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10 Best Trees for Wyoming Landscaping: Flowering & Evergreen

Despite its cold and dry climate, there is an abundance of fantastic landscaping trees that strive in Wyoming.

Each of the trees on the following list serves purposes such as shadewindbreakingprivacy, etc. The shade trees in this article also provide spectacular flower shows each spring as a fun plus. 

Wyoming is in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 – 6. But the high elevation in some places matters as much as the climate.

When planting trees in a mountainous area, you must consider if the tree will strive at your elevation level. Generally, the soil at higher elevations is less fertile, which means slower growth.

For each of the following trees, we provide you with their respective elevation limit.

10 Charming Landscaping Trees to Plant in Wyoming

1. Ornamental Pear (Pyrus calleryana) – Flowering Tree

Ornamental Pear (Pyrus calleryana)
Image by Payton Chung via Flickr

The ornamental pear tree is one of the best-known deciduous flowering trees in the United States. Especially the cultivar, ‘Bradford,’ now considered invasive in some places. 

Ornamental pear trees have glossy green leaves, which turn into multiple colors in the fall. Colors include yellow, gold, orange, and red. In the spring, the tree is covered with white blossoms. Sadly, the smell of the flowers is unpleasant.

A row of ornamental pear trees gives an overpowering and unpleasant odor. The trees covered with white flowers are quite beautiful when planted in mass despite the smell. 

If you decide to plant an ornamental pear, make sure to water the soil often. Though it tolerates most soils, it prefers well-drained and moist soils. 

Overall, the best ornamental pear tree cultivar for Wyoming, according to the University of Wyoming’s Extension is ‘Chanticleer.’ This cultivar is fireblight resistant and adaptable to the state’s environmental conditions. You can grow this tree up to 6,000 feet above sea level. 

Other Common Names: Callery pear

Growing Zones: 4 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide

Varieties Suitable for Wyoming: Chanticleeer

Flowering Season: Spring

2. Purple Leaf Sand Cherry (Prunus x cistena) – Flowering Tree

Purple Leaf Sand Cherry (Prunus x cistena)
Image by F.D. Richards via Flickr

Purple leaf sand cherry makes this list because of its three-season beauty and cold tolerance. Purple leaf sand cherry is hardy up to 7,000 feet above sea level.

Purple leaf sand cherry grows at a medium to fast rate, anywhere between 13 to 24 inches each year. It is a relatively small tree with a rounded and spreading growth habit. The tree produces fragrant pale pink to white flowers in the spring, covering all the branches.

These delicate-looking flowers eventually turn into small fruits. The tree continues to grace the landscape until fall with green to purple leaves.

The beautiful purple leaf sand cherry is easy to grow. It tolerates many soil conditions and can grow in full sun or partial shade. The only hassle is that it is not drought tolerant. It requires regular watering in dry conditions. As a rule of thumb, it does well with about an inch of water each week.

The tree’s fruit is an important food source for small mammals. Also, do not be surprised to see a bird’s nest or two on its branches.

Other Common Names: Dwarf red-leaf plum

Growing Zones: 3 – 7

Average Size at Maturity: 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

3. American Linden (Tilia americana) – Shade Tree

American Linden (Tilia americana)
Image by Andrey Zharkikh via Flickr

American linden is a shade tree known for its pleasant-smelling flowers. It is a great yard tree and needs plenty of space to flourish. Being a relatively fast grower, you can expect about 24 inches of growth each year. This deciduous tree eventually forms a neat pyramid shape.

American linden has large heart-shaped leaves. However, you should not expect attractive fall foliage from them. Leaves change to yellow or brown in the fall. The large tree bears many creamy-yellow flowers in early summer. The sweet and intoxicating smell of the flowers stands out much more than their appearance.

Regarding care, this tree prefers moist, well-drained, and rich soils. In the first few years, regular watering and a consistent compost deposit around the base will benefit the plant. The tree is hardy up to 6,000 feet.

Other Common Names: American basswood, Basswood, Bee tree, Carolina basswood, Lime tree, Linden, White wood

Growing Zones: 4 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 45 feet tall and 30 feet wide

Flowering Season: Early Summer

4. Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) – Shade Tree

Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)
Image by Andreas Rockstein via Flickr

Most shade trees can be boring. They grow large and fulfill their function (shade) without much ornamental value. The showy horse chestnut is not a boring shade tree – it is a beauty in all respects.

Growing to a majestic height (50 – 75 feet tall), few large shade trees are as showy as horse chestnut. This shade tree offers large (5 – 10 inches) oblong clusters of white flowers with a yellow and red tint at their base. As the leaves unfold, they are light green and become a dark solid green tone at maturity.

The tree has an upright-oval rounded form with its branches hanging down. On mature trees, the bark exfoliates, revealing an orange bark.

When growing a horse chestnut, you should give it plenty of space to grow and spread. A large yard is ideal. To get started, they will need plenty of sunshine, a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight each day. It will grow fine in a variety of soil conditions.

In Wyoming’s typically inhospitable sandy and clay soils, horse chestnut will do fine. You can plant them up to an elevation of 6,500 feet.

Other Common Names: Horse-chestnut, European horsechestnut, Buckeye, Conker tree, Spanish chestnut

Growing Zones: 4 – 7

Average Size at Maturity: 60 feet tall with similar spread

Flowering Season: Spring

5. Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens) – Evergreen Tree

Colorado Blue Spruce

Image by F.D. Richards via Flickr

Colorado blue spruce makes the list because of its elevation tolerance and attractive silvery-blue green needles. Native to the Rocky Mountains, you can comfortably grow it up to 10,000 feet above sea level.

This slow-growing evergreen tree (12 to 24 inches per year) is native, so it will adapt quickly to the state’s soil and climate conditions. Though tolerant of most soils, it will do best in rich, moist soils.

Colorado blue spruce has some drought tolerance, but you should keep the soil moist in the first few years. The tree also prefers cool climates; it is best for those who live in Wyoming’s cooler hills and mountains.

Other Common Names: Blue Spruce, Green Spruce, White Spruce, Colorado Spruce, Colorado Blue Spruce

Growing Zones: 2 – 7

Average Size at Maturity: 75 feet tall and 20 feet wide

6. Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) – Evergreen Tree

Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)
Image by brewbooks via Flickr

Rocky Mountain juniper is a native evergreen tree. It has a columnar shape with one or two main stems. Foliage ranges from dark green to blue-green. The needles start as soft and short but become scale-like as the tree gets older.

An attractive feature of this tree is its berry-like cone. The dark blue cones ripen in their second year and are covered with a whitish bloom.

Rocky Mountain juniper varies in size – some are as short as three feet and others up to 30 feet tall. The spread ranges from 3 to 15 feet wide. Due to its compact size, even gardeners with small spaces can enjoy this tree.

This evergreen tree is easy to care for and highly adaptable. It will tolerate various soil types and is hardy to frigid temperatures. Also, you do not need to give it much watering, and it is remarkably drought resistant. Finally, there is no need to fertilize the rocky mountain juniper. Plant it up to an elevation of 8,500 feet.

Other Common Names: Red Cedar

Growing Zones: 2 – 7

Average Size at Maturity: 75 feet tall and 20 feet wide

7. Concolor Fir (Abies concolor) – Privacy Tree

Concolor Fir

Image by F.D. Richards via Flickr

Concolor fir is one of the most popular privacy trees, and for a good reason. A row of mature concolor fir trees can provide a dense screen throughout the year. However, it grows slowly (10 – 18 inches per year), so if you need to make a screen quickly, it is better to buy more mature trees.

Concolor fir grows into a perfect Christmas tree shape with horizontally tiered branches. As the tree matures, it develops a dome-like crown. Its needles are short, flat, and soft with a silvery blue-green color.

As a plus, the needles have a pleasant citrus-like smell which many landscapers and tree admirers love. The smooth gray bark develops attractive deep, and irregular follows.

It is an excellent choice for Wyoming because of its drought tolerance. However, it will need some protection in areas with lots of wind. You can plant it up to an elevation of 9,000 feet.

Other Common Names: Concolor white fir, white fir

Growing Zones: 3 – 7

Average Size at Maturity: 30 – 50 feet tall with 15 – 25 feet spread

8. Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) – Privacy Tree

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
Image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr

Eastern red cedar is one of the oldest commercially grown trees in North America. Craftsmen in colonial America used them for furniture and fences. It eventually became a staple in the pencil industry. Today, it is mainly known for its value as an evergreen privacy screen and windbreaker.

Plant many of them in a row for a lovely dense privacy screen. The trees grow at a medium rate (13 to 24 inches each year). If you urgently need a screen, it is better to source mature trees at a reputable nursery. You can plant them up to an altitude of 6,500 feet.

Eastern red cedar has scale-like evergreen leaves. It produces gray or bluish-green small, rounded fruit. The fruit looks like a berry, but it is a cone made of fused cone scales.

It develops solid and deep roots, which allows it to withstand heavy wind without falling over. The tree has an attractive columnar or pyramidal shape.

This privacy tree has medium green foliage and does best in at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. It is not too fussy about the soil and has excellent drought tolerance. All of which makes it a great privacy screen for Wyoming.

The evergreen foliage provides an excellent hiding and nesting place for sparrows, robins, mockingbirds, juncos, and warblers.

Other Common Names: Concolor white fir, white fir

Growing Zones: 3 – 7

Average Size at Maturity: 30 – 50 feet tall with 15 – 25 feet spread

9. Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) – Fast Growing Tree

Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
Image by Andreas Rockstein via Flickr

The deciduous black locust deserves two spots on this list. It is a great flowering tree and a rapid grower. The key attraction of this tree is its trailing 5-inch clusters of blooms at the tip of its new branches.

The flowers resemble those of sweet pea and come out in late spring. The flowers are known to attract honeybees. 

Like many legume family members, the black locust is a rapid grower. Young trees grow about four feet each year. It also fixes nitrogen in the soil, just as many legumes do. Such makes it an excellent lawn tree.

Caring for a black locust tree is straightforward. The tree does best in full sun or light shade. They prefer loose, moist soil. However, they are not too fussy about the type of soil. Water the tree often during the first three growing seasons.

Mature trees can withstand moderate drought and do fine with just a bit of water during dry spells. It grows well up to an elevation of 6,500 feet. 

Unfortunately, the black locust tree has a mixed reputation. Some growers dislike it because of its thorny branches. Others complain that it is invasive. However, it is less likely to be invasive in Wyoming as the soil, and dry climate conditions do not promote such.

Though many states discourage planting black locust trees, it gets a stamp of approval from the University of Wyoming Extension

Other Common Names: False acacia

Growing Zones: 4 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 30 – 50 feet tall and 25 feet wide

Flowering Season: Late Spring

10. Laurel Leaf Willow (Salix pentandra) – Windbreak Tree

Laurel Leaf Willow (Salix pentandra)
Image by Babij via Flickr

Laurel leaf willow is the first tree to show leaves in the spring and the last to shed them in fall. This rugged and rapid-growing tree has attractive glossy green leaves. It has a rounded shape and blends well into most landscapes.

This tree is an excellent choice in urban settings where pollution is a problem. You can use laurel leaf willow for shade and breaking wind.

Laurel leaf willow is an excellent choice for Wyoming growers because it is drought tolerant, extremely cold hardy, and flexible with soil types. However, it does prefer the soil to be on the acidic side. Be sure to give it full sun. Also, it will grow well up to an elevation of 8,000 feet.

Though a relatively adaptable and reliable tree, it comes with a few problems. The branchlets tend to drop, and the roots are aggressive. So, it is better to plant it away from your house.

Other Common Names: Bay willow

Growing Zones: 2 – 5

Average Size at Maturity: 30 – 40 feet tall with equal spread

Landscaping trees can serve multiple purposes

All the above landscaping trees fulfill different objectives such as shade, windbreaking, privacy, etc. But some of these trees, like many others, do multiple things for the landscape. If you don’t have much space or time to plant various trees, those which provide a few functions are truly rewarding. 

For instance, American linden and horse chestnut grow into massive shade trees. But they are spectacularly gorgeous when in bloom. They are not the typical shade trees like the oaks and elms – though terrific shade trees, they don’t offer much else.

Or consider the laurel leaf willow, an excellent windbreak tree and a rapid grower. Another example is the black locust, which bears beautiful and fragrant pea-like flowers in abundance. 

The only drawback of this list is that most of these trees are not natives to Wyoming. If that matters to you, then the trees in this article are worth your attention. Even if this doesn’t matter to you, it doesn’t hurt to see what your other options are. 

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