Table of Contents
The types of evergreen trees found in Montana are the ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, white spruce, mountain hemlock, alpine larch, Engelmann spruce, grand fir, limber pine, lodgepole pine, subalpine fir, western hemlock, western larch, western white pine, juniper, and mugo pine.
Majestic Ponderosa Pines
The ponderosa pine is the official state tree of Montana. This imposing pine can grow over 150 feet tall.
Ponderosas thrive in southeastern Montana from Big Timber east.
They also grow across western Montana. The ponderosa gets its name from the puzzle-like pattern of orange and black bark on its trunk.
This bark exfoliates in plates, providing winter interest.
Ponderosa pines have long, dense needles grouped in bundles of two or three.
They provide dappled shade below their irregular, spreading crowns.
These pines tolerate dry conditions, making them ideal for xeriscaping.
Rugged Douglas Firs
Douglas firs are pyramidal evergreens native to Montana’s mountains. They grow up to 100 feet tall, with trunk diameters over 3 feet.
The short, flat, soft needles and cones of the Douglas fir provide food for a variety of birds and small mammals.
Douglas fir bark becomes thick and deeply furrowed with age.
This striking russet-brown bark contrasts beautifully with the blue-green needles.
Douglas firs thrive in well-drained but moist soils.
They work well as windbreaks and privacy screens.
Shade-Loving White Spruces
The conical white spruce is a Montana native found in montane forests.
It grows well on moist, well-drained soils. White spruces can reach 80 feet tall at maturity.
Their short blue-green needles give off a pleasant scent when crushed.
White spruce branches spread out horizontally, forming a dense oval crown.
The pendulous cones add decorative interest.
White spruce provides cooling shade, making it ideal for planting on the south or west side of a home.
It also works well as a windbreak tree.
Rugged Mountain Hemlocks
The mountain hemlock thrives in cold, wet mountain habitats in western Montana.
This slow-growing but long-lived tree reaches up to 80 feet tall.
The short, flattened, deep green needles completely encircle the twigs, giving the tree a lush appearance.
In winter, the hemlock’s drooping topmost branches hold the snow, creating a magical effect.
The mountain hemlock transplants well if given adequate moisture. It adds texture and interest to landscapes.
Native evergreen trees like the ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, white spruce, and mountain hemlock perfectly suit Montana’s climate.
They provide year-round greenery, screening, and wildlife habitat.
When planning your landscape, be sure to choose evergreens native to the region to create an authentic sense of place.