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25 Most Popular Ornamental Trees in Wisconsin (Incl Dwarf)

Ornamental trees provide tremendous beauty to the landscape. They can be deciduous or evergreen.

Some have attractive bark, which adds interest to the winter landscape. Others provide jaw-dropping fall color. Many have displays of beautiful and fragrant flowers. For example, Amur chokecherry offers all this.

Often, ornamental trees are not large and fit into tight spaces. The tallest ornamental trees are generally between 25 to 30 feet tall. But there are many dwarf varieties of popular trees, such as the Dwarf Red Buckeye and Dwarf Korean lilac.

Wisconsin falls in USDA cold hardiness zones 3b to 5b. Much of the state has consistent precipitation throughout the year. Counties bordering Lake Michigan experience milder winters (USDA zone 5). Thus, growers there have plenty of ornamental tree options.

The following list has many Wisconsin classics such as hawthorn and redbud. But also the gorgeous and reliable yet underrated American-native fringe tree.

25 Popular Ornamental Trees to Grow in Wisconsin

1. American Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)

American Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)
Image by Katja Schulz via Flickr

Barks add texture and interest to the winter landscape. One of the best small trees for this is the American hophornbeam. The tree has a thin and flaky bark with a light grayish brown color. It looks like the bark is shedding off the trunk. Its attractive twigs are smooth, shiny, and reddish-brown.

American hophornbeam is an understudy tree – in nature, it grows among larger trees. It has a pyramidal shape when young, but the tree becomes more rounded or oval as it matures. This is a slow-growing tree and will only get to 10 to 25 feet tall after 15 years.

American hophornbeam is an easy tree to maintain. This native tree likes full sun or partial shade. It prefers soil that is more acidic and well-drained. Also, it will tolerate drought and heavy clay soils.

Other Common Names: American Hop-hornbeam, Eastern Hop Hornbeam, Hop Horn Beam, Ironwood, Leverwood, Wooly Hop Hornbeam

Growing Zones: 3 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

2. Amur Chokecherry (Prunus maackii)

Amur Chokecherry (Prunus maackii)
Image by Wendy Cutler via Flickr

Amur chokecherry offers year-round beauty.

Amur chokecherry has light green foliage. The foliage transitions to shades of yellow in the fall. It has a lovely bark that peels back in thin paper-like sheets. The attractive bark has various bronze, amber, copper, and orange shades. Such provides winter interest to the landscape.

The tree displays white fragrant flowers in the spring, which droop in clusters. Butterflies and bees flock to the flowers, which become small red to black edible fruits. You can use them to make jams and jellies. Also, birds love feasting on these fruits.

Amur chokecherry is low-maintenance, and it will do well in either full sun or partial shade. The attractive little tree strives in many soil types and pH levels. The surrounding soil should always be well-draining.

Other Common Names: Manchurian Cherry

Growing Zones: 2 – 6

Average Size at Maturity:  20 – 30 feet tall and 25 – 30 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

3. Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis)

Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis)
Image by F.D. Richards via Flickr

Amur maackia provides beauty to the garden throughout the year. In the spring, the leaves come out, appearing silvery and fuzzy. The leaves then turn to an olive-green color. Its exfoliating shiny cinnamon-colored bark provides winter interest to the landscape.

During the summer, fragrant 6-inch clusters of off-white flowers fill the tree. These flowers give way to long, flat-like seed pods.

The beautiful Amur maackia is easy to maintain. It tolerates most soils and pH. Also, it is tolerant of poor, infertile soils, pollution, and salt. They prefer full sun but will do well in partial shade. Also, there is no need for regular pruning.

Growing Zones: Zone 4 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 20 – 30 feet tall with a spread of 20 – 35 feet

Flowering Season: Early Summer

4. Amur Maple ‘Compactum’ (Acer ginnala, Acer tataricum subsp.ginnala) – Dwarf Tree

Amur Maple ‘Compactum’ (Acer ginnala, Acer tataricum subsp.ginnala)
Image by Jerry Norbury via Flickr

Most ornamental trees are grown for their flowers or some unique shape. Amur maple’s spectacular fall foliage is its claim to fame among gardeners. ‘Compactum’ is a dwarf cultivar growing up to 9 feet tall. This cultivar provides fragrant spring flowers and orange fall foliage.

The tiny ‘Compactum’ fits in most residential landscapes. For impactful visual effects, you can plant many next to each other. This dwarf cultivar is an excellent choice for small spaces and patios.

On care, it can tolerate shade, salt, and moderate drought. For the best fall color, provide it with full sun. It does fine loamy, sandy, clay, and well-drained soils.

Other Common Names: Siberian Maple

Growing Zones: 3 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 7 – 9 feet with equal spread

Flowering Season: Spring

5. Carolina Silverbell (Halesia tetraptera)

Carolina Silverbell (Halesia tetraptera)
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

Carolina silverbell is a small ornamental tree. It gets its popularity from its white bell-shaped flowers that appear in the spring. After flowering it produces four-winged green fruit. The fast-growing tree has a rounded, pyramidal, or vase-shaped habit. In fall, its foliage turns to a soft yellow shade.

In the landscape, Carolina silverbell looks attractive with an evergreen background. Also, evergreen flowering shrubs such as rhododendrons make beautiful companions.

Carolina silverbell can tolerate full sun to partial shade. It is an understudy tree in nature, so it does better with a bit of shade. It prefers rich, well-drained, and moist soils.

Other Common Names: Little Silverbell

Growing Zones: 4 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 20 – 40 feet tall with similar spread

Flowering Season: Spring

6. Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus)

Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus – castus)
Image by John Flannery via Flickr

The fast-growing chaste tree is both stylish and low maintenance.

It is one of the few winter-hardy trees that provide true-blue blooms. It flowers throughout the summer months. The flowers grow in long clusters and have a peppery and sage-like fragrance.

As a bonus, the flowers attract pollinators such as butterflies and bees. Such adds life to the landscape. It is best to clip the spent flower heads to encourage more blooming.

Chaste tree grows with many stems. It makes a magnificent specimen tree or a focal point in a garden bed. The canopy is light and airy, allowing the tree to provide some dappled shade.

Chaste trees grow well in most soil conditions. Yet, the soil should be well-drained to prevent root rot. Hardy to zone 5, it does well in Lake Michigan and southern Wisconsin counties.

Other Common Names: Vitex, Chasteberry, Abraham’s Balm, Lilac Chastetree, Monk’s Pepper

Growing Zones: 5 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 15 – 25 feet with similar spread

Flowering Season: Late spring through early fall

7. ‘Crimson Queen’ Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Crimson Queen’) – Dwarf Tree

‘Crimson Queen’ Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Crimson Queen’)
Image by WordRidden via Flickr

Japanese maples are famous ornamental trees because of their colorful foliage. There are dozens of varieties leaving many gardeners not knowing where to begin.

Crimson Queen is a small weeping Japanese maple. It gets its name from the shades of crimson on the leaves. The leaves display a deep crimson-purple color in the spring. The color lasts through the summer. The leaves turn to a bright crimson red during the fall.

Crimson Queen likes filtered light and will not do well in the direct late-day sun. A slower grower, it will only get to 3 to 4 feet in 15 years. Due to its compact size, you can plant it in containers.

Other Common Names: Red Weeping Lace Leaf Crimson Queen

Growing Zones: 5 -9

Average Size at Maturity: 4 feet tall with similar spread

8. Dwarf Chinkapin Oak (Quercus priniodes) – Dwarf Tree

Dwarf Chinkapin Oak (Quercus priniodes)
Image by Dan Keck via Flickr

When people think of oak trees, they usually imagine gigantic shade trees. But there is a native oak – dwarf chinkapin – which can provide some intrigue to the landscape.

Dwarf chinkapin oak is a shrubby-looking oak with large and shiny dark-green leaves. The leaves turn to an attractive golden-orange color in the fall.

The little tree produces chocolate-colored acorns as early as three years old. After that, it makes a heavy crop of them each year. Local wildlife, such as squirrels and other rodents, will have a great time munching on them.

This tough little oak can tolerate drought and poor soil. It grows best in full sun.

Other Common Names: Dwarf chinquapin oak, Dwarf chestnut oak, Scrub chestnut oak

Growing Zones: 4 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 10 – 15 feet tall with similar spread

Flowering Season: Spring

9. Dwarf Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’) – Dwarf Tree

Dwarf Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’)
Image by F.D. Richards via Flickr

Native to Japan, dwarf Hinoki cypress features eye-grabbing textured foliage. The evergreen foliage is golden yellow and fan-like. 

Dwarf Hinoki cypress has an upright growth habit, making it great for tight spaces or shady areas. Another benefit of its growth habit is that pruning is unnecessary. They are great for front doors, borders, beds, and rock gardens. 

This slow grower tolerates full sun and partial shade. It requires regular watering, especially during hot weather. Dwarf Hinoki cypress benefits from regular feeding with all-purpose plant food. 

Other Common Names: Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress

Growing Zones: 5 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 3 feet tall with similar spread

10. Dwarf Japanese Cedar ‘Globosa Nana’ (Cryptomeria japonica) – Dwarf Tree

Dwarf Japanese Cedar ‘Globosa Nana’ (Cryptomeria japonica)
Image by F.D. Richards via Flickr

Japanese cedar can grow to an impressive 60 feet tall. But, the dwarf cultivar ‘Globosa Nana’ grows to a short height, only 3 feet. Globosa Nana has a pyramidal shape and fits into small spaces. In the winter, the dwarf cedar’s blue-green foliage turns to a reddish-bronze color.

For the brightest foliage, provide Globosa Nana with plenty of sunshine. At least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day is enough. It loves moist, rich, acidic, and well-drained soil. On care, the ground around this tree should never dry out.

Also, it would be best if you planted it in a spot sheltered from harsh winter winds.

Other Common Names: Cyptomeria Globosa Nana

Growing Zones: 5 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 4 – 5 feet tall with a width of 5 – 6 feet wide

11. Dwarf Korean Lilac ‘Palibin’ (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’) – Dwarf Tree

Dwarf Korean Lilac
Image by Leonora (Ellie) Enking Flickr

Lilacs dominate the garden in spring with their intoxicating fragrant flowers. Dwarf Korean lilac is an exceptional dwarf lilac because of its cold hardiness (zone 3). Gardeners throughout Wisconsin can enjoy the charm they bring to any sized landscape.

Dwarf Korean lilacs have a rounded form, and you can train them to grow in a single-trunk tree-like shape. Their compact size makes them an ideal patio tree. Also, butterflies flock to the blooms. Dwarf Korean lilacs can serve as striking solitary accents or focal points in the garden.

Dwarf Korean lilac is low maintenance. They need full sun and well-draining average fertility soil for showy blooms. The trees enjoy about an inch of rainfall or watering each week.

One important note to remember, lilacs bloom on year-old wood. As such, prune them right after the blooming is over. Doing so gives them time to develop new wood which will host the following year’s flowers.

Other Common Names: Palibin Lilac, Palibin Korean Lilac

Growing Zones: 3 – 7

Average Size at Maturity: 5 – 6 feet tall with similar spread

Flowering Season: Late Spring

12. Dwarf Red Buckeye (Aesculus paviam ‘Humilis’) – Dwarf Tree

Dwarf Red Buckeye (Aesculus paviam ‘Humilis’)
Image by peganum via Flickr

‘Humilis’ is an excellent ornamental tree for a woodland theme garden or near a patio. It has a low spreading instead of an upright growth habit with a dense crown.

The small tree can become shrub-like, forming many trunks. To maintain a tree-like form, you will have to prune the lower branches.

The 6- to 9-inch-long erect clusters of showy red flowers open in late spring to early summer. Many birds, especially hummingbirds, adore them.

Such flowers are unique as few flowering trees provide red blooms. The trees bloom at a young age. They need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day for the most blossoms. But, the tree can tolerate partial shade.

Dwarf red hawthorn is one of the first trees to open leaves in the spring and one of the first to drop in the fall. The large droopy leaves have a coarse texture and are dark green.

This tree is one of the easiest on this list to maintain. Humilis need well-drained soil and are adaptable to most soil types.

Other Common Names: Firecracker Plant

Growing Zones: 4 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 10 to 20 feet tall with similar spread

Flowering Season: Late Spring to Early Summer

13. Newport Plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Newport’)

Newport Plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Newport’)
Image by Lauren Anstey via Flickr

Flowering plums are common in states with temperate climates like Wisconsin. Within this species, there are many cultivars. Each provides something unique to the landscape. ´Newport Plum’ stands out for its foliage and flowers.

As the summer progresses, the leaves turn into a deep, dark, and rich purple. The leaves finish their annual cycle in the fall by turning into a deep red.

‘Newport plum’ is one of the more fragrant flowering plums. They bloom early in the spring and provide copious amounts of delicate pink flowers. Also, the flowers have an appealing sweet scent.

This flowering plum grows into a dense round canopy, providing a little shade. It is excellent as a standalone specimen or at the corner of your house.

‘Newport Plum’ is low maintenance and very cold hardy. Pruning in late summer or fall may be helpful. But, in most cases, it is unnecessary.

Growing Zones: 4 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 15 – 20 feet tall with similar spread

Flowering Season: Early Spring

14. Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)

Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)
Image by rockerBOO via Flickr

Pagoda dogwood is a popular tree among wildlife gardeners. In early summer, it displays clusters of white flowers. These blossoms attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

After blooming, the tree produces clusters of blue-purple berries. The fruits are irresistible to birds and small mammals.

In the fall, the dark green foliage turns burgundy red. The branches have a horizontal pattern with a distinct tiered habit. This branching habit provides some interest to the winter landscape.

Pagoda dogwood will do fine in full sun (6 hours of direct sunlight) or partial sun (4-6 hours). It does best in needs acidic, moist, and well-drained soil. But, it can tolerate drier sites.

Other Common Names: Alternate-leaved Dogwood, Alternate-leaf Dogwood

Growing Zones: 3 – 7

Average Size at Maturity: 15 – 25 feet tall and 20 – 32 feet wide

Flowering Season: Early Summer

15. Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)

Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus)
Image by Buddha Dog via Flickr

Look no further than the fringe tree if you are a bird lover. The North American native has 6- to 8-inch-long clusters of fragrant white flowers. They come out in late spring, and birds flock to them. These flowers turn into clusters of blue-purple fruits in the fall.

The small fringe tree is wide-spreading and has many stems. Due to its compact size, it fits in almost any garden. Fringe trees are a great addition to a native woodland garden or in groups and borders. They are also attractive when planted near large buildings.

The fringe tree does not get as much attention as dogwoods, saucer magnolia, Bradford pear, and flowering cherry. But this is unfortunate because it is as beautiful as these flowering trees and does not need much care. They need moist, well-drained soil and lots of sunshine for many flowers.

Other Common Names: Fringetree, Old man’s beard, white fringetree

Growing Zones: 4 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 10 – 20 feet tall with similar spread

Flowering Season: Late spring to early summer

16. Hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli)

Hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli)
Image by Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden via Flickr

You can grow the hardy and beautiful hawthorn tree in any region of Wisconsin. In early summer, they provide the garden with many fragrant white flowers. These flowers tend to attract pollinators.

The flowers form small red fruits, which attract birds in late summer and fall. The hawthorn’s proper three-season tree provides the garden with orange-red fall foliage.

Hawthorn trees can get pretty wide, forming a spread of 35 feet. So, it is better to plant them in the yard with a bit more space.

Also, most varieties of hawthorn have many large thorns, so be mindful of that if you have children. But there is a thornless variety, Crataegus crus-galli var. inermis, also called thornless cockspur hawthorn. This variety has vibrant orange-red fall color.

Ensure that your hawthorn gets full sun and that the soil is somewhat moist yet well-draining.

Other Common Names: Quickthorn, thornapple, May-tree, Whitethorn, Mayflower, Hawberry

Growing Zones: 3 -7

Average Size at Maturity: 15 – 30 feet tall and up to 35 feet wide

Flowering Season: Late Spring to Early Summer

17. Heart Throb Chinese Dogwood (Cornus kousa ‘Schmred’)

Heart Throb Chinese Dogwood (Cornus kousa ‘Schmred’)
Image by jeannetteyvonne via Flickr

Chinese dogwoods are popular in southern Wisconsin and along the Lake Michigan coast. In particular, the dwarf variety ‘Heart Throb’ provides year-round beauty to the landscape.

The most notable feature of Heart Throb is its long-lasting, deep rosy pink flowers. They come out in the spring. The flowers turn into large, red, raspberry-like fruits which attract birds.

By fall, the blue-green foliage turns into a deep, dark red. On mature trees, the bark has a mottled, exfoliating pattern.

The attention-grabbing Heart Throb is an excellent addition to a woodland garden. Or you can take advantage of its upright growth habit and use it as a specimen tree.

Heart Throb requires full sun and need regular watering. During heat waves, give it much more water than usual.

Other Common Names: Kousa Dogwood Heart Throb

Growing Zones: 5 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 15 to 30 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

18. PeeGee Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculataform)

PeeGee Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculataform)
Image by Tatters via Flickr

Many gardeners are familiar with the flowering hydrangea shrub. But they have a cousin that grows into a large shrub or smaller tree, PeeGee hydrangea. The deciduous tree is native to Eastern Asia and is cold-hardy (up to zone 3).

PeeGee hydrangeas produce large panicles of white flowers. They measure up to an extraordinary 18 inches in length. These flowers turn purplish-pink throughout the summer. The fast-growing tree has a rounded shape and will mature to 10 – 20 feet tall.

This small tree does well both in full sun and partial shade. It will strive in various soil conditions – acidic, clay, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, and silty loam.

Other Common Names: Panicled Hydrangea, Limelight Hydrangea

Growing Zones: 3 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 10 – 20 feet tall with equal spread

Flowering Season: Summer

19. Purple Leaf Sand Cherry (Prunus x cistena)

Purple Leaf Sand Cherry (Prunus x cistena)
Image by F.D. Richards via Flickr

Purple leaf sand cherry is a beautiful addition to any sized landscape. This North American native gets plenty of attention for its purple foliage. The foliage graces the garden from early spring through fall. In the fall, the leaves turn a stunning bronze-green.

Purple leaf sand cherry has either white or light pink flowers. They appear right after the foliage. By mid-summer, mature trees have many black or purple fruits. The fruit doesn’t have a pleasant taste for humans, but birds such as robins and cardinals love them.

Unfortunately, purple leaf sand cherry’s beauty comes at a cost. It is susceptible to pests and diseases, which shortens its lifespan. Also, the purple leaves are light-sensitive. They will change to bronze-green if it gets too much shade, which should happen only in the fall.

The tree needs at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. This is essential for lush purple foliage and abundant blooms.

Other Common Names: Purpleleaf sand cherry, plum leaf sand cherry

Growing Zones: 2 – 8

Average Size at Maturity: 6 – 10 feet tall and 5 – 8 feet wide

Flowering Season: Spring

20. Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
Image by James M via Flickr

Native to much of the eastern United States, redbud trees are easy to grow and fit into any small garden. There are many varieties of redbud, each providing something interesting to the garden.

Redbuds give a lovely display of pink or white flowers in the spring. ‘Royal White’ offers pure-white flowers.

The leaves are heart-shaped and turn into an attractive golden yellow in fall. The leaves are about 2 to 6 inches in length. The cultivar ‘Silver Cloud’ has white splashed leaves. ‘Forest Pansy’ provides purple foliage which fades into dark green in late summer.

Redbud is a medium-grower, increasing 13 – 24 inches each year. As it matures, the tree forms a rounded, vase-like shape.

Other Common Names: Eastern Redbud

Growing Zones: 4 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 15- 30 feet tall and 25- 35 feet wide

Flowering Season: Mid-Spring

21. Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia soulangeana)

Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia soulangeana)
Image by Carol VanHook via Flickr

No list of ornamental trees for Wisconsin would be complete without Saucer Magnolia. It is a famous flowering tree throughout the world.

The large, showy blooms in hues of pink, white, or purple usually signal the arrival of spring. The fragrant flowers continue to appear after the large leaves do.

Saucer magnolia has a rounded crown and grows as a multi-stemmed plant. But, you can train it into the form of a small tree. Each year, the tree grows about 23 inches.

Saucer magnolia does fine in an area with full sun to partial shade. The tree doesn’t like dry or wet soil. It prefers soil that is rich, moist, and well-draining.

Growing Zones: 4 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 20 – 25 feet tall with equal spread

Flowering Season: Early Spring

22. Shadbush (Amelanchier canadensis)

Shadbush (Amelanchier canadensis)
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

Shadbush is a hardy tree and will do fine even in the coldest areas of Wisconsin. It grows with many trunks and has a delicate and open crown.

The tree signals the beginning of spring with upright clusters of white flowers. They appear right before the leaves. But, this spectacular show of white flowers is very brief. The flowers then give way to tiny, attractive red or blue-black fruits that birds adore.

Not only is Shadbush one of the first trees to flower, but it’s also one of the first to change its leaf color in the fall. The bright green foliage turns to a bright yellow-orange or red.

As an understudy tree, Shadbush prefers filtered shade. Growing to only 10 to 25 feet, it will do well below any larger trees in your landscape.

Shadbush prefers moist, well-drained soil with a neutral to acidic pH. It is adaptable to sandy, clay, or loamy soils.

Other Common Names: Canadian Serviceberry, Canadian Service-berry, Shadblow Serviceberry, Juneberry, Junebush

Growing Zones: 3 – 7

Average Size at Maturity: 10 – 25 feet tall with equal spread

Flowering Season: Spring

23. Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra)

Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra)
Image Judy Gallagher by Flickr

Smooth sumac provides spectacular fall color to the landscape. The large shiny dark-green leaves turn to a bright orange or fiery red in the fall.

Mature female smooth sumac trees display yellow flowers in the summer. Bright red fruits in erect, pyramidal clusters come right after. The fruits which persist through the winter are a valuable source of food for birds.

Smooth sumac is easy to grow and does not need much attention. It does well in full sun or partial shade. Most soil types are acceptable for the tree, but it has a clear preference for dry to medium moisture soil.

Smooth sumac is the only tree or shrub species native to all 48 contiguous states. The major drawback to growing smooth sumac is their invasive nature.

Other Common Names: White sumac, Upland sumac, Scarlet sumac

Growing Zones: 3 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 9 – 15 feet tall with equal spread

Flowering Season: Spring

24. Snow Queen Birch Tree (Betula utilis ‘Snow Queen’)

Snow Queen Birch Tree (Betula utilis ‘Snow Queen’)
Image by Wendy Cutler via Flickr

Birch trees are popular in Wisconsin. But, most types can reach 70 feet tall. If you want to plant one in the landscape without much space, a great variety is the snow queen. The slender medium-sized tree features an exfoliating crisp white bark.

The bark makes an interesting contrast to the glossy green leaves in the summer. Before shedding in the fall, the leaves turn to an attractive golden yellow.

Snow queen is a fast-growing tree and works well as a specimen plant. It also works well in borders, city gardens, or cottage gardens. Snow queen does best in full sun.

Other Common Names: Doreenbos, Himalayan Birch

Growing Zones: 4 – 7

Average Size at Maturity: 30 – 50 feet tall and 30 – 33 feet wide

25. Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Image by F Delventhal via Flickr

Most flowering trees on this list bloom either in spring or summer. Witch hazel is unique as it blooms in the fall and winter. In the winter, there is little life or color in the garden. During this period, witch hazel provides eye-catching yellow blooms.

This remarkable tree is native to much of eastern North America, including Wisconsin. The United States Forestry Service featured it as one of their plants of the week.

After planting witch hazel in the landscape, you can ignore it. This very low-maintenance small tree only requires occasional watering, and pruning is optional.

Also, they are resistant to most pests and diseases. Witch hazel appreciates full to partial sun. Though not fussy about soil, the tree will be most comfortable in rich, loam, and moist soil conditions.

Other Common Names: American witch hazel, common witch hazel

Growing Zones: 3 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 10 – 20 feet tall with similar spread

Flowering Season: Fall and winter

The year-round beauty and charm of ornamental trees

Ornamental trees contribute a lot of beauty to the landscape. In Wisconsin, there are a variety of popular evergreen and deciduous choices. If planned well, the landscape can display something inspiring throughout the year.

For example, witch hazel provides yellow flowers in the winter and fall. American hophornbeam and Amur chokecherry have attractive barks for winter interest.

Many flowering trees provide color and delicateness in the spring. Classic examples include redbuds and shadbush. You can prolong flowering into the summer with Amur maakia or hawthorn.

One of the charms of living in a northern state like Wisconsin is the spectacular fall foliage show. Smooth sumac and Crimson Queen Japanese maple provide terrific fall color.

Finally, you can consider some of the popular dwarf evergreen trees. Dwarf Japanese cedar and dwarf Hinoki cypress fit well in tight spots.

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