Yoshino Flowering Cherry

Yoshino Flowering Cherry

Botanical Name: Prunus x yedoensis ‘Yoshino’

Alternate Name: Yoshino Cherry Tree

The Yoshino Flowering Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis ‘Yoshino’) is an elegant tree that puts on a stunning display of very pale pink or white flowers in spring. This cherry tree is a small to medium sized, deciduous, ornamental tree with a broad, rounded, and open crown. It grows to a height of 30-40 feet with a spread of 30-40 feet.

The leaves of the Yoshino Cherry tree appear when the tree blooms or just after the flower display. They are dark green and elliptically shaped with serrate margins. The foliage turns shades of bright yellow and golden orange in the fall.

The blooms arrive in early spring, brightly covering the twigs and branches. They provide a magnificent display with clusters made up of 3 to 6 flowers. The flowers of the Yoshino Cherry tree bloom from pink buds. They are white or slightly tinged with pink, fading to white as they mature. They are lightly fragrant and single with 5-petals. 

Following the blooms are small, rounded, black cherries. These are not palatable to humans because of their bitterness but are adored by birds. This flowering cherry tree is also attractive to butterflies.



Botanical Name: Cladrastis kentukea, formerly Cladrastis lutea

Alternate Name: Kentucky Yellowwood, American Yellowwood

The Kentucky or common Yellowwood is a graceful tree with upright and open branching and a rounded form. It is a medium-sized deciduous tree that grows to a height of 30-50 feet, with a spread of 40-55 feet. This tree is native to the southeastern United States, namely North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee, although it is also found in some other states in the midwest and the south. It is found growing in rich, alkaline soils – in river valleys and along ridges.

The bark of the Yellowwood or Cladrastis kentukea tree is an attractive, smooth gray, which provides interest on the winter silhouette. The leaves are medium sized and yellow-green in color when they first emerge. They are pinnately compound, usually with 7-11 leaflets making up each leaf. The foliage turns bright green in summer and then yellow for a fall display. 

The small pea flowers provide a beautiful and fragrant presentation in May. They hang in panicles, 10-15 inches long. They are similar to that of the Black Locust tree (Robinia pseudoacacia) or Wisteria. Flowering on the Yellowwood will occur profusely one year and then scant or not at all the next. 

The Yellowwood tree works well planted in groupings on large properties or as a lawn or patio tree. It is called Yellowwood because of a yellow dye the tree produces in its heartwood.  

Cladrastis kentukea doesn’t have any serious insect or disease problems, but it can be susceptible to Verticillium Wilt if planted in heavy, wet soil. Its branches can be fragile and susceptible to breaking during winter storms.

Height: 30-50 ft.

Width: 40-55 ft.

Shape: Oval, Rounded

Flower Color: White

Flowering Time: May

Fall Color: Yellow

Features: Showy, fragrant flowers, good fall color

Exposure: Full Sun

Watering: Moderate & Regular

Soil: Prefers medium moisture, well-drained soils. Tolerates clay and alkaline pH, as well as dry soils.

Growth Rate: Medium

USDA Zones: 4-8

Uses: Shade tree, lawn tree, flowering tree, groupings on larger landscapes properties

Similar trees: Assimina triloba

Yellow Bird Magnolia

Botanical Name: Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Yellow Bird’

Alternate Name: Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’

The Yellow Bird Magnolia is considered to be one of the best cultivars for yellow flowers. It puts on a beautiful display of bright yellow flowers in spring as the leaves are emerging. Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Yellow Bird’ is a fast growing, medium-sized, deciduous shade tree. It has a pyramidal or conical growth habit with upright branching and grows to a height of 30-40 feet with a spread of 10-25 feet.

Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’ was developed at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. It is a cross between Magnolia acuminata, a native to the eastern US, and Magnolia liliiflora, a native to Japan and China. It can live up to 80 years.

The upright, yellow flowers of the Yellow Bird Magnolia blossom in late spring. They are large and goblet-shaped, measuring 3 inches in diameter. Each flower contains 6 tepals. They are slightly iridescent, and the flowers are radiant when backlit by sunshine. The tree will bloom for approximately 3 weeks.

The leaves of the Yellow Bird Magnolia are elliptical and dark to mid-green in color, growing up to 10 inches in length. The fall color is brown and yellow.

The Yellow Bird Magnolia is not particularly susceptible to any significant diseases or pests. It tolerates a range of soil conditions. Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’ should be planted in a sheltered location but not on the south side of a building where it may open its buds too early and suffer frost damage.

Willow Oak

Botanical Name: Quercus phellos

The Willow Oak (Quercus phellos) is a medium to large sized deciduous tree with a rounded conical crown. The growth pattern is graceful, with the lower limbs gently sloping downwards. It grows to a height of 40-75 feet tall with a spread of 25-50 feet. This tree belongs to the Red Oak group which has bristles on the tips of their leaf lobes.

The Willow Oak originates in the southeastern United States and is found growing in coastal plains in the Atlantic and Gulf regions and in the Mississippi Valley. Much like the Pin Oak, it has similar pin-shaped branches. These trees are intolerant of shade, and the branches die back and break off, leaving short stubs or pins behind.

The flowers are inconspicuous catkins which develop in the spring with the leaves. Both male and female catkins grow separately on the same tree. The leaves grow up to 5 inches in length and 1 inch wide. They are a glossy dark green and lance-shaped – just like willow leaves. The margins are entire (with no lobes) with a bristle on the tip. The fall color is unremarkable and turns shades of yellow and brown in the fall, much like willow leaves do.

The acorns are round and  ½  inch in size. They have scaly cups that are marked with black and brown colored bands. They are an important source of food for birds and mammals.

The Willow Oak is tolerant of wet or dry conditions and compacted soils. Its shallow root system can interfere with sidewalks when planted as a street tree.

Wildfire Black Gum Tree

Wildfire Black Gum Tree

Botanical Name: Nyssa sylvatica ‘Wildfire’

The Wildfire Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica ‘Wildfire’) is a lovely and brightly colored cultivar of Nyssa sylvatica. It is a small to medium sized deciduous tree. The Wildfire Black Gum tree is pyramidal or conical in shape. This cultivar is smaller than the species and grows to a height of 40 feet with a spread of 25 feet. It puts on a beautiful display of fall color with reds, oranges, and purples. It can live for 70 years.

The new growth of the Wildfire Black Gum tree blazes with bright, shining red when it first emerges in the spring. The foliage then deepens to a rich, dark green. The leaves are 4-5 inches long and elliptical to obovate in shape. The margins can be finely toothed or entire. 

The Black Gum species have a small number of perfect flowers, but primarily they have male and female flowers on separate trees. Thus, in order to produce fruit, a male tree must be planted near a female. The flowers bloom in May or June. They are white and inconspicuous but attract bees.

Long, dark fruits appear after the flowers. They are oval and half an inch in size. The fruits are very sour but edible – birds will feast on them.

The Wildfire Black Gum tree is fussy about growing conditions and prefers evenly moist, rich, acidic soils. If grown in alkaline soil, their leaves will develop chlorosis (yellowing). Unlike other Black Gum cultivars, it is intolerant of urban pollutants and therefore should not be used as a street tree. In order to thrive, it requires a fairly sheltered planting location.

White Oak Tree

White Oak Tree

Botanical Name: Quercus alba

The White Oak tree is a large, stately deciduous tree. The growth habit is pyramidal as a juvenile, with the crown becoming wide spreading and rounded with age. It grows to a height of 50-80 feet tall with a spread of 50-80 feet. 

This tree is the state tree of Illinois and native to much of the Eastern United States. It has long been used by indigenous people to make medicine to cure many medical conditions.

The grayish white bark gives the White Oak tree its name – the species name alba is Latin for white. Its flowers appear right after the leaves in mid to late spring, as inconspicuous, seperate male and female catkins. They are greenish-yellow in color. The fruits are oval shaped acorns that grow up to 3/4 inch in size. The acorn cups are covered in warts or scales.

The leaves emerge bright green with a tinge of pink in the spring. They are large, classically lobed oak leaves and mature to a handsome dark green as the growing season progresses. Juvenile trees, in particular, will hold their bronze red fall color long into winter.

The White Oak tree can adapt to a range of soil types. It is also tolerant of dry soils, drought conditions, and sites with limited root space, making it ideal for planting as a street tree.

Western Hackberry

Western Hackberry

Botanical Name: Celtis occidentalis

Alternate Name: Common Hackberry

The Western Hackberry is a common tree and has many names, such as Common Hackberry, Nettle Tree, and Sugarberry.  It is a medium to large deciduous tree that grows to a height of 40-60 feet and a spread of 40-60 feet. 

Celtis occidentalis forms a rounded crown and can grow as wide as it does tall. The branches have an upright growth habit that can arch gracefully sideways. It can be found growing in mixed deciduous forests and near streams in the midwest and eastern United States. 

The leaves of the Western Hackberry are ovate and hang down from the branches. They are glossy and light or mid-green with serrated edges and an uneven base – similar to elm leaves. 

The flowers are modest and don’t put on a noticeable display. The male flowers appear in clusters and the female flowers are solitary. The fleshy purple fruits that follow the female flowers are attractive to birds. They are also sweet and edible to people.

The gray bark of the Western Hackberry has an interesting texture and forms thick, irregular ridges and wart-like growths over a smooth background.

Celtis occidentalis is a useful and adaptable landscape tree. It is tolerant of drought conditions and urban pollution, making it ideal for use as a street tree. Its dense foliage, wide crown, and stature also make it well suited for use as a shade tree. It can also be planted to prevent erosion near streams and rivers and therefore works well in cultivation in rain gardens.

Vine Maple

Vine Maple

Botanical Name: Acer circinatum

Alternate Name: Pacific Northwest Native Maple

The Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) is native to western North America. It is found growing in the coastal forest understories beneath much larger trees, such as Douglas firs and Big Leaf Maples, from northern California to southwest British Columbia.

This tree can be found in clearings and grows at altitudes from sea level to 4,900 feet. It is often found along rivers, growing close to the water or beneath conifers, lighting up the dappled shade with its beautiful yellow foliage in the fall.

The Vine Maple’s usual form is a multi-trunked, large shrub or tree. It grows from around 16 to 26 feet tall but occasionally will grow into a small or medium-sized tree, reaching 50 feet. The shoots are slender and hairless.

The Vine Maple, although not really a vine, is so-called because it has very slender, often sprawling, branches. The branching habit produces an elegant, tiered effect. These branches often root to produce new trees, creating dense thickets underneath the shade of taller conifers. Its botanical name ‘Circinatum’ refers to the rounded, although regularly lobed, maple leaves.

Vine Maple trees are flexible, and their growth can bend back towards the ground. Sometimes the branches will root and develop a new root system. This characteristic makes it the only maple capable of layering (producing a new plant while still attached to the ‘mother’ plant).

Flowers of deep red and white grow along branches in the spring, contrasting with the red sheaths covering the leaf buds, and providing a colorful show in the garden. The new reddish woody growth also brings interest in spring, and it is followed by soft green leaves. The Vine Maple’s fall color can vary widely from light yellow in the shade to bright orange or red when grown in sunnier locations.

Venus® Dogwood

Venus® Dogwood

Botanical Name: Cornus x kousa ‘KN30-8,’ Cornus x kousa ‘Venus’

Alternate Name: Venus Kousa Dogwood

The Venus Dogwood is a beautiful, spring blooming ornamental dogwood with a profusion of very large, white flowers. It is a vigorous, small deciduous tree with a dense and spreading, low growing habit. Venus grows to a height of 14 to 18 feet tall and 18-24 feet wide – which means this tree grows wider than it is tall. 

Cornus x kousa ‘Venus’ is a cross between Cornus kousa ‘Chinensis’ x Cornus nuttallii’ Goldspot’ x Cornus kousa ‘Rosea.’ It’s a cross between the native dogwood (Cornus nuttallii), found growing in the Pacific Northwest, and the Chinese/Korean dogwood. The hybrid was developed for Rutgers University as part of the dogwood Jersey Star series by Elwin R. Orton, Jr. 

The flowers are made up of four, white bracts that curve over forming a cup shape. The true flowers that are found at the center are insignificant and yellowish-green in color. The bract ‘flowers’ measure 6 inches in diameter.

In the fall, the Venus Dogwood develops red berries that look similar to a strawberry. These berries attract birds to the tree. If any berries are left, they will persist on the tree into the winter. The Venus Dogwood produces dense growth. The leaves are glossy and dark green. The foliage turns a bright red in the fall.

No serious insect or disease problems. Cornus kousa ‘Venus’ has excellent resistance to anthracnose and powdery mildew. It can become susceptible to borers when stressed. Leaf scorch can occur in hot and windy locations.

Vanessa Persian Parrotia

Vanessa Persian Parrotia

Botanical Name: Parrotia persica ‘Vanessa’

Alternate Name: Vanessa Persian Ironwood, Persian Ironwood ‘Vanessa’

Parrotia persica ‘Vanessa’ (Persian Ironwood) is a stunning tree that provides interest through the seasons. It is a cultivar of the species Parrotia persica. This tree is a slow-growing, small, columnar shaped deciduous tree with an upright, graceful growth habit. Its spread is much narrower than the species, making it a useful tree to plant in smaller landscapes. 

‘Vanessa’ Persian Ironwood grows to a height of 15-40 feet with a spread of 10-20 feet. It is found growing on rocky slopes in the countries of Northern Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Southern Russia.

The leaves of Parrotia persica ‘Vanessa’ are large and oblong or oval in shape. They grow up to 4 inches long and emerge with a flush of vibrant orange and purple in the spring. In the summer, the leaves mature to a glossy medium or dark green. In the fall, ‘Vanessa’ lights up with a bright orange, yellow, and burgundy foliage display.

In late winter or early spring, the flowers emerge, providing a beautiful display of large drooping red flowers that contain many stamens but no petals. These flowers are similar to those of the Witch Hazel (Hamamelis), as Parrotia persica belongs to the same family – Hamamelidaceae.

The bark on mature trees exfoliates. As it sheds, it leaves behind interesting patches of white, green, and tan, contributing to this tree’s winter display.

Parrotia persica ‘Vanessa’ prefers full sun with moist, well-drained, and slightly acidic soil. However, this tree will grow in a wide range of soil types and pH. It will tolerate some urban pollution and drought conditions, making it suitable for planting as a street tree.

No serious disease or insect problems.