Friday, Apr 20, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Kelly Heidbreder

Flowering trees add spring color

Early spring planting can be exciting at ground level thanks to annuals and perennials. But look up. Is your yard bare up there? Time to plant a few early-flowering trees and shrubs.

All you need to do is drive around and you will see many of them showing off right now. Here are some of my favorites you could consider for your yard:

• Flowering dogwood Cornus florida. This lacy beauty flowers in white and pink. Its light, airy shape grows well in shady spots like my yard. It grows slowly and can get up to 30 feet tall.

• The stunning Japanese cherry will look great in any yard. Talk about a show-off!

Prunus serrulata gets about 20 feet wide and 25 feet tall. It is loaded with white flowers in May and has gorgeous dark-red bark to contrast with its dainty flowers.

You will need some sun for this specimen because it will produce more flowers with more light.

• Crabapple trees might be a big mess later in the year, but you can t beat their spring blooms. The branches look like they are covered with fluffy sleeves of white flowers. Malus halliana prefers full sun and is a bit shorter than the others in this list when it is full-grown. It will grow to about 18 feet tall, but needs a lot of pruning and disease control.

• That pink blooming tree you are coveting in your neighbor s yard is called a redbud, or Cercis chingii. Isn t it a beauty? It is a fast grower; that s why you see a lot of them planted in almost any landscape. They also like full sun and grow to a nice medium to small height of 15 feet. The redbud usually is one of the first spring trees to start blooming.

• One of my mother-in-law s favorite trees was the Saucer Magnolia, and we always agreed on this choice. I call it a vertical cutting garden because you can clip the huge blooms and bring them inside for a great fresh vase full of blossoms. Plant Magnolia x soulangiana in mostly sun to part-shade and it will get up to 25 feet high.

Its early blooms can be damaged by frost, but the risk is well worth it.

• For all of my Ohio Buckeye readers, I must include the Red buckeye or scarlet buckeye tree. Aesculus pavia has a flower called a panicle and flowers in salmon or red. It can stand partial shade and will grow up to 25 feet tall.

• Give serviceberry a try. Amelanchier arborea gets about 25 feet tall and will grow easily in any light. Its white blooms turn into red berries in the fall, so you get two great plants for the price of one!

Before you start to dig, call the local utilities just to be sure you don t chop into a cable or gas line. And do some mapping. Will a tree 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide fit in your yard without a lot of hard pruning? If it will, mark the area on the ground and plant the tree in the middle. It may look like it is all alone for the first couple of years, but given enough time, it will reach your expectations and maybe even more.

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