The Q&A Archives: Flowering trees

Question: I would like to buy a flowering tree, but don't know which one is best. I live in northern coastal Mass. Where I want to plant the tree, it would get full sun. I would like to have a flowering tree that stays in bloom spring to fall. I really like Dogwoods but they need partial sun. Can you suggest a tree for me? Also, I believe we live in zone 4- is that correct?
Thank you for any help you can give.

Answer: There simply isn't a tree that produces flowers from spring until fall so you'll have to decide which season you most want the flowers - spring or summer. Once you've decided on that, you can choose between the following suggestions:

The Washington Hawthorne (Crataegus phaenopyrum) is a beautiful, drought-tolerant tree that grows to 30 feet tall. Often used as a street tree, it has attractive red fruit that birds will eat late in winter. You may have the joy of seeing flocks of the Cedar Waxwing dining on the fruit. This native tree blooms in late May and early June with white clusters of flowers. The Hawthorne is a great looking tree all year around with attractive bark, fall foliage, and a rounded growth habit. It can be pruned into a protective hedge because of its dense, thorny branches. Another suggestions is the Sweet-Bay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana). The white, lemon-scented blooms begin in June and extend into July.

The Stewartia Pseudocamellia, or Japanese Stewartia, is native to Japan with a height in the range of 45 feet. This pyramidal tree is an excellent specimen tree with gorgeous exfoliating bark and fall foliage. It likes some shade and needs protection from the hottest part of the day.

The Golden-rain Tree, or Varnish Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) is a very tough tree that tolerates drought and air pollution. Nonetheless, it has great ornamental value with fragrant, upright, yellow flower clusters in June-July. The papery seed pods have an ornamental value in winter. Another tree with ornamental bark, it likes full sun and adapts to a wide range of soils. It flowers best in hot, dry summers and is salt tolerant.

A wonderful tree from the heath family is the Sourwood Tree (Oxydendrum arboreum). This native tree is good for woodland edge or as an understory tree because it likes partial shade and lots of organic matter. It is also known as the Lily of the Valley Tree because of its white, fragrant, urn-shaped flower clusters that appear June to July. This specimen tree has rich fall foliage and gray, furrowed, bark. Under-utilized in the landscape, this is a star performer.

The last suggestion is the Franklin Tree (Franklinia alatamaha). Franklin Tree is one of the very few trees to bloom in late summer, with white cup-shaped flowers in August and September. Fall foliage is a dependable orange-red color, and with handsome gray bark this is another tree with four-season interest.

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