Conservation Trees And Shrubs For Montana - NRCS

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Conservation Treesand Shrubs forMontanaMontanamt.nrcs.usda.gov

IntroductionWhen you are contemplating which tree or shrub species to plant, your first thought might be, “Will this plant thrivehere?” You will want to know if the plant will tolerate the temperatures, moisture, and soil conditions of the area.This publication focuses on identifying and describing trees and shrubs capable of tolerating Montana’s severe climaticand environmental conditions, the site conditions where they are best adapted to grow, and some of the benefitseach tree and shrub provides. When looking at each of the provided attributes, consider these two points. First,these characteristics and traits are approximations, and variability within a species is quite common. Second, plantperformance varies over time as a plant grows and matures. For example, even “drought tolerant” species requireadequate moisture until their root systems become well established.Landowners and managers, homeowners, and others plant trees and shrubs for many reasons, including: windbreaksfor livestock protection and crop production, shelterbelts for homes and farmsteads to reduce wind speed and conserveenergy usage, living snow fences to trap and manage snow, hedgerows as visual and noise screens, landscaping forbeautification around homes and parks, wildlife habitat and food, blossoms for pollinators such as bees, streamsideand wetland restoration, reforestation following timber harvest or wildfire, and fruit and berries for human use to namejust a few.Montana encompasses 93.3 million acres with temperature extremes ranging from -50 degrees F in northeastMontana, to 110 degrees F in summer in southcentral Montana. Annual precipitation varies from more than 60 inchesin northwest Montana to six inches in the desertic basin of southcentral Montana. Soils also vary considerably acrossthe state from deep loams and subirrigated soils with high organic matter to soils with high salinity or low water holdingcapacity, and everything in between. Because Montana is so variable in its climatic and soil conditions affecting plantgrowth, this publication outlines the factors to consider when selecting trees and shrubs for your needs and location.This publication is best used before or while developing a tree or shrub conservation planting plan. The ideal speciescan then be selected to achieve the desired conservation goal. For example, not only are the soil and climate factorsimportant, but be sure to consider the 20-year height and crown width when calculating the between and within rowspacing of a shelterbelt or windbreak. Also note that only species native within the borders of Montana are classified asnative in this publication and species that are regulated by Montana state noxious weed law are not included.When saline soils are mentioned, it refers primarily to high amounts of calcium and magnesium salts in the soil water.Alkaline soils refer to soils with a high pH versus soils which are acidic, with a low pH. Most soils in Montana are slightlyalkaline or neutral, although pH extremes do exist.Design requires some degree of expertise, and numerous publications, videos, and professionals are available to assistyou. Please note it is important to begin the planning process early, maybe a year or more in advance of planting! Sitepreparation, plant availability, construction schedules, and other factors often require substantial lead time.Trees and shrubs provide tremendous diversity, beauty, and benefits to an already beautiful Montana landscape.Please contact your local NRCS and Conservation District office, County Extension office, or state of Montana DNRCurban forester if you have any questions about designing a tree planting or selecting and ordering the appropriate treesor shrubs for your particular need.Common Problems:DroughtIndividual trees vary widely in their resistance to drought. However, in years of low rainfall, many tree species can besubstantially weakened or killed by drought. Deciduous trees appear to die from the top down, have small, off-coloredleaves, and narrow growth rings. Conifers generally die from the bottom up when subjected to drought. Drought andany factor that weakens a tree may allow invasion by many secondary fungi and insects.Conservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana2

Leaf ScorchWhen adequate temperature and moisture suddenly turns hot and dry, leaf scorch may occur. Affected trees generallyhave yellow or brown leaf edges. The affected leaves may remain on the tree or the leaves may drop early. Wateringduring hot, dry weather may prevent or alleviate this problem.Fall freeze damagePlants still growing actively in the fall may be damaged by unseasonably cold periods. This damage occurs before theplant has moved into its winter rest as indicated by development of fall color and normal leaf drop. Frozen leaves oftenhang on the tree until spring. This may cuase little to no damage or kill the entire tree.Planting trees and shrubs adapted to the climate is very important. Also, allowing trees to grow at a slower rate by notpushing them with fertilizer and excessive watering can minimize winter freeze damage.Winter freeze damageChinooks (warm winter winds) may cause winter thaw periods wherein daytime temperatures exceed 60 F for severaldays at a time. Non-adapted trees may begin growing again as though it was spring, only to succumb to winter injurywhen temperatures drop again. In such cases, only the main trunk and scaffold branches may be viable in the spring.Planting species adapted to changing Montana conditions can lessen chances of winter freeze damage. Marginallyhardy species should be planted in protected locations. Examples of protected locations include the north side of ahouse or the interior of an established shelterbelt.Winter desiccationWinter desiccation is most common with evergreens. Winter sun and wind cause water loss from the needles, whileroots are in frozen soil and unable to replace this water. The usual symptom is purpling or death of needles on thewindward side or on the side facing the afternoon sun. Such symptoms may be more severe in newly transplantedtrees that have not established a good root system. Late fall and winter watering can minimize winter desiccation.SunscaldBark on the southwest side of tree trunks may be killed by sunscald. Sunscald occurs when bark warms and thaws inthe afternoon sun, then refreezes when nighttime temperatures drop rapidly.Damage is most common on the darker-colored, smooth-barked trees such as mountainash, apple, and maple. Treewraps can help prevent sunscald. Planting in a site that is shaded in the winter is recommended for susceptible trees.Frost crackingFrost cracking is caused by extremely rapid temperature changes in bark and wood. As with sunscald, the bark andwood on the sunny side of the tree warms during the day. If a cold front moves in with a dramatic drop in temperature(i.e., from 30 F to -20 F in a very short period of time), uneven contraction of the wood causes a crack to form suddenly.Sometimes the crack sounds like a gun shot. Damage is most common in hardwood plants such as green ash. Frostcracking is not common and trees usually heal the cracks with few repercussions.Mountain bluebirdmale. Bluebirdsuse limber pine andother trees withcavities created bywoodpeckersConservation Trees and Shrubs for MontanaCanker on lodgepolepine. Cankers arecaused by fungalinfections3

Deciduous ShrubsAlmond, Russian(Prunus tenella)20-Year Height: 4 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: upright, suckeringDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: excellent nesting and food source for birdsFlowers: abundant, pink to rose, blooms just before leaves emergeOther: prefers loamy soils, introduced speciesBuffaloberry, Silver(Shepherdia argentea)20-Year Height: 10 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: loosely branched, thornyDrought Resistance: excellentWildlife Value: ideal cover, nesting and browse; good late winterfood sourceDisease: stem decay, branch cankerOther: well-adapted to dry, moderately saline soils, heavy clay andsubirrigated soils; red berries used for jellies; fixes nitrogen; thicketforming, native speciesCaragana(Caragana arborescens)20-Year Height: 12 feetGrowth Rate: rapidGrowth Habit: erect, oval shrubDrought Resistance: excellentWildlife Value: used for nestingFlowers: small, showy, yellowPests: blister beetlesDisease: stem decay, leaf spot and branch cankersOther: produces pods with multiple seeds, excellent for windbreaks, tolerantof slightly saline soils, introduced speciesCherry, Nanking(Prunus tomentosa)20-Year Height: 7 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: upright, semi-spreadingDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: fruit for songbirds, browseFlowers: small, pinkDisease: branch cankerOther: prefers loamy soils; short-lived, but will usually sprout back; excellentfruit for pies and jellies; introduced speciesConservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana4

Deciduous ShrubsChokeberry, Black(Aronia melanocarpa)20-Year Height: 6 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: medium size; multi-stemmed; suckering; shiny, green foliageDrought Resistance: fairWildlife Value: excellent food for birds, pollinator friendlyFlowers: white followed by persistent black fruitPests: tent caterpillarSoils: adaptable to varying soil conditionsOther: tolerates low, wet areas; introduced speciesChokecherry, Common(Prunus virginiana)20-Year Height: 10 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: oval to rounded, suckeringDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: excellent for food and coverFlowers: creamy whitePests: tent caterpillarDisease: “western” x-disease, black knot, stem decayOther: purple leaf varieties available, adapted to wide variety of soils, fruits forjellies, orange fall foliage, foliage can be poisonous to livestock, native speciesCinquefoil, Shrubby(Dasiphora fruticosa)20-Year Height: 3 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: hardy and flowers throughout most of the seasonDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: good nesting cover, pollinator friendlyFlowers: yellow or creamy-whiteSoils: adaptable to soils with high pHOther: popular for its floral display, many cultivated varieties available, nativespeciesCotoneaster, Centennial(Cotoneaster integerrimus)20-Year Height: 10 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: spreading, open and upright, arching branchesDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: fruit attracts birdsFlowers: pinkish-whitePests: pear slug, deer will browseDisease: fireblightOther: well-adapted to dry, moderately alkaline soils; showy red berries; redfall foliage; should not be planted near crab apples; introduced speciesConservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana5

Deciduous ShrubsCurrant, Golden(Ribes aureum)20-Year Height: 6 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: upright, spreadingDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: roosting, loafing, nesting and food for birdsFlowers: fragrant, golden-yellowPests: currant wormDisease: anthracnose, leafspots, white pine blister rust hostOther: berries used fresh for jelly, tolerant of slightly saline soils,native speciesDogwood, Redosier(Cornus sericea)20-Year Height: 7 feetGrowth Rate: rapidGrowth Habit: loose and rounded, many stemsDrought Resistance: poorWildlife Value: dense cover and food sourceFlowers: creamyDisease: twig blightOther: dark, blood-red bark provides winter color; best adapted tosubirrigated or seasonally wet areas; native speciesHoneysuckle, Blueleaf(Lonicera korolkowii)20-Year Height: 8 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: spreadingDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: nesting and foodFlowers: yellow-pinkOther: plant only Russian-aphid-resistant cultivars, tolerant of slightly salinesoils, introduced speciesLilac, Common(Syringa vulgaris)20-Year Height: 8 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: upright, many-stemmed, suckeringDrought Resistance: excellentWildlife Value: little value for fruit or browse, good songbird nesting, highlypreferred by leafcutter beesFlowers: white to purple, fragrant and showyPests: lilac borerDisease: powdery mildewOther: introduced speciesConservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana6

Deciduous ShrubsMahogany, Curl-Leaf Mountain(Cercocarpus ledifolius)20-Year Height: 9 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: shiny, deep green, narrow foliage with grey barkDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: good food source and coverSoils: very tolerant of limy and shallow soilsOther: very sun and heat tolerant, can grow on limestone rock outcrop, nativespeciesNinebark(Physocarpus malvaceus)20-Year Height: 8 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: coarseDrought Resistance: fairWildlife Value: good cover and food, pollinator friendlyFlowers: whiteSoils: handles a variety of soil typesOther: shreddy-looking bark, purple leaf varieties available, fruits forjellies, native speciesPlum, American(Prunus americana)20-Year Height: 10 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: round-headed crown, suckers freelyDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: important for nesting, loafing, browse and foodFlowers: white flowers before leaf outPests: prairie tent caterpillarDisease: stem decay, branch cankers, black knot, plum pocketsOther: thorny, winter-hardy, thicket-forming, edible fruit, nativeRose, Woods’(Rosa woodsii)20-Year Height: 6 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: stems upright, semi- weepingDrought Resistance: fairWildlife Value: excellent food source, nesting and coverFlowers: showy, pinkOther: fruit referred to as a rose hip is a source of Vitamin C, nativespeciesConservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana7

Deciduous ShrubsSagebrush, Silver(Artemisia cana)20-Year Height: 4 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: low growing and sproutsDrought Resistance: excellentWildlife Value: good nesting and browseFlowers: small, yellowOther: good tolerance of alkaline soils, native speciesSandcherry, Western(Prunus pumila var. besseyi)20-Year Height: 4 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: open, spreadingDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: good loafing, food source and browseFlowers: whiteDisease: leaf curl, black knot, fireblightOther: relatively short-lived, fruit for pies and jellies, native species in extremeeastern MontanaServiceberry, Saskatoon(Amelanchier alnifolia)20-Year Height: 10 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: upright, can grow into a small treeDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: high quality cover and food, excellent browseFlowers: whiteOther: nutritious fruit used fresh, frozen or processed; red-orange fallfoliage; native speciesSilverberry(Elaeagnus commutata)20-Year Height: 6 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: narrow, upright, suckers profuselyDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: dense thickets and food sourcePests: subject to damage by rabbitsDisease: branch cankersOther: silver-white leaves, excellent erosion control, tolerant ofslightly saline soils, native speciesConservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana8

Deciduous ShrubsSnowberry, Common and Western(Symphoricarpos spp.)20-Year Height: 4 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: oval to round, suckeringDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: nesting and thermal coverFlowers: light pinkOther: very hardy, excellent for erosion control, fruit bright white and can bepoisonous, tolerant of slightly saline soils, native speciesSumac, Skunkbush(Rhus trilobata)20-Year Height: 8 feetGrowth Rate: slowGrowth Habit: ascending, new branchlets hairyDrought Resistance: excellentWildlife Value: fall and winter food for birds, deer browseFlowers: light yellowOther: scented leaves, yellow-orange to red fall foliage; prefers welldrained soils, tolerant of slightly saline soils, native speciesWillow, Narrowleaf(Salix exigua)20-Year Height: 10 feetGrowth Rate: rapidGrowth Habit: upright, vigorous suckeringDrought Resistance: poorWildlife Value: excellent for riparian habitat improvementPests: leaf beetlesOther: aggressive suckering provides excellent streambank stabilization, alsocalled coyote willow, native speciesConservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana9

Small Deciduous TreesBuckeye, Ohio(Aesculus glabra)20-Year Height: 20 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: small tree with oval to rounded crown; somewhat structurallyweak under heavy snow loadsDrought Resistance: poorWildlife Value: nuts eaten by squirrelsFlowers: terminal, candle-like, greenish-yellow flowersPests: susceptible to leaf scorchOther: prefers full sun; yellow-orange to red fall foliage; dark brown, glossy,inedible fruit with light brown ovule or buckeye; introduced speciesCrab apple, Siberian(Malus baccata)20-Year Height: 15 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: round to spreadingDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: cover, fruit and browseFlowers: whitePests: cankerworm, apple maggotDisease: fireblight, cedar-apple rust, apple scab, cankerOther: needs well-drained, moist soil and protection from sun; introducedspeciesHawthorn, Arnold(Crataegus X anomala [intricata X mollis])20-Year Height: 16 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: upright to horizontal, symmetricalDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: nesting, food and browseFlowers: white with a disagreeable odorOther: tolerates urban pollution, has large thorns, bright orange-red fruit,introduced speciesHawthorn, Black(Crataegus douglasii)20-Year Height: 16 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: small tree with thorny branches, produces black berriesDrought Resistance: fairWildlife Value: nesting and food for birds, excellent cover for mammalsDisease: susceptible to cedar-apple and other rusts, causing somedisfiguration of the leaves, but not limiting its usefulnessOther: native speciesConservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana10

Small Deciduous TreesMaple, Amur(Acer ginnala)20-Year Height: 15 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: multi-stemmedDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: browse, fair coverFlowers: light yellowOther: adaptable to a variety of soils, except alkaline; sensitive to phenoxyherbicides; outstanding bright reddish fall colors; introduced speciesPear, Chinese(Pyrus ussuriensis)20-Year Height: 20 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: white flowers, semi-glossy foliage and dense rounded crown,often branching low to the groundDrought Resistance: fairWildlife Value: pollinator friendly, good nesting and coverFlowers: pink fading to white, does not fully bloom until 10 years oldPests: rabbit girdling and deer browsingSoils: does not tolerate saline soilsOther: small, hard fruit that may be used for jams and jellies; introducedspeciesConservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana11

Medium/Tall Deciduous TreesAsh, Green(Fraxinus pennsylvanica)20-Year Height: 18 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: usually a single trunk, oval to elliptical crownDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: nesting sitePests: cankerworms, ash plant bugs, ash borers (emerald ash borer not inMontana as of the date of publication)Disease: stem decay, branch and twig cankers, anthracnose, leaf rust, ashyellowsOther: can withstand flooding for short periods of time, yellow fall foliage,native speciesAspen, Quaking(Populus tremuloides)20-Year Height: 25 feetGrowth Rate: rapidGrowth Habit: upright with sparse crownDrought Resistance: fairWildlife Value: browse, nesting and thermal cover; excellent for cavity nestingbirdsDisease: leaf spot, wetwood, stem canker and decayOther: numerous root sprouts, preferred browse, beautiful yellow fall foliagewith some clones turning orange or red, native speciesBirch, Paper(Betula papyriferia)20-Year Height: 25 feetGrowth Rate: rapidGrowth Habit: narrow, thin canopy allows other plants to grow below, shallowrooted, usually a single trunk, European species has drooping branchesDrought Resistance: poorWildlife Value: good for sapsuckers; bird nesting; deer, elk, moose browsePests: bronze birch borerDisease: various fungi or bacteria can enter through woundsOther: prefers moist, well-drained soils, blazing yellow fall foliage, 10 yearold trees have white bark, prefers long winters and mild summers, prune inlate summer or fall to avoid heavy sap flow, branches break easily, nativeBoxelder(Acer negundo)20-Year Height: 18 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: trunk commonly divides into several wide-spreading branchesforming an irregular crownDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: nesting siteDisease: stem decayOther: sap used to make syrup, highly sensitive to phenoxyherbicides, boxelder bugs associated with this tree are a nuisance topeople, native speciesConservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana12

Medium/Tall Deciduous TreesCottonwood, Black(Populus trichocarpa)20-Year Height: 45 feetGrowth Rate: rapidGrowth Habit: largest of our cottonwoods, with heavy limbsDrought Resistance: poorWildlife Value: excellent perch and denning treeSoils: requires moist site with seasonal water tableDisease: cankersOther: native along streams west of the Continental Divide, and east of Dividealong mountain and foothill streams; can be messy during seed dispersionCottonwood, Narrowleaf(Populus angustifolia)20-Year Height: 45 feetGrowth Rate: rapidGrowth Habit: medium to large tree with heavy limbs and narrow leavesDrought Resistance: poorWildlife Value: excellent perch, den and nest treeSoils: requires a moist site with seasonal water tableDisease: cankersOther: native along mountainous streams east of the Continental Divide, canbe messy during seed dispersionCottonwood, Plains(Populus deltoides)20-Year Height: 40 feetGrowth Rate: rapidGrowth Habit: large tree, upright, branches spread to form an open crownDrought Resistance: fairWildlife Value: browsePests: aphids, gall mite, leaf beetlesSoils: requires a moist siteDisease: leaf rust, leaf spot and canker, wetwood, stem decayOther: tolerant of slightly saline soils, native species with both male andfemale flowers borne on separate trees, can be messy during seed dispersion,Robusta cottonwood (Populus robusta) is a cottonless hybrid male tree varietyElm, Siberian(Ulmus pumila)20-Year Height: 25 feetGrowth Rate: rapidGrowth Habit: open with several ascending branches, brittle wood is subjectto breakageDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: nesting sitesPests: cankerwormDisease: canker, wetwoodOther: highly sensitive to phenoxy herbicides, introduced speciesConservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana13

Medium/Tall Deciduous TreesHackberry, Common(Celtis occidentalis)20-Year Height: 15 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: single trunk, broadening crownDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: excellent, dark purple fruit used by birds and mammalsPests: commonly damaged by browsing rodents, rabbits and deerOther: good replacement for the elm because of its similar form andadaptability, somewhat tolerant to alkaline soils, introduced species, native toNorth DakotaHoneylocust(Gleditsia triacanthos)20-Year Height: 20 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: develops a deep tap root, suckersDrought Resistance: fairWildlife Value: food and nesting sites for birdsDisease: relatively disease free but can develop a cankerOther: thorns present, thornless varieties, fine compound leaves,legume seed pods larger than in black locust and twist when drying,fixes nitrogen, invasive in some states, introducedLinden, American(Tilia americana)20-Year Height: 25 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: large stature, aromatic flowers, oval canopy, provides shadeDrought Resistance: poorWildlife Value: good den tree, pea-sized fruit is good for birdsSoils: deep, fertile, well-drained loam and clay soilsOther: can tolerate flooding, very pollinator-friendly and the upright branchestolerate snow loads, ‘basswood’ is another common name, leaves and flowersedible, introduced species, bright yellow fall foliageLocust, Black(Robinia pseudoacacia)20-Year Height: 25 feetGrowth Rate: rapidGrowth Habit: tall, single-stemmed tree; form is upright oval that becomesirregular with age, suckersDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: good pollinator tree, seed pods provide food for birdsPests: black locust borer and leaf minerDisease: heartwood decayOther: used in reclamation plantings; legume family, fixes nitrogen; toleratesdry, infertile soils; two thorns present at the base of leaf stalks; invasive insome states, introduced speciesConservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana14

Medium/Tall Deciduous TreesOak, Bur(Quercus macrocarpa)20-Year Height: 18 feetGrowth Rate: moderate, slow initially until roots establishedGrowth Habit: stout branches, informal spreading to roundedDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: excellent food and coverPests: commonly damaged by rodents, rabbits and deerDisease: leaf and twig anthracnose, leaf curl, stem decayOther: long-lived tree with deep taproot, native species to the southeastcorner of MontanaPoplar, White(Populus alba)20-Year Height: 25 feetGrowth Rate: rapidGrowth Habit: upright with strong, spreading branchesDrought Resistance: goodPests: poplar borer, carpenter wormDisease: stem and branch cankersWildlife Value: browse, fair nestingOther: numerous root sprouts, can ruin foundations and sewer pipes,confused with silver maple because of maple-shaped leaves, silver poplaris another common name, can be messy during seed dispersion, introducedspeciesWalnut, Black(Juglans nigra)20-Year Height: 16 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: medium-size tree with large, rounded and somewhat opencrownDrought Resistance: fairWildlife Value: good food for mammals, good nesting for birdsSoils: prefers moist well-drained soils, sensitive to soil conditionsOther: heartwood is used for veneer and furniture, select hardy seed sources,produces edible nuts, introduced speciesWillow, Golden(Salix alba)20-Year Height: 25 feetGrowth Rate: rapidGrowth Habit: large, spreading to round crown; includes ‘weeping willow’varieties with drooping branches and varieties with more ascending branchesDrought Resistance: fairWildlife Value: provides cover, browsePests: aphidsDisease: stem rot, watermark disease, anthracnoseOther: branches shed easily, ‘golden willow’ name refers to the yellow-goldcolored young stems, also called ‘white willow’ alluding to the white color of theleaf underside, can be invasive along waterways, introduced speciesConservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana15

ConifersFir, Douglas (Rocky Mountain)(Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca)20-Year Height: 15 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: open, pyramidalDrought Resistance: fairWildlife Value: good nesting sites for birdsPests: Douglas fir beetle, deer browse and rubbing, sprucebudworm; dwarf mistletoe west of the divide; Cooley spruce galladelgidDisease: heartwood decay, Rhabdocline needle castOther: tolerates alkaline soils, not a true fir, has pointed buds, nativespeciesJuniper, Rocky Mountain(Juniperus scopulorum)20-Year Height: 12 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: dense, pyramidal, upward-reaching branchesDrought Resistance: excellentWildlife Value: excellent food, nesting and coverPests: spider mitesDisease: cedar-apple rust, tip blightOther: should not be planted near crab apples, serviceberries, currants orhawthorns; native speciesLarch, Siberian(Larix sibirica)20-Year Height: 16 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: large, pyramidal, deciduous conifer with spreading, horizontalbranchesDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: good nesting for birdsPests: cankerwormSoils: adapted to acidic soils ( 7 pH)Other: cold-hardy tree, needles turn attractive yellow and are shed each year,introduced speciesLarch, Western(Larix occidentalis)20-Year Height: 17 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: large, pyramidal, deciduous; spreading, horizontal branchesDrought Resistance: fairWildlife Value: good nesting for birdsPests: larch casebearer and larch sawflyDisease: root disease, larch dwarf mistletoe, needle blight, needlecastSoils: adapted to acidic soils ( 7 pH)Other: valuable commercial tree, needles turn yellow and are shedeach fall, tamarack is a common name used by locals, native west ofthe Continental DivideConservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana16

ConifersPine, Austrian(Pinus nigra)20-Year Height: 17 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: pyramidal shape, mid-length needles, denseDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: good nesting for birds, provides cover for mammalsDisease: susceptible to Dothistroma needle blight and Lophodermium needlecastSoils: very adaptable to many soil types from heavy clay to sandy soilsOther: two needles per bundle, can handle smog, introduced speciesPine, Limber(Pinus flexilis)20-Year Height: 10 feetGrowth Rate: slowGrowth Habit: open crownDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: good nesting for birdsPests: white pine blister rustOther: five needles per bundle, pitchy cones, large seeds preferredby birds and people, native speciesPine, Lodgepole(Pinus contorta)20-Year Height: 17 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: lightly branched, uprightDrought Resistance: fairWildlife Value: nesting and thermal coverPests: pine beetleDisease: dwarf mistletoe, needle cast, Comandra blister rust, western gall rustOther: two needles per bundle, grows best on moist loams, native speciesPine, Ponderosa(Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa & var. scopulorum)20-Year Height: 17 feetGrowth Rate: moderateGrowth Habit: pyramidal when youngDrought Resistance: good, most drought tolerant pineWildlife Value: Food and nesting for birdsPests: tip moth, sawfly, pine needle scale, aphids, pine beetleDisease: needle cast, western gall rustOther: usually three needles per bundle (sometimes two with var. scopulorum,which occurs east of the Continental Divide), two varieties in Montana (west ofContinental Divide is var. ponderosa), causes abortion in cows, mature barkyellow with vanilla smell, tolerates alkaline soils, native speciesConservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana17

ConifersPine, Scotch(Pinus sylvestris)20-Year Height: 17 feetGrowth Rate: moderate to rapidGrowth Habit: rounded and openDrought Resistance: goodWildlife Value: nesting and winter coverPests: tip moth

mt.nrcs.usda.gov. Conservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana. Montana. Conservation Trees and Shrubs for Montana 2. Introduction. When you are contemplating which tree or shrub species to plant, your first thought might be, “Will this plant thrive here?” You will want to know if the plant will tolerate the temperatures, moisture, and soil .

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