Recommended Tree List

When selecting a tree, it's important to choose one that will thrive in our environment. This list isn't intended to be a complete list of every tree that could grow in Windsor, Colorado, however, it is an attempt to list the most commonly available trees and their characteristics. When purchasing a tree, it's okay to ask your local nursery professional for more information. If you are interested in planting a tree not on this list, please contact the Windsor Town Forester.

Deciduous Trees

Lose their leaves in the fall/winter

Shade Trees (Typically over 40 feet tall at maturity

Common NameLatin NameMature Height / Spread / Growth Rate / Water Requirements (when established)Characteristics
Linden (American, Littleleaf, Silver)Tilia species60-75’ / 30-50’ / medium / Prefers moist fertile soils / but can grow in drier and rocky soilsRecommend the Redmond cultivar of the American Linden as it has a very dense perfect canopy. Susceptible to Japanese beetle. Silver Lindens are smaller at 50’-70’ tall at maturity. Has fragrant yellowish flowers.
Western or Northern CatalpaCatalpa Speciosa40-60’ / 20-40’ / medium to fast / adaptable to wet to hot and dryGreat spring white blooms, very large heart shaped leaf. Striking fruit, as it is an 8”-20” long seed pod. Very tolerant of different soil conditions.
Common Horsechestnut and Ohio BuckeyeAesculus species50-75’ / 40-70’ / medium / need moisture / Buckeye is smaller at 20-40’/20-40’ usually.Large spiny fruit capsule.  Unique palmately compound leaves. Dense foliage. Best for large open areas. Both trees have showy white and yellow flowers. 
GinkgoGinkgo Biloba50-80’ / 30-40’ / slow to medium, prefers moderately moist soil / but tolerates almost any situationThis tree has a very unique leaf shape. Female fruit has a rank smell so always pick male trees. Can have a wide-spread with large picturesque branches in maturity.
Common HackberryCeltis Occidentalis40-60’ / 40-60’ / medium to fast / dry soils are okayA very drought hardy plant, excellent for streetscape.  Leaves will get nipple gall bumps, but it is not damaging to the plant.
Japanese Pagodatree

Styphnolobium Japonica

50-75’ / 50-75’ / medium to fast / drought tolerant but will produce more blooms if wateredCharacteristic persisting pod type fruit, creamy white flowers, excellent specimen tree.
Kentucky CoffeetreeGymnocladus Dioicus

60-75’ / 40-50’ / Slow to medium / adaptable

Tolerates dry urban conditions, only females produce fruit.
ElmUlmus species

60-70” / 30-40’ / Medium to fast / adaptable to extremes

Pick a variety resistant to Dutch Elm Disease. The American elm has one of the best shapes for street ways.
Turkish Filbert or HazelCorylus Colurna40-50’ / 15-30’ / medium / quite drought tolerant once establishedVery stately and handsome. Can grow to 70-80’. Under-appreciated.
TuliptreeLiriodendron Tulipifera70-90’ / 35-50’ / fast / prefers moist soil that drains wellSuited for open spaces instead of small residences, showy yellowish-green and orange flowers. Needs full sun.
Maple (Tatarian, Caddo, Bigtooth, State Street™ Miyabe, Norway, Sensation Maple)Acer speciesVaries from small to large / medium / low to medium water needsMaples are known best for their excellent fall color. A lot of cultivars exist. Caddo maples may need some protection from cold.
Oak (Bur, Chinkapin, English, Texas Red, Shumard, White, Crimson Spire® English Oak)Quercus speciesVaries from small to large / slow to medium / low to mediumThis is a very hardy species in this area. Tends to grow slower which helps to add strength. Not shade tolerant. Some can develop chlorosis in clay soils e.g. Red Oak, Swamp White Oak, White
Thornless Common HoneylocustGleditsia Triacanthos var. InermisUsually 30-70’ / 30-70’ / fast / drought tolerantTends to be over-planted, many insect problems exist. Small leaflets do not provide an abundance of shade.

Ornamental Trees (typically under 40 feet at maturity)

Common NameLatin NameMature Height / Spread / Growth Rate / Water requirements (when established)Characteristics
Amur CorktreePhellodendron Amurense30-45’ / 30-60’ / medium / low to mediumBeautiful unusual gray furrowed bark with a corky feel in old age.  Needs room. Generally free of pests.
Crabapple (there are many cultivars to choose from such as Coralburst™, Indian Magic, Indian Summer, Radiant, Sargent, Spring Snow, and Thunderchild)Malus speciesVaries in size depending on cultivar / moderate / low to mediumMost commonly known for their spring blossoms that can be white, pink, red, or rose and have a delicate scent. The small apples can be made into a jam with leftover fruit providing a fall and winter food source for birds, but you can also choose a cultivar that has persisting fruit, or a fruitless variety.   Always pick a fireblight-resistant variety.
Eastern RedbudCercis Canadensis20-30’ / 25-35’ / medium / moderateExcellent unique rosy-pink spring flowers, prefers a protected site.
Flowering Pear (Aristocrat, Chanticleer, Cleveland Select, Redspire, Autumn Blaze.)Pyrus speciesVaries by cultivar / medium to fast / low to moderateGreat for the spring white flower color and often vibrant fall colors. Important to pick a fireblight-resistant variety.
GoldenraintreeKoelreuteria Paniculata20-30’ / 25-35’ / medium to fast / lowVery showy yellow flower becoming a unique lantern-shaped papery capsule. Leaves yellow or orange-yellow in fall.  Great specimen tree.
Hawthorn (Russian, Cockspur, English, Washington)Crataegus species20-30’ / 20-30’ / medium to slow / low to moderateGenerally great fall color, beautiful white flowers. Often unique characteristic bark. Use a thornless variety.

Japanese Tree Lilac (Ivory Silk)


Syringa Reticulata20-30’ / 15-25’ / medium / tolerates some droughtCreamy fragrant white flowers early- to mid-June. Cherry-like reddish-brown to brown bark.
Plum, Cherry, Peach, ApricotPrunus species20-25’ / 20-30’ / moderateOften sucker. Provide great wildlife habitat. Susceptible to freeze damage.
Common HoptreePtelea Trifoliata15-20’ / 15-20’ / slow to medium / low to moderateFruit is a unique round samara. Can tolerate everything from full sun to heavy shade and do well. Can also be grown as a large shrub.
American Hophornbeam, IronwoodOstrya Virginiana25-40’ / 25-30’ / slow / tolerates dry soilVery graceful tree. Can be single- or multi-stemmed with pretty bark. Showy fruit reminiscent of hops.
American Hornbeam, Blue Beech, IronwoodCarpinus Caroliniana20-30’ / 20-30’ / slow / moderateHandsome native tree; does well in moist soils and heavy shade.
Serviceberry (Shadblow, Autumn Brilliance)Amelanchier species15-25’ / variable spread / medium / moderateFragrant but short-lived white (usually) flowers. Edible fruits popular with wildlife. Nice fall color, ranging from yellow to red. Choose tree form over shrub form.

Evergreen Trees

Retain their leaves year-round. All evergreen trees listed below should be planted a minimum of 15' from streets, sidewalks, and permanent structures.

Small Evergreen Trees (typically under 30 feet tall at maturity)

Common NameLatin NameMature Height / Spread / Growth Rate / Water requirements (when established)Characteristics
Bristlecone PinePinus Aristata8-20’ / irregular spread / very slow / very drought hardyLong-lived. Susceptible to pine tip moth and pine needle scale. Needs full sun.
Pinyon PinePinus Edulis

20-30’ / 20-25’ / very slow / drought hardy

Pine nuts (edible nuts)

Large Evergreen Trees (typically over 30 feet tall at maturity)

Common NameLatin NameMature Height / Spread / Growth Rate / Water requirements (when established)Characteristics
Austrian PinePinus Nigra50-60’ / 20-40’ / medium / drought tolerantVery hardy and tolerant of city conditions compared to other pines.
Colorado Blue SprucePicea Pungens50-75’ / 10-20’ / slow-medium / prefer moist soil but has tolerance to droughtUnique silvery blue-green color. Long-lived.
White FirAbies Concolor30-50’ / 15-30’ / slow to medium / extremely drought tolerantGrows best in well-drained sandy-loam soils; dislikes heavy clay. Very hardy and tolerant of city conditions compared to other fir species.
Limber Pine: Vanderwolf’s PyramidPinus Flexilis20-40’ / 10-30’ / medium / low-mediumUpright form with good vigor.
Ponderosa PinePinus Ponderosa60-100’ / 25-30’ / medium / prefers moist soil but can adapt to dry conditionsHighly drought tolerant once established. Requires full sun.

Species Not Recommended

NameReasoning
Ash (Fraxinus species)
Susceptible to Emerald Ash Borer and potential for devastating loss, similarly to Dutch Elm Disease of Elm trees.
Aspen (Populus Tremuloides)
Has many insect and disease problems at this lower elevation that are generally not present in mountainous areas where it grows naturally.
Austree (Salix Alba x Matsudana)
Cross between white willow and Chinese willow. Extremely weak wooded, often sold through mail order as a miracle tree, which it is not.
Birch (Betula species)
This tree does not do as well in arid climates.
Cottonwood (Populus species)
Cotton is considered a nuisance, so female cotton-bearing trees are not allowed within the town limits except along waterways. Cottonwoods also tend to be very weak wooded. Is a good tree for large open spaces.
Hopa Crabapple (Malus species ‘Hopa’)
This tree has very high susceptibility to the bacterial disease fire blight. Pick a Crabapple species that has low susceptibility.
Maple (Acer species). Silver, Red, and Freeman’s (Autumn Blaze)
Very weak wooded and prone to chlorosis.
Mountain-Ash (Sorbus species)
Very susceptible to fire blight disease.
Russian Olive (Eleagnus Angustifolia)
Invasive nuisance tree, on Colorado Department of Agriculture list of state noxious weeds.
Siberian Elm (Ulmus Pumila)
Extremely weedy and invasive, seeds profusely.   Very rapid growth creates extremely weak wood.
Tamarisk (Tamarix species)
State Department of Agriculture noxious weed list, extremely invasive.
Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus Altissima)
Very rapid growth creates a weak wooded tree, and it can be very invasive. Is also the preferred host for the spotted lanternfly, an invasive pest which is a threat to fruit trees, pine trees, and some shade trees, as well as crops such as grapes.
Willow (Salix species)
A weak-wooded species which can be hazardous if placed in the wrong location. Rain- and wind-storms can cause branches to break off.