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Utah is one of the country’s most beautiful and picturesque States. A major reason for this is our beautiful trees. There are so many types of Utah trees it can be hard to keep track of all of the species.
From the cottonwood and aspen to the ponderosa pine and juniper, Utah is a very diverse State when it comes to trees.
At Hidden Oak Tree Care we take pride in knowing all about Utah’s trees. Our knowledgeable staff will go above and beyond to ensure that you have a perfect experience with all aspects your tree care needs!
Read below to learn more about the most popular trees in Utah and along the Wasatch Front.
Types of Utah Trees
This is the most prevalent tree in Utah. Found in virtually every region, the Juniper is typically evergreen, with a rounded crown, scale-like yellow-green leaves, forked trunk, and a gray to rust-colored bark. Due to it being extremely tolerant to drought, cold, and a variety of soil conditions, this tree is suited for low-maintenance and low-water landscapes. However, it is important to note that it is shade intolerant, not easily found in nurseries, and is usually used in landscaping only when people are building their homes in existing trees.
Also known as: Juniperus Osteosperma
Rocky Mountain Juniper
The Rocky Mountain Juniper is more commonly found in the desert regions, perhaps due to its shade intolerance and extreme drought resistance characteristics. The Rocky Mountain is an evergreen cypress, with a narrow, pointed crown, scale-like leaves of variable color, rusty brown thin bark, and branches from the ground up. Larger than the Utah Juniper, the Rocky Mountain Juniper is often used in landscaping for windbreak, visual screening, or noise buffering purposes.
Also known as: Juniperus Scopulorum
The Bristlecone Pine is the oldest tree species on earth. Utah is among only the six states of the USA where the Bristlecone Pine is found. It is a slow-growing tree with a very long life of up to over 4,000 years. The Bristlecone Pine’s leaves are dark green needles in groups of five. Young Bristlecones have thin gray-white bark, which turns to furrowed and red-brown in color once the trees mature. The Bristlecone needs little water and maintenance and is suited to well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. It is found in nurseries and is a great addition to landscapes with low-water and low-maintenance requirements.
Also known as: Juniperus Scopulorum
The Pinyon Pine is the second most commonly found tree in Utah. This evergreen tree has leaves in the form of light-green needles in groups of two. Small and bushy in appearance, the Pinyon Pine has a rounded crown and a compact trunk. It has a dark-gray to red-brown, furrowed bark and has edible seeds sold on the roadside in Utah, commonly called “pine nuts”. Pinyon Pines are often found with Utah Junipers, require little water, and are shade-intolerant. Pinyon Pines are not commonly used for landscaping purposes. In fact, they are usually found where they are naturally present in housing developments. These trees, however, can actually be the perfect option for those looking to replicate the natural landscape of the region.
Also know as: Pinus Edulis
The Ponderosa Pine is native to the mountainous regions of Utah. A slow-growing, evergreen tree, the Ponderosa Pine has leaves in the form of yellow-green needles in groups of two. The young ones have dark-brown to black bark while the old ones have a much more distinctive look having orange to brownish-red thick plates that are separated by furrows. These trees are fire-resistant and drought-resistant and require plenty of sunlight to thrive. It is often used in landscaping for anchoring purposes where a backyard seems to need a long-needle pine as a central feature.
Also known as: Pinus Ponderosa
The Limber Pine is native to higher elevation regions in Utah and is an evergreen tree with leaves in the form of blue-green needles in groups of five. Limber Pine trees have distinctive cones that are 3 to 7 inches long, they open to disperse seeds, which are eaten by birds and rodents, and fall to the ground intact. The Limber Pine is a slow-growing tree with long life and has a white to gray smooth bark. It is a shade-intolerant tree and, while it is not used much in landscaping, its beautiful colored leaves actually make it a good option to use as an accent feature in a backyard. However, care must be taken that it is not over-watered and that it is exposed to plenty of sunlight.
Also know as: Pinus Flexilis
The Lodgepole Pine is native to the high elevation regions of Utah and is found throughout the western United States. These large, evergreen, slow-growing trees are shade-intolerant, moderately drought resistant, and grow in dense groups together with other Lodgepole Pines. Their leaves are in the form of yellow-green needles in groups of two. They have thin, scaly, orange-brown to gray barks. The Lodgepole Pine is rarely used for landscaping purposes but could serve well for those who wish to have a natural, low-maintenance landscape.
Also know as: Pinus Contorta
Fremont Cottonwood, due to its requirement of plenty of water, is typically found in valleys and canyons near streams and lakes. It is a very large deciduous, fast-growing, sun-loving tree with its females producing a significant amount of cottony seeds. It has broad-shaped, triangular light-green leaves that turn golden in fall. It is popular for the impressive foliage that provides considerable shade. While the younger trees feature a light-green smooth bark, the older ones have thick, gray trunks with furrows in them. The Fremont Cottonwood is rarely used for landscaping purposes with the major reason being its weak wood and branch structure, which tends to pose a risk to life and property.
Also know as: Populus Fremontii
The Narrowleaf is a large deciduous tree and, true to its name, has the narrowest of leaves among the Cottonwood species. The leaves are yellow-green in summer and turn yellow in fall. Its young trees tend to have yellow-green barks while older ones have a more furrowed appearance. The Narrowleaf is found at low to moderate elevations and is easily identified due to its narrow leaves and slim profile. It needs plenty of water and sunlight. Like the Fremont, the Narrowleaf is rarely used for landscaping due to its weak wood and structure issues. People planting Cottonwood tend to go with their hybrid versions, which are more disease-resistant, and faster-growing.
Also know as: Populus Angustifolia
Aspen is typically found in areas of high elevation in Utah- such as mountainous regions. Because they do not do well in dry and hot climates, they are not found in the lower valley regions. Aspen are known as one of the most beautiful trees that Utah has to offer. It is a fast-growing, deciduous, medium-large tree with a high, rounded crown. This tree has round to broadly oval leaves, which are silvery green in summer and turn a bright yellow in fall. It has a smooth green-white to cream bark, which becomes furrowed over time. Aspens require plenty of sunlight and need moist, rich soil. The Aspen has been over-planted in Utah and is typically found to be a part of people’s landscapes when their homes have been built in areas where the Aspen is native to the region.
Also know as: Populus Tremuloides
The Green Ash is one of the most common Ash species found in the Utah landscape. It is a large, deciduous tree with leaves made up of 7-9 medium-green leaflets, which turn yellow in fall. The trees generally have ash-gray barks, with younger trees having an orangish tinge. The Green Ash prefer moist conditions but is moderately drought-resistant and can be grown in all types of soil, being particularly resistant to tougher conditions such as pollution and salt. Green Ash is popularly planted for shade purposes. Tough, large trees, Green Ash have been used in landscaping in Utah for a long time now and are often used for windbreak purposes.
Also know as: Fraxinus Pennsylvanica
This large, evergreen tree prefers moist, cool conditions and is shade tolerant. Its leaves are in the form of single needles with their colors ranging from silver-green to silver-blue. The White Fir has a thin, gray bark, which is smooth in a young tree, developing deep furrows as the tree matures. The White Fir does not do well in windy conditions or in soil with a high pH. However, its beautiful appearance makes the White Fir a popular tree in the landscaping business. .
Also know as: Abies Concolor
Boxelder can be found in moist areas such as near lakes and streams, and other low-lying wet areas. This deciduous tree has leaves that appear in opposite pairs and are made up of 3-7 leaflets, which are bright green and turn yellow in fall. The Boxelder is the only maple tree that has divided leaves. This maple tree has a thin bark which can be pale gray or light brown. While the Boxelder enjoys moist soil, it can survive in many different types of soil and it also has intermediate shade tolerance. It is actually a popular tree in the field of landscaping but not for ornamental purposes. Due to its weak wood and tendency to attract bugs, the Boxelder can be a challenge to manage.
Also know as: Acer Negundo
Rocky Mountain Maple
Rocky Mountain Maple is a deciduous tree commonly found on streamlands, canyons, wetbanks, and the like. The Rocky Mountain is suited to silty, sandy, and rocky soil that can range anywhere from moderately acidic to slightly basic. It has wide, long leaves, paired opposite to each other with 3-5 lobes. They are typically dark green leaves that run to yellow and muted red in fall. The tree has a thin, smooth red-brown bark. The Rocky Mountain is shade-tolerant but it is rarely used for landscaping purposes and is not found in nurseries.
Also know as: Acer Glabrum
Gambel Oak is a popular Utah tree found at low elevations throughout central and southern Utah. It is predominantly found near canyon walls and foothills. It is a deciduous tree with simple, oblong leaves that are dark green and turn yellow to reddish brown in autumn when they fall. The Gambel Oak can be grown in all types of soil, is very drought tolerant, and needs plenty of light. It is a good tree for landscaping due to its clumpy form- they comprehensively section off an area from the neighbors-, its interesting leaves, and catchy fall leaf colors. However, it is not easily available in nurseries. is fire-prone, and its fruit varieties can be messy to deal with.
Also know as: Quercus Gambelii
The Blue Spruce is the State tree of Utah. This large, evergreen, slow-growing tree has leaves in the form of single needles that can be blue-white to dark green. This tree has light to dark gray bark with older trees having thick ridges. The Blue Spruce needs well irrigated, rich soil and has intermediate shade tolerance. Due to its beautiful color of leaves, the Blue Spruce makes for a good tree to use for landscaping purposes. Given enough time and space, this tree can grow to be an impressive site. For all these reasons, the tree offers considerable aesthetic value and serves as a good wind-screen.
Also know as: Picea Pungens
Not a true fir tree, the Douglas fir is a large, evergreen tree. Its leaves are in the form of flat, single needles that range in color from yellow-green to blue-green. This tree has a narrower crown than most conifers and has a smooth gray-brown bark. It has intermediate tolerance for shade and, while a beautiful tree, has been historically used more for its timber but has been used some for landscaping purposes. However, its use has been limited to its native mountain areas. The Douglas fir typically thrives in the valleys of Utah where there is adequate moisture.
Also know as: Pseudotsuga Menziesii
The Peachleaf Willow is native to northern Utah. It is generally a small, shrubby tree. This deciduous tree has pale leaves with a brown-red, quite thick bark. The Peachleaf is typically found near water and is very shade intolerant. This tree requires abundant water and has weak wood and structure. The Peachleaf has rarely, if ever, been used for landscaping purposes.
Also know as: Salix Amygdaloides