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Our house is in Murray between the Jordan River and the North Jordan Canal. It faces east, so our backyard in on the west side. We have a steep slope of clay soil. We need some trees which would provide shade and privacy. We have tried river birch, blue spruce and a pine. All have died. We have a deep water system for the trees. The needles on our spruce and pine turned brown and dropped off. What kind of trees could we plant under these circumstances?

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A

There are several different types of trees that are better adapted to a heavier clay soil.  Some of them would include Ash, Kentucky Coffeetree, Douglas Fir, Ginkgo, Hackberry, Honeylocust, Incense Cedar, Norway Spruce and American Sweetgum.  Below I have included a link to the USU Tree Browser.  This is an interactive tool that helps you select trees according to your site specifications and personal preferences. By using the drop down menus on the left side you can select the specific criteria you are looking for and the tool will give you a list of trees that match. Because you have a heavier clay soil you will want to select trees that have a medium to high rate of tolerance for drainage. The site also has pictures as well as a lot of great information on the trees. 

http://treebrowser.org/treeBrowser/usuTreeBrowser/index.html


I have also included a couple of links on basic tree care.  The first is a link about planting landscape trees and the second includes information on watering trees. 


http://extension.usu.edu/forestry/Reading/Assets/PDFDocs/NR_FF/NRFF017.pdf

http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/HG-523.pdf

Posted on 10 Aug 2009

Heidi Wayman
Horticulture Intern, Salt Lake County

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