A few trees come to mind this time of year, when we are yearning for some signs of warmer weather. With their fragrant blossoms, flowering trees bring the landscape to life and delight our senses with life and promise.
Dogwood: This is always a favorite, with its white and pink blossoms. This tree captivates with its beautiful horizontal branches and is an attractive tree in which birds will nestle. Plant them where they can get some high shade from larger trees.
Redbud: These say spring when you see their branches outlined with magenta flowers. The redbud flowers for up to three weeks before leaves appear. A native North American tree, the redbud is suitable for natural or formal settings.
Crabapple: With over 700 named varieties, the flowering crabapple tree can be covered in white, pink or red flowers in the spring. They are excellent for sunny gardens. Hardy and reliable, the crabapple is a great pollinator tree for the bees. It benefits from pruning, and the small fruited cultivars usually hold their fruit into the winter.
Sweetbay magnolia: Its small, cream-colored flowers make it a staple in any Southern garden. The fringe and chaste trees are also popular — fringe trees have a wispy flower and can grow up to 20 feet. Chaste trees bloom here in June and have luminous lavender spikes of flowers. This tree is hardy and requires very low maintenance, if any.
Tree experts say the best time to plant is in the cooler months; start with smaller specimens which will establish quickly. Make sure they are watered if rain is not in the area for more than four days. Keep in mind a tree’s height and width requirements. Flowering trees look especially good when planted in groves, and planting groups of three or more different sizes of trees create a more appealing, natural effect.
In honor of Arbor Day coming up, plant a flowering tree. There is romance in flowering trees. Purchase one for Valentine’s day and plant it for your significant other. They frame the upcoming season of spring and will lure us all out to walk among them in the garden.
Wanda Cannon is a Master Gardener trained through the Hall County program and also serves as Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture assistant for the Hall County Extension office. Phone: 770-535-8293.