This small to medium-sized tree is a member of the pea (or Fabaceae) family. It has a rather restricted geolocation, including the area bounded by North Carolina, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Mississippi; it does well in hardiness zones 4 through 8. This might be an excellent shade tree for small to medium yards and gardens.
The American yellowwood tree can achieve a height of 40 to 60 feet tall, an equal diameter, and a rounded appearance. It has vibrant yellow foliage in the autumn, with hanging clusters of white flowers that bloom in May and that are fragrant during the day. The flowers of this tree only appear every other or every third year, rather than annually.
While this tree is tolerant to a wide assortment of pH, soil type, moisture and drought conditions, it does best in well-drained, deep soil that is moist and fertile, i.e., has an almost compost-like content.
Because of its striking flowers in the spring and its eye-catching foliage in the autumn, American yellowwood is a good selection for a specimen tree to add interest to any garden.
The interior wood of this species is a remarkable yellow color.
The branches from this tree tend to break quite frequently.
The American yellowwood tree is susceptible to canker, mildew, root rot and verticillium problems.
Low forking branches should be pruned in the early life of the tree to reduce the breaking and splitting of the tree. In addition, a 3-inch thick mulch layer from the stem to the drip line should be applied to the ground to ensure a moist root system.
The American yellowwood is grown and available in the arboretum of the Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center.
About the Author
Charlie Belin is a retired professor and biological oceanographer. He taught five courses in the University of Georgia system for many years from his home base in Savannah, Georgia.
Charlie loves hiking at Reflection Riding, teaching children about the ecology of the area, and interacting with the Reflection Riding staff. They are GREAT!
shop for native plants!
Our nursery is open for in-person shopping! Come by Tuesday-Friday 9:30-4:00 and Saturday 8:00-1:00. Your purchase supports our mission to reconnect people with nature. Members save 10% on all plant sales.
Planting native helps restore the natural habitat required for beautiful birds, butterflies and other insects to thrive. Plus, native plants are supposed to be here, so they're often more tolerant of neglect, poor soil, and draught.