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Tree of the Month: Katsura Tree

By Leonard Phillips, ASLA Emeritus


katsura_1Trade Name: Katsura Tree

Botanical Name: Cercidiphyllum japonicum

Parentage: Species introduced from Japan by Thomas Hogg

Family: Cercidiphyllaceae

Introduction: 1865

Hardiness Zone*: 4 to 8

Height: 40 to 60 feet

Spread: 20 to 40 feet

Growth Rate: Fast when young, slower with age, full size in 30 years

Form: Rounded

Bloom Period: Early spring, late March to early April, before leaves

Flower: Small inconspicuous green flowers, sexes on separate trees

Fruit: Small dry capsules, persistent over winter

Spring Color: New leaves are reddish

Summer Foliage: Heart shaped leaves, 4 inches long, turning bluish green in summer

Autumn Foliage: Yellow to orange in autumn that has a cinnamon-brown sugar scent

Winter Interest: Bark provides winter interest

Bark: Brown, shaggy with age, reddish brown twigs

Habitat: Grows well throughout most of the U.S.

Culture: Rich loam, moist soil, full sun, needs partial shade in the south, slightly acid soils

Pest Problems: Excellent, no serious disease or pest problems

Storm Resistance: Good to excellent

Salt Tolerance: Fair

Planting: Easy to transplant bare root, recovers slowly

Propagating: Softwood cuttings are best

Design Uses: Specimen for lawn, park, and residential use

Companions: Use with evergreen groundcovers

Other Comments: Very clean tree, pyramidal in youth, full with maturity, male trees have a single trunk, female trees have several trunks in clump form

Available from: Most retail nurseries.


For information about the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, visit: http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/index.html


These are the personal observations of the author, living in New England – Zone 6.

Leonard Phillips can be reached via e-mail at lenphillips@on-line-seminars.com

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