The following trees are divided into families that can be purchased at most nurseries. The trees described are noted for their tolerance to low water conditions. Please remember that although trees may require lower amounts of water, they still require water. This is especially true when first planted and over the next two years while becoming established in the landscape.
Choosing a tree: selections for a low water use landscape.
Turkish filbert (Corylus colurna) - medium sized tree. Tolerates a wide variety of conditions including: high pH, moderate drought and fairly cold temperatures. Shade intolerant. Height at maturity: 20 -40 feet, closer to lower end of range.
Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) - large tree at maturity and one TreeUtah plants regularly where site size permits. Moderate growth rate, fairly drought tolerant and produces a beautiful full crown providing shade. Height at maturity: greater than 40 feet.
White oak (Quercus alba) - another large tree at maturity and should be planted more often. Similar to the Bur oak in drought tolerance but may be more difficult to find. Height at maturity: greater than 40 feet.
Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) - a large tree at maturity and a good one for a wide variety of landscapes. Adapted to moderate drought, heat, wind and high pH. TreeUtah has planted numerous hackberry's around the urban landscape with excellent results. Height at maturity: 40 feet+.
Japanese Zelkova ( Zelcova serrata) - looking for that american elm like shape? The Zelcova is the tree for you! Quite tolerant to drought and high soil pH. This tree has been planted more frequently around the Salt Lake Valley landscape. Height at maturity: greater than 40 feet.
Quininebush (Cowania mexicana) - usually shrubby but can reach 25 feet tall. It is very drought tolerant and browsed by wildlife. Difficult to find in nurseries but try Wildland Nursery in Joseph, Utah.Height at maturity: less than 20 feet.
Curlleaf Mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius) - although another difficult find in local nurseries, these small shrubby trees are native to Utah and perfect for a xeriscape landscape. Height at maturity: less than 20 feet.
Washington hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) - a small tree with interesting bark and pretty fruit, this tree is a good one for a variety of sites and is drought tolerant. TreeUTah has planted many Washington hawthorn in small sites with excellent success. Height at maturity: less than 20 feet.
Honey Mesquite (Prosopis juliflora) - here is another small, shrubby tree that tolerates heat, drought, high soil pH and is quite long lived. The pinnately compound leaf and long narrow seed pods make this a very interesting specimen in the landscape. Height at maturity: 20-40 feet.
Mimosa Silk Tree (Albizia julibrissin) - a medium size tree with incredible pink flowers and pinnately compound leaves that provide dappled shade in the garden. Plant in warmer locations. Tolerant of heat, dryness and high pH. Thinking of a honey locust, plant a mimosa instead! Height at maturity: 20 - 40 feet.
Honeylocust (Gledistia triacanthos) Although over planted in Utah, it is still the tree of choice among homeowners for its dappled shade, small leaves (not much to rake in fall) and adaptability to drought conditions. Height at maturity: greater than 40 feet.
Idaho flowering locust (Robinia x ambigua) - a medium size hybrid of the Black locust, this medium size tree adapts well to dry, hot conditions and produces lovely purple flowers in spring. This tree has thorns! Height at maturity: 20 -40 feet.
Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus) - a wonderful tree that grows large at maturity. TreeUtah has planted Coffeetrees around the valley including in front of our office. Excellent survival rate and moderately drought and heat tolerant. Gangly looking for the first few years, this tree grows to have a wide canopy. Height at maturity: greater than 40 feet.
Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis) Although a little difficult to obtain, these medium to large size trees are very drought tolerant and adaptable to a variety of soil conditions. What makes them more interesting are their compound leaves and good fall color. Height at maturity: 20 - 40 feet (closer to higher end of range).
Common Smoketree (Cotinus coggygria) - a small shrubby tree which can be pruned to a single trunk, this colorful fall tree is best planted in groups. It is somewhat drought tolerant and adaptable for a variety of sites, especially compact locations. Height at maturity: less than 20 feet.
Hedge Maple (Acer campestre) - a medium tree that TreeUtah has planted with great success. Fairly drought tolerant, easily suited to our soils and the urban landscape. Height at maturity - 20-40 feet (closer to lower range).
Velvet Ash (Fraxinus velutina) - this small to medium size tree would be a nice addition to the landscape as it adapts to dry, hot conditions. Height at maturity: greater than 40 feet
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) - there are several cultivars of this deciduous gymnosperm, native only to China and Japan. The Ginkgo does very well in the urban landscape tolerating pollution, compacted soils, heat and low water. The golden fall color is lovely and Ginkgos can get to be fairly large at maturity. Plus, the fan shaped leaves are interesting. Height at maturity: greater than 40 feet. (Some conifers are also more tolerant of low water use).
Bristlecone Pine (Pinus aristata) - long lived and slow growing, this pine can tolerant hot dry sites. TreeUtah has planted several around the valley with good success. Height at maturity: 20 - 40 feet.
Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis) - this native pine will do well on dry sites and provides tasty treats for wildlife. Height at maturity: 20 - 40 feet.`
Mugo Pin (Pinus mugo) - a shrubby tree, this selection should do well in a variety of conditions and low water. Remember to choose a dwarf mugo! Height at maturity: less than 20 feet but fairly wide spreading.
Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergiana) -a lovely tree with an irregular shape. Fairly drought tolerant and good for smaller sites. Height at maturity: 20 - 40 feet.
** Trees for the Intermountain West and Utah -Dr. Mike Kuhns, University Press