What Trees to Plant

There are many trees to choose from at local Utah nurseries. But some tree species get planted too often, and some not often enough.  TreeUtah regularly researches what tree varieties are ideal for Utah’s urban places and updates this list.

New: White or Subalpine Firs are currently being decimated by an infestation of Balsam Wooly Adelgid (new since 2015).

All trees, even the most hardy and drought-resistant, will need extra water, care, and attention after transplanting, and until they become established (1-2 years). All recommendations are made with climate change in mind, though those under the heading “Climate-Adapted” are particularly well-suited to a hotter, drier future climate. This list is not exhaustive; many more trees may work in the situations described.

For more information on species, please visit Utah State University’s treebrowser.org

High-Elevation (above ~6500 feet)
Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)
Big Tooth Maple (Acer grandidentatum)
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
Narrowleaf Cottonwood (Populus angustifolia)
Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)
Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis)
Amur Maple (Acer ginnala)
Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva)
Korean Mountain Ash (Sorbus alnifolia)
Englemann Spruce (Picea englemanii)

Valleys (~4000-6500 feet)
Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)
Gingko (Gingko biloba)
Netleaf Hackberry (Celtis reticulata)
Tulip Tree (Liriodendren tulipfera)
Lacebark Elm (Ulmus parvifolia)
Cockspur Hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli)
Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)

Curlleaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)
Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii)
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)
Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor)
Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus)
Corneliancherry Dogwood (Cornus mas)
European Beech (Fagus sylvatica)
Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica)
American Linden (Tilia americana)

Desert (below ~4000 feet)
Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)
Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)
Curlleaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)
Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis)
Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)
Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)

Natives
Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)
Big Tooth Maple (Acer grandidentatum)
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
Netleaf Hackberry (Celtis reticulata)
Narrowleaf Cottonwood (Populus angustifolia)
Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
Box Elder (Acer negundo)
Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis)
Curlleaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)
Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva)

Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)
Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)
Fremont Cottonwood (Populus fremontii)
Englemann Spruce (Picea englemanii)
Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)

Climate-Adapted (for a hotter and drier future)
Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)
Big Tooth Maple (Acer grandidentatum)
Gingko (Gingko biloba)
Netleaf Hackberry (Celtis reticulata)
Tulip Tree (Liriodendren tulipfera)
Lacebark Elm (Ulmus parvifolia)
Curlleaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)
Chitalpa (Chitalpa x tashkentensis)

Allergy-Friendly
Crabapple (Malus sp.)
Corneliancherry Dogwood (Cornus mas)
Tulip Tree (Liriodendren tulipfera)
Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata)

Fast-Growing
Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
Tulip Tree (Liriodendren tulipfera)
Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)

Chitalpa (Chitalpa x tashkentensis)

Tough and Resilient
Cockspur Hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli)
Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
Crabapple (Malus sp.)
Junipers (Juniperus sp.)
Japanese Tree Lilac (Syringa reticulata)

Colorful / Interesting / Unusual
Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin)
Curlleaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)
Mulberry (Morus sp.)
Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera)
Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides)
Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum)
Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata)

Over-Planted
Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)
Flowering Pear (Pyrus calleryana)
London Plane Tree (Platanus acerfolia)
Japanese Zelkova (Zelkova serrata)
Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra)
Littleleaf Linden (Tilia cordata)
Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata)

DO NOT PLANT

Ash (Fraxinus sp.)—Emerald Ash Borer
Fir (Abies sp.)—Balsam Wooly Adelgid
Tamarisk / Salt Cedar (Tamarix sp.)—Invasive
Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)—Invasive

You can also visit: https://utahurbanforest.org/