Katsura is classified as a shade tree and is a standout in this large category of plants. A slow grower with a pleasing pyramidal form when young, katsura is a great plant for a front-yard or backyard planting or for lining a driveway or planting street-side. Unlike many common shade trees, katsura's heart-shape leaves present a rainbow of foliage colors beginning with bronzy young leaves in spring, followed by blue-green summer foliage that turns to warm shades of orange and golden yellow in fall. The leaves are reminiscent of redbud foliage and are a pleasing contrast to angular leaves of maple and oaks.
Landscaping With Katsura Tree
Pair katsura with other deciduous plants that have distinctive seasonal qualities. When planted together, these small to large trees will create a living screen that is also a wildlife oasis. Providing both food and shelter, a diverse tree planting benefits an entire community. Some great planting companions for katsura include northern red oak Quercus rubra, magnolia Magnolia spp., amur maple Acer ginnala, paperbark maple Acer griseum, and golden chain tree Laburnum spp.
Where to Plant Katsura
Katsura grows best in rich, moist, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. The best location is protected from strong winds and hot afternoon sun. Katsura tolerates sun but has little tolerance for drought, especially when young. Plan to water katsura weekly during prolonged dry periods.
How to Care For Katsura Trees
Plant katsura in spring or early summer. Blanket the soil above the root ball with a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch to prevent soil moisture loss. Water the newly planted tree regularly—delivering about 10 gallons of water a week to encourage it to establish a deep, extensive root system. Reduce watering during the plant's second growing season. Katsura is a low-maintenance tree and has few pest problems. Prune branches that are crossing, rubbing, and out of bounds as needed in winter.
More Varieties of Katsura Tree
Weeping Katsura tree
Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Pendulum' grows 15 to 25 feet tall and 20 to 25 feet wide. It has a waterfall-like weeping form. Zones 4-8