Selecting trees for Colorado landscapes can seem daunting, mostly due to the weather extremes that the trees must endure in the state. Evergreen trees, especially conifers or needle-leaf evergreens, are generally well-adapted to harsher cold climates, however. Depending on the space you have in your landscape and whether you want an evergreen tree to plant as an individual specimen or as part of a hedge, you’ll likely find a fast-growing tree that’s perfect for your Colorado lawn.
Douglas-Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
The Douglas-fir tree is a conical-shaped evergreen that reaches 60 feet in height with a 20-foot spread. Enjoying moderate soil moisture, this is a versatile evergreen tree with a fast growth rate. A native Colorado tree, the Douglas-fir is extremely adaptable to many different soil types and is very cold-tolerant. Also, this evergreen tree has interesting cones surrounded by bracts that resemble mouse tails.
Spartan Chinese Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’)
The Spartan juniper is a fast-growing evergreen tree that’s appropriate for smaller yards, growing to only 12 feet tall and 5 feet wide. You can also plant several of these junipers to create a tall hedge or privacy screen. This Chinese juniper variety requires little moisture and grows into a conical shape with dense green foliage.
Southwestern White Pine (Pinus strobiformis)
The southwestern white pine is a broadly column-shaped tree that reaches 40 feet in height and 20 feet in spread, with bluish-green needles and beautiful, large cones. Also a Colorado native, the southwestern white pine grows at a medium to fast rate and requires low to moderate moisture.
Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)
The eastern white pine is similar to the southwestern white pine, but it grows up to 50 feet tall and has more moderate moisture demands. Also, the eastern white pine is not native to Colorado and has more horizontal branches. You’ll need to plant this tree in a protected location, where it isn’t open to high winds and severe weather.
Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
The Norway spruce is also a broadly column-shaped evergreen that grows up to 50 feet tall and 25 feet wide, but it has short green needles and higher moisture demands. You’ll likely need to water this fast-growing evergreen tree to supplement rainfall. The Norway spruce’s branches weep or droop as it matures.
Cupressina Spruce (Picea abies ‘Cupressina’)
A cultivated variety of the Norway spruce tree, the Cupressina spruce is a smaller tree with a narrower but still column-like shape. This spruce grows to only 15 feet in height and 5 feet in width, making it appropriate for smaller spaces or for creating hedges and privacy screens. The Cupressina is a fast-growing evergreen that easily endures heavy snowfalls, but it has moderate to high moisture demands.
Moderately-Growing Colorado Evergreens
Some other choices, which aren’t quite as fast-growing but are great for Colorado landscapes, include the white fir (Abies concolor), the limber pine (Pinus flexilis), the Bosnian pine (P. heldreichii var. leucodermis), the mugo pine (P. mugo), the Austrian pine (P. nigra), the ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa), the Scotch pine (P. sylvestris), the white spruce (Picea glauca), the Colorado spruce (Picea pungens), and the Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens glauca).