What would be the best shade tree to plant in Logan County and what about the coffee tree?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Louis: Choosing a shade tree that will work in your space is certainly something to ponder. It should not be a rash decision but one that is carefully thought out. There are many factors to take into account, including soil type, drainage, available sunlight, deciduous or evergreen, and space restrictions. And of course, personal preferences in terms of bloom and fall color, bark characteristics, and structure. Once a list has been made of trees that will be happy living in the environment you can provide, the decision can be made on a more personal level. Gymnocladus dioicus, commonly known as Kentucky coffee tree, is our state tree and a great choice. It has interesting bark and colorful foliage beginning as a mauve, turning to a blue-green, and then yellow in the fall. It can reach 75 feet tall and 50 feet wide. This native tree has no serious disease or insect problems. The female produces fruit pods. Other options to consider include Gingko ‘Autumn Gold,’ Zelkova ‘Green Vase,’ red maple ‘October Glory,’ and bald cypress ‘Shawnee Brave,’ just to name a few. These are all deciduous trees that reach upward of 50 feet. For a more detailed list of larger and smaller trees, visit the following publication available from our Cooperative Extension Service: www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ho/ho61/ho61.pdf. This reliable source of information has an extensive list of trees suitable for Kentucky landscapes.