If you want a tree that will attract plenty of attention to your yard, consider the northern catalpa. This medium-sized tree grows well in hardiess zones 4 - 8. Its showy white flowers add beauty to your yard in the springtime, and its dense foliage creates a shady canopy that's perfect for lounging underneath in the summer months. Read on to learn more about planting and caring for a northern catalpa tree.

Planting a Northern Catalpa Tree

The first thing you should do is make sure you have the proper planting site on your property. Northern catalpas reach between 40 and 60 feet in height and 20 and 40 feet in width when mature, so plan ahead by selecting a site that has enough space for a tree of this stature. Test the soil at your site to make sure it is alkaline. (Though a catalpa tree will tolerate acidic soils, it will grow much stronger and more beautiful in alkaline soil.) Your selected site should also receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

The easiest way to plant a northern catalpa is to purchase a 1 – 2 year-old sapling from a local nursery. When you get the tree home, dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball. This will give the roots plenty of soil to expand through while the tree is first getting established. Fill the hole in with dirt, being careful not to bury the tree past the bulge where the roots meet the trunk. Pack the soil down firmly, and then apply plenty of water to keep the soil moist.

Caring for a Northern Catalpa Tree

For the first year to two years, you'll want to keep a close eye on your tree and water it when the soil becomes dry. Once the tree is more mature, its more extensive root system will be able to obtain water from deeper within the earth, so watering will become unnecessary.

You'll want to have a tree care expert come prune your northern catalpa once a year in the early spring before the buds emerge. This will ensure it grows into the proper shape. Removing dead and damaged branches via pruning will leave more resources for the healthy branches, causing them to become stronger and more vibrant.

Make sure you clean up your catalpa's fallen leaves promptly in the autumn. They can harbor fungal spores, leading to an infection come springtime. If you do notice spots on your tree's leaves, this is a sign of a fungal infection. Having your catalpa sprayed with fungicides by a tree care service should take care of the problem. To learn more, contact a company like Jerry's Tree Service