Trees for Central Washington

Washington is well known for its verdant forestlands; however, the center of our state is very different. The coulees, shrub-steppes and other high desert landscapes of central Washington are tough environments for trees. This leaves cities asking “what can I plant here?”

For purposes of this article, we are defining central Washington as Douglas, Lincoln, Adams, Franklin, Grant, Benton and Yakima counties, and similarly dry parts of adjacent counties.

The palette of trees for these counties is smaller than it is elsewhere in Washington, yet there are a great many species of ornamental trees that can thrive in central Washington cities and towns.

We’ve identified a short-list of species for central Washington that are arguably the hardiest. Remember that you’ll still have to water them, and please research these trees and their many cultivars to be sure that you’re planting the right tree in the right place.

Select the following trees for any tough site where a combination of heat, drought, pollution, poor soils or other less-than-optimal conditions exist:

Large trees: (>60′ tall)

London planetree (Platanus x acerifolia)

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus)

Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides)

Burr Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

Swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor)

Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum)

Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)

Medium Trees (30’- 60’ tall)

Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

Japanese pagodatree (Styphnolobium japonicum)

Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)

European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)

Red maple (Acer rubrum)

Turkish filbert (Corylus colurna)

Goldenraintree (Koelreuteria paniculata)

Austrian pine (Pinus nigra)

Small trees (<30’ tall)

Parrotia (Parrotia persica)

American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)

Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata)

Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis)

Japanese hornbeam (Carpinus japonica)

Amur Maackia (Maackia amurensis)

Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa)

Originally published in DNC Tree Link.