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Favorite trees for Utah

Posted by barclajo z5 UT (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 5, 06 at 18:22

I just went through the process of selecting trees for our backyard. We are in Eagle Mountain and have VERY alkaline clay soil.

We went with a Bur Oak, a Pacific Sunset maple, and an Austrian pine.

What are some of your favorites that do well in our unique climate?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Favorite trees for Utah

Hello barclajo

I'm growing Dawn redwoods, numerous pines and spruce, Snakebark maple, Aspen, Mimosa and Catalpa; here in Lindon.

This will be my first attempt at overwintering three species of cold-hardy palms, yuccas, bananas and cacti. Others have been doing it for years in states further north than we are. I'll know next spring!!

Good luck, Alan


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RE: Favorite trees for Utah

  • Posted by beth4 z5 - Utah (My Page) on
    Fri, Oct 6, 06 at 0:34

In addition to the scrub oak which came with the property, I have several Blue Atlas Cedar trees -- some are columnar, one is standard and 2 are weeping. I also have a couple of Limberwolf Pines, Wellspire Spruce and that "Methusalah" of trees - the Bristlecone Pine. I haven't had any of these before, and think they are each lovely in their own way.


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RE: Favorite trees for Utah

I live in Cache Valley, but have lived in Brigham City, Salt Lake City, and Provo, and so I know what you can grow further south. I can tell that I am going to be in continual zone envy on this forum! But that's OK. . .

Trees that have grown best for me in alkaline soil:
London Plane Tree
Austrian and Scotch Pine
Crabapples (Brandywine)
Canada Chokecherry
Locust
Hawthorne
Linden


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RE: Favorite trees for Utah

Wow what trees can't you grow up there that can be grown on the Wasatch front? All of those?

I really like the London Plane Tree, but there were a couple of reasons why I went with the oak instead. The biggest one is because the sycamore is so common around here. You literally see them everywhere. It seems like if you see a large tree it is either a cottonwood or a sycamore. Additionally they seem to have a hard time with anthracnose.

Even with all its problems I would probably have planted one if we had a larger yard.


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RE: Favorite trees for Utah

I love the Big Tooth Maple-native and it has great fall color. The backs of the leaves are fuzzy. It's still young, so not casting much shade yet.

I have a Candied Apple Crabapple that has lovely bright pink flowers in spring, and right now the foliage is turning a nice yellow with the red berries. It's a weeping form, but I find it sends some really haywire branches, usually right where I pruned something off. But all in all, I like the tree.

Also against warnings of those smarter than me, I have many quaking aspens. I know- I should be whipped with one of the suckers. I love the sound, and some turn a pretty yellow in fall.

I need some more trees and am open to suggestions. Fall color is a priority.

I would like a Vanderwulf pine, because I like the soft feel of the needles, and also blue atlas cedar. I've hit a mental block where I'm not sure what to do with the yard though. I guess I can try and figure it out over winter.


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RE: Favorite trees for Utah

When we moved to Utah five years ago, I planted 42 trees in our new yard. All survived except two sub-alpine firs (didn't know they have an 80% failure rate in the valley) and a red Japanese maple that got severe chlorosis and I couldn't seem to fix it. I have other Japanese maples that are doing fine, but that one didn't like where it was. Here are some of my favorites:

- Autumn Blaze maple (one of the few reds that can handle alkaline soil)
- Crabapples (I thought I had Klehm's Improved Bechtel but the flowers are more purple than pink, so I'm not sure what I got)
- Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia) - NOT to be confused with those nasty weed trees, the Siberian Elm (Ulmus pumila) which are all over the place. The real Chinese Elm has a cool, lacy bark (it's also called Lacebark Elm) and an elegant semi-weeping shape. This one is becoming an umbrella over my patio -- very nice.
- Golden Rain Tree (Koelruteria) -- I love the yellow flowers in July. They do spread seeds, though.
- Lindens (although kind of slow growing)
- Sycamores (there aren't that many around my part of Utah County, so I didn't feel the way you did)
- Aspens (yeah, the suckers come, but I love the white bark and the quaking leaves). I also have four swedish aspens (tall, columnar trees) that make nice specimens at the corners of an arbor.
- Water birches (I think that's the kind of birch I have -- they grow in clumps with smooth, copper-colored bark)
- Flowering cherry (Kwanzan)
- And I love all kinds of fruit trees -- I like the way they look (I don't do the crazy mutilated kind of pruning that some of my neighbors insist on and I still get good fruit). I'm talking apples, nectarines, cherries, and plums. Actually, my plum is a flowering plum, but it does get little edible plums on it anyway.

All of these are doing very well in my yard, although one of the Autumn Blaze maples has been chlorotic. It's funny because they're not supposed to do that, but I need to do a soil test. An extension agent told me it just might be manganese deficiency, rather than iron.


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RE: Favorite trees for Utah - one more thing

One more thing: Barb422, how can I tell if a small maple I'm growing is a bigtooth or a Rocky Mountain maple? I gathered some seeds up in American Fork Canyon a year ago, put them in small pots and left them out for the winter. Only one germinated, and I have a nice little foot-high maple seedling now. I thought it was a Rocky Mountain maple, but I'm not sure. The parent trees had deep red leaves last fall.


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RE: Favorite trees for Utah

Instead of giving a list of favorites, I'll list my mistakes.

Quaking aspen. I'd call it a weed except that I don't want weeds to feel that I'm impugning them. They belong above a certain altitude and are fantastic trees where they belong.

Silver Maple (aka yellow maple). Too prone to chlorosis for our alkaline soils.

Magnolia. Acid loving. Wife and daughter love them, so I'll make another attempt at some point.

Various fruit trees. They all thrived, but wife objected to the mess.


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RE: Favorite trees for Utah

Hello Stevation,

Disclaimer, I'm no expert on trees, but seeing them side by side in the nursery Rocky Mtn Maple was much more shrubby and had smaller leaves. They seemed to have different shaped leaves also by the pictures on the site I googled below. The back of the leaves on the Big Tooth are fuzzy, though today I noticed that the leaves that had fully turned red were no longer fuzzy. I've seen gold, orange and red fall color in the mountains.

Here's a close up of the leaves from my tree.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Here are some down in San Pete county
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The link below has pictures of both if you scroll down and click on each. That should help you identify by leaf shape I hope.

Here is a link that might be useful: acer grandidentatum, and glabrum


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RE: Favorite trees for Utah

Thanks, Barb! That was very helpful to compare them from the link you gave. I'm sure mine are Rocky Mtn maples, since they have a much more serrated edge than the bigtooth maples seem to have.

I gathered some more seeds this month, but with the dismal germination rate I had last year, I wonder if anyone has advice on how best to sprout maple seeds? I know they have to "stratify" in the cold for a while before they'll sprout, but I wonder if anyone has some tricks for getting a higher success rate.

My wife thinks I'm a nut for picking up tree seeds, but I guess this proves I'm a patient gardener. I've always got some long-term project going on. Speaking of patience and trees, I once saw a quote: "He who plants a tree loves others beside himself." Does anyone know where that came from?


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RE: Favorite trees for Utah

I've always been pleased with the Shademaster Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos f. inermis 'Shademaster'). It is very graceful, fairly fast growing, and grass can usually grow underneath it.

I like a lot of the natives here, such as the Gambel Oak and Big Tooth Maple. They are both very lovely trees with great fall color and can be made into interesting shapes.

I urge you not to plant aspens, as they'll take over your and your neighbors yards--if they don't get insects and die first. They are very insect prone. I've found that planting them with a generous amount of conifers helps for some reason.

Good luck!


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RE: Favorite trees for Utah

I love the Rocky Mountain Maple but I have not done well with them. I think that it is mostly the hot summers. They are hard to find in a nursery. I have planted three. One lasted a year. After 10 years the other two are pretty much dead though one did very well and grew fast in a shady, protected spot. The hot summer we had two years ago is what did that one in.
I love the Atlas cedars but I know that if we ever get a true zone 5 winter they would be gone so I have fought the temptation to try one. I have 12 kinds of Japanese maples in the yard. Some do better than others. My oldest and prettiest is suffering from verticilium. I have met and visited with an older gentleman on the bench of SLC who has over 100 kinds of Japanese maples in his smallish city lot. He keeps them pruned back. I have over 50 kinds of conifers--most of them dwarf or semi-dwarf. None of the firs do well on the valley floor. I have a Dawn Redwood that I love and they are very fast growing. I like the Gambel oak and the Bigtooth maple and the Schubert chokecherry. I really like the betula nigra (I have three) but they are prone to borers. (Not as much as the Japanese birch) I want to get a Minnisota strain redbud. Most varieties are not cold hardy enough for my zone 5a yard.


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RE: Favorite trees for Utah

I've been visiting the SLC (Wasatch Mountain skiing) areas for years. What type of pine trees grown in the mountains. I also saw a lot of them decorated with Xmas lights this year. The trees grow tall, but skinny & the branches are kind of sparce, not close together like our blue spruces. Anway, they are beautiful & I wondered what they are, so I can check if I can grow them hear in MI.


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RE: Favorite trees for Utah

I planted a couple Bur Oaks for my son-in-law in Eagle Mountain. They are both doing quite well. This is their second year in the ground.

A tree I would like to see planted more often, at the expense of the cliché globe willow is the Osage Orange aka Hedge Apple (Maclura pomifera). It is about the same size as the globe willow and has a similar form, but it does not start looking like death warmed over after 10 or 20 years like the willow. Good shade, deep roots, glossy dark green foliage, nice fall color. They are easy to grow from seed and the seed is easy to find on line.


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