The Greater Wenatchee Arbor Day Committee of 2019 has selected seven species with smaller yards and more open spaces in mind.
We tend toward native species that will thrive in this area. We look for plants that will provide multi-season interest: flowers in spring, color in fall.
We look for plants that will attract pollinizers and produce fruit or seeds for wildlife.
Here are this year's selections:
Douglas-fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii, has a medium growth rate. Douglas-fir is used extensively as Christmas trees. It needs a well-drained soil for best growth and can reach mature heights of over 100 feet. Seeds are eaten by many species of birds, including crossbills, nuthatches and chickadees. Hawks and owls use it for roosting. (USDA zones 4-6)
Pinyon pine or two-needle pinyon, Pinus edulis, is a slow-growing, long-lived, 20- to 30-foot tree. It is extremely drought and cold tolerant, and adapted to a wide range of soils, moisture conditions and temperatures. Pinyon pine is perhaps known best for its pine nuts that the tree starts to produce around the age of 25 years. Pinyon pine are also popular as Christmas trees. The nutritious seeds are extremely important in the diet of a variety of birds including quail, wild turkeys, Clark's nutcracker, pinyon jays and the Western scrub jay. (USDA zones 4-8)
Engelmann Spruce, Pica engelmannii, is adapted to high elevations and has a slim, rapidly tapering crown that sheds heavy snow. This Idaho native prefers deep, loamy soils of high moisture content. Engelmann Spruce is generally greener than blue spruce, although specimens have been found that range from gray green to silver blue. It grows up to 150-feet tall and 20-feet wide. It is a slow-growing spruce that is used for reforestation and benefits birds as well as small and large mammals. (USDA zones 2-6)
Golden Currant, Ribes aureum, is a native shrub. This deciduous plant has many desirable characteristics: attractive form, height growth of 8 feet to 15 feet, yellow flowers early in spring, edible fruits, no thorns, drought tolerant, works well as a natural hedge, good wildlife browse and is excellent for soil stabilization. Grows best with moderate summer watering. It provides good cover for upland game birds and the edible fruits are eaten by an assortment of songbirds and small animals. Also browsed by big game. (USDA Zones 2-6)
Oakleaf Sumac, Rhus trilobata, is very drought tolerant. Growing 3 feet to 6 feet tall, it forms clumps and is suited to the outer rows of multiple-row windbreaks. The deep-green summer foliage changes to bronzy red in fall, and clusters of red fruit develop in late summer. It prefers a well-drained soil. It spreads by seed not by suckers. The shrubby growth provides cover for upland game birds, and small animals and songbirds eat the fruits. (USDA Zones 3-6)
Native Highbush Cranberry, Viburnum opulus, is an upright-growing shrub that can reach up to 12 feet in height with a spread of 8 feet. They are deciduous with pale white flowers transforming into lush edible red berries. The berries tend to hang on the branches well into the winter providing late food to wildlife when other resources are diminished. This hardy shrub has a growth rate of up to 3 feet per year. This species can be found in riparian zones to deep wooded sites. It can be frost tolerant and prefers moist well drained soils but can with stand small bouts of drought. (USDA Zones 3-7)
Douglas Maple (Rocky Mountain Maple), Acer glabrum, grows as a small deciduous tree or large or upright shrub. It can grow to 30 feet tall, and often with an upright growth habit. It is usually larger and more upright than Vine Maple (Acer circinatum), but smaller than Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum). Douglas Maple is adapted to grow in a wide variety of sites. It occurs in moist lowland sites to dry upland areas. It can be found growing in moderate shade as an understory species, or on very sunny exposed ridges. It provides beautiful fall color. (USDA Zones 3-7)
A WSU Master Gardeners of Chelan County column appears weekly in The Wenatchee World. Bonnie Orr is one of four columnists featured.