November 1, 2022
Katsura tree is a magnificent specimen shade tree worthy of more use in our landscapes. Native to Japan, Katsura grows well in the midwestern landscape when planted in a location with sufficient moisture. Katsura tree has ornamental value in all four seasons as it matures. In the spring the small leaves emerge purple turning to a lovely blue-green as they fully expand. The clean heart-shaped leaves are similar to the Redbud tree but smaller. Interestingly, the botanical name Cercidiphyllum means “leaves like Redbud”. In the fall, the leaves will change early and range in color from yellow, to peach, and red and it is said they emit a lovely scent! When mature this tree provides a strong architectural presence in the winter, grounding the surrounding landscape. Siting is important for the Katsura as they do not only need consistent moisture, but also protection from hot afternoon sun and strong winds, especially when young. They are however tolerant of a range of soil pH’s, wet sites, and road salt.
Shade tree, in tree rows, and as a specimen
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