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The Right Trees make Good Neighbors in Denver

The fine line between having a view of the Rockies and maintaining our privacy lies with the trees we choose to plant. The Mile-High City has its attitude and certainly its own altitude that you need to be aware of. You're doing more than decorating your landscape, you're adding to the beauty of the community. And the right trees make good neighbors in Denver.

It’s hard to go wrong if you go native and choose the old favorite of blue spruce (Picea pungens). It’s the official state tree, and the tint of green, silver, and blue blends into the mountain scenery. Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) is a hardy native pine with thick long needles that add shade and privacy to the landscape. If it’s fences you seek, the Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) works well as a windbreak for more wide-open acres and it doesn’t need a lot of water to survive. The Colorado State University website for best trees on the front range says each of these pines can grow to 60 feet.

Mile High Trees

Mixing in seasonal trees to your landscape will give you a burst of color year-round.  Tall and hardy oak trees like the bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) and English oak (Quercus robur) will stand guard over your acreage for years to come. They both feature a burst of yellow, red, and brown colors in the fall.  If you want colors more than once a year, the hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) will liven up your yard with reddish-purple berries. The hackberry provides great shade and doesn’t need much water to thrive.

Apple Treescapes

Landscaping with something a little different is also possible with many varieties of apple trees to choose from, depending on your taste. The Arbor Day Foundation lists a handful of apple trees that thrive at a mile high so you can have your own personal grove.  The most famous apple tree, the red and golden delicious varieties will bloom in the spring and yield tasty fruit in late September into October. If you can’t wait until the fall, then early harvest apple is for you. The medium-sized golden globes ripen as early as July. The Stayman Winesap Apple tree blooms with pink flowers in the spring and produces large red apples in late fall that keep for up to six months.  Most apple trees will grow to 25-feet, giving some shade to your yard. It’s best to give the fruit-bearing trees up to 35-feet of space if you want a good harvest to keep the doctor away.

You can't go wrong with any of these native varieties. While it may be tempting to plant one of the many exotic trees still found in along the Front Range but know that it will cost you. The Colorado Department of Agriculture bans the sale of Russian olive trees, the tree of heaven and many other invasives. These trees spread rapidly and choke out native species by robbing them of water and nutrients. There's a reason so many people display the "Native" bumper sticker on their cars.


About the Author: Gail Lopez is a second-generation landscape designer whose family business designs yards with flair. Her things are beautiful plants, outdoor kitchens, and sprinklers powered by artificial intelligence. By Gail Lopez - Feb 13, 2020

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