Selecting an appropriate species of tree is the first step in growing a healthy tree with strong roots. However, healthy trees are not immune from injury. It was the dense growth habit of evergreen trees that made them more vulnerable during the recent storm, compared to sparse deciduous trees without their leaves.
Tree experts at Utah State University developed an excellent resource for selecting trees called the USU Tree Browser (www.treebrowser.org). The most important factors to consider when selecting a tree are cold hardiness and mature size, which can be sorted by the Tree Browser. Residents in the valleys of the Wasatch Front should look for trees with a hardiness zone of 5 or lower. Trees should be planted at least half of the mature width away from buildings and structures.
Experts at USU also recommend residents avoid the temptation of “fast growing” trees because they are also “fast dying.” In general, trees that are not cold hardy, along with fast growing trees like poplar and elm have more problems with pests, and tend to have weak wood susceptible to breaking during wind and snow storms. The USU Tree browser also lists trees for sites with poor drainage, and trees appropriate to grow beneath power lines.
More information on tree selection can be found online at extension.usu.edu, or at local county Extension offices. The Davis County Extension office is located on the second floor of the Farmington Courthouse at 28 East State Street.