Most resilient flowering trees for Michigan

Asked March 19, 2020, 5:18 PM EDT

1.) Looking for a spring flowering tree that would be facing the South/West side of house where the property is in East Lansing 2.) Which one/s have the least problems (insects, fungus, scale, etc.)? 3.) Best place to purchase said tree? 4.) Best time to plant said tree?

Ingham County Michigan trees and shrubs

1 Response

There are a number of flowering trees that would do well. Some important things to consider before selecting a tree are what size tree you want and what sort of soil you have at the planting site (drainage, fertility and pH are especially important). You can determine your soil type from a soil test (https://homesoiltest.msu.edu/get-started). Once you have decided what size tree you would like, you can move forward with tree selection based on site conditions, tree features and preferences.

In Michigan, some options are redbud (Cercis canadensis), pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia), cornelian cherry (Cornus mas), saucer magnolia (Magnolia soulangeana), serviceberry (Amelanchier sp.) and yellowwood (Cladrastis kentuckea). All of these trees have a range of sizes, tolerances and environmental preferences. Some, like the yellowwood and pagoda dogwood, can moderately tolerate poor drainage while many others cannot. They all also have their own quirks – like beautiful spring blooms, but messy fruit. The species listed are also usually easy to find at most local plant nurseries or through the Ingham County Conservation District spring sale, but I would look online or call ahead to check. Most species listed can be planted in spring.


The Morton Arboretum has a very helpful plant search tool that provides more insight into these trees: https://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/search-trees/search-all-trees-and-plants

MSU also has Smart Tree Tip sheets for a few of these trees: https://www.canr.msu.edu/home_gardening/trees-shrubs/selection

As well as a tip sheet about Smart Trees and Shrubs for Michigan: https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/smart_trees_and_shrubs_for_michigan_landscapes


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