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Spring Planting Guide for the Denver Metro

Green Garden

Colorado Tree & Perennial Planting Tips & Guidelines

Planting trees and perennials in the Denver Metro area requires consideration of Colorado’s climate, soil conditions, and the specific needs of the plants you're working with. Here are some general guidelines for planting trees and perennials in Colorado.


In a climate like Colorado, timing can be everything when planting. If you plant too soon in the Spring or late in the fall, you risk the change of frost, and planting too late can mean unfavorable temperatures that are too hot for unestablished plants and trees.

Trees: The best time to plant trees in Denver Metro is typically in the early spring, March 15th to June 15th, or late fall, September 1st to October 15th. This allows the tree to establish its roots before the heat of summer or the cold of winter sets in.

Perennials: Perennials can be planted in both spring and fall. Spring planting allows them to establish before summer heat, while fall planting gives them a head start before winter dormancy. Spring is the most popular time of year to plant.

Soil Preparation

Denver Metro soil can be sandy or clay-like, often with alkaline pH. Before planting, it's essential to prepare the soil by amending it with organic matter like compost to improve its structure and fertility.

Ensure good drainage, especially for trees, as they can suffer from root rot if the soil becomes waterlogged.


Consider the specific requirements of the trees and perennials you're planting, including sunlight, soil type, and moisture levels. Some plants may prefer full sun, while others thrive in partial shade.

Choose a location that provides adequate space for the plants to grow to their mature size without overcrowding.

Another component to consider is the elevation requirements needed for plants as well. While some plants might thrive in Denver proper, they might struggle in Colorado’s high plains or mountains.

Planting Technique

Dig a hole for the tree or perennial that is at least twice as wide as the root ball and slightly shallower than the depth of the root ball.

Loosen the roots of container-grown plants gently before planting to encourage them to spread out into the surrounding soil.

Backfill the hole with soil, gently firming it around the roots to remove air pockets. Air pockets can restrict the movement of water around the plant or tree.

Water the newly planted tree or perennial thoroughly to help settle the soil and encourage root establishment.

Mulching and Watering

Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the tree or perennial to help retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds.

Water newly planted trees and perennials regularly, especially during the first growing season, to ensure they establish a healthy root system. Deep, infrequent watering is generally preferred over frequent, shallow watering.

Proper Maintenance

Monitor the plants for signs of stress, such as wilting or yellowing leaves, and adjust watering as needed.

Prune trees and perennials as necessary to remove dead or damaged branches and promote healthy growth.

Fertilize trees and perennials according to their specific needs, typically in spring or fall.

By following these guidelines and considering the unique characteristics of the plants and the Denver Metro area, you can increase the likelihood of successful tree and perennial establishment and growth.

Colorful Flowers

Colorado Garden Planting Tips & Guidelines

Spring Onions

When planning a spring garden in the Denver Metro area, it's essential to consider the soil conditions, climate, elevation, and frost dates. Here's a general garden planting guide for spring in Denver Metro:


Know Your Frost Dates

The last frost date in Denver Metro typically falls around early May. To avoid damage to tender plants, it's crucial to keep this in mind when planning your planting schedule.


Prepare Your Soil

Before planting, ensure your soil is well-drained and enriched with organic matter like compost. Denver's soil tends to be alkaline, so adding organic material can help balance pH levels.


Choose Cool-Season Vegetables

Spring is an excellent time to plant cool-season crops that thrive in cooler temperatures. These include:


Leafy Greens: Lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, and Swiss chard.

Root Vegetables: Carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, and potatoes.

Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale.

Peas: Snap peas, snow peas, and shelling peas.

Herbs: Cilantro, parsley, chives, and dill.

Start Seeds Indoors: Some warm-season crops benefit from starting indoors before transplanting outdoors after the last frost. These include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and certain herbs like basil.


Consider Perennials

Spring is also a good time to plant perennial herbs, flowers, and fruits that will return year after year. These might include strawberries, rhubarb, asparagus, and perennial herbs like thyme, sage, and oregano.


Provide Adequate Watering

In Denver Metro's arid climate, it's crucial to water your plants regularly, especially during dry spells. Consider using mulch around plants to help retain moisture in the soil.


Protect from Late Frosts

Be prepared to protect your tender plants if late frosts threaten. Covering them with cloths or using row covers can help shield them from frost damage.


Rotate Crops

To prevent soil depletion and pest buildup, practice crop rotation by planting different types of vegetables in different areas of your garden each year.


Monitor for Pests and Diseases

Watch for common pests and diseases that may affect your plants, such as aphids, caterpillars, and fungal infections. Early detection can help prevent significant damage. Releasing ladybugs at night on plants such as raspberry bushes can decrease the damage caused by aphids, as they are a food source for the ladybugs.


Harvest Regularly

As your plants mature, harvest them regularly to encourage continued production and to enjoy fresh, homegrown produce throughout the season.

Following and adapting these guidelines to your specific garden space and preferences can create a successful spring garden in the Denver Metro area. 

Is your yard ready for spring? Learn how to prepare your yard for spring with our easy to follow-steps. 

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