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Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
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I am looking for a fast-growing deciduous shade tree that can

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I am looking for a fast-growing deciduous shade tree that can survive at 9120 feet elevation in the Rockies, about 40 miles west of Denver (Black Hawk). Potential issues are high winds in winter/spring (70 MPH or more) and temps dipping to -20 or a tad more.
I've got plenty of aspens, but would like something else in my front yard to shade the house from the often-brutal afternoon summer sun. Birch, Maple, Poplar? Please recommend, based on the environment I've described.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.

Unfortunately, the conditions you live in are the most difficult in which to grow deciduous trees. There are many that would survive the temperatures, but deciduous trees don't do too well at such a high altitude, and 70 mph winds can damage and take down trees at any altitude. That being said, you may be able to grow choke cherry, Russian hawthorn, and maple trees. The choke cherry and hawthorn don't get very tall, but would provide some shade for a one-story house. . When dealing with maples, avoid the silver maples. Their soft wood breaks easily in winds. Though it won't kill the tree, you'd be constantly picking up and cutting up branches. Most maples are not what would be called fast-growing, but are also not among the slowest. You are very limited in your choices, and besides the aspen, there are no fast-growing trees recommended for your conditions. The following site has recommended trees for various altitudes. You may be able to successfully grow some of those suited for up to 9000 feet, such as the cottonwood.

The next link will take you to a nursery that specializes in trees for high altitudes. The trees they sell are grown under harsh conditions, and that makes them more likely to survive under similar conditions. You may want to consult them before buying.

If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I wish you success in your tree-growing.


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