Tuesday 10: The Trees of Fort Collins

Fort Collins is feeling green this week. Between the spring rains and warmer weather, the trees finally have their leaves back. My wife and I are enjoying the weather (when it doesn’t rain) by sitting on our back porch watching the sunlight shimmer on the leaves of the cottonwoods across the field that backs to our house. Trees are an important part of this city’s beauty.

Fort Collins has the status of Tree City USA. That’s not our secret name known only by locals. It’s a designation given by the Arbor Day foundation for communities that meet their four core standards. Fort Collins is among 3,400 Tree City USA communities that demonstrate extra commitment to caring for and managing their public trees. Around the city, you can find some of the largest trees in the state named “Champions” by the Colorado Tree Coalition.

Here are 10 special trees to seek out in Fort Collins:

1. Giant Sequioa – Spring Creek Gardens – 2145 S Centre Ave – After seeing this tree, I tried convincing my wife we needed one in the yard. She said no. At 25’ tall, the tree would eventually dwarf our house. http://www.fcgov.com/gardens/

2. Bur Oak- Library Park – 207 Peterson St- We have an oak in our yard, planted when my favorite youngest daughter brought it home from 5th grade and it looks like a twig in comparison this tree. 81’ tall, 6th largest in CO.

3. Blue Spruce – Grandview Cemetery – 1900 W Mountain Ave – When planning our landscaping, my wife requested that we plant a blue spruce. It was her mother’s favorite tree. Our spruce aspires to these heights by growing a little each year. 5th largest in CO, 95’ tall.

4. Lanceleaf Cottonwood – City Park – 1715 W Mountain – Next time you walk around city park, keep your eyes open for a giant cottonwood tree. Chances are it’s this one. CO State Champion, 98’ tall. http://www.fcgov.com/forestry/tree-tour.php

5. Tulip Tree – 1106 W Oak St – Tulip trees have flowers that superficially resemble, yes, tulips. 4th largest in CO, 69’ high.

6. Littleleaf Linden – 1311 S College – The Linden tree is a sign of summer at our house. When we open the office windows and smell a sweet perfume, we know it’s blooming. The tree on College is the 2nd largest in CO and probably smells strong enough to treat the entire neighborhood.

7. Paperbark Maple – 109 W Olive St – Paperbark Maples are native to central China not Colorado, but this tree seems happy enough. CO State Champion, 16’ tall.

8. Gingko – SW corner of College & Mulberry – This tree won’t treat any illnesses outside of a lack of fresh air, but it is beautiful landmark near the Goodtimes Restaurant. 4th largest in CO, 27’ tall.

9. Japanese Tree Lilac – Trial Gardens – Remington St NW corner, parallel to College Ave – When the lilacs bloom, even Baci stops to smell (errr…pee on) the bushes. The Japanese tree lilac has the same wonderful scent and blooms around June.

10. Streets of Fort Collins – Many of the east-west streets in Fort Collins were named for trees or shrubs back in the 1800’s including Linden, Willow, Cherry, Maple, and Oak. http://history.fcgov.com/archive/newsflashback/street.php

For the full tour of notable Fort Collins trees click here.

What is your favorite tree?

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