University of Maryland Extension

Featured Plants - Yellowwood, Kentucky Yellowwood

Yellowwood - photo: The Dow Gardens Archive, Dow Gardens,

Cladrastis kentukea
When choosing a medium-sized tree (for instance to replace an ash lost to emerald ash borer) consider the yellowwood. This under-planted native packs a big wow factor from its fragrant, pendulous flower panicles in May to early June. The rich green foliage stands out in any summer landscape followed by a golden yellow fall display. As the tree matures its bark becomes smooth, gray and beech-like. Yellowwood’s name is derived from the color of the heartwood. It grows to a height of 30’ to 50’with a 40’ to 50’ spread, making it especially good on small lots. Plant yellowwood in the spring in moist soil with good drainage. It tolerates high pH, prefers full sun, and has few disease or insect problems.
(March 2013)

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