June 30


Best Drought Tolerant Trees

By Noel D.

June 30, 2019

bristlecone pine, bur oak, drought tolerant trees, dry season, eastern redcedar, planting trees, usurian pear tree

Worried about your trees this summer – or all year long? While many parts of the country have been getting more rain than normal, it is still expected that we will have many periods with drought. During those times, it is almost always suggested that people do not water their grass, trees, or gardens so that they don’t use up what little water we have stored.

At the same time, some people just don’t want to water their trees all that much when there isn’t a drought – maybe you have to travel during the summer months or just don’t want high water bills – that is another reason to plant some of these trees.

This is an important piece of advice to follow – while we always want what is best for trees, we understand that when it comes to clean, fresh water usage, there are more important things. Keeping this in mind, we always suggest that people who want to plant new trees look for ones that can withstand some dry weather. No tree is going to be able to withstand completely dry weather, but thankfully we don’t have to look for that – or plant only cacti in our yards.

Looking for the best drought tolerant trees in Denver? Here are some of our suggestions:

Eastern Redcedar

Credit: FD Richards
  • One of the most common options for dry areas
  • Extremely hardy
  • Tolerant to many different circumstances

One of the most popular trees for homeowners to plant, the eastern redcedar is a beautiful tree that is aromatic. It is quite common in parks, abandoned fields, and in fence rows because it is a trustworthy tree – people know that it is going to withstand (almost) anything that comes its way.

The tree has a reddish wood, which does set it apart from some of the other trees in your yard (and can really make your landscaping pop) and gives off a great scent thanks to the cedar chests.

In particular, the eastern redcedar is tolerant to heat, salt, almost all soils, and other adverse conditions. It doesn’t require too much work outside of that, according to Piedmont Master Gardeners.

Bur Oak

Credit: WMPann
  • Very large tree
  • Needs space to grow
  • Quite textured

If you are looking for a car stopping tree, the bur oak might be your best bet (if you have a lot of time and a large yard). This isn’t a tree that most homes will have because it is so massive, if you have the space, it is well worth it. The tree itself, apart from being so large, has a lot of visual interest that can really add to the yard. It has a textured crown and wild acorns that are fun for people to collect.

According to Wildflower.org, “Bur Oak is the northernmost New World oak. In the West, it is a pioneer tree, bordering and invading the prairie grassland. Planted for shade, ornament, and shelter belts. Bur oak extends farther north than any other oak species and becomes shrubby at the northern and eastern limits of its range.”

Bristlecone Pine

Credit: John Paul Endicott
  • Smaller tree
  • Can be planted in bunches
  • Native to the Rocky Mountains

If you are looking for a tree that will last you a lifetime, the bristlecone pine is a fine option. This is the longest living conifer, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, and is probably the oldest non-clonal tree on the planet. Of course, this means that it can withstand quite a bit. In Nevada, there are some groups of bristlecone pines that may be just under 5,000 years old.

These can be small to medium-sized, coming in at 15 to 50 feet tall. The Great Basin bristlecone pines are popular because the bark is an orange or yellow color, making it look quite different. However, the Rocky Mountain bristlecones tend to be easier to come by and are usually gray-brown. The needles are short and don’t make too much of a mess, another reason why these are so popular.

Usurian Pear Tree

Credit: Plant Image Library
  • Has small, beautiful white flowers
  • Bears fruit
  • Turns red wine colored in fall

The Usurian Pear Tree is a popular, drought tolerant tree that bears beautiful white flowers and larger fruits that are inedible. You can eat the fruits, but they are so bitter that no one has gone on record as liking them. Still, if you are interested in attracting wildlife to your yard, many bees and birds enjoy this tree. At the same time, it is quite spectacularly beautiful at almost any time of the year. Used primarily for ornamental reasons, it does need to be pruned and has some clean-up required. Still, those that have it will absolutely love it.

According to Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery, “It is also a wonderful choice for a windbreaker as it keeps its branches very low in height. Furthermore, this pear tree is extremely hardy (Zone 2). It was forgotten for a long time, but is now gaining in popularity, certainly because of its beauty. In spring, it gives the most beautiful show of white flowers you will find, and in summer it is still attractive with its glossy leaves. Its fallen fruit will feed fauna, but be aware that the fallen fruit can become quite messy. Plant them 25′ apart.”

If you are having trouble figuring out what kind of trees or plants to put in your yard, or you just don’t understand what you are doing wrong, you can contact the Garden Center in Denver to get information. At the same time, most people have problems understanding tree maintenance and just how much to water their trees so that they can survive if there is a drought. We can help you there – give us a call today.

If you are worried about your trees or you see something that just doesn’t look right, make sure to give Arbortec Tree Service a call at (303) 466-3175. While you can certainly watch over your trees and love them, there is nothing that beats the practiced hand of professionals. We can help you to take care of your fruit trees so that you get the best possible yields (and the tastiest).

Header photo courtesy of John Fellner on Flickr!

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