Colorful Trees for the Landscape

Friday, May 29th, 2009 by Jenny Watts
    • Asparagus plants should be fed with good, rich compost when you have finished cutting spears. Keep the bed mulched and weed-free all summer, and the soil moist.
    • Cover cherry trees with bird netting to protect your crop.
    • Mulch blueberry plants with aged sawdust and feed with cottonseed meal or an acid fertilizer.
    • Earwigs are out and about and hungry. Control them with the new “Sluggo Plus” or go out after dark with a flashlight and a spray bottle of Safer’s Insecticidal Soap. One squirt will put an end to the spoiler.
    • Fuchsias in hanging baskets make beautiful patio plants. They bloom all summer and attract hummingbirds to their pendulous blossoms.

Outstanding Trees for Garden Interest

Early spring brings us many beautiful flowering trees. Flowering plums, with their showy pink blossoms, flowering cherries covered with flowers, and flowering crabapples in their many forms and blossom colors. Then there are “tulip tree” magnolias and gorgeous dogwoods.

As spring progresses, we are met with another season of color by a variety of flowering trees. The Red Horsechestnut, Aesculus carnea, is outstanding in the landscape for its beautiful springtime display of blossoms. The multitude of pink to bright scarlet blooms appear on erect, eight-inch-long panicles at each branch tip and are quite attractive to bees and hummingbirds. It has very large, dark green leaves with five to seven leaflets, and will ultimately reach a height and spread of 30 to 40 feet.

Another very showy tree is Purple Robe Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Purple Robe’. The dense clusters of extremely fragrant, one-inch rose-pink blossoms resemble wisteria blossoms and they are literally “alive” with the bustling activity of visiting bees. (The honey which is produced from them is quite delicious and sought-after.) The tree is fast-growing with an upright form and a rounded head to 30 feet tall with a 20-foot spread.

One of the finest of these spring bloomers is the Fringe Tree, Chionanthus virginicus. The snow white fringe tree flowers grow in 6-inch long, loose clusters that have the look of puffy white clouds. It grows as a multi-stemmed tree or large shrub, usually reaching 15 to 20 feet in height and spread. It is hard to think of a more beautiful, small tree than Fringe Tree when it is in full bloom.

The Japanese Snowbell, Styrax japonica, is a lovely small tree with pendulous white flowers that are beautiful when viewed from below. It makes a fine patio tree at 20 feet tall and wide and its fall color is yellow, often with a reddish cast. It will grow in full sun to partial shade, and is beautiful in a raised planting area where the flowers can be enjoyed from underneath.

For foliage color, there are few trees as attractive as the Tricolor Beech, Fagus sylvatica ‘Tricolor’. The leaves are purple with a pink or cream edge, turning copper in the fall. Plant it in the shade of larger trees, or the leaves may burn in the heat of summer. This tree is slow-growing to 20 feet or more, and it can be grown in a container for many years.

The Chinese dogwood, Cornus kousa, is a later flowering form of dogwood than the more common Eastern Dogwood. It flowers for a long time beginning in late May, with creamy white blooms set against bright green leaves. Flowers are followed by reddish fruit that resembles raspberries and attracts birds, and the foliage changes to reddish purple in the fall.

Now is the time to choose one of these outstanding trees for a special accent in your garden.