves that provide filtered shade all summer and turn a lovely golden yellow in the fall. Part of the reason the Shademaster Honeylocust does so well in lawns is because it provides a filtered shade that allows the grass and other partial sun plants below it to grow. Also, when these leaves fall in Autumn they are so small that they don't need to be raked! They simply aren't big enough to hurt the grass below them.
The Shademaster Honeylocust is native to 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. This is a fast growing tree so you wont have to wait decades to see a beautiful large tree in your yard. Unlike other honeylocust varieties which have thorns and large seedpods this variety has neither. The Shademaster is both thornless and seedless. No mess! No raking!
This tree will grow to be 50-60 feet and 25-35 feet wide at maturity.
Spring Snow Crabapple
Malus 'Spring Snow'
The Spring Snow Crabapple is a dense, oval-shaped upright tree with bright green leaves that turn yellow in the fall. This is a fruitless crabapple so there is no mess on patios and in courtyards. In the spring, this tree has stunning fragrant double white flowers along its branches which create a garland of white blooms.
Plant this tree in a location with full sun and well drained soil, and you can use it as either a privacy screen or as an accent plant. This is a low-branched tree, so keep in mind that it will block a view (which can be good or bad).
It has a good resistance to rust and mildew, and, once established, it also has some drought tolerance. Although some flowers may be lost, it is best to prune this tree as needed in late winter. Spring pruning should be avoided as it produces fresh, open cuts where fireblight bacterium can enter.
Hardy to -35°F Maximum Elevation: 8,000 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
The Thinleaf Alder is a native Colorado tree with dark green foliage that turns yellow in fall. In the spring it has flower clusters before its leaves emerge. It is a small to medium size tree with smooth grey bark even in old age (60 years). It has reddish bark and small cone-like seeds in fall and winter. This tree has an upright habit and does well in moist soils. It has been known to have some stump suckers which shoot up around the tree, but no so many as to be problematic. This tree comes in either single stem or multi-stem "clump" (most common) form.
This is an extremely hardy small tree well-suited to difficult wet sites. It's not particularly striking, but it is a neat, clean choice for landscape purposes.
Mature Height: 15-20 feet Mature Width: 12-14 feet Hardy to -50°F Maximum Elevation: 10,000 Feet
Fagus sylvatica 'Roseomarginata'
The Tricolor Beech is a great shade tree with unusual foliage which thrives best in partially sunny and mostly sunny areas. Its early spring leaves are marbled with silvery-white and cream, changing to purple leaves edged in pink and white in the summer. Up close its leaves are purple with a border of blushing white and rose. This tree blazes with color for a stunning effect— it really stands out with its unique color. The Tricolor Beach becomes a large tree at around 30 feet tall at maturity, so it needs adequate room to grow. It can be a versatile tree but it's mostly ideal for lawns—possibly as a front yard statement tree or possibly as a backyard shade tree in a city environment.
This is a slow-growing tree so it can be used in landscapes, but be thoughtful when planting as it will become a large tree. Requires regular watering especially during the summer months. This is a cold-hardy tree ready to stand up to Colorado winters. It should be planted in well drained areas.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 7,000 ft.
Ulmus ‘Morton Glossy’
The Triumph Elm is a great tree for both residential and commercial properties. It has an upright vase shaped form with strong branching and dark green foliage. These new “Triumph” Elm’s are not like those of the past that were susceptible to Dutch Elm disease. This tree is exceptionally resistant to disease and pests. The Triumph Elm develops softly arching branches as it matures. Elms are adaptable to a wide variety of soil conditions and come in both vase-shaped and weeping forms. The Triumph Elm leaves turn a yellow/gold color in the fall. This tree grows extremely fast–up to 3 feet per year initially and in maturity 1.5 feet per year.
Elms prefer full sun and is very adaptable to wide ranges in soil pH, moisture, wind and heat. Note: this tree has very strong and aggressive roots which can probably break sidewalks and raise pavement if trees are improperly located. This tree is best located in the yard and used as a shade tree. This tree does very well in Colorado and quickly grows to be roughly 50 feet tall by 30 feet wide at the crown.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 6,000 Feet
If you're looking for a low maintenance shade tree that requires little to no watering—this is your tree. This may be the toughest tree on the ArborAdvisor site. The Western Hackberry is found on a wide range of soils east of the Rockies from southern Canada to Florida and is considered a Colorado native tree. The Hackberry thrives in a wide range of temperatures and on sites that vary from 14'' to 60" of annual rainfall. These trees also can stand up to strong winds and can tolerate air pollution.
This hardy shade tree has a wide spread, upright arching branches, and light green foliage throughout the year—creating an open, airy appearance. The Hackberry's leaves turn yellow in fall and produces small, dark red drupes about 1/3" in diameter that turn dark purple as they mature in mid-autumn. These berry-like fruit persist into the winter.
This tree grows at a fast rate, with height increases of anywhere from 13" to more than 24" per year. Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree. The Hackberry is best suited for open areas and along streets. It would fit well into the home landscape if there is a need for a large tree and lots of shade. Planting close to the west side of the house (no closer than 12 feet) will provide comforting afternoon shade.
Hardy to -50°F Maximum Elevation: 7,000 ft.
Winter King Hawthorne
Crataegus viridis 'Winter King'
The Winter King Hawthorn is a hardy ornamental tree that looks great long into the winter (hence the name). This tree has silver-grey bark wh,ch peels showing an inner peach-copper color. It has a nicely rounded habit with a vase-shaped branching structure. This tree produces 1/2 inch red berries which remain long into the winter and are a favorite of birds. It has 2 inch glossy green leaves that makes for a unique looking mid-size shade canopy. In the spring, this tree produces 3/4" white flowers with a succulent fragrance. In the fall, the leaves turn golden red. This is one of the best looking of the Hawthorns. This variety grows to a mature height of around 30 feet tall and equal width. This tree really stands out in the winter as it has a silvery-grey color with red berries still in tact.
The Winter King Hawthorn is a hardy tree and hard to beat for versatility. It's also low maintenance with only occasional watering in the first couple years after planting.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 7,000 ft.
Explore our curated collection of the best evergreen trees for Denver metro.