Spring and fall are the ideal times to plant new trees. Looking to add a new tree to your yard—for shade or color? Here are 8 favorites of all sizes for the Kansas City area that are available in most local garden shops:
- Oak trees—while these trees are slow-growing, their tremendous height makes them ideal for creating shade on large, open lawn spaces (they can grow up to 70 ft. tall and 70 ft. wide). Look for species like white oak or bur oak, which perform well in the Kansas City summers.
- Redbud—this native ornamental tree produces a brilliant splash of rose-pink color in the spring. A smaller tree, it works best in full sun, and only grows to around 25 ft. tall.
- Kentucky coffeetree—the leaves of this large shade tree start out with a tinge of pink or purple in spring, then grow into a rich, dark green. When planted in full sun, it can grow up to 75 ft. tall and 50 ft. wide.
- Juniper—one of the few evergreen trees that survives our hot, dry summers. Look for an upright variety, like local favorite Taylor juniper, with a nice pyramid shape and soft blue needles.
- Maple trees—several varieties of maple work well in the Kansas City weather, such as flame, autumn blaze, and red sunset. These excellent shade trees are fast-growing, drought-resistant, and put on a spectacular show of bright red foliage in the fall.
- Bald cypress—while it looks like an evergreen, the needle-like leaves of the bald cypress actually fall off in winter—so you can see the beautiful, cinnamon-colored bark. Great for providing winter interest on a landscape, it thrives equally well in wet or dry soil.
- Black gum—pretty, smaller ornamental lawn tree that turns orange and purple in the fall. Good for full sun locations, it only grows to around 25 ft. tall.
- Ginkgo—a very hardy, ancient species of tree that is enjoying a renaissance because of its versatility in the Kansas and Missouri climates. A slow-growing, tough tree with green fan-shaped foliage that turns yellow in the fall. (If planting near sidewalks, use the male trees—as the female trees produce edible seeds).
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