Trees that are preferred in Kansas are trees that are native to the area. The two hardiness zones in Kansas, zones 5 and 6, are temperate with average nighttime winter temperatures ranging from 0 degrees to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Gardeners in Kansas pick from preferred trees that make a dramatic statement in any landscaping plan.
Eastern hop-hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) is also known as hophornbeam and ironwood. The tree grows from 30 to 50 feet tall in a conical to rounded shape with a twisted trunk and loose bark. Eastern hop-hornbeam produces oval leaves that turn yellow in the fall, and white, yellow, green or brown flowers that bloom in April and grow in spikes that hang down from the tree. Green fruits replace the flowers and turn brown as they mature. The name hop-hornbeam comes from the fact that the clusters of flowers and fruit resemble the hops used to make beer and the tree earned the name ironwood from its tough, hard wood, which is used to make tool handles and fence posts. The nut-like fruit is a favorite of birds, deer and small animals. Plant the eastern hop-hornbeam in full sun, partial shade or full shade and in a soil that is dry to moist, but not wet.
Black walnut (Juglans nigra) is also known as the American walnut. The tree grows from 70 to 100 feet tall with a trunk that measures 2 to 4 feet in diameter and a crown that can reach a spread of 70 feet. The tree produces aromatic leaves that grow from 1 to 2 feet long and edible nuts that grow inside a thick protective, yellow-green hull. The wood of the black walnut is used to make gunstocks, cabinets and furniture and the nuts are used to make candy and baked goods. Plant black walnut in full sun and a moist, well drained soil.
White ash (Fraxinus americana) grows from 60 to 70 feet tall with both upright and spreading branches. The tree produces leaves that are dark green on the top and lighter on the bottom changing to burgundy or purple in the fall. The leaves grow from 8 to 15 feet long and are made up of 5 to 9 leaflets, each from 2 to 6 inches long. Both male and female flowers appear on the same tree in April and are followed by 1 to 2 inch long fruits that start out green and turn tan. The wood of the white ash is used to make baseball bats. Plant the tree in full sun and soil that is deep, fertile and moist.