It’s Planting Season!

Throughout the month of May we will be posting our Staff picks for ‘Tree of the Week’.  We hope you enjoy learning about these trees and that perhaps it inspires you to plant a new tree this spring in your yard.

Kentucky Coffee Tree (Gymnocladus dioicus)Gymnocladus_dioicus

Mature Height – 15m
Mature Spread – 12m

To know her is to love her! A wonderful native species that tolerates the worst stresses nature and humanity can impose.  Yet, it’s not frequently seen; it’s a good opportunity to distinguish yourself from your neighbours!

The Kentucky coffee tree is valued for its use as a fast-growing, pest-resistent shade tree that adapts well to urban conditions.  It provides a medium to light shade that is compatible with woodland gardening.  The name Gymnocladus, Greek for ‘naked branch’, derives from the relatively late leaf-out in spring and early leaf-drop in autumn.

This species has by far the largest leaves of any native tree in Canada.  It is often used in landscaping well beyond its natural range because it transplants easily and can tolerate urban conditions.  Kentucky coffee tree is drought tolerant, salt tolerant and grows in most soil types.

The seeds and fruit pulp of this tree causes low toxicity if ingested.  Select male trees, such as ‘Espresso’ and ‘Stately Manor’ to avoid the seed pods although these can add winter interest in a situation where ingestion of the seed pods is not a concern.

Kentucky coffee tree is listed as a ‘Species Threatened’ in Ontario by SARA (Species at Risk Act).  Also listed ‘Species Threatened’ by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada).

“He plants trees to benefit another generation.” — Caecilius Statius