Cladrastis kentukea

American Yellowwood

Mature Size, Growth Longevity

Average mature size of 30-50' tall and 40-55' wide. Low branching tree with a broad, rounded crown of delicate branches. Medium growth rate, 9-12' over an 8-10 year period, will grow considerably faster with adequate water and fertilizer.

Native Range

Species native to much of the South-east US. Generally occurs in rich, well-drained limestone soils in river valleys, slopes and ridges along streams.

Flower and Fruit Details

Flowers are perfect, white, fragrant, 1-1.25" long, borne in terminal panicles which are 8-14" long, 4-6" wide at base, in May to early June. Fruits are brown pods, 2.5-4" long, 0.5" wide, containing 4-6 flat, brown, hard-coated seeds, October.

Leaf and Bark Features

Yellow to golden yellow fall color. Bark on older branches and trunks is very smooth, gray and beech-like in overall appearance and texture.

Culture and Care

Transplant balled/burlapped as a small tree into well-drained soil. Tolerates high pH soils as well as acid situations. Prune only in summer. Very few disease and insect problems associated with this tree; Verticillium wilt has been reported, but nothing serious has been observed.

Strengths, Weaknesses, Other Facts

Extremely hardy, tolerates cold very well and has been reported to flower in Minnesota, and Maine. Called Yellowwood because the heartwood is yellowish.

Suggested Uses

Taxa and Plants of this Species at BCA