Some of the best blossoms of spring come from spring-flowering trees. Their emerging fragrance fills the air and falling petals dance in the wind like spring snow, blanketing the ground in color. These are the landscape trees that you want to brighten the early season, and if they offer further seasonal landscape interest, even better! The best spring-flowering trees are low maintenance, long-lived, and offer multiple seasons of interest here in Northeast Ohio.
When choosing any landscape tree, first determine what your yard can offer with respect to space, light, and soil. Most spring-flowering trees are small (5-30’), require full to partial sun, and grow best in well-drained soil of average fertility. If you have the right space and conditions, here are some great trees to consider.
Crabapples lost favor as landscape trees due to chronic disease problems, but newer varieties are wonderfully disease resistant.
The red-flowered Prairifire crabapple (Malus ‘Prairifire’, 15-20 feet), is a perfect example. High disease resistance, colorful spring flowers, and persistent red crabapples have made it a top-notch landscape tree.
Two more remarkably compact and disease resistant crabapples include the white-flowered, orange-fruited ‘Adirondack’ (Malus ‘Adirondack’, 12 feet), and dwarf, spreading ‘Tina’ (Malus sargentii ‘Tina’, 5 feet), which offers fragrant white flowers and red fall fruits.
Of all the dogwoods, few can match the picturesque beauty and multi-seasonal interest of the Korean dogwood (Cornus kousa, 15-30 feet). Large, white or russet pink flowers appear in late spring followed by ornate, round, edible fruits of coral red that appear in fall. Its pointed, dark green leaves turn shades of red, orange and purple in fall, and beautiful mottled bark adds interest to the winter landscape.
Disease-resistant American dogwood (Cornus florida) hybrids have giving new life to this exceptional landscape tree. Most were developed at Rutgers University as crosses between the Korean and American dogwood. One of the best is the large-flowered Constellation® (Cornus ‘Rutcan’, 22 feet), which bears profuse, large, white flowers in mid-spring, and its dark green foliage turns shades of purple-red in fall. Stellar Pink® dogwood (Cornus x ‘Rutgan’, 30 feet) offers large, pink flowers in mid-spring and purple-red fall foliage.
When it comes to spectacular spring blooms, nothing can compete with magnolias.
The striking and popular saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana) and star magnolia (Magnolia stellata, see at right) are the most widely planted varieties, but frosts often damage their early flowers.
Safer, later-flowering magnolias include the lily magnolia (Magnolia lilliflora, 12 feet), which produces large, dusky pink, lily-shaped blooms from April to May, and the pink-flowered hybrid Rose Marie (20 feet), which produces large, goblet-shaped flowers on robust trees in April.
Brilliant purple-red flowers line the bare branches of redbud (Cercis canadensis, 20-30 feet) in mid-spring. These native trees have an elegant branching structure and heart-shaped leaves that look attractive through summer.
Two varieties with increased summer interest are the purple-leaved ‘Forest Pansy’ and chartreuse-leaved ‘Hearts of Gold’.
Ready To Plant One Of These?
When it comes to curb appeal, nothing beats the landscape statement of a spring-flowering tree. Choose one or more of these superb spring-flowering trees and not only will your early landscape look spectacular, but their extended seasons of interest will keep your yard looking good throughout the Northeast Ohio growing season.
Spring is the perfect time to plant these flowering beauties. You can also plant in fall, but don’t try to plant trees in the summer.
To learn why trees should only be planted in spring and fall here in Northeast Ohio, click here >>
And if you’re looking for great trees for fall foliage color, see our top recommendations here >>
If you’d like to add spring-flowering trees to your landscape without all the hassle of planting them yourself, just give us a call at 440-564-1374. We offer professional tree planting services that will get your trees off to a great start.