"Robins and bright blossoms in spring
really herald the beginning of a new season," she said. "Flowering
trees can add that delicate sparkle of freshness to your home
landscape. Whether you are looking for full-size trees that can add
shade in summer or a smaller tree for an intimate setting, there are
many reliable ones to choose from."
For very early bloom, Bates recommends
a star magnolia (Magnolia stellata). This is a very small tree
reaching 15 feet at maturity. It is typically grown low-branched so
that it resembles a shrub.
"The large, fragrant, white, delicate
blooms seem to float in space like stars because they open before
the foliage is out," she said.
The cultivars Royal Star, Cody, King
Rose and others have pink blooms. Fall color is a rich gold. The
prominent, furry flower buds sit up high on the ends of the
branches, offering winter interest as they wait for spring. Use it
as a specimen tree with a dark background to set off the blooms.
Place it in a sheltered spot so that a late frost will not cut short
the bloom time.
Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) and
kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) are two medium-sized trees recommended
for northern Illinois.
"Both will reach about 25 feet at
maturity and bear white to cream-colored blooms in the spring,"
Bates said. "Of the two, serviceberry blooms first, yielding flowers
before leaves. Both produce rich hues in fall and have colorful
fruit. The fruit of the serviceberry is a blue-black berry, about
the size of large blueberry, which ripens in June. Trees typically
offer a generous yield that look lovely dangling on the tree but can
make a mess of a sidewalk or patio if the tree is planted too close
"Consider using this tree in a border
or in a grouping out in the yard."
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in this article]
Kousa dogwood yields a pinkish-red
fleshy fruit like a raspberry, ripening in the fall. Kousa dogwood
also has exfoliating bark for interest in winter. Use this plant as
a specimen plant near the entry or patio, in the border, or against
a blank wall where the horizontal branching habit shows to its best
For a somewhat larger tree, one of
Bates' favorites is Amur chokecherry (Prunus maackii).
"This 45-foot-tall tree is best used in
a border or planting in the lawn," she said. "The small white
flowers are borne in large clusters at the ends of the branches.
This a very hardy tree with a pea-sized plum as a fruit. One of the
best features is the cinnamon-colored, highly exfoliating bark. When
lower branches are removed, the bark adds interest in all four
Bates said homeowners will get the best
long-term value for their dollar by choosing a native or adapted
species, with few or no pests and multiseason interest, such as
colorful bark, fruits or leaves or interesting texture.
"This may seem like a lot to expect,
but it is not impossible to find," Bates said. "And remember, as
important as proper species selection is proper plant placement.
Know and respect the preferred exposure, soil and moisture
requirements, and you will be off to a great start."
For additional information about plant
selection, proper planting and tree care, go to
[University of Illinois news