Flowering trees are important because they add beauty and seasonal interest to the landscape according to Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist, University of Missouri Extension.
“In the landscape, flowering trees are secondary in importance to shade trees that provide framing, shade and background. However, flowering trees do provide interest that few shade trees can match,” said Byers.
The flowering tree bloom intensity and color may vary each year. That is why Byers frequently gets asked about what factors may influence a tree’s bloom performance.
“One of the biggest factors is the growing season the previous year. Flower buds are formed and set during the past summer growing season. Weather conditions or drought play a significant role on bloom intensity next spring,” said Byers.
Harsh winter conditions — such as extreme cold temperatures or early spring frosts — can influence plant performance the following spring.
Cool spring temperatures during the bloom period will actually prolong the colorful beauty of the tree according to Byers.
When selecting flowering shrubs and trees for your landscape, Byers says there are several factors that should be considered.
For starters, the size, form and overall appearance of the tree should be considered as well as the season of blooming, intensity, duration and the flower color.
“Perhaps the most important consideration is the planting site. Most flowering trees will perform best in fertile soils that are well drained. Modify soils with compost and elevate the planting area if drainage seems to be a problem,” said Byers.
In southwest Missouri, there are several popular flowering tree types to choose from that will also perform well.
Flowering crab apple trees are popular but Byers recommends choosing disease resistant varieties. Callery pear trees, like the new Aristocrat, Redspire and Cleveland Select, are also popular.
“Some of the favorites in the Ozarks remain Eastern redbud, flowering dogwood, flowering plums, flowering peach and flowering cherry trees,” said Byers.
For more information, contact Greene County’s Master Gardener Hotline, (417) 881-8909.