What kind of trees are in your yard? Go for diversity!


trees in bloomSpring is prime time for planting new trees. It gives them a long growing season to get settled into their new home.

But before you select a tree or two and start planting, weigh the expert advice of Keith Wood, urban and community forest manager for Colorado State Forest Service.

His number one recommendation is to plant a diversity of trees in your yard, throughout a neighborhood and within the community. Wood's wisdom, shared by all dedicated arborists, now applies more than ever to Colorado.

The invasion of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) into our state from the Midwest is already spreading. It is expected that this insect could be as devastating here as it has been further east where it has wiped out millions of ash trees in 30+ states.

EAB has radiated outward from the City of Boulder where it was first confirmed in 2013 to Longmont, Lafayette, Gunbarrel and Lyons. Ultimately, arborists anticipate it will kill many of the thousands of ash trees growing in our state. 

Whenever too many of the same type of tree are planted together, it's a set-up for problems with diseases and insects such as EAB. To avoid these issues, Wood recommends having no more than 10% of trees be the same variety. If one variety succumbs to pests or disease, there will be others reaching maturity to provide shade and to clean the air.

treesMore advice from Wood

  • Determine if you have ash trees growing in your yard and if so, assess the health of the trees this year.
  • Decide if you will treat the trees for protection from EAB or replace them sooner than later.
  • If you keep ash trees, be prepared for the possible loss of those trees down the road.
  • Avoid planting any ash species.
  • Select new trees that add to the diversity of species in your yard and neighborhood. 

With today, April 20, being Colorado's Arbor Day, it's a good time to take stock of the trees we already have and those we would like to have growing in our yards.

Get advice from CSU on great trees for Colorado: Recommend trees for Colorado Front Range communities


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