By Stacy Kershaw

A carpet of spring blossoms – Image (c) Stacy Kershaw, all rights reserved

New feet within my garden go
New fingers stir the sod
A Troubadour upon the Elm
Betrays the solitude.

New children play upon the green
New Weary sleep below
And still the pensive Spring returns
And still the punctual snow!

-Emily Dickinson

Springtime in New England is like no other. Budding blooms begin to reveal themselves and neighbors reappear after what seems like a winter of hibernation.

Spring is also an ideal time to plant new trees.

River birch bark – Image (c) Stacy Kershaw, all rights reserved

Here are five lesser-known native trees that thrive in our climate and are quite beautiful! My yard contains all but one. And that one is on my shopping list!

1. Paperbark Maple  (Acer griseum). Noted for its peeling bark and amber fall color. This is a little known tree with a big impact.

2. River Birch (Betula nigra) ‘Heritage.’ Another tree with gorgeous bark. This is a fast grower with a wide spread and wonderful fall color.

3. Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)  This tree gets its name from its fleecy white, fragrant flowers that gently hang from its branches from late spring to early summer. It’s a small tree with a big personality.

4. Hawthorne ‘Crimson Cloud’ (Crataegus laevigata). This tree produces the most beautiful small, tightly clumped crimson colored flowers. It is a fairly small tree that bees adore!

5. Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera). This is a large tree with beautiful tulip-like flowers. But oddly, it’s in the magnolia family. This beauty can get to 90 feet tall.

Nursery trees are usually sold one of two ways: Balled and burlapped. Basically, the soil ball surrounding the roots is wrapped in burlap, or they are potted.

Once you choose your tree, be sure to properly amend the soil and plant it. For expert advice, I recommend the Missouri Botanical Garden’s website:
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/

Happy Planting!

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