Recommended Ornamental Trees

 

Recommended Ornamental Trees

Ornamental trees are characterized by spring or early summer flowering displays followed by ornamental fruit set and, often, showy fall color, providing year-round seasonal interest.  Generally growing smaller than shade trees, most ornamental trees are available in both single and multiple stemmed forms.  The following list includes ornamental trees that perform well in our parks.
 
Amelanchier x grandiflora
Apple Serviceberry
One of the earliest flowering of the ornamental trees, this multiple-stemmed Midwestern native produces masses of white flowers in early to mid April.  The small red fruit, which ripen in June, are a favorite with birds.  Blue-green summer foliage changes in the fall to a spectacular range of yellows, oranges and reds, providing one of the best displays of autumn color.
 
Cercis canadensis
Eastern Redbud
Redbud’s flowers are actually bright purplish-red in bud, opening to rosy-pink.  In mid April the tiny flowers are born in profusion along the twigs and stems of this small, spreading tree.  The new leaves, which appear as the flowers fade, are reddish purple, changing to a lustrous dark green in the summer.
 
Cornus mas
Corneliancherry Dogwood
*spring planting only
Very early flowering, Corneliancherry Dogwood produces an abundance of small, bright yellow flowers in early to mid March, well before any other ornamental trees.  Bright cherry-red fruit follow, ripening in July, and are very popular with birds and other wildlife.  Oval to spreading in habit, this tree has dark glossy green summer foliage and muted purple-red fall color.
 
Crataegus crusgalli inermis
Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn
*spring planting only
An excellent native Midwestern ornamental tree, this thornless Hawthorn is covered with white flowers in mid to late May.  In the summer, lustrous dark green foliage provides a backdrop for masses of small deep red fruit, which ripen in September and persist through the winter.  Fall leaf color is bronzy to purplish-red.
 
Malus var.
Flowering Crabapple
*spring planting only
The showiest flower displays of the Midwest’s ornamental trees belong to the Crabapples, which begin blooming in late April and continue through the end of May.  Flower color depends on the cultivar and includes many shades of white, pink and red, even reddish purple.  Many cultivars also have good fruit set, extending the ornamental qualities of the trees well into winter.  When ordering a Crabapple, please indicate the preferred flower color and we will select a suitable cultivar.
 
Viburnum prunifolium
Blackhaw Viburnum
Native to the Chicago region and tolerant of urban soils, Blackhaw Viburnum flowers in May.  The creamy white flowers are followed in September by small dark blue fruit, which make this tree a valuable food resource for migrating birds.  Dark green summer foliage changes from purple to deep red and bronze in the fall.
 
Please Note:  Due to specific cultural requirements, some ornamental trees are dug by the nurseries only in the spring and may be planted only during the spring planting season.  These trees, which are noted above as “spring planting only” cannot be planted in the fall.