Best Trees to Plant in Montana: Top Choices for Your Landscape

Choosing the right trees to plant in Montana is essential for a thriving and beautiful landscape. The right trees can not only enhance the visual appeal of your property, but they can also provide numerous environmental benefits. However, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to make the right choice. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you select the best trees to plant in Montana.

In this article, we’ll explore a range of options suitable for Montana’s climate and landscape, taking into consideration factors such as hardiness, adaptability, and aesthetics. Whether you’re looking for cold-hardy evergreens, colorful deciduous trees, or fast-growing shade trees, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in!

Native Trees in Montana

When selecting trees to plant in Montana, it’s important to consider native species that are well adapted to the region’s climate and ecosystem. These trees have evolved to thrive in Montana’s unique conditions, and will generally require less maintenance than non-native species.

Here are some popular native tree species found in Montana:

Tree Species Description
Ponderosa Pine A large, long-lived pine tree with distinctive orange bark and long needles. It’s an important species in Montana’s forests and provides habitat for a variety of wildlife.
Rocky Mountain Maple A small to medium-sized tree with distinctive three-lobed leaves that turn a bright yellow in the fall. It’s a popular ornamental tree and is often planted in urban landscapes.

Other native tree species to consider for Montana include the Lodgepole Pine, the Englemann Spruce, and the Rocky Mountain Juniper.

Cold Hardy Trees for Montana

Montana’s frigid winters can be challenging for many tree species, but some are particularly well-suited to the cold. These trees can thrive in the state’s harsh climate, providing beauty and shade to your landscape all year round.

If you’re looking for cold-hardy trees to plant in Montana, consider the following:

Tree Species Hardiness Notes
White Spruce USDA zones 1-6 A tough evergreen with silvery-blue needles, found throughout Montana’s northern forests.
Paper Birch USDA zones 2-7 A deciduous tree with distinctive white bark, common in Montana’s river valleys and mountain slopes.
Tamarack USDA zones 2-6 An unusual conifer that sheds its needles in the fall, found in Montana’s high-elevation wetlands and bogs.
Siberian Elm USDA zones 2-7 A fast-growing, hardy tree with a broad, spreading canopy, often planted as a windbreak or shade tree.

These trees can withstand Montana’s cold temperatures, but it’s still important to provide adequate water and care during the growing season. With the right attention, they’ll thrive and beautify your landscape for years to come.

Evergreen Trees for Montana

Evergreen trees are a popular choice for Montana landscapes, as they provide year-round beauty and privacy. The following evergreen tree species are well-suited for Montana’s climate and soil:

Tree Species Height Hardiness Zone
Western Red Cedar 50-80 feet Zones 5-7
Douglas Fir 70-330 feet Zones 4-6
Colorado Blue Spruce 30-80 feet Zones 2-7

These trees are known for their hardiness and ability to thrive in Montana’s cold temperatures. The Western Red Cedar, for example, is a slow-growing but long-lived tree that can tolerate a range of soil types and moisture levels. The Douglas Fir, on the other hand, is one of the tallest trees in the world and is highly valued for its wood. The Colorado Blue Spruce is a striking tree with blue-green needles that can add a pop of color to any landscape.

When selecting evergreen trees for your Montana landscaping, consider factors such as the tree’s ultimate height and width, its growth rate, and its soil and moisture requirements. This will help ensure that the tree thrives in its new environment and enhances the beauty of your property for years to come.

Deciduous Trees for Montana

In addition to evergreens, deciduous trees can also add color and variety to the Montana landscape. These trees lose their leaves in the winter, but provide stunning fall foliage in shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Quaking Aspen

The Quaking Aspen is a popular deciduous tree in Montana, known for its striking golden leaves in the fall. It is also a hardy tree that has adapted well to Montana’s climate, withstanding both cold temperatures and drought conditions.

Pros Cons
Gorgeous fall foliage Can be susceptible to pests and diseases
Fast-growing Short lifespan (usually around 20-30 years)

Red Maple

The Red Maple is another popular deciduous tree in Montana, with leaves that turn a brilliant red in the fall. It is a versatile tree that can grow in a variety of soil types and tolerates both wet and dry conditions.

Pros Cons
Beautiful fall foliage Can be susceptible to diseases
Tolerates a variety of soil types and conditions Not as hardy as some other trees on this list

When choosing deciduous trees for your Montana landscape, consider factors such as fall foliage color, hardiness, and adaptability to different soil types and conditions.

Recommended Trees for Montana Landscaping

When it comes to creating a beautiful landscape in Montana, choosing the right trees is key. From native species to cold-hardy options, evergreens to deciduous trees, there are many choices to consider. Here are some highly recommended tree species to incorporate into your Montana landscaping:

Tree Species Type Key Features
Ponderosa Pine Native Tall, straight trunk with distinctive orange bark; long needles; provides shade and shelter for wildlife.
Bur Oak Recommended Large, spreading tree with deeply furrowed bark; broad, green leaves that turn yellow-brown in fall; tolerates a range of soils and environments.
Western Red Cedar Evergreen Tall, slender tree with reddish-brown bark; soft, fragrant leaves; provides privacy and wind protection.
Quaking Aspen Deciduous Small to medium-sized tree with white bark that “quakes” in the wind; heart-shaped leaves that turn bright yellow in fall; forms beautiful groves.
Colorado Blue Spruce Recommended Medium to large conifer with blue-green needles; dense, pyramidal shape; makes a striking focal point in the landscape.
Paper Birch Cold-Hardy Tall, narrow tree with stark white bark that peels in thin, papery sheets; delicate, heart-shaped leaves that turn bright yellow in fall; thrives in cold, wet environments.

Remember to consider your specific needs and preferences when selecting trees for your Montana landscape. Whether you prioritize hardiness, aesthetics, or a mix of both, there are many options to choose from that will thrive in Montana’s unique climate and ecosystem.

Fast-Growing Trees for Montana

When it comes to planting trees in Montana, fast-growing species are a popular choice for many homeowners. These trees provide quick shade and privacy, and they can help fill gaps in your landscape.

Here are some fast-growing trees that are well-suited for Montana:

Tree Species Growth Rate Hardiness Zone
Eastern Cottonwood 3-8 feet per year Zones 3-9
Hybrid Poplar 5-8 feet per year Zones 3-9
Silver Maple 2-5 feet per year Zones 3-9

It’s important to note that fast-growing trees often have weaker wood and shorter lifespans than slower-growing, hardier species. Consider these factors when choosing which trees to plant in your landscape.

Overall, while fast-growing trees may not last as long, they can provide a quick and easy solution for filling in gaps in your landscape and providing privacy and shade.

Drought-Tolerant Trees for Montana

Montana is no stranger to drought conditions, which means it’s important to choose trees that can thrive in dry spells. Thankfully, there are many tree species that have adapted to survive in drought conditions, making them ideal choices for Montana landscapes.

The Amur Maple is a stunning tree that can tolerate drought and cold temperatures. Its leaves turn a vibrant red in the fall, making it a beautiful addition to any landscape. Another great option is the Russian Hawthorn, a small tree that produces white flowers and red berries and can tolerate periods of drought.

Tree Species Drought Tolerance
Amur Maple High
Russian Hawthorn High

The Honeylocust is another great choice for Montana, as it is both drought-tolerant and cold-hardy. It produces beautiful yellow leaves in the fall and can grow up to 70 feet tall. The Goldenraintree is another drought-tolerant option that produces beautiful yellow flowers in the summer months.

Tree Species Drought Tolerance
Honeylocust High
Goldenraintree High

When selecting trees for a Montana landscape, it’s important to consider the occasional dry spells that can occur. Choosing drought-tolerant trees like the Amur Maple, Russian Hawthorn, Honeylocust, and Goldenraintree can help ensure the success and sustainability of your landscape.


Choosing the right trees for your Montana landscape is essential for creating a beautiful and functional outdoor space. As we’ve explored in this article, there are several factors to consider when selecting trees, such as hardiness, adaptability, and aesthetic preferences.

Native trees are always a great option, as they are well adapted to the Montana climate and ecosystem. Cold-hardy trees like the White Spruce and the Paper Birch can also thrive in harsh winter conditions. Evergreen trees like the Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir offer year-round appeal, while deciduous trees like the Quaking Aspen and Red Maple provide stunning fall foliage.

If you’re looking for specific recommendations for your Montana landscaping, consider trees like the Bur Oak and Colorado Blue Spruce. Fast-growing trees like the Eastern Cottonwood and Hybrid Poplar can provide quick shade and privacy, while drought-tolerant trees like the Russian Hawthorn and Amur Maple can withstand dry spells.

Choose Wisely

Whatever trees you decide to plant in Montana, make sure to choose wisely and do your research. With the right trees in your landscape, you can enjoy a beautiful and functional outdoor space for years to come.


Q: Why is it important to choose the right trees for Montana’s climate and landscape?

A: Choosing the right trees for Montana is crucial because they need to be able to withstand the cold temperatures and harsh winter conditions. Additionally, selecting trees that are well adapted to the Montana climate and ecosystem ensures their long-term survival and enhances the overall aesthetics of your landscape.

Q: What are some popular native trees in Montana?

A: Some popular native trees in Montana include the Ponderosa Pine and the Rocky Mountain Maple. These trees are well adapted to the Montana climate and provide various benefits, such as wildlife habitat and erosion control.

Q: Can you recommend cold hardy trees for Montana?

A: Certainly! Some cold hardy trees for Montana include the White Spruce and the Paper Birch. These trees can withstand the cold temperatures and harsh winter conditions that Montana experiences.

Q: What are some recommended evergreen trees for Montana?

A: There are several beautiful evergreen trees that thrive in Montana, such as the Western Red Cedar and the Douglas Fir. These trees provide year-round greenery and enhance the visual appeal of your landscape.

Q: Are there any deciduous trees that do well in Montana?

A: Absolutely! Deciduous trees like the Quaking Aspen and the Red Maple thrive in Montana and add stunning fall foliage colors to the landscape. These trees provide a beautiful contrast to the evergreens and create a vibrant and dynamic environment.

Q: What are some highly recommended trees for Montana landscaping?

A: Some highly recommended trees for landscaping in Montana include the Bur Oak and the Colorado Blue Spruce. These trees offer a mix of beauty, hardiness, and adaptability, making them ideal choices for Montana landscapes.

Q: Can you suggest fast-growing trees for Montana?

A: Certainly! Fast-growing trees like the Eastern Cottonwood and the Hybrid Poplar are popular choices for quick shade and privacy in Montana. These trees can provide significant growth within a short span of time.

Q: Are there any drought-tolerant trees that can thrive in Montana?

A: Absolutely! Trees like the Russian Hawthorn and the Amur Maple are known for their ability to thrive in drought conditions, making them excellent choices for Montana’s occasional dry spells. These trees can withstand periods of reduced water availability while maintaining their health and beauty.