Early spring flowering trees make spectacular displays in landscapes and brighten spirits after a long winter freeze. Mixing early flowering trees with those that bloom later in the season will provide beautiful results throughout your property. Consult your agricultural extension for advice on varieties that grow well in your area.
White elm trees sport drooping clusters of reddish or orange flowers as early as February, in some parts of the country. The trees can grow in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zones 3 through 9, and are valued for their graceful, vaselike shape. While elms grow to 40 feet tall and can tolerate shade. The cross-grained wood makes it stable, even in the roughest weather conditions.
Red maples produce beautiful displays of tiny red flowers in late winter to early spring. The tree can grow as tall as 40 to 60 feet. Though it prefers the sun, it will grow in partial shade. Red maples thrive in moist, slightly acidic soil. These trees grow in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 9. Red maples have relatively weak wood and can be subject to ice and storm damage.
Silver maples can grow to 70 feet tall. From February to May, they produce greenish-yellow to reddish flowers. The wood of the silver maple is very brittle; however, and can sustain damage in storms or high winds. Silver maples should be planted away from houses and other structures.
The dogwood tree produces showy clusters of white or yellow blossoms in the spring. Some varieties yield pink or purple flowers. Dogwood trees only grow to 20 feet and are compact in shape, and are often used ornamentally in landscaping. These trees produce tiny fruit that attract birds. They like well-drained soil, and grow well in USDA hardiness zones 2 through 8.
Serviceberry is a lesser known but valuable tree that is gaining in popularity. They come in various sizes, from the size of scrubs to more treelike heights in the range of 20 to 40 feet. Serviceberry produces dainty white flowers in late March or early April that yield purplish-black berries. They are used as ornamental trees and grow in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 7.
Crabapple trees are small to medium-sized trees, often used as ornamental trees in landscaping. They produce coral, pink or white flowers from April to May. They grow to 12 to 15 feet tall and are hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8. Crabapple trees grow best in sandy/clay loams in full sun.