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Cladrastis Kentukea is a medium-sized deciduous tree that produces drooping panicles of wisteria-style flowers in summer. It’s an excellent tree for spring to autumn interest in ornamental stand-alone displays or as part of a large mixed border.
Cladrastis Kentukea, synonymous with Cladrastis Lutea, is native to the United States and is better known as Kentucky Yellow Wood for its display of clear yellow autumn leaves. It was introduced to Europe in 1812 and is a relatively unusual ornamental tree in the UK.
Kentucky Yellow Wood is a spreading tree with light green leaves that reach a length of 30 cms long and gently droop from the branches. 3 cms long wisteria-style white flower panicles appear in late spring and early summer on established specimens. Its bark is brittle, often peeling back to reveal paler colours beneath. Excellent autumn colour with foliage turning clear yellow before falling.
Height And Spread of Cladrastis Kentukea Kentucky Yellow Wood will reach a maximum height and spread of 8 metres over 20-50 years
How Hardy is Cladrastis Kentukea This tree is fully winter hardy but should be grown in a sheltered spot because the wood is brittle and may be damaged by freezing winds.
How To Use Cladrastis Kentukea This is an excellent specimen tree for a sheltered country style garden or an architectural urban garden. It’s slow-growing enough not to outgrow its welcome and provides colour from early spring to late autumn when the leaves fall and create a clear yellow carpet around its base. Low maintenance wildlife-friendly spaces benefit from Kentucky Yellow Wood too, especially when it’s mature enough to produce its sweetly scented flower panicles.
How To Care For Cladrastis Kentukea Kentucky Yellow Wood will grow in the majority of well-drained soils including sandy and chalky areas. It prefers full sun and needs some shelter from harsh, cold winds. A west or south facing spot near a windbreak or in a sheltered sunny courtyard is ideal. Apply a thick layer of mulch to the roots in spring and water it well until established, The biggest killer of young trees is lack of water, so be sure to give it a full can several times a week.