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.
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.
Black Hills Spruce
Picea Glauca 'Densata'
The Black Hills Spruce is an ornamental evergreen conifer that has a strong upright habit. This tree is great for use as a windbreak, privacy screen and accent planting in your yard. The Black Hills Spruce adds attractive dark green foliage and a conical shape to any landscape. The needles on this tree are short and soft to the touch which is nice when mowing or brushing up against this tree.
This tree does great in the cold streaks along the Colorado Front Range. It does best in rich, moist soil, and full sun, but is adaptable to dry, well drained locations as well. This tree requires little to no pruning and doesn't attract pests. The Spruce can live to be 150-350 years old, so plant with a long-term home in mind.
Hardy to -50°F Maximum Elevation: 9,000 ft.
Pinus heldreichii var. Leucodermis
This beautiful, moderate to slow growing tree typically grows to 25-30 feet tall and 7-10 feet wide. It has densely branched pyramid shaped form of short, glossy, green needles. When young this tree has purple-blue cones (2-3" long) and mature to brown. At maturity its bark is ash gray. This variety of Bosnian Pine does well in the Colorado Front Range, and rarely has problems. It does great in landscaping and can be used as a visibility screen or windbreak if planted in a row of others Bosnian Pines.
Note: This tree is very similar to the 'Emerald Arrow' Bosnian Pine (also recommended by ArborAdvisor). The only differences are that this variety has pine cones and is a tiny bit larger in both height and width than the 'Emerald Arrow'.
Hardy to -30°F Maximum Elevation: 7,000 ft.
Chinese Juniper ('Pom Pom' Juniper)
The Chinese Juniper, also known as the 'Pom Pom' Juniper is a popular fountain-like, upward-spreading ornamental tree with light silver blue foliage which remains throughout the year. It typically grows to 5-7' tall and to 8-10' wide with unique Dr. Seuss like shapes. This tree was very popular from the 1950s to the 1980s, so it's common to see these in mid-century Colorado neighborhoods. The 'Pom Pom' Juniper has become popular again as it is a great ornamental landscape tree for small spaces, in front of bay windows (as pictured), or as a patio accent.
This needled evergreen requires full sun and is very tolerant of urban air pollution, varying types of soils, and dry conditions. This tree requires occasional watering—mainly just in the very hot summer months and maybe once or twice in November/December if there isn't much snow/rain. These Junipers do very well in Colorado and are not susceptible to many problems, so they are a very tolerant and hearty choice. This tree grows moderately fast.
The fun with this tree is how you can shear it into unique shapes once it is established. It should be trimmed and shaped in the winter months as it can get brown burnout spots if trimmed during the hot months.
Cologreen Rocky Mountain Juniper
Juniperus scopulorum 'Cologreen'
The Cologreen Rocky Mountain Juniper, also known as the Colorado Green Juniper, is a dense and narrowly columnar evergreen shrub with soft textured silvery-gray needle-like foliage and abundant small blue berries. This is a great choice for narrow spaces, landscape accents, privacy screens, and difficult landscape situations. This tree has dark green foliage which remain dark green throughout the winter. Neither the flowers nor the fruit are ornamentally significant.
The Cologreen Juniper is a dense multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with a shapely oval form. This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, however, if pruning is wanted it should be done in late winter once the threat of extreme cold (or heat) has passed. This is an ArborAdvisor recommendation due to its adaptability, low maintenance, and cold and drought tolerance.
The Cologreen Juniper will grow to be about 15 feet tall at maturity, with a width of 6 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn't necessarily require facer plants in front, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 60 years or more.
This shrub should only be grown in full sunlight. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist growing conditions, but will not tolerate any standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for xeriscaping or the moisture-conserving landscape. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a native North American juniper species.