YELLOWWOOD - CLADRASTIS KENTUKEA

Common Name: yellowwood

Scientific Name: 
Family:
 Fabaceae
Genus: Cladrastis
Species: kentukea

Hardiness Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 30 to 50 ft
Width: 40 to 55 ft

Common characteristics:

Yellowwood is a medium-sized, deciduous tree of the legume family that typically grows 30-50’ tall with upright branching and a broad, rounded crown. Yellowwood is a tree with few known diseases or insect problems and is named for its unique yellow interior wood. Leaves are pinnately compound usually with 7-11 leaflets and open as yellowish-green then turn bright green in summer. Showy fragrant white flowers will form in the spring forming drooping clusters or pea-like structures. The clusters are 8 to 14 inches in length. Flowering tends to alternate years with heavy flowering one year and then a light flowering year the next. New trees however may not bloom for the first 8-10 years.

Where it grows:

Though not native to Minnesota, it has been shown to be a hardy tree here and would make a great landscape addition. Plant yellowwood in moist well-drained soils in direct sunlight. Its roots run deep which allows for other plants to grow underneath it with little competition. 

How it’s used:

Can be used in Boulevards, or as a Patio or sidewalk shade tree. Yellowwood is moderately tolerant of dry sites and wet sites, alkaline soil, clay soil, and road salts. 

Where it is native to:

The native range of yellowwood is North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Also in areas of Illinois, Indiana, and other southern states. Can often be found in rich, well-drained limestone soils in river valleys, slopes, and ridges.

Problems:

One concern is its brittle branches and potential poor branch unions, causing a higher risk of damage from snow and ice. Use corrective pruning to eliminate weak branch unions when young, avoid pruning in early spring due to excessive bleeding.

References:

Missouri Botanical Garden (Plant Finder) Found Online: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=280286&isprofile=1&basic=yellowwood

Morton Arboretum (Trees and Shrubs) Found Online: https://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-plant-descriptions/yellowwood 

yellowwood-bark
Foliage
Fruit
twig