Trees often found growing in the backyard range from evergreen to deciduous varieties, each with its own distinct shape, size and bloom color. Backyard trees have blooms that emerge to light up the landscape with color and have year-round foliage that keeps the garden in color, even in winter. With their rapid growth rate, they help to create a striking presence in the landscape in short period of time.
Giant arborvitae (Thuja plicata), also called western red cedar, is a rapidly growing evergreen tree that is suitable to grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 to 8. It grows 50-to-80 feet tall and 15-to-20 feet wide and has a pyramidal shape that is narrow to broad. Giant arborvitae has deep green, lustrous foliage that is marked with white underneath, along with their half-inch-long cones. As an evergreen, giant arborvitae retains its foliage throughout the winter to keep the garden in color. When young the bark on giant arborvitae is cinnamon to red. A long-lived arborvitae, it grows best in full sun to part shade and well-drained, moist soil. Giant arborvitae tolerates clay soils.
Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is a deciduous tree with a rapid growth rate. It grows 40-to-100 feet tall and has a spread of 20-to-40 feet. Tulip trees have a rounded crown and an upright, tall trunk. The 6-to-8-inch-long, paper-thin leaves on tulip trees are clear green and cast a yellow tinge in fall. The fragrant, 2-to-3-inch-long green and orange, spring-blooming, cup-shaped flowers resemble magnolia flowers and attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. According to North Carolina State University Extension, tulip trees are a host plant for tiger and spicebush swallowtail butterflies. Tulip trees grow best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. They grow best in zones 4 to 9.
Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) is a deciduous tree with attractive blooms and foliage that light up the backyard landscape. Mimosas grow 20-to-35 feet tall and have a spread of 25-to-30 feet. Mimosa trees are vase-shaped with a flat-topped crown. The dark green, 20-inch-long foliage is bipinnately arranged, meaning where divided, the blades contain small leaflets that flank both sides. The fragrant, thread-like, 5-to-7-inch-long flowers are light to dark pink and attract hummingbirds to the garden. Mimosa trees grow best in full sun and tolerate a wide range of soil varieties. They are also drought and wind tolerant. Plant mimosa trees in zones 6 to 9.