Tag Archive for: spring trees

Cherry Tree

Great Spring Flowering Trees

With our climate, we’re fortunate to have the option of planting many different types of trees.

We carry about 100 different types of spring flowering trees at Merrifield Garden Center. Here are some of our most popular varieties:

Flowering Cherries

A hybrid of the Japanese flowering cherry, Yoshino cherry is the stunningly beautiful tree that blooms during the National Cherry Blossom Festival around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. The profuse blooming of these trees creates a soft pink cloud of color, drawing millions of visitors from around the world.

With its prolific, large double pink flowers, ‘Kwanzan’ is another extremely popular variety.

Weeping Higan cherry is frequently used as a specimen tree in the landscape. The arching branches gracefully hang to the ground, creating a spectacular form. It blooms in early spring with very pale pink flowers. And there is a variety with deep pink, double flowers.

‘Autumnalis’ is known for its two seasons of bloom – prolific pink blooms in early spring followed by sporadic flowering in the fall.

‘Okame’ is the earliest blooming and the deepest pink of the Japanese cherries. It also has a darker bark and a more rounded, slightly smaller mature shape than the other cherries.


With several species native to North America, serviceberry blooms just before dogwoods with beautiful clusters of white flowers in early spring. Its fruit, which ripens to a blue color in June, is a big attractor to birds. In the fall, the leaves turn a gorgeous yellow to red color. Some of our most popular varieties are ‘Autumn Brilliance’ and ‘Cumulus.’


Redbud is a native tree that is best known for its small clusters of magenta-pink flowers that bloom in late March to early April.

Redbud Tree

After blooming, heart-shaped leaves emerge and turn a light yellow in fall. ‘Forest Pansy’ is a variety with purple / maroon leaves that fade to dark green in late summer.

‘Covey’ and ‘Traveller’ are two popular weeping varieties. The combination of their dramatic shape and the deep color of their flowers make these two new varieties quite stunning. Other in-demand weeping varieties are ‘Ruby Falls,’ which have a purple leaf, and ‘Pink Heartbreaker,’ which have bright pink flowers.


There are many wonderful varieties of deciduous, spring flowering magnolias with beautiful blooms of purple, pink, white and yellow. Here are a few to consider:


Perhaps the most dramatic of all early blooming trees, saucer magnolia produces large flowers in brilliant shades of pink in March to early April.

Prized for its delicate, satiny white petals that are sculpted like stars, the star magnolia unveils its magnificent, slightly fragrant flowers in early spring. ‘Royal Star’ is a popular cultivar that blooms just after the saucer magnolia. Frost damage is rare since this is a later blooming tree.

The Girl Magnolias were hybridized by the U.S. National Arboretum and are an excellent choice for smaller gardens. They bloom a little later than the star magnolia, which reduces the chance of frost damage and delivers a beautiful display of color in April. ‘Betty,’ ‘Ann’ and ‘Jane’ are popular varieties.

‘Daybreak’ and ‘Galaxy’ boast enormous, colorful flowers and bloom later than other deciduous magnolias.

A Southern favorite, Sweet Bay magnolia delivers a creamy, white flower with a delightful lemon fragrance in early June. In our area, this small tree drops most of its leaves over the winter, although the ‘Henry Hicks’ variety retains about 25% of its leaves. Sweet Bay magnolia, a native, grows best in normal soil with sun or part shade, but it also tolerates swampy conditions. ‘Green Shadow’ is a bit more evergreen.


Dogwoods also are a beautiful and popular spring flowering tree. Our dogwoods blog goes into more detail about Virginia’s state tree.

Dogwood, Tree

Dogwoods- a Harbinger of Spring

Nothing says spring quite like a flowering dogwood! Native to the eastern United States, our flowering dogwood is beloved for its large, white or pink bracts (large, petal-like forms) that blanket the tree in a cloud of glorious color just before the leaves emerge. After the beautiful blossoms fade, this small- to medium-sized tree continues to be an asset in the landscape. The spreading, horizontal branching pattern helps to soften the sharp edges of homes and buildings. Fall brings bright, red fruit and showy, red leaves. It’s no wonder the dogwood has been adopted as the state tree in Virginia or that numerous cultivars have been developed by the nursery industry!

At Merrifield Garden Center, we carry more than 25 different types of dogwoods, including trees and shrubs. Each species offers its own special beauty in the garden.

Here are some varieties to consider:

Cherokee Series

Three of our most popular varieties belong to the Cherokee series. ‘Cherokee Princess’ features large, white blossoms and four-season interest. ‘Cherokee Brave’ and ‘Cherokee Chief’ each boast luxurious, pink flowers. There are even dogwoods in the Cherokee series with variegated leaves.


Another dogwood in high demand, ‘Kousa’ produces white or light pink blossoms in the spring, a red berry that wildlife finds hard to resist and a rich, red fall color. As the tree matures, the bark begins to exfoliate and becomes quite attractive. ‘Kousa,’ an Asian species, is more tolerant of hot, sunny locations than our native species, and is resistant to dogwood borers and dogwood anthracnose disease.


This native dogwood deserves greater attention as a landscape tree. The leaves of most dogwoods occur in pairs, with one leaf positioned opposite the other. But the leaves of Pagoda occur in an alternate pattern where each leaf is askew of the other. Pagoda dogwoods bloom in late May, with clusters of small, fragrant, white flowers positioned along distinctly horizontal branches. The flowers turn into a sumptuous feast of fruit that birds devour. In the fall, the leaves reveal a reddish, purple color. The flowers, fruit and fall color of Pagodas are more subtle than the flowering dogwood, but the overall effect is very elegant and works especially well in naturalized settings.

Other Varieties

During the 1970’s, Rutgers University bred Cornus florida, our native species, with Cornus kousa, an Asian species, resulting in the successful introduction of several vigorous, insect—and disease—resistant hybrid varieties, known as the “Stellar” series of dogwoods. ‘Aurora,’ ‘Celestial,’ ‘Constellation’ and ‘Stellar Pink’ are the most popular varieties of this series. Each features a slightly different flower form, which opens just after the native dogwoods.

Two newer introductions of the Rutgers Hybrid Dogwoods are ‘Venus’ and Starlight.’ With bracts that can exceed six inches in diameter, ‘Venus’ has the largest blooms of any dogwood. The white blooms are beautifully formed and long lasting. ‘Starlight’ is loaded with oversize white blooms. It can be used as a privacy screen with its dense branching habit or as a specimen with its showy blooms.

Not only are they beautiful, but dogwoods are easy-care landscape trees. They thrive in moist, well-drained soil. Try to plant dogwoods where they won’t be exposed to the sizzling afternoon sun or near larger trees which can provide some protection. Some varieties, such as ‘Venus’ and ‘Starlight,’ have been hybridized to succeed in full sun. With all dogwoods, heavy shade can result in few blossoms and slower growth.