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Flowering Trees in Ohio

cherry tree bud image by Alex White from

There are only two USDA Hardiness Zones in Ohio, zones 5 and 6. Most of the flowering trees in Ohio can be grown in both zones since they are grown in most of the eastern United States, in zones that are both colder and hotter. The zones in Ohio are temperate, supporting the widest variety of plants and giving the gardener in Ohio the opportunity to pick a tree that fits her landscaping plan perfectly.

Cornelian Cherry Dogwood

Cornelian cherry dogwood (Cornus mas) is a small ornamental tree native to Central and Southern Europe and Western Asia that grows from 15 to 20 feet tall. It produces 3-inch long, medium to dark green leaves that turn to green and red-purple in the fall. The small yellow flowers appear in March, before the leaves appear in spring. The flowers produce green fruits that ripen to a cherry-red in July and provide meals for birds and squirrels. The tree prefers full sun, but can take partial shade. Moist well-drained soils are the best, but it can adapt to other conditions as well since it is drought tolerant. Cornelian cherry dogwood can be grown in all of Ohio, looks good in front of a brick wall or as a companion plant with an evergreen tree, shrub or vine.

Eastern Redbud

Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) is also known as redbud or the Judas tree. It grows from 15 to 30 feet tall and just as wide. The tree produces 4-inch long and 4-inch wide bronze to medium-green, heart-shaped leaves that turn to dark green and then chartreuse in the fall. The flowers start out as small dark brown buds that develop into purple-lavender buds and finally open to reveal pink-lavender flowers in April, before the leaves appear. Green seed pods appear when the flowers are through, turn to brown, dry out and can remain on the tree for up to a year. The tree grows in full sun or partial shade and likes a moist, fertilized well-drained soil in order to reach its maximum height and flower production. It is adaptable to different types of soil as long as it is well drained, not wet. Plant the tree near plants whose leaves come out at the same time as the flowers on the Eastern redbud for a balanced appearance. The tree can be planted throughout Ohio.

Wild Cherry

Wild cherry (Prunus serotina) is also known as rum cherry. The tree grows from 40 to 100 feet tall and produces dark green leaves that grow from 2 to 6 inches long and turn yellow or red in the fall and small, fragrant white flowers that grow in drooping clusters that grow from 4 to 6 inches long. The flowers and the leaves appear at the same time and when the flowers are done, the tree produces cherries that are dark red, look almost black and ripen in early summer. If there are any cherries left after the birds get to them, they are used to make jelly and wine and as a flavoring for brandy. Wild cherry needs full sun and moist soil. It will not survive in shade. It makes a great shade tree, but it needs a lot of room and it is a messy tree. The tree can be grown in all of Ohio.

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