Shade Trees for Fort Collins

Shade trees are welcomed in Fort Collins, Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming to cut down on the heat of the sun in the summer. There are all kinds of shade trees for Fort Collins that thrive in our Colorado and Wyoming soils and climate, and different varieties work well under different conditions. Let us know what you want to accomplish with a shade tree and where you want to plant it, and we’ll help you choose the right tree.

MARSHALLS-ASH

Marshalls Ash
Fraxinus Pennsylvanica


Height: 50-60 feet
Spread: 30-35 feet
Shape: Broad Oval
Zone: 4

This seedless selection of Green Ash grows into a broad canopy. Green glossy leaves turn to a yellow-gold color in fall. Marshalls makes an excellent shade tree, especially in heavy soils. It has been established as a tried and true species in our region for many years.


AUTUMN-PURPLE-ASH

Autumn Purple Ash
Fraxinus Americana ‘Junginger’


Height: 45-50 feet
Spread: 30-35 feet
Shape: Rounded
Zone: 4

Autumn Purple Ash is a seedless variety of white ash that was selected for brilliant purple to red fall color. The rounded canopy of deep green leaves will provide a fairly heavy shade during the summer. This tree is prone to insect damage from bores and scale and may require pesticide treatments. Despite its drawbacks this tree is one the best trees for fall color.


ROYAL-PURPLE-ASH

Royal Purple Ash
Fraxinus Americana ‘Royal Purple’


Height: 30-40 feet
Spread: 20-30 feet
Shape: Upright to Oval
Zone: 4

Royal Purple Ash is a seedless variety of white ash that has dark purple fall color. It has a more compact size when mature and can fit into a smaller space yet still have outstanding red–purple fall color.


SENSATIONAL-MAPLE

Sensational Maple
Acer Negundo ‘Sensation’


Height: 30-35 feet
Spread: 20-25 feet
Shape: Rounded
Zone: 2
Foliage: Green

This selected Boxelder does not attract Boxelder bugs or produce seeds. This tree is fast growing and very drought and soil tolerant once established. Multi-colored green foliage will transition into a moderate red and orange fall color. This plant is very cold hardy and tolerates windy conditions.


SKYLINE-HONEYLOCUST

Skyline Honeylocust
Gleditsia Triacanthos Inermis


Height: 40-50 feet
Spread: 30-25 feet
Shape: Pyramidal
Zone: 4
Foliage: Dark Green

This thornless Honeylocust has a pyramidal shape during its youth, later filling to a broad rounded canopy with age. Dark green leaves produce a more open and filtered sunlight than the other varieties of Locust. Medium to dark green leaves turn to golden yellow color in the fall. This tree drops its leaves early in the fall reducing the risk of broken branches from early snowfall.


SHADEMASTER-LOCUST

Shademaster Locust
Gleditsia Triacanthos Inermis


Height: 50-60 feet
Spread: 35-45 feet
Shape: Broad Oval
Zone: 4
Foliage: Dark Green

This thornless Honeylocust has a broad lofty canopy, which will absorb extensive amounts of sunlight. It is drought and soil tolerant. This Locust has a medium growth rate. Shademaster makes for an ideal tree where shade is desired.


DISCOVERY-ELM

Discovery Elm
Ulmus davidiana var. japonica ‘Discovery’


Height: 35-40 feet
Spread: 35-40 feet
Shape: Upright Vase
Zone: 3
Foliage: Dark Green

This upright growing elm was selected for its disease resistance and cold hardiness. This elm is also very resistant to elm beetles and has clean looking foliage. Discovery Elm is a smaller elm and should not have as much snow breakage.


CIMMARON-ASH

Cimmaron Ash
Fraxinus Pennsylvanica ‘Cimmzam’


Height: 50-60 feet
Spread: 30-35 feet
Shape: Upright Oval
Zone: 2
Foliage: Green

This new selection of Green Ash has shown some burgundy fall color. This tree needs to be planted were it is not exposed to high winds.


OHIO-BUKEYE

Ohio Bukeye
Aesculus Glabra


Height: 20-40 feet
Spread: 20-35 feet
Shape: Rounded
Zone: 3
Foliage: Bright Green

These trees are started from seeds and vary genetically in their rate of growth and their size at maturity. The palmately compound leaves of this tree are unusually attractive, especially in autumn when the fall color range is from yellows, oranges, and reds. It does produce fruit that is poisonous to cattle. This tree should be primarily planted in dry land areas.


PURPLE-CATALPA

Purple Catalpa
Catalpa x erubescens ‘Purpurea’


Height: 30-40 feet
Spread: 20-25 feet
Shape: Narrow irregular
Zone: 5
Foliage: Purple/Green

This cross between a Chinese and Western Catalpa gives a beautiful two-tone color through out the summer. Leaves in the spring emerge with a dark purple color, fading to a medium green over the summer. This tree will produce many small white flowers in July, each maturing to a seedpod in the fall.


SATGENTII-COTTONWOOD

Satgentii Cottonwood
Populus Sargentii ‘Jeronimus’


Height: 70-80 feet
Spread: 40-50 feet
Shape: Broad Rounded
Zone: 3
Foliage: Bright Green
Fall Color: Yellow

This tree was selected for its straight growth habit atypical of the species. A fast-growing native selection of plains cottonwood, it has a large broad canopy. Nursery grown cottonwoods are male trees and will not produce cotton. These trees will always need supplemental watering and should not be planted in dry land areas. This tree performs best in large open areas such as parks, greenbelts or large acreages.


BOULEVARD-LINDEN

Boulevard Linden
Tilia American ‘Boulevard’


Height: 50-75 feet
Spread: 30-40 feet
Shape: Broad Pyramidal
Zone: 3
Foliage: Bright Green
Fall Color: Yellow

Boulevard Linden is pyramidal when young maturing to a tall, stately open-headed tree. It has a medium growth rate, large, heart-shaped leaves. Fragrant, pendulous, yellow flower clusters in June to July followed by pea sized pubescent green fruits. The bark is gray to brown and it is also very alkaline tolerant.


FRONT-YARD-LINDEN

Front Yard Linden
Tilia American ‘Bailyard’


Height: 60-75 feet
Spread: 40 feet
Shape: Rounded
Zone: 3
Foliage: Green
Fall Color: Yellow

This is a tall, broadly pyramidal shaped tree that has fragrant yellow flowers that bloom in early summer. It eventually becomes very large, and needs a large space to mature. This tree is very adaptable to this area and has low maintenance needs. This can be an excellent choice for landscapes seeking a vertical emphasis.


GREENSPIRE-LINDEN

Greenspire Linden
Tilia Cordata ‘Greenspire’


Height: 40-50 feet
Spread: 30-35 feet
Shape: Dense Pyramidal
Zone: 4
Foliage: Green
Fall Color: Yellow

A dense, formally shaped tree with sweet fragrant flowers, that appear in June to July make this a desirable tree. This tree, with its cinnamon colored bark and dark green leaves, moderate growth rate and dense, pyramidal crown makes this an excellent lawn or street tree. This tree has no serious insect or disease problems in this area.


IMPERIAL-HONEYLOCUST

Imperial Honeylocust
Gleditsia Triacanthos Inermis ‘Imcole’


Height: 30-35 feet
Spread: 30-35 feet
Shape: Rounded
Zone: 4
Foliage: Green
Fall Color: Yellow

This tree is a symmetrical, compact variety of thornless and seedless, Honeylocust. Bright green, pinnately compound foliage turns gold in the fall. Imperial is more compact and uniform than other honeylocusts and works well in smaller landscapes.


SUNBURST-LOCUST

Sunburst Locust
Gleditsia Triacanthos Inermis ‘Suncole’


Height: 30-35 feet
Spread: 20-25 feet
Shape: Irregular Rounded
Zone: 4
Foliage: Yellow-Green
Fall Color: Yellow

This tree was selected for its vibrant spring color. Golden yellow leaves emerge and then fade to light green with the new tip grow producing new golden yellow leaves. However, it is difficult to grow into an evenly- shaped tree. For this reason it is only recommended if you want yellow in your landscape.


HACKBERRY

Hackberry
Celtic Occidentalis


Height: 40-60 feet
Spread: 30-40 feet
Shape: Open Rounded
Zone: 3
Foliage: Green

This is a large shade tree with an irregular growing habit when young. As it matures, it develops a stately rounded crown. The light green foliage can be susceptible to Hackberry nipple gall, which is only a slight cosmetic problem. It has a corky-knobbed bark texture and is tolerant of heavy soils and dry conditions. This tree is native to Colorado but will still have small branches dieback periodically. It is best planted in an open area where small branches will not cause maintenance issues.


BURR-OAK

Burr Oak
Quercus Macrocarpa


Height: 50-60 feet
Spread: 35-45 feet
Shape: Broad Rounded
Zone: 3
Foliage: Green
Fall Color: Brown

This hardy oak is grown from seed and each individual tree will vary genetically. It has large-lobed green leaves typically with the acorns developing as it matures. This oak is very sun, soil, drought and wind tolerant once established. Best used in a dry land area were it can take up a lot of space.


FALLGOLD-ASH

Fallgold Ash
Fraxinus Nigra


Height: 45-50 feet
Spread: 20-25 feet
Shape: Rounded
Zone: 3
Foliage: Green

Fallgold Ash is a very hardy selection of black ash, especially for harsh sites. Green leaves have a more elongated shape than white ash or green ash, and turn a golden yellow fall color. Smooth brown bark may become slightly rough and flaky with time. Once established, very tolerant to Northern Colorado’s soil, weather, and winter sun.


WESTERN-CATALPA

Western Catalpa
Catalpa Speciosa


Height: 50-60 feet
Spread: 30-40 feet
Shape: Narrow and Irregular
Zone: 4
Foliage: Large Green
Flower: White

This large shade tree has dinner plate sized green leaves. Large clusters of white flowers will form long pods in early summer. These trees can have some dieback after cold weather events, which may cause some of the irregular shapes. This tree may become drought tolerant once it is established. It is better suited in an open space.


PATMORE-ASH

Patmore Ash
Fraxinus Pennsylvanica


Height: 50-60 feet
Spread: 30-35 feet
Shape: Upright
Zone: 2
Foliage: Green

This seedless variety of Green Ash grows into a broad canopy that allows some filtered sunlight. It is tolerant of both wind and cold temperatures. Deep green leaves give way to a golden yellow fall color. One of our hardiest trees it can survive very harsh environments with proper care.