Sooner or later (or it may already have begun), Minnesota’s trees, shrubs, and bushes will begin to bloom and add color to what has been a dull winter landscape. After remaining dormant through the winter trees develop their bright green leaves, indicating the presence of spring and chlorophyll. As trees enter their growing seasons (spring and summer), chlorophyll uses sunlight to produce carbohydrates, which it creates from carbon dioxide and water. In addition to the green leaves that will give life to the tree, their flowers will soon be in bloom. We’ve put together a list of some of the breeds that can be found in Minnesota and how to spot them by appearance—particularly their flowers.
Chokecherries produce small white flower clusters in late May. This shrub can grow anywhere between 20 to 30 feet in height and have a 15 to 25-foot spread. You can also spot them by their round canopies and smooth, gray bark. As their name indicates, they also produce fruit which is often bright to dark red and is commonly used in jams and jellies. Although they’re tolerant to shade, the sun is needed to produce a hearty crop.
Eastern Redbuds create vibrant pink blossoms that begin to appear in April. They offer brilliant foliage throughout the year with leaf colors that range from red-brown to dark green to yellow. They typically grow between 20 and 30 feet in height with a round canopy and a 35-foot spread. If you are thinking of adding an eastern redbud to your property, shoot for an area that offers full sun or light shade.
Red Maples produce red flowers (shocking, we know) with five small petals that often appear at the branch tips in April to May. True to name and form, they also have robust red color in the fall. On average, they grow to about 50 feet in height and have a 39 foot spread. They grow somewhat fast and are at their full size by 10 years of age.
Star Magnolias have large, aromatic white flowers that are offset by their dark green leaves (although the leaves will appear after the flowers begin to bloom). A hardy variety, the star magnolia grows 15 to 20 feet in height and has an oval spread of 10 to 15 feet. They are mostly planted to stand on their own, benefitting the shrub by offering full sun which leads to producing the finest flowers.
Crabapples are a very common Minnesota shrub and come in more than 100 varieties. Their flowers can come in pink, red or white and have five petals. On average, they grow up to 25 feet tall and can grow 20 feet wide. They are a great option if you are looking for an ornamental tree that is fairly low maintenance.
If you want to not only add beauty to your landscape but also a sign that spring is here, we highly recommend that you plant a flowering tree. You can learn more about these trees, and several others, by reading our blog about including ornamental and unusual trees in your landscape.