Accolade™ Elm

Botanical Name: Ulmus ‘Morton’

The Accolade Elm (Ulmus ‘Morton’) is a vigorous growing medium to large sized deciduous tree with a vase-shaped growth habit. The branches have an upward growth habit with elegant arching. It grows to a height of 50-60 feet with a spread of 25-40 feet.

This elm is a selection from the Chicagoland Grows® program. It is a cross between Ulmus japonica (Japanese Elm) and Ulmus wilsoniana (Wilson’s Elm). This hybrid was first planted at the Morton Arboretum in Illinois in 1924.

The leaves are oval to elliptical in shape and an attractive shiny, dark green. They measure 4 inches long and 2 inches wide with serrated margins and the asymmetrical leaf base typical of elm leaves. The leaves put on a showy fall display turning bright shades of yellow.

The flowers are green, small, and inconspicuous – like those of most elm trees. They bloom in March before the leaves grow in. The fruits are single-seeded, oval winged samaras that mature in April or May. The gray bark is gray with brown colored furrows and gray ridges.

Accolade Elm is tolerant of dry or wet soils as well as urban pollution – making it a good selection for a street tree. It has good resistance to Dutch Elm disease, the elm leaf beetle, and the elm leaf miner.

Ace of Hearts Redbud

Botanical Name: Cercis canadensis ‘Ace of Hearts’

The Ace of Hearts Redbud is a compact, dwarf cultivar of the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis). This smaller deciduous tree usually has a single trunk with a rounded or dome-shaped canopy, which needs little or no pruning maintenance. It grows to a height of 9-12 feet tall and 10-15 feet wide, making it versatile in its landscape uses.

The Ace of Hearts blooms for two to three weeks in March and April and puts on a beautiful display. The pink-purple, pea-shaped flowers grow in slightly bigger clusters than the species tree. Its gray bark is similar to that of the species. This tree differs from the species, however, with its unusual zig zag twigs that bear the flowers and its heart-shaped leaves.

The attractive leaves are slightly glossy and mature to a dark green color. They measure approximately 2.5 inches in width. The leaves turn yellow in fall, giving a nice display. The long seed pods found on the species tree rarely develop on this cultivar.

This Redbud cultivar is a useful tree in small landscapes. It works beautifully in containers or raised beds and close to patios and entrances to residences. Its upright frame contrasts and complements the Seiryu Laceleaf Japanese Maple or other weeping Laceleaf Japanese Maples – bringing a medium-textured foliage tree to a small garden or courtyard. It also works well in shrub planting beds, bringing seasonal interest and color.

The Ace of Hearts Redbud can be susceptible to Verticillium Wilt when the soil is too wet. Canker diseases can also be a problem.

Adirondack Crabapple

Adirondack Crabapple

Botanical Name: Malus ‘Adirondack’

The Adirondack Crabapple tree is a charming, small deciduous tree that will provide interest through many seasons. This cultivar is one of the most profusely blooming crabapples. This tree has an upright growth habit and grows in a columnar or vase shape. It is useful in narrow landscapes. It grows to a height of 12-18 feet with a spread of 6-10 feet.

The white flowers of the Adirondack Crabapple emerge from deep pink-purple buds in the late spring. They open as the bright tender leaves begin to unfurl. The canopy of this small tree gets covered in white, waxy blooms. The blooms are followed in the fall by clusters of small, glossy, deep orange to pink hanging berries that look like tiny apples. These fruits persist on the tree long past the fall.

The leaves are ovate and light green. Their fall color is not as noteworthy as the fruit display.

The Adirondack Crabapple is a wonderful tree to plant for wildlife. Its blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and the berries attract birds. It has superior disease resistance and is not particularly susceptible to any significant diseases or pests.

This tree tolerates a range of soil conditions and pH levels. It is also very tolerant of urban pollution and has some drought tolerance, therefore thriving in city planting locations.

Akebono Flowering Cherry

Akebono Flowering Cherry

Botanical Name: Prunus x yedoensis ‘Akebono’

Alternate Name: Akebono Yoshino Cherry, Daybreak Cherry, Daybreak Yoshino Cherry

The Akebono Flowering Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis ‘Akebono’) is popular for the spectacular display of pink flowers that cover its branches in early spring. This cultivar is one of the ornamental cherry trees that creates the historic dazzling cherry blossom display in Washington D.C. every spring.

The Akebono Cherry tree is a small, deciduous, ornamental tree. Initially, it has an upright growth habit that becomes more spreading, with slightly weeping branches, as the tree matures. The crown is uniform and rounded with moderately dense foliage. This cherry tree grows to a height of 23-35 feet with a spread of 25-40 feet.

The leaves develop after the flower display. They are a glossy dark green and lance or ovate shaped with serrate margins. The foliage turns vibrant shades of golden yellow and orange in the fall. The attractive bark with prominent lenticels (markings) provides interest in the winter months.

The showy, large, rose-pink blooms of the Akebono Cherry tree appear early in early spring before the tree leaves out. They are semi-double, slightly fragrant, and gradually fade to white as they fully open.

American Beech Tree

American Beech Tree

Botanical Name: Fagus grandifolia

The American Beech tree is one of the major trees that makes up the deciduous hardwood forests in eastern North America, along with maples and oaks, among others.

The American Beech or Fagus grandifolia is an upright tree that grows to a height of 50-80 feet and a width of 40-80 feet. Its growth habit is open and spreading with a rounded or oval canopy.

It has distinctive, smooth, gray bark. Its flowers are a yellowish-green color and appear in mid to late spring. The male flowers are clustered together and pendulous. The female flowers are more upright and are displayed in spikes. The beech nut follows the female flowers in fall. They are a triangular shape and covered in a spiny protective covering. The nuts are produced every 2 to 3 years. These are edible to wildlife and attract animals and birds to the tree.

Grandifolia means ‘large leaves.’ The American Beech leaves are up to 5 inches long, with shiny, dark green, oval or elliptical leaves. They have distinctive parallel venation and coarsely toothed margins. The leaves turn golden and bronze colors late in the season, providing a wonderful fall display.

The American Beech tree dislikes being transplanted, so after planting out as a young tree, it is best to leave it growing in the same location. This tree holds its leaves until late into the fall and winter, making it a useful tree to plant as a hedge. It also has a low branching structure that contributes to its hedging qualities.

American Hophornbeam

American Hophornbeam

Botanical Name: Ostrya virginiana

Alternate Name: Eastern Hophornbeam, Ironwood

The American Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) is a medium-sized deciduous tree. It is found growing as an understory tree on dry and rocky slopes in the eastern United States and Mexico. It is named the Hophornbeam because its clusters of seeds look like the pendulous seed pods on hop plants. The American Hophornbeam has a rounded growth habit and grows to a height of 25-40 feet and width of 20-30 feet.

The leaves of this tree are very similar to those of birch trees, since they are in the same family – Betulaceae. They are a soft yellowish-green, up to 5 inches in length, and oval to lance-shaped with sharply serrated margins. The fall color is yellow but unremarkable, and the leaf drop often happens early in the season.

The American Hophornbeam produces both male and female catkins on the same tree. The female flowers are light green catkins, and the male flowers are drooping reddish-brown catkins that persist on the tree throughout winter, providing interest. The fruits follow the female flowers and are attractive hanging seed pods.

No serious disease or insect problems. This tree also has some resistance to deer and drought conditions once established. It likes good drainage, since its origin is growing on rocky slopes. Plant the American Hophornbeam on hillsides to help prevent erosion.

American Persimmon Tree

Botanical Name: Diospyros virginiana

Alternate Name: Common Persimmon Tree

The Common Persimmon or American Persimmon tree is an oval or rounded deciduous tree that grows to reach a height of 35-60 feet with a spread of 25-35 feet. It is native to the eastern United States.

Persimmons usually only produce male or female flowers (dioecious), but there are some trees that have flowers with both male and female parts (perfect flowers) for easy cross pollination. Female trees will need a male planted nearby in order to produce fruit.

The American Persimmon tree has distinctive and attractive bark that enhances its winter silhouette, particularly in mature specimens. The deeply ridged, gray bark is made up of small, rectangular patches with white highlights.

The flowers of the American Persimmon develop in late spring or early summer. They are greenish-white and very fragrant. The male flowers are clustered together, and the female flowers are solitary. The leaves are very distinctive – glossy, deep green, and ovate, approximately 2-6 inches in length. They turn bright yellow and orange in the fall.

The persimmon fruit develop in the fall from the pollinated female or perfect flowers. They are approximately 1-2 inches in diameter and light green, ripening to a rich orange, similar to the fall leaf color. The fruits persist on the tree after the leaves start to fall. They can be eaten raw or used to make baked goods or jams.

The American Persimmon tree is a good choice for a fruit tree that is also ornamental and has seasonal interest. This tree integrates well into Pacific Northwest landscapes, combined with maples and conifers. They also work well at the edge of rain gardens. These trees are somewhat drought tolerant once established.

American Sentry® Linden

American Sentry® Linden

Botanical Name: Tilia americana ‘McKSentry’

The American Sentry Linden (Tilia americana ‘McKSentry’) is a useful tree to plant in smaller landscapes due to its narrow and predictable growth habit. This tree also works well as a street tree or planted in city median strips, as it has a high canopy clearance of 7 feet. It is a small to medium sized deciduous tree with a pyramidal shaped canopy and upright, dense, and uniform branching. It is native to the midwest and grows to a height of 40-45 feet with a spread of 25-30 feet.

The leaves of this tree are large – 4-8 inches long. They are an attractive heart shape and a dark shade of green with lighter undersides and coarsely serrated margins. In the fall, the foliage turns a spectacular pale golden yellow. The distinctive silvery gray bark is an attractive feature, particularly on juvenile trees.

The American Sentry Linden produces clusters of yellow, spicy scented blooms in the summer. The fruits are inconspicuous.

No serious disease or insect problems. This tree has some resistance to the Japanese beetle, which can decimate many plants. Tolerates pollution. Attractive to butterflies.

Appalachian Red Redbud

Appalachian Red Redbud

Botanical Name: Cercis canadensis ‘Appalachian Red’

Alternate Name: Appalachian Red Eastern Redbud

The Appalachian Red Redbud is a cultivar of the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis). This small, deciduous tree has a more rounded and symmetrical canopy when planted in the sun but develops a more irregular, open-branching shape when planted in partial shade.  The Appalachian Red Redbud tree grows to a height of 15-25 feet tall and 15-25 feet wide. It is useful as a street tree, a specimen tree – close to patios or decks – or as a small shade tree.

This cultivar’s blooms are a brighter, more vibrant pink than those of the Eastern Redbud and other Cercis cultivars. They are similar in color to Fuchsia flowers. The flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds. The blooms develop on the branches and twigs before the leaves appear. The heart-shaped leaves are mid-green and follow the vibrant flowers later in the spring.

Appalachian Red is a useful landscape tree. It fits beautifully into Pacific Northwest gardens, contrasting with the finer texture of different colored conifer foliage and the more angular leaves of Japanese Maples. It also works well at the back of mixed beds, planted with Rhododendrons and Camellias.

The Appalachian Red Redbud can be susceptible to canker diseases.

Aristocrat Flowering Pear Tree

Aristocrat Flowering Pear Tree

Botanical Name: Pyrus calleryana ‘Aristocrat’

Alternate Name: Aristocrat Ornamental Pear, ‘Aristocrat’ Callery Pear

The Aristocrat Flowering Pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Aristocrat’) is a graceful tree that provides an eye-catching, flowering display in mid-spring. It is a cultivar of the species Pyrus calleryana (Callery Pear) that is native to Taiwan and China. This flowering pear is a small, thornless, deciduous ornamental tree with a uniform oval, pyramidal crown. It grows to a height of 25-35 feet with a spread of 20-25 feet.

The leaves of the Aristocrat Flowering Pear are glossy and dark green with a narrowly oval shape. They grow up to 3 inches long with undulating margins. In the fall, the foliage turns deep red with shades of purple and burnt orange.

The blooms arrive in mid spring, covering the crown in a profusion of white flowers with purple anthers. Following the blooms are tiny, rounded pear fruits that are hard and inedible. They are attractive to songbirds and other wildlife.

The Aristocrat Flowering Pear tree is adaptable to urban conditions. It is somewhat drought tolerant once established and tolerates pollution well, making this tree suitable for planting as a street tree.

It can be susceptible to fireblight and also to branches breaking in strong winds or ice storms. But it is stronger than other Pyrus calleryana cultivars, such as ‘Bradford’.

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