Colorado is known for its fall aspens, but those tend to turn color and finish up by the first week of October. In Colorado Springs, our in-town color doesn’t really start kicking in in earnest until about that same time. So we get a nice long season of fall color most years. 

I’ve posted many times about the plants that are blooming in the park throughout the spring and summer seasons, but I’ve never really given a list of the trees that one can see in the north part of the park (the more “natural” part of the park where I concentrate my plant watching efforts). After a group of about thirty gathered for my annual tree walk early last month, I promised a list of the trees, so here we go….



Douglas Fir in happier times in MVP


A few year ago I wrote a post about the trees we were losing to drought in Monument Valley Park in Colorado  Springs (see “What Severe Drought is Looking Like in Monument Valley Park”).  The drought and its effects have been harsh enough for us to even lose some of the super drought tolerant ponderosa pines that have lived in the park for years. We’ve had a bit more moisture the past year (including this past winter – yay!), but we are going to see the effects of the drought for many more years – especially on our older, established trees.

One tree species particularly hard hit has been the beautiful Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii). I started noticing they weren’t producing many cones a few years back, and then I started to notice browning of needles on branch tips, then whole branches started to die, and finally, entire trees were dead.

This continues, and recently the city seems to have found some funding to cut some of the dead trees down.


Group of Dead Douglas Firs Being Cut Down (check out that sky!)


The Douglas fir is native to the foothills in the Pikes Peak region and is classified as a low-to-moderate water user. Sadly, I predict within a few years, we won’t have any more of them living in the park.


Postcard with Nevada Ave Median Trees (courtesy of Pikes Peak Library District)

Anyone driving through Colorado Springs might be very surprised to learn that we (supposedly) take pride in being a “Tree City USA.” Some of our oldest trees have suffered at our hands, and the current urban forest is looking quite bleak in places. (more…)