Many types of shade trees grow well in Utah, and are native to the Salt Lake Valley. Cottonwoods, alders, aspens and Rocky Mountain maples are all found here naturally. However, if you’re looking for shade trees to plant on your property, you have a few other factors to consider before choosing the trees that are right for you.
Consider the Location’s Future
First, consider factors that can affect the tree’s future, such as sunshine, shade, wind and utility lines. Trees planted facing south or west, or locations with reflected heat from buildings, must be able to tolerate hotter and drier conditions than trees planted on a north or east face. Utah is no stranger to temperature extremes, so it is important that a tree be able to tolerate them. Also, think about the above- and below-ground space. Will there be enough room for the tree and its roots to reach maturity without interference? Overhead power lines, although they may seem far away today, are one of the leading reasons for tree failure and removal. Planning ahead ensures that you’ll select the ideal tree for the location.
Soil Type and Amendments
What type of soil do you have? Is it sandy or mostly clay-based? Do you know the pH and salt content? Some trees, like red maples, prefer lower pH soils. Unfortunately, soil types vary in Utah. Some trees do tolerate salty soil well, some tolerate wet conditions and still others prefer well-drained soil. If you don’t know your soil conditions, test kits are available to help you determine what you’re working with. As an alternative, you can have your soil tested at the local university extension.
Availability of Water
What kind of watering or irrigation will the tree receive? How much, and how often? You must select a tree whose water requirements match the local area, the landscape and nearby plants. Tree roots spread widely across an area, so working it in with the landscape is important to its future survival.
The Best Trees for Northern Utah
Some shade trees you may want to consider include the acer (maple), alnus (alder), betula (birch), carpinus (hornbeam), celtis (hackberry), fagus (beech), fraxinus (ash), plantanus (sycamore), populas (poplar, cottonwood, aspen), salix (willow), tilia (linden), quercus (oak) and ulmus (elm). Each species offers specific benefits and drawbacks, and which type you choose will ultimately influence its future. For example, cottonwood is naturally present along streams, and requires more water for maximum growth. Alder also needs to be planted in a location with ample water and moist soil conditions. Aspen and Rocky Mountain maples prefer cool, moist conditions and often struggle in the hot and dry valley landscape.
The best way to ensure that your tree selection is appropriate is to talk to an expert. The experienced professionals at Millcreek Gardens are native tree experts. Shade trees enhance your property and increase your enjoyment at home. Visit Millcreek Gardens today to determine the best procedure for selecting, planting and caring for your new shade trees.