Gardeners in the Sunflower State know how lucky they are to have such wonderful, silty loam soil in which to grow their plants. The main consideration when choosing trees for a Kansas landscape will be cold hardiness. The state of Kansas encompasses USDA hardiness zones 5 in the north and 6 in the south, which allows for a large variety of trees. Whether you live along the Arkansas River, the High Plains or in the Ozark Plateau, there are medium-size trees that will provide shade in the summer and lots of color in fall.
Royal Empress Tree
If you are looking for a tree that grows fast, this is the one. It is not at all unusual for this tree to grow 10 to 15 feet its first year. Its growth slows as it matures and will top out at 40 to 50 feet. Winter brings on the buds, which burst into fragrant, soft purple blooms that cover the tree in spring. In the summer, the royal empress (Paulownia tomentosa) makes a striking shade tree with large leaves. Although it thrives in a wide range of USDA hardiness zones (5 to 11), in Kansas' prarie soil it does especially well.
Autumn Purple Ash
The autumn purple ash tree is a trademarked variety of white ash (Fraxinus americana ) that grows particularly well in Kansas. A fast-growing tree, the autumn purple ash will grow to a height of 60 feet, with an overall oval shape. Named for its fall color, the tree's foliage turns brilliant shades of red, purple and magenta before falling in the winter. The price for the fall show is this tree's intolerance to drought conditions and requirement for annual pruning.
Scarlet Red Maple
The red maple (Acer rubrum) is a deciduous, medium tree that grows 40 to 70 feet in height. Although its shape is conical while young, in maturity it tends to round out. Gardeners grow this tree for its striking scarlet autumn foliage and for the fact that it is an easy-going tree with few requirements. One requirement is that it may develop chlorosis if grown in alkaline soil.