New book on trees that flourish in Colorado released by CSU Extension

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Just as the spring planting season gets into full swing in Colorado, a new book has been released about what kind of trees flourish in the Rocky Mountain region. “Dependable Landscape Trees” by CSU Professor of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture James Klett and graduate student Sarah Shaub is an invaluable resource for both home owners and the green industry.

Klett and Shaub provide a comprehensive list of deciduous and evergreen trees evaluated at the CSU Arboretum at the W.D. Holley Plant Environmental Research Center. Each plant evaluation is based on data collected between 1997 and 2012 and each plant included in the book was evaluated for at least 10 years. Plants at the Arboretum are evaluated on characteristics related to aesthetic value, plant health, insect and disease problems, and cultural and maintenance problems.

“Most books on trees focus on those found in the Midwest and on the East Coast,” said Klett. “This is the only book of its kind that focuses on the often difficult growing conditions found in Colorado.”

In addition to photographs of most of the trees featured in the book, readers will find general characteristics, a summary of the main ornamental features of each tree, and performance measures. The book also contains several appendices which list the trees by flower color, fruit color, landscape uses, mature size and fall color. Some of the trees still under evaluation are listed only in the appendices because they did not meet the 10-year criteria.

Part of what makes the book so useful and unique is that it serves as both a resource for casual gardeners and professionals who run nurseries and landscape companies.

“With a list of 225 trees, accompanied by color photos, ‘Dependable Landscape Trees’ provides valuable information in a clear, comprehensive format that is useful for both homeowners and professionals,” said Keith Williamson of Little Valley Wholesale Nursery in Brighton. “The book also addresses the growing need for diversity in our urban forests in order to combat the potential loss of tree species from diseases or introduced pests such as the emerald ash borer.”

Although the emerald ash borer has not been found in Fort Collins, its presence in Boulder makes addressing ash trees especially important.

“We want people to understand both the risks and benefits of planting ash trees,” Klett said. “We also want to make sure that they know what other options they have for planting trees.”

The book is available through the CSU Extension Resource Center and can be found online at