Flowering Trees To Add To Your Garden

A crabapple in full bloom and very healthy

Crabapple branch in bloom

Branch of a white redbud in flower

The Yoshino cherry trees are in full bloom at the Japanese Garden. A beautiful crabapple is in bloom in my neighborhood. And along the interstate right of ways redbuds in bloom dot the landscape. These are just three of the many spring flowering plants that are showing off right now. If you want to add a flowering tree to your garden here is some help. Almost of all of the common flowering trees are considered short lived because they usually mature in about twenty years, and most are susceptible to insects and diseases. I know up to now I have not mentioned dogwood because they are just coming into bloom. Regardless of which you decide, they are all beautiful. Here are a few thoughts that might help you decide which one is best for you. There are several types of cherries, and all do well in our area. Yoshino are the ones in bloom now.  Okame has now finished blooming, and the Kwanzan type will bloom a little later. Okame and Yoshino have a spreading canopy and the Kwanzan types are more upright. It is impossible for me to list all the selections, so when looking at the nursery I suggest you google the ones you are looking at, read about their characteristics, growing requirements, and color type before you decide which one you will purchase. Crabapples are easy to find at the big box and hardware stores. Often they are not the selections that will grow best without having a lot of insect and disease problems, but they are cheap as trees go. Again, I suggest you google the trees you are looking at before you buy. If you are going to a local garden center, generally only the big ones have crabapples.
The unique thing about our native redbud is that it is a great tree but produces lots of seed pots, and if not raked up before they mature, expect to have a litter of little ones from the seeds. For this reason I suggest you by a seedless or sterile selection. The white one shown in the image does come from seed, but the trees are not prolific producers of viable fruit. Most of the selections of redbuds like Forest Pansy and Tennessee Pink are either bred for flower color or a unique foliage color. There is a whole group of dwarf and unique growing types, too. Again google to check on what you are thinking about buying.
So go shopping this weekend and make sure with any of these trees you plant, dig a hole at least one and one half times the size of the container in which it was purchased. Place it in a well drained location where it get at least a half day of sunshine for the tree to bloom at its best.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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