USU Tree Browser 2014 Documentation
Welcome to Utah State University Extension's Tree Browser, an interactive database containing information on 244 native and introduced trees growing in Utah and the Intermountain West, including 1,467 photographs. You can browse through a complete list of trees or can narrow their choices by selecting from 21 general, growth-related, cultural, and ornamental characteristics, including whether a tree is native or introduced.
For each species, there is a text description, usually including descriptions of the leaves, twigs/buds, flowers/fruit, bark, wood, general comments about the tree's native habitat, a description of its uses in cultivated landscapes, including its USDA Plant Hardiness Zone designation, and notable cultivars. Some species have shorter descriptions and may not have photographs.
Select from any of the help topics below or rollover the circular i buttons in the Tree Browser to access help.
For a glossary of tree and forest terms go to our botanical and tree glossary.
Tree characteristics mentioned in the Tree Browser generally are for the species or most commonly planted cultivar, though some species show a wide range of characteristics between cultivars. Characteristics are organized into four areas: General Characteristics, Growth Characteristics, Ornamental Characteristics and Tolerance. Select one or more characteristics to narrow the list of species included.
A group of closely related species and genera; scientific name ends in "aceae".
Cultivar Availability means that selected, genetically pure trees are available with known characteristics. Cultivars often prove to be more desirable than trees grown from seed or collected in the wild.
A USDA Hardiness Zone range is given for each tree species. The lowest number indicates the tree's coldest recommended zone. The highest number is an approximate indicator of a tree's tolerance of a hot climate. These zones are broad and general. For more information on hardiness zones, and for a table of hardiness zones in Utah and surrounding counties, go to http://forestry.usu.edu/htm/city-and-town/tree-selection/hardiness-zones and http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/ushzmap.html. Utah's hardiness zones range from zone 3 in eastern Rich County and eastern Summit County, to zones 5 and 6 in the Salt Lake City area and most of the rest of the state at lower elevations, to zone 7 in Southern Utah and even zone 8 in the Glen Canyon and St. George areas. Planting on sites colder than recommended may work if the site is protected. Species should be planted outside their recommended zones only on a trial basis.
Select Conifer for pines, firs, junipers, ginkgo, and other conifers (gymnosperms).
Select Broadleaf for trees with broad, flat leaves (more or less) (angiosperms).
Native and introduced trees are referred to throughout this database. The term 'native' refers to trees that naturally occurred in the area prior to European settlement. Most of these trees are found in the mountains, or near streams and other water sources at lower elevations. Few native trees are planted in our cultivated landscapes, though many would make good ornamental trees. Trees native to Utah (most also are native to the surrounding states) are noted in the Browser with 'Yes'; non-Utah native trees are denoted by 'No'.
Growth rate refers to height growth for the first ten years after a tree is planted.
Select Low for < 12-inches/year height growth.
Select Low-Medium for low or medium growth rate.
Select Medium for 12- to 24-inches/year height growth.
Select Medium-High for medium or high growth rate.
Select High for > 24-inches/year height growth.
Mature height will vary considerably by cultivar and site and is shown here assuming adequate care.
Select Low for < 20 feet mature height.
Select Low-Medium for low or medium mature height.
Select Medium for 20 to 40 feet mature height.
Select Medium-High for medium or high mature height.
Select High for > 40 feet mature height
The typical life span of a good tree in a suburban neighborhood is 30 to 50 years, while downtown trees may only last 5 to 10 years. People tend to plant fast-growing trees that often have fairly short lives. While some of this is all right, homeowners and communities should also plant trees that might grow slower (though some grow quite fast) but that are longer-lived.
Select Low for less than 25 years typical life span.
Select Medium for 25 to 50 years typical life span.
Select High for more than 50 years typical life span.
Only very short trees should be planted under or directly adjacent to overhead electric lines. Medium height trees should be offset 15 to 20 feet horizontally from electric lines. Large trees should be offset 30 feet. Wider crowned trees like elms or maples should be offset more than narrower crowned trees like spruces or firs. If you suspect that you are planting in an area with underground electric lines or other buried utilities, call Blue Stakes at 1-800-662-4111 to have utilities located and marked. "Yes" in this database means a tree is suitable for planting directly under powerlines. "No" means it is not. However, even a species that gets a "No" may have small-maturing cultivars available.
Crown shape varies considerably by cultivar and sometimes by site. The common crown shape for a species is shown as follows: Pyramidal, Round, Columnar, Weeping, Broad, Oval, Vase, Layered, Shrubby, and Irregular.
Ornamental Features (return to top)
Ornamental characteristics are important factors in tree selection even though they usually have little to do with whether a tree can survive and thrive on its site. Ornamental factors to consider include flower and fruit presence and appearance, foliage color and texture, bark characteristics, shade density, fall color, and winter appearance. Some trees have thorns or spines, objectionable odors, a tendency to have basal or root sprouts, or maintenance-related needs that also should be considered. 'Yes' for these features means that a species is noted for a particular ornamental feature; 'No' means it is not, though there may be exceptions depending on cultivar.
Shade tolerant plants often are best planted in at least partial shade, though many will do well in full sun. Shade intolerant plants usually need full sun to thrive.
Select Low for low shade tolerance.
Select Low-Medium for low or medium shade tolerance.
Select Medium for medium shade tolerance.
Select Medium-High for medium or high shade tolerance.
Select High for high shade tolerance.
Generally means tolerance to salt on above ground plant surfaces, though may indicate some tolerance to soil salinity.
Select Low for low tolerance of salt.
Select Low-Medium for low or medium tolerance of salt.
Select Medium for medium tolerance of salt.
Select Medium-High for medium or high tolerance of salt.
Select High for high tolerance of salt.
Indicates the tree's tolerance of low soil moisture, heat and/or low humidity.
Select Low for low tolerance to drought.
Select Low-Medium for low or medium tolerance to drought.
Select Medium for medium tolerance to drought.
Select Medium-High for medium or high tolerance to drought.
Select High for high tolerance to drought.
Indicates the tree's tolerance to waterlogging, compaction, or otherwise poorly oxygenated soil.
Select Low for low tolerance to poor drainage.
Select Low-Medium for low or medium tolerance to poor drainage.
Select Medium for medium tolerance to poor drainage.
Select Medium-High for medium or high tolerance to poor drainage.
Select High for high tolerance to poor drainage.
Indicates the tree's tolerance of high soil pH or soil alkalinity; soil pH above 6.5 to 7.
Select Low for low tolerance to soil alkalinity.
Select Low-Medium for low or medium tolerance to soil alkalinity.
Select Medium for medium tolerance to soil alkalinity.
Select Medium-High for medium or high tolerance to soil alkalinity.
Select High for high tolerance to soil alkalinity.
This describes a tree's relative likelihood of transplanting success. A low ranking indicates a plant that may need extra care at planting and may do better if transplanted while fairly small.
Select Low for low transplanting difficulty.
Select Medium for medium transplanting difficulty.
Select High for high transplanting difficulty.
Obtaining Unusual Trees (return to top)
Many of the tree species mentioned here are not easy to get. Some nurseries and garden centers only stock the tried-and-true species and cultivars they've handled in the past and that they have great demand for. Others may stock a small selection of different or unusual plant material. Shop around to see who carries unusual plants. Make sure you look early in the season, since even those who carry unusual plants won't carry a lot of any one kind.
If you don't find something you want, or your needs are very specific, then ask a nursery if they'll order something for you. Make sure to allow plenty of lead-time. If you inquire about a specific tree in April wholesalers may be sold out. Also spring is a very busy time of year to be making special requests. If you can't get what you want locally, there are mail-order retail nurseries, many with web sites, that sell seedlings and saplings that can be shipped directly to you. Stay with nurseries that specialize in woody plants for best results.
USU Tree Browser, Version 2012
Tree Selection Website for Utah and the Intermountain West
Utah State University Extension, September 2014
Michael Kuhns, Extension Forestry Specialist and Lyle Holmgren, Extension Agent created this browser. Support for the project came from USU Extension Forestry; the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands; and USDA Forest Service State & Private Forestry. Special thanks to Meridith Perkins, JayDee Gunnell, Jerry Goodspeed, and Ben Harris for reviewing the Tree Browser.
Programming by Robert Holloway. Graphic design by Spencer Clayton.
Copyright © Utah State University Extension. All rights reserved.
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