Choose the Right Trees for a Beautiful and Mature Landscape

Sometimes, the best trees for Utah are found out of state…

Not many people have the time or patience to wait fifteen years or so for the trees in their landscape to mature, so the only alternative is to plant mature specimens right from the beginning… which can be easier said than done. 

While it is possible to buy some larger trees — such as a 30-foot blue spruce — at various tree farms in Utah, if you’re looking for a larger tree or a specimen tree to make your yard unique there aren’t as many choices. 

One way we’ve overcome this obstacle for our clients is to send a designer and someone from our procurement team to Oregon and Idaho for a couple of days, at least twice per year to find the trees we need to complete specific projects. These states are known for their tree cultivation and extensive tree farms — in some areas that’s all you see when driving down the highway. 

While it is possible to simply order these trees and have them sent, we like to put eyes on them to ensure their health and quality. We often use photos from these trips to sell the trees and gain approval from clients.

These trips also give us the opportunity to build our relationship with these growers and scout new farms to purchase from so we can continue to offer the very best trees to our clients.

Choose trees adapted to the environment

If you want your trees to thrive, it’s best to choose ones that are native or easily adapted to our environment. The trees we use regularly in our landscapes include a combination of evergreens and  deciduous trees. Here are a few of our favorites:

Evergreen trees 

  • Douglas fir — These pyramid-shaped trees are a favorite in Utah landscapes. Douglas firs can grow 40 to 80 feet tall in the home landscape, but up to 200 feet in the natural environment.

  • Blue spruce — The blue spruce is Utah’s state tree, and it’s no wonder! This beautiful, slow-growing tree needs room to grow, as it can get quite tall and wide. 

  • Ponderosa pine — This sun-loving tree is native to Utah and grows where other trees couldn’t survive, like on the edge of a cliff or along mountain slopes. 

Deciduous trees

  • Quaking aspen — This fast-growing shade tree covers 60% of Utah’s forests and does best when grown in cooler, high-mountain climates like Park City.

  • Northern red oak — One of the larger oak species that grows in Utah, the Northern red oak is a beautiful shade tree that is easy to transplant and can thrive in a variety of conditions. Their  acorns are enjoyed by a wide variety of wildlife.

  • Chokecherry — Chokecherry is native to Utah and could be a large bush or a small tree, depending on how it’s pruned. We use the Canada red chokecherry in many of our designs because of its outstanding fall color.

Many of our clients choose trees that allow their personal landscape to fit into the natural environment and reflect the beauty of the area, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for ornamental specimen trees. Popular choices include larger Japanese maples, flowering cherries and dogwoods. 

Topiary pine trees shaped like pom poms are also popular choices in a landscape, but here in Utah, they’d only be about three feet tall. Out of state, they’re nine feet tall or even higher.  

Although some of these specimen trees aren’t necessarily native species, we make sure they are well-adapted to our climate.

Choose trees appropriate for your property

When choosing trees, keep in mind the overall aesthetics of your property and how well they’ll fit into the design. It’s also important to make sure the trees are appropriate for the site. A lot of our clients are in Park City, where conditions are harsher than they are in the valley — it’s windier, snowier and rougher. So we make sure to use hardy trees that thrive in those conditions. 

You also want to make sure the variety of trees you choose aren’t prone to disease or pests so they’re easier to care for. 

Tree care and maintenance 

Incorporating large trees into your property is a great way to increase the value of your home and a wonderful way to beautify your yard. But you can’t just plant a tree and leave it. Trees, especially large trees, need quite a bit of care to help them get established after transplanting. This includes using appropriate planting techniques, proper irrigation and fertilizing to encourage root growth.

Fall is a great time to plant trees, as it’s still mild but they don’t have to endure the harsh conditions of summer. But making sure they get enough water during this critical phase can be a bit of an issue in Utah.

Our area often doesn’t get enough rain, but most irrigation systems are turned off for the winter in early October to mid-October. To deal with this issue, we send a tanker truck full of water to our clients’ properties to provide winter watering services. This ensures the new trees are well watered all the way to dormancy. Irrigation systems are turned on in mid-April, but if we start getting warm, sunny days in March, we’ll send the trucks in the spring too. 

This service is only needed for the first two years until the trees become established.

We’ll help you get outstanding trees for your property

Variety and maturity are the primary reasons we go out of state to choose our trees. Most landscapers don’t go this extra mile, but it’s something we like to offer for our clients who are looking for something not ordinarily found in our local tree farms. 

Not all trees can be shipped out of state. Ash trees, for example, can’t be transported because they are prone to the emerald ash borer, which has infected the ash population across the country. If you have an ash tree, we can apply preventative treatments as part of our tree health program but there’s no guarantee they won’t get it. It’s best to avoid it altogether. 

To learn more about the value of adding mature trees to your property or get help designing your outdoor space, book a consultation. We are always happy to sit down with you and see how we can help you get more enjoyment out of your landscape — and help you find some big, shady trees to incorporate into your landscape.