Trees for Sheridan

Are you looking to plant a new tree? Are you curious what trees grow in our area? In our Trees for Sheridan guide you will find a list of potential trees that can grow in the Sheridan area. The guide also provides detailed information on each tree’s growth habits and preferences. 

The success of any tree comes down to planting the right tree in the right place. Planting trees around homes, sidewalks, cars and people makes tree selection all the more important. To help match a tree to your potential planting spot we’ve placed our different species into size classes (small, medium and large) and broken them into the categories of conifer (needle bearing) and broad-leaf (leaf bearing).

Below is a more detailed description of how to use the Trees for Sheridan guide. A quick, simplified version of the guide can be found in our Trees of Sheridan Brochure. Diversifying our community forest is a major goal of the City of Sheridan Community Forestry program. While this list is a good jumping off point, there are many more species that could be planted in Sheridan. We would love to hear your feedback on any trees that you feel should be added to the list!

Indexical Information:
Trees are organized into six categories, based on how tall they get and whether they are broadleaf or coniferous. Within each category, trees are organized alphabetically by their scientific name.
There are 105 separate entries in this guide, representing 86 unique species and 28 genus. In some cases, the same species is listed multiple times because particular varieties belongs to several size classes, or a cultivar is especially notable.
All trees are appropriate to plant somewhere in Sheridan or the greater Sheridan area, but this list is not comprehensive, nor a guarantee that every tree will survive in every location. For best results, contact a local nursery or arborist and follow the planting guidelines suggested here.

Ideal Location:

Soil type preference: How well a soil drains is impacted by what type of soil a site has. The three basic soils types are sandy, clay-y, or loamy (a good mix of sand and clay). Most plants prefer loam, but unfortunately, most Wyoming soils are heavy in clay. It’s possible to amend soil with compost or mulch to make it loamier. There are several basic tests you can look up to figure out how well your soil drains and whether it is more sandy, loamy, or clay-y.

pH preference: pH is how acidic (low pH) or alkaline (high pH) the soil is. Most trees prefer pHs close to 7.0, which is neutral, but tolerate soils which are a bit more acidic or alkaline than this. pH can affect the nutrient uptake of plants. For example, many maples struggle in alkaline soils, because they cannot uptake enough iron. Wyoming soils tend to be somewhat alkaline, unless they are in places where pine trees have dropped many needles over the years. It is possible to amend soil to make it more acidic or basic, but it is usually not necessary to do this for Wyoming trees.
Trees on this list are unlikely to survive out of their ideal pH range.

Moisture preference: Moisture refers to how wet the soil is usually. Swamps, for example, are wet sites, and often hillsides are dry. This is also impacted by how well an area drains. Clay soils trap water and have poor drainage, while sandier soils have better drainage.
Some trees can withstand occasional drought, so a very hot week in the middle of summer won’t bring them down, but they still require that the soil usually has enough water. Most trees require supplemental water during their first year after planting, even drought-tolerant trees. Once established, they can survive much longer periods without supplemental water.
Wyoming soils tend to be dry and rocky. Mulch can help dry soils hang onto water.

Light preference: Full sun generally refers to places which get six or more hours of direct sunlight a day; part sun/part shade refers to places which get four to six hours of direct sunlight a day, and shade refers to places which get less than four hours of direct sunlight a day. The south sides of homes tend to be sunnier, while north sides are shady. Eastern approaches get morning sun, and western sides usually get evening sun.

Salt tolerance: There are two types of salt: salt in the soil, and salt spray. Salt in the soil is built up over time, because of consistent salt spray from roads or other salt deposits. Most Wyoming soils are not very salty. Salt spray in Wyoming is usually a result of roads in the winter, which are salted to melt ice. Trees planted by roadsides may need to be tolerant of salt spray.

Pest susceptibility and tolerance: ‘Pest susceptibility’ is pests this tree may be food for; tolerance usually means that the tree is susceptible to the pest, but less than other, similar species. For example, River Birch (Betula nigra) tolerates Bronze Birch Borer, relative to Europen white birches. However, it is still susceptible -- BBB could infect a stressed out River Birch, but it’s less likely to kill it than a white birch.
In most cases, the pests mentioned in this guide are potential problems, but are unlikely to kill the tree. They may be a good place to start if your tree appears to be suffering from pest problems.

  • Leaf Blotch / Leaf Spot: A fungus that causes brownish spots on leaves; damage is usually mostly aesthetic. Keep plants dry and healthy and remove litter from around the tree to avoid leaf blotch.
  • Aphids: An insect pest. Damage is usually mostly aesthetic.
    Leaf Miner: An insect pest that defoliates trees. Damage is usually mostly aesthetic.
  • Leafhopper: An insect pest that defoliates trees. Damage is usually mostly aesthetic.
  • Twig Blight: Tips of branches become brown and eventually die. Many pests can cause blight. Avoid it by keeping your tree healthy. Blight may be pruned out.
  • Mites: Arthropods that eat chlorophyll, causing leaf spots and perhaps killing leaves. Water, natural predators, and organic controls can be used to get rid of mites.
  • Birch Leafminer: An insect which eats birch leaves, causing them to brown. Damage is mostly aesthetic, but may make tree more susceptible to other pests. Keep tree healthy and use insecticides to control leafminers.
  • Borers: A variety of insects which live inside or under the bark of a tree. Some may be deadly, while some may only cause aesthetic damage.
  • Bark beetles: An insect that eats the inner bark of trees. Bark beetles can spread and encourage other pests and cause tree decline. Avoid bark beetles by keeping your tree healthy.
  • Hackberry Nipple Gall: Insects which cause small welts, usually on the underside of leaves. An aesthetic problem, but unlikely to damage the tree.
  • Sawfly:  An insect which lays its eggs in leaves, destroying new growth. The damage is primarily aesthetic, but can eventually weaken or kill a tree. Keep trees healthy and manually destroy sawflies to avoid this.
  • Budworm: Insects which kill new growth of several species of evergreen. Populations are usually controlled by natural enemies and weather patterns. Keep your tree healthy to avoid budworms.

  • Apple Scab: A fungus which causes black spots on leaves, fruit, or buds. Damage is mostly aesthetic, but will negatively impact fruit harvest.
  • Rust Diseases: Fungi which move between two different host species. Keep trees healthy, prune out galls, and remove litter from around trees to avoid rust diseases.
  • White Pine Blister Rusts: A fungus which infects the inner bark of native pine trees, causing cankers and brown needles. If caught early, can be pruned out.
  • Powdery Mildew: A white fungus which kills the leaves of trees. Destroy leaves, avoid overhead watering, or use a fungicide to control powdery mildew.
  • Verticillium Wilt: A fungus that attacks the ability of the tree to move water and nutrients around, causing branches to droop and eventually die. Keep your tree healthy and prune out infected branches with a sterilized pruner. Verticillium wilt may kill stressed trees.
  • Witch’s Broom: Many twigs shooting out from a singular point. May be caused by a pest, but may just arise naturally. An aesthetic problem, but unlikely to cause serious damage to the tree.
  • Needle cast: A fungus that kills the needles of a tree, turning them black or red. Usually an aesthetic problem that does not seriously damage the tree. Keep your tree healthy to avoid needle cast.
  • Iron chlorosis: A condition in which plants cannot uptake enough nutrients because of too-alkaline soils.
  • Canker: A tree-blister; an area on the bark of a tree that has been killed by fungus, bacteria, or injuries to the bark. Avoid cankers by keeping your tree healthy.
  • Leaf scorch: Browning around the edges of a leaf, caused by inability to transport enough water to the leaves when conditions are too dry or windy. Plant your tree in a protected location or irrigate to avoid leaf scorch.
  • Root Rot: Decayed roots, usually due to poor drainage and too much water in the soil. Causes yellow leaves and tree death. To avoid root rot, do not overwater and plant your tree in a dry enough location.

Notable foliage and flower characteristics: 

  •  Height and Spread: Height and spread refer to size in cultivation; often trees in the wild get bigger than trees in urban or semi-urban environments. Growth rate varies depending on conditions, but generally, ‘slow’ means that a tree grows 12 inches or less a year, medium means a tree grows 13-24 inches per year, and fast means a tree grows 25 inches or more per year. Fast growing trees tend to have weaker wood, and may break more easily. 
  • Form:  ‘Form’ refers to how the canopy of a tree looks, and may also include info about what the tree is useful for. ‘Specimen’ means a special or focal point tree; ‘shade’ is useful for shade, ‘street trees’ are appropriate to literally be planted along sidewalks.

The forms used in this guide include:

  • Round: The canopy is near-circular.
  • Oval: The canopy is taller than it is wide, but slopes roughly evenly towards the top and bottom of the tree.
  • Vase: The canopy is taller than it is wide, but is wider near the top of the foliage than near the bottom.
  • Teardrop: The canopy is taller than it is wide, but is wider near the bottom of the foliage than near the top. Often quite similar to ‘pyramidal’.
  • Spreading: The canopy is wider than it is tall. Often also quite round on top.Pictures of the different shapes of trees
  • Columnar: The canopy is very narrow and cylindrical; oft
  • en flat on top.
  • Fastigiate: Fastigiate refers to branches which are almost parallel to the main trunk, creating a very narrow canopy.
  • Weeping: Branches slope down, possibly touching the ground.
  • Pyramidal: The bottom of the foliage is wider than the top; the sides are fairly straight and come to a point at the top.
  • Conical: Similar to pyramidal, but narrower.
  • Irregular: Branches are uneven and do not form one symmetrical form.
  • Open: Trunks and branches are visible because foliage is sparse.

Native status and zone: Zone refers to cold tolerance and the general climate. The vast majority of Sheridan is in Zone 4; particularly protected locations might be Zone 5 and exposed, windy, cold places or locations in the mountains might be Zone 3 or below. If a species is tolerant of, for example, Zone 3, it is likely to also be tolerant of higher zones. Ask a certified arborist before planting a tree that is Zone 5 or above.
Native trees tend to have less serious pest problems than non-native trees, are more helpful for wildlife, and may require less upkeep than exotic trees. Consider planting natives when possible.

Other information: A cultivar is a variety of tree which has been selected and propagated for its desirable characteristics.

Example photograph: When possible, this is a picture of a tree already established in the Sheridan area.