Best Colorado Flowering Trees
There’s nothing that screams “spring” more than when the flowering trees start to bloom. In Colorado, springtime weather can be a little iffy, so if these fragrant trees jump the gun because of an early warm spell, they may be in trouble when all of the sudden the temperature drops to freezing again.
That’s why flowering trees are a little tougher to manage. You have to choose trees that are hardy enough for zone 5 and then plant them in an area that has all of the essentials but is protected from the northeast wind.
Like all living things, flowering trees need plenty of sunshine, healthy soil, ample water and preferred temperature conditions for optimal growth. Three of my favorites that fit the bill are flowering crabapple, dogwoods, and eastern redbuds.
Here’s some info on caring for a crabapple tree:
How to Plant a Crabapple Tree
Choose a location in full sun with well-drained soil. Trees that are shaded develop an open canopy instead of a more attractive, dense growth habit. Shaded trees produce fewer flowers and fruit, and they are more susceptible to disease.
Dig the hole for the tree as deep as the root ball and two to three times as wide. When you set the tree in the hole, the soil line on the tree should be even with the surrounding soil. Fill the hole half full with soil and water well to remove the air pockets. When the soil settles and the water drains through, finish filling the hole and water thoroughly.
How to Care for a Crabapple Tree
Growing crabapple trees in the home landscape is much easier if you choose disease- and insect-resistant varieties. This allows you to focus your attention on care essentials like fertilizing, watering and pruning.
Newly Planted Trees – Newly planted crabapple trees don’t need fertilization until the following spring, but they do need regular watering during their first year. Keep the soil over the tree’s root zone evenly moist. A 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch over the roots prevents the soil from drying out too quickly. Established Flowering Crabapple Trees – Crabapple trees are drought-resistant once established, but they grow best if you water them when there is less than an inch of rain in a week during summer. A 2-inch layer of mulch applied every spring provides sufficient nutrients for a crabapple tree. If you prefer, you can apply a light feeding of slow-release fertilizer instead.
Flowering dogwoods are native to America and offer beautiful spring color. Because they are susceptible to disease from too much humidity, you should plant them where they receive morning sun, which will help dissipate the dew from the leaves.
Some afternoon shade is also a benefit unless they have plenty of moisture in the soil. Along with their flowers in the spring, their fall foliage is also striking, making them a good choice all around.
It’s interesting that what looks like the actual flower blossom is just a covering for the inner greenish-yellowish flowering head in the center. The outer “petals” are called bracts and are modified leaves.
This video explains more on flowering dogwoods:
Eastern Redbud Trees
This is another favorite for zone 5 states like Colorado. It provides early pink blooms that appear before the leaves, making it a dazzling addition to your yard.
This tree is native to the eastern part of the United States but adapts well to any environment in zones 4 through 9. They can get up to 30 feet tall with a 35-foot spread so, like the dogwood, you want to allow ample space for it to grow into.
Here are some tips for planting and caring for the eastern redbud:
Aerate the soil under the tree with an aerator. Follow the operating instructions for the type of aerator. Hardware stores and garden centers rent soil aerators. Start about two feet from the base of the tree and spiral outward to at least the drip line. Eastern redbuds need good air flow in the soil and the trees can develop root rot without proper drainage.
Check the soil pH around the redbud with a test kit. Eastern redbuds grow best with a pH above 7.5. Add agricultural lime, as needed, following the package directions, to increase the pH. Adding the lime after aerating helps it absorb better into the soil.
Prune dead or damaged branches throughout the year. Remove trunks spaced closer than 10 inches apart by cutting them off at ground level with a pruning saw. Cut off lateral branches growing in a “V” shape with pruning shears for branches under 3/4 inch in diameter or with lopping shears for larger diameters up to 2 inches. Make the cuts approximately 1/4 inch above a bud and sloping away from it.
See more care tips here: How To Care For Eastern Redbuds
Other popular flowering trees and shrubs for the Front Range area are the purple leaf sand cherry, catalpa, lilac bushes and Japanese lilac tree. As with any tree, when they are first planted they need plenty of regular and deep watering.
Flowering trees will benefit from being fertilized in the spring, using a mix especially made for them containing extra phosphorus. If you aren’t sure of what trees will work the best in your yard, contact a landscaping company in Denver to get their advice.