Q: What are some local trees with spring color?

A: Our local trees shine as we welcome springtime! One of the earliest is the Texas redbud with pink to purple blossoms that provide early food for pollinators. We can also eat the flowers. The bloom is followed by heart-shaped leaves.

Many of the colors of tiny flowers, catkins and seed are showy with more color than you find in a basic paint palette. The greens come together when you mix yellow with blues, reds and the earthy hues of sienna. We are lucky to have elms in southeast Texas and they are covered with smoky pink seeds that glow in the sun. Evergreen cherry laurel has creamy clusters of flowers that pop against the dark green leaves.

Oaks of all kinds, such as white oaks, red oaks, willow oaks and post oaks, have dainty catkins in various shades of copper, bronze and chartreuse that adorn the bare stems before the leaves form. The live oaks and magnolias slough off some of their old leaves to add new fresh growth.

Other evergreens put on a show, like the pines with showy candles of new growth. The best tree for eternal spring green must be the native cypress that awakens to add bright green, fresh new needles.

While we eagerly await pops of green from the earth, we can look up to see amazing color against our blue skies. Plant more trees always!

Suzzanne Chapman
Author: Suzzanne ChapmanEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Suzzanne Chapman, retired botanical collections curator at Mercer Botanic Gardens, promotes organic gardening, growing native plants, and protecting the environment. Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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