Two USDA Zone 5 hardy tree species – the London Plane Tree (Platanus x acerifolia) and Yoshino Cherry Tree (Prunus x yedoensis)– are making their way into the Twin Cities. These two trees have shown they may just have what it takes to make it through the Minnesota winters – bringing greater diversity to both public and private landscapes.
The Yoshino Cherry Tree is a spring blooming ornamental hybrid cherry tree found naturally in Japan. Its very name comes from Yoshino, Japan – a city known for its 30,000 cherry trees and, as you might imagine, an incredible destination during the spring bloom. The flowers emerge before the leaves providing a splash of color after the winter months. These cherry trees have been bred for their flower fragrance as opposed to their fruit. The fruit is a great wildlife food source for various bird and mammal species, however is less sweet than what many humans would expect from a cherry. At maturity the Yoshino Cherry grows 40-50 feet in height with a 25-40 foot spread.
The London Plane Tree is a tall deciduous shade tree growing to a mature height of 70 feet. At our research nursery on the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus we have three varieties of London Plane Tree: Exclamation!™, Columbia, and Bloodgood. The London Plane is a tough tree. It has the ability to withstand high soil compaction and atmospheric pollution. These attributes along with its height and shady canopy make it a desirable street tree. With the loss of many of our beloved ash and American elm street trees to emerald ash borer and Dutch elm disease, species such as the London Plane may play a role in a diversified street tree canopy moving into the future.
To the right you can see Carl at our research nursery holding a Yoshino Cherry and London Plane that made it through their first winter here in the Twin Cities. While we don’t suggest planting these trees on a broad scale quite yet, the future is looking leafy for these two trees here in the Twin Cities.