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The Katsura Tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) is native to China and Japan. It is beautifully shaped with a conical to round crown and single or multiple trunks. Katsura has heart-shaped leaves similar to Redbud (Cercis Canadensis) that attach on either side of the spreading branches. It is commonly grown as an ornamental tree in Japan, and is also harvested for use in construction, woodworking, furniture, and paneling. Varieties of Katsura display spring and summer colors of yellowish-pink, purple, or lavender, and fall colors of orange or golden-yellow. Because of its shape and unusual leaves, it is an excellent specimen or street tree. Katsura thrives in moist, rich, well-draining soils, in full sun to partial shade.
The Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa) is an Asian tree native to Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan. It is vase-shaped when young, but as it matures, it develops a spreading, rounded crown. In the spring, Kousa Dogwood is covered in white flowers that develop into edible, pinkish-red, fleshy fruits in the fall hanging down from the branches. In autumn, the leaves turn burgundy red to complete a year of stunning color and interest. This is a natural specimen or accent tree, and looks best when given room to spread out and show off. Cornus kousa grows best in rich, well-draining, loamy soil that is neutral to slightly acidic, and in full sun to partial shade.
Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) is native to Eastern North America and areas of Mexico and Central America. Its name comes from the sweet fluid, or “liquid amber” that exudes from the tree. It is generally pyramidal when young, developing a rounded crown with age. There are varieties of sweetgum with different forms and colors, however, such as “Slender Silhouette” which is a columnar tree, and “Gold Dust”, which has yellow-gold leaves. Sweetgum has distinctive 5-pointed, star-shaped leaves and numerous prickly seed capsules, or “gumballs” that ripen in the fall and drop to the ground in the spring. They grow well in deep, fertile soils in full sun, and are striking as shade or accent trees.