When you are ready to plant new trees and shrubs on your property, please consider using drought-tolerant and/or native species. Once established, these tree species will be better able to survive Colorado's dry high plains climate and periodic drought conditions.
These trees have demonstrated their ability to avoid and tolerate dry conditions. They should be considered when selecting trees for your property.
When selecting trees, it is important to consider how large the trees will be at maturity. Each tree variety will have certain size and shape characteristics. In order for your trees to thrive in the urban landscape, they must be given enough space to grow to their adult size. Also, they should be properly planted where site conditions closely match the tree's environmental requirements.
When selecting trees at the nursery, avoid trees with wounds, bruises, incorrect pruning cuts, or insect injuries on the trunk. Remember, tree wraps or plastic tree guards can hide this damage, so inspect the trunk carefully. Inspect the tree's branch structure. Avoid trees with included bark and codominant stems. Make sure the root ball is sound and an adequate size for the tree. Healthy tree roots should be at or near the surface of the container. They should also be alive, unbroken, and light-colored at the tips. For more information, refer to Buying High-Quality Trees published by the International Society of Arboriculture.
If you need help deciding which of these trees will be appropriate for your property, or simply want to learn more about a particular species, visit SelecTree: A Tree Selection Guide. This website provides access to photographs (Over 5,117 photos for 981 trees) and key information for 1,483 trees including: Sunset climate zone, USDA hardiness zone, tree characteristics (growth rate, height, width, flower & fruit color, longevity, wildlife value), site requirements, and insect and disease problems. Most of the following tree species are in the SelecTree database.
The SelecTree website is maintained by the Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, and is an interactive program designed to match specific tree species to particular sites based on compatible characteristics. SelecTree presently searches a database of 1,483 trees and provides 49 selection criteria to choose from. Lists of trees generated by SelecTree should be viewed as a guide, not as the final authority in a tree search.