Kansas weather can be extreme, with ranging temperatures of below 0 degrees F in the winter and in excess of 100 degrees F in the summer. A tree that grows well in Kansas needs to tolerate harsh temperatures, high winds and drought. There are many trees that adapt well to the state’s conditions but are hardy and attractive. If you live in Kansas, choose a tree recommended for your state for the best end result.
The three-flowered maple tree (acer triflorum) is recommended for eastern and central Kansas and for hardiness zones 4 through 9. This is likely the hardiest of the trifoliate (three-leaved) maple trees, according to Kansas State University Research and Extension. It is tolerant of clay soil and drought. This tree takes on a round, compacted shape when grown in a sunny location. It does well in shade but grows in a spreading upright manner. This tree reaches a mature height of 20 to 30 feet. When in bloom the tree’s yellow flowers are in clusters of three. Whether grown in sun or shade, the three-flowered maple changes colors in the fall, with an array of bright orange, purple, scarlet red and gold leaves. The peeling bark of the tree is brown or cinnamon in color.
The Mexican redbud (cercis canadensis ssp. Mexicana) grows well in southern Kansas and in hardiness zones 6 through 9. This tree can be planted in the northern portions of the state but needs to be located in a sheltered area. It is ideal for Kansas because it tolerates heat and drought well. The Mexican redbud can grow well in sun or partial shade and requires well-drained soil. The tree flowers in the spring with pinkish-purple flowers and grows to a mature height of 15 to 25 feet..
Cornelian Cherry Dogwood
The cornelian cherry dogwood (cornus mas) is recommended for southern Kansas and for hardiness zones 4 through 8. This is the longest-lived dogwood tree for the Midwestern states, according to the Ohio Public Library Information Network. It can handle a variety of soils, including heavy clay. The cornelian cherry dogwood is a small, rounded tree that has dense yellow flowers in the spring. This tree’s green leaves of summer change to reddish-purple in the fall. Some varieties bear red fruit. It grows to a mature height of 20 to 25 feet but can also be grown as a large shrub or used as a hedge.
Columnar English Oak
The columnar English oak (fastigiata) is also known as upright English oak. This oak tree is a slow-grower that does well in zones 5 through 8 and grows well throughout Kansas. It has a narrow, columnar form and reaches a maximum mature height of 60 feet tall and 15 feet wide. The columnar English oak has blue-green leaves that do not change colors in the fall and remain on the tree into the winter. It does well in sunny open areas and can be prone to powdery mildew.