Northern states have their share of flowering trees that make as much of a display as those in the south. Eastern Pennsylvania is no exception. Most of the area does not get below -15 degrees Fahrenheit during the worse of winters, and only one small area in the northeastern corner gets temperature of -20F. Picking flowering trees that are native to this area assures you that the trees are used to the temperatures and growing conditions, and they will feel right at home.
Allegheny serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) is a deciduous tree that grows from 15 to 25 feet tall and 5 to 10 feet wide. The tree produces dark green leaves that grow up to 3 inches long and change to yellow-orange or red in the fall. White, 2 to 4 inch long flowers appear in April and are followed by small, black fruits that are a favorite meal for birds and small animals. Plant Allegheny serviceberry in full sun and a wet soil.
Silky dogwood (Cornus amomum) is a deciduous tree that grows from 6 to 15 feet in height and about the same in spread. The tree produces medium-green leaves that grow from 2 to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. Cream-white flowers appear in May and June and grow in clusters up to 2 1/2 inches wide and are followed by small, blue fruits that are a favorite food for birds. Plant silky dogwood in full sun or partial shade and in a moist, fertile soil.
Common winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is also known as black alder, coralberry and Michigan holly and is a deciduous holly that can grow up to 25 feet tall. The tree produces leaves that grow from 1 to 4 inches long and half as wide. The tree will have either male or female flowers and one of each is needed to produce the fruit. The small, white flowers are followed by fed berries that stay on the tree after the leaves are gone. Plant common winterberry in full sun or partial shade and in a rich, organic, moist to wet soil.
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is a deciduous tree that grows from 20 to 80 feet tall. The tree produces leaves that grow from 2 to 6 inches long and change to yellow, orange and red in the fall. The small green-yellow flowers appear before the leaves and are followed by dark blue fruits. All parts of the tree have an aroma of root beer. Plant sassafras in partial shade or full sun and in dry sandy soil. The flowers attract honeybees and birds come for the fruit.