When it comes to curb appeal, nothing beats the landscape statement of spring-flowering trees. Not only do they embrace spring with a profusion of gorgeous blooms, many are highly fragrant and provide food for pollinators. The best offer multi-seasonal interest in addition to their early flowers.
Our top picks for spring-flowering trees are resilient, beautiful, easy to maintain, and just right for growing in central New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They include regional natives, as well as well-behaved non-native trees with impressive spring flowers.
Choose one of more of these superb spring-flowering trees and not only will your early landscape look spectacular, but their extended seasons of interest will keep your yard looking good for longer.
If you think crabapples have too many disease problems, think again – newer varieties of this beautiful spring bloomer are wonderfully disease resistant.
The red-flowered Prairifire crabapple (Malus ‘Prairifire’, 15-20 feet), is a perfect example. High disease resistance, colorful spring flowers, and persistent red crabapples have made it a top-notch landscape tree.
If you’re looking for something a little smaller, try the remarkably compact and disease resistant ‘Adirondack’ (Malus ‘Adirondack’, 12 feet) which has white flowers and orange fruit, and the dwarf, spreading crabapple ‘Tina’ (Malus sargentii ‘Tina’, 5 feet), which offers fragrant white flowers and red fall fruits.
Weeping flowering cherries lend classic beauty to spring landscapes and some offer added landscape interest after the flowers have faded.
A spectacular choice is the vigorous Weeping Extraordinaire™ Double Flowering Cherry (Prunus ‘Extrazam’, 20 feet) that bears huge double pink blooms in early spring. In fall, it puts on a show with burgundy leaves.
For a non-weeping flowering cherry, Kwanzan cherry (Prunus ‘Kwanzan’, 20-30 feet) is an excellent choice. It has a broad, spreading habit, and offers loads of fully double, pink blooms in mid-spring. In autumn is still looks good as its leaves turn coppery shades, and younger trees have attractive, peeling mahogany bark.
The remarkably hardy downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea, 15-25 feet), also known as Shadbush, Shadblow, Juneberry, common serviceberry and Junebush, is native to both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It’s a vase-shaped small tree that produces lots of fragrant, delicate white flowers that feed bees in mid-spring, is tolerant of both partial shade and clay soils, and is generally disease resistant. The spring flowers are followed by edible, tart-sweet, purple-red fruits that songbirds love. Exceptional orange-red fall foliage and smooth gray bark extend its interest into fall and winter.
There are several downy serviceberry hybrids that offer exceptional landscape performance. Two of the best are ‘Autumn Brilliance’ (20-25 feet), which has brilliant red foliage in fall and ‘Forest Prince’ (20 feet), which has an oval shape and wonderful orange-red fall color.
When it comes to spectacular spring blooms, nothing can compete with magnolias.
The striking popular saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana) and star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) are the most widely planted varieties, but frosts often damage their early flowers.
Safer, later-flowering magnolias include the lily magnolia (Magnolia lilliflora, 12 feet), which produces large, dusky pink, lily-shaped blooms from April to May, and the pink-flowered hybrid Rose Marie (20 feet), which produces large, goblet-shaped flowers on robust trees in April.
This mid-sized native tree has brilliant purple-red flowers that line the bare branches in mid-spring.
Redbud (Cercis canadensis, 20-30 feet) trees have an elegant branching structure and heart-shaped leaves that look attractive through summer, but the vibrant spring flowers are the main attraction.
If you’d like a redbud tree that looks especially good in summer (after the flowers have faded), two good varieties are the purple-leaved ‘Forest Pansy’ and chartreuse-leaved ‘Hearts of Gold’.
Before Planting a Spring Flowering Tree
Before choosing a spring-flowering tree for your landscape, consider the available space, amount of light, and soil conditions in your yard.
Most spring-flowering trees perform best in full to partial sun. The soil should be well drained and of average to good fertility.
Once you’ve found the right spring-flowering tree for the right spot, plant one or more of these beautiful trees to make your spring extra fragrant, colorful, and beautiful.
And if you’re looking for trees with brilliant fall color, you may want to also plant one of our top 5 recommended trees for fall foliage color.
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