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Alaska Guide to Growing Trees

Alaska is a beautiful place to live, but it can also be challenging because of the harsh winters and unpredictable weather patterns, certain plants don’t do well there. However, not all hope is lost! Your Alaska home deserves a beautiful garden of trees in every season, so we put together this guide to help you grow your own. Below are some helpful suggestions to get you started.
Trees in Alaska

The Best Flowering Trees to Grow in Alaska

Bloodgood Japanese Maple

One of the most well-adapted trees in Alaska is the Japanese Maple. It can survive shade and excessive heat, which means it's perfect for use in Anchorage gardens while also adding a vibrant splash of color to landscapes during the spring and summer months. Landscapers love its striking shape because, at any spot where you place it against flower beds or grass, it stands out well from everything else around it. The Japanese Maple is known for its longevity. It can provide months of great visuals without losing leaves quickly, making it a beautiful addition to any small space that would not otherwise fit a tree.

Planting & Care

Plant your Japanese Maple in soil that drains well and provides at least 4 hours of sunlight (8 hours is better). Keep it shaded when the temperature is too high or if you have a lot of afternoon sun. Dig a hole that's slightly larger than the root ball, backfill, water, and then mulch these plants. Remember that these trees will need more attention during hot summer months with an average amount of up to 7 gallons per week for most varieties. Japanese Maples tolerate low-nutrient conditions and perform well in your yard or garden. You can fertilize the tree when you first plant it, applying a balanced complete fertilizer around 2 to 3 weeks before the leaves sprout. The tree should be firmly established after two to three years of growth. You may trim this Japanese Maple at any desired height during its second spring season.

Douglas Fir Trees

Douglas Fir trees are popular and easy to grow in Alaskan conditions. They can reach 200 feet high with a 3-5 foot diameter but are also resistant to harsh weather like cold temperatures and strong winds. Plant a Douglas Fir to create an everlasting legacy. Living for centuries, this majestic tree serves as a loyal counterbalance and provides substantial ecology in Alaska’s varying climates, with temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 Celsius).

Planting & Care

Select a spot in your yard for planting that gets at least 6 hours of sun each day. Drainage is also important, so well-drained soil is ideal. Dig a hole the size of the root ball and place it there. Fill with loose soil and push down on the roots to make sure they're fully buried beneath it. You should water your new tree immediately after planting, but don't soak the ground. To establish your tree during the summer months you may need to water it 1-4 times each month. Your tree will require about 20 inches of water per year on average, so rainfall or a particularly dry period in which there is no rain should work as long as this is not at all extreme. For an aesthetically pleasing flowering tree, it’s hard to beat Douglas fir. These beautiful evergreen trees are resistant to drought and disease and require no fertilizers. Simply plant it in your yard with the few inches below the trunk removed, then watch as this gorgeous tree grows!

The Best Shade Trees in Alaska

Hybrid Poplar Tree

One of the most appealing shade trees is the Superior Hybrid Poplar. These trees are fast-growing and can add thousands of dollars to a property's value by providing beauty in any yard. The hybrid poplar tree has an attractive oval shape that will fit any lawn area nicely. These trees can grow up to 8 feet in a single year, so you might be able to strategically plant them to block the sun from your house during the summer. When it's winter they drop their leaves and let sunlight through when it's needed most.

Planting & Care

When planting a hybrid Poplar tree, it is important to first select an area with good sunlight and well-drained soil. Dig your hole two times bigger than the roots, position your tree in this new hole, and cover up those roots entirely with dirt. Make sure the water settles into the ground belly deep and then add not only some mulch for added soil moisture but also to keep those competing plants away from your newly planted territory. To get the best results, trees should be watered liberally for their first year. Areas close to lakes or other wet areas don't need more than one watering (throughout the year) because flooding is common; fertilize trees regularly, and prune them as needed. If weeds are present in the yard, avoid using herbicides or insecticides, mop up with a weed sword instead.

Young's Weeping Birch

A weeping birch is a distinctive landscape tree that adds character and style to both modern and traditional landscapes. The asymmetrical branches, dark green foliage, and umbrella-shaped canopy make the Weeping Birch an excellent choice for landscapers who are planning on a special forest scene. The Young's Weeping Birch provides striking visual drama (between spring through fall) with unique drooping foliage that turns from bright yellow to rich shades of gold by autumn - truly stunning! One of the key features of this tree is how little space it needs. It only grows 8-10 feet tall and 15 feet wide, making it perfect for small spaces or under power lines. This tree is easy to grow and performs best in zones 2-7 - Young's Weeping birch prefers full sun and moist soil but can tolerate a variety of climates. Another great quality is that they are not particular about what type of earth you give them, as long as it's not too polluted by civilization.

Planting & Care

Your Young’s Weeping Birch prefers full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Plant in a hole twice the diameter of the root ball but just as deep, and cover with mulch to protect roots. Water deeply when it first settles in, checking the soil 3 inches down for dryness. The trees have no pruning needs, but you can cut them back outside the growing season if they are aiming. It also does not need fertilizing unless it will be planted in a very poor location.

The Best Fruit Trees in Alaska

American Cranberry

Deciduous, maintenance-free, adaptable, and attractive, deciduous American Cranberry bushes make excellent privacy screens that thrive in almost any landscape. Commonly native to North America where it grows up to 6 feet tall and wide in rows for a vivid look of green all year long. Cranberries are bacteria-blocking and disease-fighting foods that boost oral health and reduce the risk of cancer. Besides being a mouth-watering treat, Cranberries are an inexpensive decoration option for the fall and winter holidays. The rich green leaves of the cranberry plant give any ornament a festive touch!

Planting & Care

After choosing an appropriate area for the plant (the transplant should thrive in soil with a pH level of 6.6 to 7.5), dig a hole 3 times as wide and just as deep as the pots your cabbage came in. Make sure to remove the plant from its container before you transplant it, then comb out any tangles with your fingers and position it upright. After planting your tree, make sure the roots are not being flooded with water. Apply 3-4 inches of mulch to the plant area and around the trunk, and use a soil test kit to adjust pH levels if necessary. American cranberries don't require fertilizer to thrive, but a small amount can be used during periods of heat and drought or when the leaves start to fade in color. Compost is a good option as it contains little nitrogen for plants which would make them flower too much. American cranberries require very little pruning, but for a more vigorous plant that will be less prone to winterkill, it is best to prune plants after they are done blooming in the Fall and before the following Spring.

Honeycrisp Apple Tree

Crisp, crunchy apples grown at home are hard to beat. Honeycrisps became popular in stores and while they're undeniably delicious, nothing compares to the flavor of your homegrown fruits when given enough time. With a Honeycrisp apple tree from Alaska Guide, that's resistant against cold spells -30 degrees cold with disease resistance and fruit production in just one year it takes little work for a fresh harvest with a perfect crispiness every time.

Planting & Care

Plant the tree in an area that receives 6 hours of sun each day and avoid planting in soil with a lot of clay. Dig a deep hole twice as wide as the root ball and bury the roots. Cover with a layer of mulch, watering after to settle dirt, and weed-proof the area around the base. To make sure Your Honeycrisp Apple has the best chance of survival, you should water it each week. As soon as you see new growth coming from the tree, give it water whenever its top 2 inches feel dry. When your tree has become established and is starting to bear fruit, it will need periodic, moderate pruning. Prune during times of dormancy, making sure to remove any vigorous upright stems and weak or dead branches. Low-hanging droopy branches should also be removed. Pruning aids production so it’s great for your tree!

When is The Best Time to Plant Trees in Alaska

Trees can be planted anytime when the ground isn't frozen. The best time to plant trees in Alaska is the Fall season. This may seem counterintuitive because of the cold winters and relatively short growing season for tree life expectancy, but planting trees during fall will allow them to grow strong roots before winter hits.

Can You Plant All Season Long?

The answer is yes! Many plants can be planted as soon as the snow melts. With the right preparation and a little knowledge, you can be sowing seeds year-round in your garden.

What are The Best Trees to Plant Each Season in Alaska


The most popular tree to plant during the springtime in Alaska is the weeping cherry tree. The weeping cherry tree has a nice pink color and blooms very early in March or April, depending on how far north you live. This tree does well in zones 3-7 and can grow up to 100 feet tall!


The best summer tree is the White Cedar, Red Cedar Trees, and Japanese Maples because it does well in hot and dry climates.

Fall time

The best fall tree is the Quaking Aspen and Concolor Fir Tree, because of its vibrant colors that show up during Autumn.


In winter, evergreens are a good option because they will keep their leaves and provide some color throughout the year. The best winter tree is the Douglas Fir and Spruce Tree because it will provide you with beautiful foliage all year round!

What Trees Have The Least Invasive Roots in Alaska

The answer to that question is the paper birch tree. This is a popular tree in Alaska, and not only does it have less invasive roots than other trees, but it also has beautiful white bark. The paper birch can grow up to 130 feet tall and live for 150 years.