Katsura Tree (Including Weeping Katsura): Leaves, Bark and Care (Pictures) – Identification

The Katsura tree has heart-shaped green leaves, dazzling golden-yellow or orange autumn foliage, and is a medium-sized decorative flowering tree with light brown shaggy bark. The sweet caramel-like scent of the katsura tree when the leaves fall in the autumn is a beautiful characteristic. With arching branches, the multi-trunked deciduous tree develops an oval to pyramidal crown.

The average height of Katsura trees is 50 feet (15 meters) tall, with a moderate growth rate. The weeping katsura tree grows at a height of 20 feet (6 meters) tall. With its cascading branches of lush green foliage, it makes a stunning addition to a garden landscape.

The ornamental katsura tree is identified in this article. In a landscape, descriptions and photographs of the decorative tree’s leaves, bark, flowers, and seeds may be used to identify it. In addition, you’ll learn how to grow a katsura tree in your own yard.

Katsura Tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) Facts

The katsura tree is a magnificent deciduous tree native to Japan and China that may be cultivated as a single-stemmed tree. The Katsura tree grows to be 40 to 60 feet (12 to 18 meters) tall with a trunk up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) in diameter. The appealing arching upward growth habit of katsura trees results in a spreading, pyramidal, rounded crown.

Green-colored foliage is common, but purple, red, or burgundy hues may appear in the tree’s leaves from time to time. The wavy edge and pointed apex of the attractive obovate or heart-shaped leaves

In USDA zones 4 through 8, the katsura tree flourishes on rich, well-drained soil in full sun to partial sun. In hot, sunny places, some shade from the afternoon sun is preferred. Katsura trees are long-lived and pest and disease-resistant. One of the unique characteristics of this multi-trunked deciduous tree is the scent of katsura tree leaves.

Due to the burnt sugar and cinnamon scents released by the orange-yellow autumn leaves, the katsura tree is also known as the caramel tree. The fragrance of katsura tree leaves has been compared to cotton candy by some.

As a spectacular shade tree, the katsura tree has a year-long visual appeal. After tiny greenish or reddish flowers have bloomed in the spring, green leaves emerge. In the summer, the tree’s spreading canopy protects you from the sun, but in the autumn it becomes orange-yellow. The katsura tree has a lovely pyramidal silhouette, even without leaves.

Weeping Katsura Tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Pendulum’)

The weeping katsura tree is a cultivar of Cercidiphyllum japonicum with drooping branches that hang nearly horizontally down. The weeping form of the fast-growing small to medium-sized tree is unique. The autumn colors of a weeping katsura tree are stunning orange-yellow or reddish-brown, much like the species tree. The droopy tree stretches to 20 feet (6 meters) tall and 15 feet (4.5 meters) broad.

Katsura Tree Bark

The light brown or gray color and scaly appearance of a mature katsura tree’s bark identify it. Inexperienced katsura trees have smooth bark with horizontal etches. As the tree develops, the bark becomes scalier and peels in thin strips. On katsura trees, mature bark develops into a rough and shaggy appearance.

Katsura Tree Leaves

Cordate or ovate (heart-shaped) leaves with a serrated or scalloped border grow on katsura tree branches. Throughout the spring, the leaves look like discs with crimson and purple hues. Katsura leaves take on a magnificent golden-yellow hue and release a sweet, caramel fragrance when they are dropped in the autumn.

In the fall, Katsura leaves produce oppositely on small petioles. The tapered apex of the rounded leaves is 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) long. In the spring, new katsura leaves emerge in a reddish to purple color that transitions to green in the summer and orangey-yellow in the autumn.

Katsura Tree Flowers

Female (left) and male (right) katsura flowers: tiny pink-reddish blossoms bloom on the tree in the spring. Dioecious trees, such as Katsura trees, have separate male and female trees. Female Katsura tree blooms have little tentacles to collect pollen and produce tiny flowers. Male katsura tree blooms, on the other hand, feature pollen sacks. The trees bloom for a short period of time.

Katsura Tree Fruit (Seeds)

In the autumn, seeds develop on katsura trees. Little seeds in a pod-like structure make up the katsura tree’s “fruit.” Many winged seeds are found in the fruit, which grows in clusters of pods. The adult pods open in the fall and winter, and the airborne seeds are carried considerable distance from the parent tree.

Katsura Tree Identification

The heart-shaped finely serrated dark green leaves of katsura trees grow on slender reddish-brown twigs with pinkish-red flower buds. The grayish-brown bark of the deciduous, multi-trunk tree peels in thin strips, and it is recognized. Katsura trees have a spreading pyramidal crown that may grow to be 60 feet (18 meters) tall in a landscape.

Katsura Trees in the Landscape

Large landscapes may use Katsura trees as shade specimen trees. Medium-sized trees with numerous stems are ideal for screening purposes. It’s crucial to make sure you have enough space to grow the tree, which grows to be around 50 feet (15 meters) tall and has a 35-foot (10.5-meter) broad canopy.

A weeping katsura tree is a better choice in smaller landscapes. The weeping katsura is smaller and doesn’t grow as tall as the pendulous, cascading branches, which sweep the ground like a waterfall.

Where to Plant Katsura Tree

In a sunny location with rich soil and a protected area away from strong winds, plant a katsura tree. You should leave a zone of about 20 to 30 feet (6 to 10 meters) between houses, driveways, or buildings because Katsura trees have a shallow root system.

Katsura trees aren’t drought resistant because of their shallow roots. A katsura tree must also be planted in a spot with some partial shade in the hottest parts of its expanding range. Furthermore, throughout the summer months, it requires a lot of water.

As a result, find a hidden area with moist soil. The soil type is another factor to consider when deciding where to put a katsura tree. Fall colors will be best in neutral to acidic soil. Despite being a cold-hardy tree, it does not do well in hard frosts.

How to Plant Katsura Tree

Planting a nursery katsura tree during dormancy is the best time. First, make a hole in the container that is twice as broad as the root ball and no deeper than it was originally planted. Match the soil level on the stem with the root ball. Next, fill the hole with local soil, compacting down on the roots to eliminate air bubbles.

Water the katsura tree well after planting to help the roots establish and eliminate any remaining air pockets. To better retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing, then apply a 4-inch (10 cm) layer of mulch over the root area. It’s important to keep in mind that digging a hole too deep may cause root rot and other illness. For the first two years after planting, support the tree with a stake until the roots have taken hold.

How to Grow Katsura Tree From Seed

Growing a katsura tree from seed is simple. In the fall, katsura seeds are ready to be planted on the tree. You may sow the seeds directly in the ground or in a tiny pot in moderately warm temperatures (USDA growing zones 7 and 8). Before sowing the seeds in colder regions, wait until spring.

Allow the katsura seeds to dry out after collecting them in a paper envelope. Store them in a dark, dry area. Soak the seeds for 24 hours and throw away any that float around February or March. Wrap it in a moist cloth and store it in the fridge for 7 days. After that, place individual containers of moist peat moss with the seeds.

Seeds take eight to twelve days to sprout. Next, cover the pots with plastic to protect them from direct sunlight. Remove the plastic and keep the soil moist when katsura seedlings appear. If the threat of frost has passed, the seedlings can be placed on the ground in four to six weeks.

Katsura Tree Care Guide

The Katsura tree is a low-maintenance decorative tree that thrives in most environments. To ensure the tree thrives, there are a few conditions to meet. When planted in well-drained, organically rich fertile soil, katsura trees perform best with plenty of water. On keeping a katsura tree in your garden, here are a few helpful suggestions.

How to Water Katsura Tree

During the first two years, give the tree 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water every week, as a katsura tree requires a lot of water. Soil should be kept moist without being waterlogged for optimum growth. A drought-tolerant katsura tree takes less water and needs less care. A thick layer of mulch for the first two years is critical to keep the soil moist. Make sure the mulch goes all the way to the drip line of the tree.

Until the soil becomes saturated, water the tree at the base of the trunk and evenly over its roots. A katsura tree is drought-tolerant, but it must be watered more frequently in hot, dry climates. When less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) of rain falls each week, you’ll have to water the tree once a week.

Katsura Tree Fertilization

The katsura tree thrives on fertile soil with high biological and organic matter content. Annual fertilization with a balanced tree fertilizer also benefits the ornamental tree.

The NPK ratio of 10-10-10 is the optimum amount of fertilizer for a katsura tree. Every spring, it’s usually beneficial to administer a slow-release, granular fertilizer in order to promote healthy development. It’s best to apply water-soluble fertilizer three or four times a year, from late April through July, if you’re using it.

When the tree enters dormancy in the autumn and winter, refrain from fertilizing and watering. A katsura tree benefits from organic compost in addition to standard fertilization. Work in a moderate amount of rotting manure or another form of compost to the root region as part of your normal tree care.

How to Prune Katsura Tree

When a katsura tree is young, pruning it regularly is vital for encouraging healthy development and good form. Remove branches that are crossing, growing toward the trunk, or rubbing against other branches in the winter or early spring. As the tree grows, you may also trim lower branches to allow room.

For the first few years, remove one or two branches per year from a katsura tree to ensure that it is properly pruned. Some maintenance pruning every three to five years is adequate after the tree has grown sufficiently. To promote good health, chop off dead, rotting, or diseased branches.

To produce a single-stemmed tree, cut some of the weaker stems emerging from the earth to aid establish a strong center trunk. Katsura trees have numerous stems, hence if you want to create one, you’ll need to chop some of them off.

Katsura Tree Propagation

Softwood cuttings taken in late spring or early summer are the best method to propagate a katsura tree. Look for fresh branches and a 6″ to 8″ (10 to 15 cm) portion of stem with new growth. There should be four to eight leaf nodes on each twig cutting.

Save the last few leaves on the top for last. Next, put a moist potting soil mixture in a nursery pot. Then, dip the sharp end of the cutting into rooting hormone and bury it at least two nodes deep in the earth. Finally, to secure the cutting, press down on the stem.

Water the potting soil thoroughly, place a clear plastic bag over it, and seal with an elastic band to help the cutting take root. Place the cutting in a well-lit area, but keep it out of the sun. For the cutting to root, it should take four to six weeks. In late summer or early fall, before the danger of frost, the rooted katsura cutting may be moved to the ground.

Pests Affecting Katsura Tree Growth

Against pest infestations, katsura trees are relatively hardy. Moreover, when grown, the lovely decorative tree is drought-tolerant and thrives in most areas.

Diseases Affecting Katsura Tree Growth

Environmental plant damage can affect katsura trees. The wood of the tree is rather brittle, and in powerful storms, it may simply shatter. In addition, if the tree doesn’t get enough moisture, it can sustain heat or sun damage. A katsura tree that is stressed might show some of the following symptoms.

Yellowing katsura leaves Exposure to too much sunlight, strong winds, or dry conditions are all common causes of browning. The leaves may fall prematurely as a result of this. In the summer, give the katsura tree frequent watering and lay a thick layer of mulch over its root area if it is already mature.

Sudden tree wilt Overwatering or waterlogged soil are two habits that tend to harm katsura trees. Fungal or mold infections might cause leaves to wilt and drop abruptly if soggy soil is present. Watering or drainage around the tree’s root area should be avoided for the best results.

Split tree bark Strong winds, temperature variations, and overfertilization may all cause a katsura tree to fall. Trim off dead bark without injuring healthy bark to help the tree’s health improve. It’s also important to make sure the roots are properly moist while avoiding soil becoming too wet..

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