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What trees, perrenials, shrubs etc... grow best in Utah (landscaping yard)?

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Asking what trees and shrubs grow best in Utah can be a tricky question that has too many possibilities.  Plant material selection depends on what you want out of your landscape.  Follow this hyperlink for a great resource that will lead you from start to finish: extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/EC_458.pdf .  It is very centered on waterwise landscaping but the principals apply no matter what type of landscape is to be installed.

For the Wasatch Front some nice front yard trees include: all of the Hawthorns with the possible exception of English Hawthorne, several crabapples that have nice spring flowers and also have fruit that does not drop to the ground in the fall (ask a local garden center for specific varieties), several flowering cherries (little to no fruit), Amur maple, wireless zelkova and globe Norway maple.

Nice larger trees include: green vase zelkova, bur oak, swamp white oak, scholar tree, espresso Kentucky coffee tree (seedless), hackberry, thornless/seedless forms of osage orange, all lindens (basswood) and honey locust.  Try to avoid silver maple, sugar maple, red maple, autumn blaze maple and pin oak due to potential iron chlorosis problems.  Especially avoid cottonwood, willows, aspens and poplars unless nothing else will grow.

Shrubs that are good include: barberry, boxwood, dwarf Korean lilac, Miss Kim lilac, most viburnums, cherry laurels in shady areas, yews (shade), ninebark and some junipers.  There are many more.

What perennials to use really depends on the situation.  Look into gaura, blanket flower, coeropsis, purple cone flower and Autumn Joy sedum for some hot sun tolerant perennials.  Hosta, coral bells, columbine, perennial geraniums, lupine, delphinium and sedges are part shade to shade tolerant perennials. 

It is very important to have some form of a plan in place before plant shopping.  Impulse shopping in garden centers can create many future expensive landscape problems.

Posted on 16 May 2008

Taun Beddes
Horticulture Agent, Cache County

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