Cladrastis kentukea- American Yellowwood


General: A medium sized deciduous flowering tree growing 30-50’ with a broad, rounded crown and tall upright branching.

Leaves: Alternate and pinnately compound with 5-11 leaflets each 2-3” long and entire leaves 8-12” long. Leaves open a bright yellowish green changing to bright green in the summer and finally a golden yellow in the fall.

Bark: On mature trees, bark is very smooth and gray, resembling beech. Trees are called yellowwood because the heartwood is yellowish.

Flowers: White, fragrant, pendulous panicles 8-14” long. Flowers appear May to early June in abundance either every other year or every third year.

Fruit: A brown pod in October up to 4” long.

Attributes:  An excellent shade tree for smaller properties. Can be used as a single specimen or in groupings. Both flowers, bark and foliage add aesthetic value to the landscape.




Hardiness:  Zones 4 to 8.

Growing Conditions: PH adaptable but prefers well drained soil and full sun.

Maintenance:  Verticillium wilt has been reported, very few problems otherwise.

Transplanting: Transplants well during dormant periods into well-draining soil.

Our Experience

Experience at Great Hill

Yellowwood is an excellent three season specimen tree of which we have several in our nursery. It is important to note that this tree does not produce a heavy flower set yearly. Ours flower every third year and little and or sporadically in between. Bark adds winter interest to the garden but is susceptible to wind damage and sun scald.