Landscaping in Dammeron Valley, Utah

Information compiled and contributed by John Moore, a Dammeron Valley Resident

Situated about 1800 feet higher than St. George, Dammeron Valley is in a narrow climate transition zone that is greatly influenced by the desert below and the mountains above. This makes landscaping here a bit of a challenge because plants need to be quite heat tolerant as well as very cold hardy. Just how cold hardy, is given to controversy.

On average, Dammeron experiences nearly 14 days per year when the thermometer reaches 100 degrees F or higher, but fewer than 2 days per year with sub-zero weather. Although the highest readings seldom vary more than 5 or 6 degrees from year to year, the lowest reading can vary 20 to 25 degrees from one winter to the next. Typically, we'll have a string of mild winters, perhaps getting no colder than 5 or 10 degrees F, followed by a winter with several spells of sub-zero temperatures. Within the last 10 years, Dammeron temperatures have ranged from a high of 107 degrees F to a low of -16 degrees F. While lows in the sub-zero range don't occur very often, it is probably best to take the most severe readings into account when buying most plants. This applies especially to trees, because they take years to mature. Too often, lured by a few mild winters, Dammeron residents have decided to plant something that thrives in St. George, only to find out years later that it can't live through one of Dammeron's colder winters. A good example is Mondell Pine, which takes desert heat well, but not temperatures much below zero.

Another important consideration is how well a plant adapts to the native soil which is usually to the alkaline side and sandy or rocky without much humus. This is especially important with trees and other large plants, because it isn't very practical to replace or radically alter the soil to accommodate such large root systems.

Equally important, is a plant's ability to withstand periodic strong winds without excessive damage. Again, this applies to trees and other large plants in particular, since it 's rarely possible to plant them only in areas that are well protected from prevailing winds. Some trees will outgrow a weak branching structure, if staked and properly pruned when young, but most will not. Not only does a plant have to deal with Dammeron's heat, cold, soil and wind, it must survive the cravings of brown-eyed creatures, called deer, who can devour a weeks work without so much as a ;thanks for the nice meal.

These five factors were the primary considerations for developing the plant lists below, but they were not the only criteria. Trees that are too slow growing or too water hungry were omitted. Fruit and nut trees were omitted unless they are largely grown as ornamentals or for wildlife habitat. Trees that don't ordinarily grow at least 10 feet tall were omitted. Plants 10 feet tall or less were omitted unless they have been reported as deer resistant by one western source or another. It should be pointed out that there's no such thing as "deer proof" much depends on the availability of preferred foods and tastes that seem to vary from region to region.

In order to maintain the pinion-juniper character of the valley, trees that usually grow. much taller than 50 feet were omitted; yet, it is strongly recommended that trees planted in the wooded portions of Dammeron, grow no taller that the mature height of the native trees. It would simplify tree selection immensely if these were the only considerations but, of course, they are not. For example, it might be important to find out which plants are common allergens, which are disease prone or will require a lot of maintenance or which trees are apt to uplift a driveway and so forth. Then too, there are many individual preferences to consider, such as leaf or flower color. The intent of these lists:

Selected Plant Lists and Wild Flower Advice for Dammeron Valley Utah
Selected Trees Selected Shrubs Selected Shrub/Trees
Selected Deer Resistant Perrennials Selected Deer Resistant Annuals Having Trouble Growing Wild Flowers?