Flowering trees are widely planted as landscape specimens in all areas of the United States. They provide foolproof spring color year after year with very little assistance from the homeowner. Their fragrant blossoms perfume the air for a brief period in spring with some types producing edible fruit later in the season. Many flowering trees show intense fall color. Varieties of flowering trees grow to heights ranging from a dozen feet to 50 or more feet high.
Japanese cherry trees (Prunus serrulata) are the same type that were given to the United States by the Japanese in 1912 and that still grow in Washington, DC. They reach about 15 to 20 feet high at maturity and spread an equal distance. Their branches take on an arching, weeping growth habit, with the tips of lower flower-laden branches sometimes reaching all the way to the ground. Their spectacular and highly fragrant flowers bloom in mid April to early May. The fully double blossoms are deep pink and can reach 2½ inches in diameter. They produce so many flowers that they often obscure the branches completely when in bloom.
Flowering crabapples (Malus spp.) have been extensively hybridized. More than 1,000 varieties of crabapples are available for virtually every type of growing condition and micro-climate in the United States. They can have single or double flowers in white, red, rose or pink. Some varieties have buds with interesting colors. The buds may develop in one color, but the flowers that follow may be a different color altogether. Crabapples are shorter growing than standard apples and make excellent landscape specimens. The fruits can range from the size of cherries up to 2-inches in diameter--apples larger than 2-inches in diameter are not considered crabapples, but are considered standard varieties. Fruit colors can be red, pink, purplish or golden with a reddish blush. The fruit remains on the trees of some varieties well into winter, providing winter interest and food for wildlife.
Magnolias (Magnolia spp.) are one of the oldest trees, with evidence of them found in fossils that date between 36 and 58 million years ago. They are native to the Americas and Asia and are primarily grown for their fragrant white, yellow, green, pink or purple flowers, which bloom in mid-spring. Most varieties grow over 50 feet high and make excellent urban shade trees.