MDC recommends early blooming native trees for spring landscaping

Kansas City, Mon .– – White-flowered trees are too common in many fence lines, parks, and lawns in Kansas City this spring as non-native callery pear varieties planted as ornamental plants have hybridized and become very invasive. They invade where they are not wanted and smother valuable native trees, shrubs and wildflowers that feed songbirds and butterflies. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is encouraging gardeners and landscapers to plant native trees with brightly colored spring blooms as ornamental plants.

Missouri’s state tree, flowering dogwood, provides white flowers and is attractive on lawns in shaded locations. Serviceberry offers early white flowers, but also red berries that are edible to humans, although birds love them too. Other options include red horse chestnut, Yellowwood, Redbud, Blackhaw Viburnum, Hophornbeam, and Chokecherry, said Wendy Sangster, MDC Community Conservation Planner. A mix of tree species offers a variety of blooms and benefits. Native trees are home to valuable insects that are important sources of food for backyard birds. They encourage colorful moths and butterflies.

Invasive Callery pear varieties are home to few, if any, native insects. They provide berries that birds eat and then spread the seeds to encourage invasion. But these berries have very poor nutritional value for birds. Cultivated strains of this plant for sale include Aristocrat, Autumn Blaze, Bradford, Capital, Chanticleer (also known as Cleveland Select), New Bradford, and Redspire, among others. All are invasive and should not be planted.

“Callery pear varieties are also poor landscaping choices because they are weak trees and break easily in wind or ice storms,” ​​Sangster said.

At http://www.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/trees-work, MDC provides information on native landscape trees that help people and wildlife.

The Heartland Tree Alliance, an MDC partner in the Kansas City metropolitan area, has information on trees that do well in urban environments at https://www.bridgingthegap.org/heartland-tree-alliance. Another useful source of information about native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees can be found at http://www.grownative.org.

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April 07, 2021 at 11:13 PM GMT

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