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Kentucky Guide to Growing Trees

Growing trees in Kentucky can be a fun and rewarding experience. Whether you’re planting for the first time or taking care of an established tree, there are some things to consider and know before you plant. This guide will give you an overview of what you need to know about tree care in Kentucky. 

Trees in Kentucky

The Best Flowering Trees to Grow in Kentucky

Dancing in the Dark Rose Tree

Dark red roses, aging to nearly black, set the Dancing in the Dark Rose Tree apart from other rose bushes. The deep color is intense against a matte green backdrop. Plus, because this variety of bush develops into an upright shape without much upkeep necessary, you'll get the look of a professional rose garden at home. The Dancing in the Dark Rose is a fast-growing tree that can be planted along driveways or as street greenery. This fragrant rose also tolerates urban pollution, making it an ideal candidate for cutting and bringing indoors as well. It is also well-suited for pollinator gardens and mass plantings in flower beds as it attracts bees. Whether you plant this rose in pots to flank your front door or place them beautifully clustered to upgrade your curb appeal, the Dancing in the Dark Rose gives you a yard that can’t be beaten!

Planting & Care

Select a well-drained site in full to partial sunlight with at least 4-8 hours of direct light per day. Roses will grow more slowly if planted in the part sun since they require 6 hours of light each day (afternoon shade is better than morning). For planting your Dark Rose, space the trees 3 feet apart. Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep to accommodate the root ball. Backfill the soil until you have a hole of equal size (or slightly larger) than the container in which your tree was growing. Plant it at its previous depth, mound mulch around the base for weed prevention. To grow a tree, water the roots rather than the canopy of branches and leaves. Mulch can help retain soil moisture. Fertilize yearly with an organic rose fertilizer about once per month. Sterilize sharp pruning shears in hot water or alcohol before use to minimize pathogens on blades, and always cut at an angle to avoid snapping through live wood. Cut back old or spent branches spring after the last hard freeze (this usually occurs February or March) and clip any other undesired portions as needed until October when trees are dormant again for winter months.

Muskogee Crape Myrtle Tree

Muskogee Crape Myrtle is not only one of the few varieties with rich lavender-purple flowers, but it also delivers color and full blooms for up to six months! Dark blue varieties exist, but Muskogee comes really close. The Muskogee may grow as high as 40 feet after 8 years. However, because it can tolerate a wide range of terrains and grows itself in regions without much rain, you won't have to get your hands dirty. Your Muskogee will grow strong, even in humid areas of the south. Speaking of messes and harsh sprays!

Planting & Care

Plant your tree in a full sun location (6-8 hours of sunlight) with well-drained soil. Dig your hole twice as wide as the root ball and just as deep. Lightly comb your hands over the root ball to free up the roots before planting, then place it in the hole and make sure that the crown or where the trunk meets the root ball is level with the official surface. Tamp down the soil and add water to fill in any gaps. Cover the trench around the tree with rocks or mulch to prevent competing weeds from growing. When planting your Crape Myrtle, it is important to water it for the first few weeks. In the meantime, pay attention to whether or not the soil is drying from 3” down and provide additional watering as needed. After establishment, plants will only need watering during drought periods. Prune your Crape with a high-nitrogen fertilizer in the spring before new growth starts. Pruning at this time helps encourage blooming off of young fruit trees while preventing branches from becoming too heavy and unbalanced.

The Best Shade Trees in Kentucky

Amberglow Redwood Tree

Redwood is an ancient tree that is often too big for a home garden. The Amberglow Redwood wants to break this mold, providing a compact option for the more manageable size while still retaining its majesty and prehistoric aura. The Amberglow is a common variety of the Dawn Redwood, typically found in an ornamental garden. This deciduous tree maintains interesting early spring foliage, bright green with burgundy tips. Fall should be admired for the vibrant orange color, just as you would any other season. For those who prefer to plant trees in their yard, here are some tips for selecting the one that's right for your region. The Redwood is easy to care for and a cinch to grow, plus there's no need to do any pruning either!

Planting & Care

Amberglow Redwoods can be grown in well-draining soil in a full sun area. Make sure to make the hole twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball size. No additional fertilizers are necessary, however, for best results apply a thick layer of mulch around the tree's base. The Amberglow Redwood needs one inch of water a week, and more if you live in a dry area. If rain is usually enough to keep it hydrated, you'll likely need to pick up the slack periodically by watering the establishing tree.

Purple Fountain Weeping Beech Tree

Purple Foliage Provides a Striking and Elegant Impression. Purple flowering trees provide an otherworldly feel with their rich purple foliage, some striking color in winter months. If you're looking for a tree that will put on a colorful display each fall, the Purple Fountain Tree is perfect. These trees are beautiful in their natural weeping form and grow slowly, you won't have to prune them too much just to maintain their impressive shape. Give your yard a natural edge with this beautiful tree. It's big enough to provide shade no matter what time of year, and the wide variety of colors makes it stand out in any landscape. Just plant your new Purple Fountain Tree!

Planting & Care

To grow a new tree, you need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. Place the tree’s root ball in a hole three times as big as it is and then cover it with soil and water to settle its roots. Trees need water to grow, so for the first few years of establishing a new tree, it needs to be watered often. Once your weeping beech is established and mature, it only needs watering in times of heat or drought. You can prune in the forest's dormant season if you'd like to remove branches or unwanted growth that popped up during this time.

The Best Fruit Trees in Kentucky

Pink Lady Apple Tree

Pink Lady apples grow in the first year. First blooming in spring, making their foray into summer, and finally finishing up with late autumn blossoms, this variety of apple trees produces fruit every year. Not only does Pink Lady fruit well in hot climates and cold climates, but it is also resistant to disease and easy to maintain. The Pink Lady Apple tree produces blooms of creamy white to pale pink flowers in the spring, looking quite like any other tree. The leaves are bright emerald green in summer, followed by exploding autumn hues of reds and oranges. The apples taste best when they are stored for a few weeks after picking, making them perfect for all your fall baking needs. They can be refrigerated for up to 6 weeks post-picking too - just make sure not to dip them in anything with frosting before storing!

Planting & Care

To transplant, a tree, first find the right location and fill the hole with loose soil twice as wide as the root ball. Then plant the tree and water to settle its roots in. For protection, cover up exposed roots with mulch while making sure it doesn't touch delicate leaves or bark. To maintain the health and growth of your Pink Lady Apple, it is important to water the tree regularly. Check nearby soil before watering: when it feels dry about 2-3 inches down, you should water. To optimize apple production and reduce branches that interfere with fruit development, prune off any suckers or dead/diseased branches after fruiting has stopped (in dormancy).

Sweetheart Cherry Tree

Cherry trees are a great ornamental for your yard. The Sweetheart Cherry Tree is a perfect size and has heart-shaped fruit that tastes superior to other types of cherries. Sweetheart Cherry loves growing, either along your driveway or in a garden. You'll get white and pink blooms in spring followed by bright red cherries that hang like ornaments, and then oranges, reds, and even pinks during fall. The Sweetheart Cherries will not only produce strong and sturdy trees but provide stunning colors in every season. Their delicate taste makes them perfect for filling with fruit preserves or fresh as pie fillings.

Planting & Care

Plant a Sweetheart Cherry Tree in a spot that gets at least six to eight hours of sunlight per day. The hole for planting the tree should be twice as wide and deep as the root ball and must have well-draining soil or you can amend with peat moss. Sprinkle a layer of peat moss on top of the root ball and water it until you see that the water is seeping out. Then, add mulch to the base but not around the trunk. It is important to water your newly planted tree immediately, until the first summer. Check periodically during the first year for signs that you need to water it more frequently, and determine how often by feeling the topsoil with your finger. Water regularly during this time if it appears dry (generally 1-2 times a week). Fertilize your Sweetheart in the spring and mid-summer by applying nitrogen fertilizers every two weeks to promote root growth. Follow complete fertilizer application guidelines on the package: 6-8 inches away from the trunk around the tree when applying fertilizer, pruning branches consistently in July when it produces too many cherries or bunches of leaves become weighty, and prune dead or diseased branches during winter months. Sweetheart Cherry Trees are self-fertile, meaning you will get a crop of fruit within one tree. But adding Sweetheart cherry planting will greatly increase your yield size.

When is The Best Time to Plant Trees in Kentucky

The truth is, there isn't a perfect time to plant trees in Kentucky. The best time to plant trees can depend on factors like where you live and what types of trees you plant to grow. The ideal planting season for fruit trees in Kentucky such as apples and pears would be April through June, whereas ornamental trees such as dogwoods and willows, would be between October and March. You can make sure you plant your trees into the right season by getting professional advice before ordering saplings or seeds.

Can You Plant All Season Long?

It's true, you can plant all season long in Kentucky! However, there are some caveats to that statement. First of all, it is important to note that the soil temperature needs to be at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If your soil is colder than this during any part of the day then you will need a heated greenhouse for your plants or they won't survive outside.

What are The Best Trees to Plant Each Season in Kentucky


For spring, we have the flowering dogwood tree which will not only bring beauty into your yard but also produce lovely white flowers in early May and then pink blossoms later on in summer.


For summertime there is no better tree than our majestic tulip poplar- with its large leaves that turn a stunning yellow color this fall, it is sure to be an incredible addition to any landscape.

Fall time

This season brings the most vibrant colors with hope and life. For fall, we recommend a sugar maple tree that produces sweet-smelling leaves in autumn.


The best tree to bring beauty in this time of year would be a flowering crabapple tree. It is not only beautiful but also produces fruit which makes delicious food!

What Trees Have The Least Invasive Roots in Kentucky

If you are looking for a tree that will be the least invasive to your yard, then there are many different species of trees from which to choose. The three most recommended types of trees with the least invasive roots in Kentucky include lindens, tulip poplars, and arborvitae. Lindens have large leaves that provide shade year-round, while tulip poplars have soft bark that is easy on pets' paws. Arborvitae also has dense foliage and spreads easily without taking up too much space in an area.