How to select the right tree for the right space

Evaluate your space.

Decide how tall and wide you want your tree to be when it reaches maturity. 

Consider landscape characteristics.

Look at soil type, irrigation, sunlight exposure, existing trees, and overhead or underground utilities.

Diversify.

Help make Boulder’s tree canopy diverse and resilient. Select a different tree than what is already in your yard and surrounding properties.

Choose your tree.

Before planting your tree, try using this free online tool created by the USDA Forest Service to help you select the most optimal location for your future tree! This program allows you to plot trees (both future and existing) on your property and make estimations of future greenhouse gas mitigation, air quality improvements, storm water mitigation, energy savings, and much more. Give it a try!

I-Tree Design

Take a look at the tables below for an at-a-glance resource for the best trees for Boulder.

Please Note: The list below is for property owners and managers. City of Boulder staff should choose from the Approved Tree List for Planning.

Large Maturing Trees

Large maturing trees are generally over 55 feet tall and have a crown width of 30 to 60 feet.

SPECIES COMMON NAME WATER NEEDS FORM FALL COLOR FLOWER FRUIT CULTIVAR
Acer saccharum Sugar maple medium rounded orange samara Fall Fiesta, Legacy, Caddo
Aesculus hippocastanum Common horsechestnut medium oval yellow pink to white cluster nut
Aesculus flava Yellow buckeye medium rounded orange, yellow yellow cluster nut
Catalpa speciosa Western catalpa low to medium oval, irregular yellow white orchid like bean pod
Celtis occidentalis Northern hackberry low to medium rounded yellow drupe, small
Gleditsia triacanthos Inermis Thornless honeylocust low to medium rounded yellow fruitless for all cultivars listed Imperial, Shademaster, Skyline
Gymnocladus dioicus Kentucky coffeetree low to medium rounded, irregular yellow bean pod, Espresso cultivar is fruitless Espresso
Liquidamber styraciflua Sweetgum medium oval, irregular orange, purple, red seed ball
Platanus x acerifolia London planetree medium to high rounded bronze seed ball Bloodgood, Exclamation
Quercus alba White oak low to medium rounded red acorn
Quereus bicolor Swamp White oak medium rounded bronze, orange acorn
Quercus macrocarpa Bur oak low to medium rounded bronze acorn
Quercus muehlenbergii Chinkapin oak low to medium rounded bronze acorn
Quercus robur English oak low to medium rounded bronze acorn
Ulmus x accolade Accolade elm low to medium vase yellow samara
Ulmus davidiana David elm low to medium vase yellow samara Discovery
Liriodendron tulipifera Tuliptree medium oval yellow yellow tulip like seed capsule
Quercus imbricaria Shingle oak medium oval bronze, red acorn

Medium Maturing Trees

Medium maturing trees are generally 30 - 50 feet tall and have a crown width of 20 to 50 feet.

SPECIES COMMON NAME WATER NEEDS FORM FALL COLOR FLOWER FRUIT CULTIVAR
Acer campestre hedge maple low to medium oval yellow samara Queen Elizabeth
Aesculus x carnea Red horsechestnut medium rounded yellow red cluster nut Briotti, Fort McNair
Cladrastis kentukea Yellowwood medium rounded yellow white cluster pod, small
Corylus colurna Turkish filbert low to medium pyramidal bronze nut, edible
Koelreuteria paniculata Goldern raintree low rounded, irregular yellow yellow cluster seed capsule
Pyrus calleryana Flowering pear low to medium oval purple to red white pome, small Cleveland Select, Chanticleer, Autumn Blaze
Styphnolobium japonicum Japanese pagoda tree medium rounded yellow white seed pod, small
Acer miyabe Miyabe maple low to medium rounded, oval orange to yellow samara State Street
Acer negundo Boxelder low to medium rounded yellow seedless Sensation
Aesculus glabra Ohio Buckeye medium rounded orange to red white cluster nut Autumn Splendor
Morus alba White mulberry medium rounded bronze fruitless cultivars available Select frutiless cultivar
Phellodendron amurense Amur corktree medium rounded yellow fruitless for cultivars listed Macho, His Majesty
Sorbus x hybrida Oak leaf mountain-ash medium oval bronze, red white berry cluster

Small Maturing Trees

Small maturing trees are generally 15 - 30 feet tall and have a crown width of 15 - 30 feet. Small maturing trees are an excellent choice for under powerlines.

SPECIES COMMON NAME WATER NEEDS FORM FALL COLOR FLOWER FRUIT CULTIVAR
Acer grandidentatum Bigtooth maple medium to low rounded orange to yellow samara Rocky Mountain Glow
Malus sylvestris Crabapple low to medium rounded varies on cultivar varies on cultivar pome, small Royal Raindrops, Hopa, Indian Magic, Prairiefire, Spring Snow, Thunderchild
Syringa reticulata Japanese Tree Lilac low to medium oval yellow white clusters seed capsule
Acer glabrum Rocky Mountain maple medium to high rounded yellow to red samara
Acer tataricum Tartarian maple low to medium rounded yellow to red white cluster samara Hot Wings
Cercis canadensis Eastern redbud high rounded, spreading yellow pink to purple pod, small
Crataegus crusgallii var. inermis Thornless cockspur hawthorn low to medium rounded yellow drupe, small
Crataegus ambigua Russian hawthorn low rounded orange white berry
Crataegus x laevigata English hawthorn medium rounded yellow red berry Crimson Cloud, Paul Scarlet
Crataegus mollis Downy hawthorn low to medium rounded red white berry
Crataegus x mordenensis Toba hawthorn medium rounded red white berry
Crataegus viridis Green hawthorn low to medium rounded red white berry Winter King
Crataegus lavellei Lavalle hawthorn medium oval red white berry
Maackia amurensis Amur maakia low to medium rounded yellow white seed pod, small
Magnolia x soulangiana Saucer magnolia medium rounded bronze white to purple seed cluster
Magnolia x Galaxy Galaxy Magnolia medium rounded bronze pink to purple seed cluster
Prunus maackii Amur Chokecherry medium rounded yellow white berry
Quercus gambelii gambel oak low rounded, irregular bronze acorn