I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.


When you are choosing trees for your landscaping project, there are a number of things to consider to make sure you get the species of tree that delivers what you want and that you’ll love the look of. The choice of tree for any specific location needs to fit the spot as well as what you want from it. When you are shopping for trees, be sure to turn to TLC Nursery & Outdoor Living Garden Center. Our certified arborist and trained garden center staff can help you figure out which tree will thrive in the spot you’ve got picked out.

Lovely Trees

The loveliness of trees is revealed in all seasons. In spring, flowering trees give us pinks and whites to take our breath away. All summer long, their green canopies give us cooling shade, refreshing greens, and of course, are homes all sorts of familiar critters. In the autumn their turning foliage colors the season with cozy hues of yellow, red, and orange. In the winter, their leaves give way to outlines of lacy branches and give us a chance to pause and admire their bark.

Shade Trees

Shade trees create cool island beneath them, and if placed near the home, they can help lower cooling costs in the summer times. They are also usually large, which creates a habitat for birds and squirrels.

  • Also known as the basswood or lime tree, the American Linden is a great choice for a shade tree. They grow tall and straight with an attractive cone-shaped crown. These trees grow to between 65 and 130 ft tall. This tree is useful in many ways, from its hard wood to its flowers, which are used as medicines.
  • A tree that is perfect for large landscapes is the catalpa tree. It grows to about 60 feet and is known for their very large leaves, beautiful flowers, and long bean pods.
  • Cottonwood trees are native to Kansas and grow naturally all over Kansas. They are often found in open spaces near ponds and rivers since they need lots of sunshine and water. They are fast growing, adding six feet of height every year. They were used by Native Americans for canoes, medicine, and food for both humans and people. This tree is the state tree of Kansas and is so honored for the essential role it played in the lives of pioneers. Many people are not great fans of this tree because they suffer from allergies to it. For this reason, it might not be a great choice for an even a large front yard but having one on a large property is a great addition to the biodiversity of not just the trees, but of all the animals that find homes in this massive trees.

Ornamental Trees

While all trees are beautiful, there are many kinds that have been selectively bred to emphasize certain qualities. Many of these trees are relatively small and so they can be planted near homes without fear of them falling onto the roof in a storm. We’ll highlight a few of the options in the ornamental category.

  • The Japanese maple is an example of this. This tree, which can be trimmed to imitate a bonsai tree, has vibrant green leaves in the summer that turn purple or bright red in the fall. This diminutive tree grows to just 15-25 feet tall.
  • A redbud tree is a perennial favorite for many reasons. In the springtime, deep pink flowers bloom and then make a pink snowfall that creates a peaceful sphere under the tree. All summer, the heart-shaped leaves on this smallish tree create shade. This tree grows to 8-30 feet tall so it is perfect for a spot next to a door to create a shaded entry. There are many varieties of the redbud tree so you can pick your favorite based on mature height and flower color.
  • Dogwood trees are famous for their gorgeous flowers that bloom early in the springtime. The flowers have just four large petals and vary from white to shades of pink. The Prairie Pink variety thrives well in Kansas. Other varieties need protection from both sun and the wind. They grow to between 15 and 20 feet.

Trees as Fences

  • Osage orange trees were planted as fences by early settlers. This tree is very tough, being noted for its pest resistance and wood that is very hard but flexible. Long before Europeans came to the Great Plains, the wood of this tree was used by native tribes, such as the Comanche, for bows and clubs.  It is also known as the hedge apple, though its fruit is inedible. It is also known as the mock orange tree, but it is actually related to the mulberry tree, and not the orange tree. Some varieties are thornless and fruitless so they make a less formidable fence.
  • If you want a fast-growing green privacy fence, the Leyland cypress is one you should consider. These trees grow 3-5 feet a year and reach 200 feet under the right conditions. They make great wind blocks, too. Bagworms can be a problem with these trees, so keep an eye out for them and treat this pest early.

We’ll cover fruit and nut trees in our next blog, which will focus on edible landscapes. Be sure to check back to learn how your yard can feed your family! In the meantime, stop by our garden center or call to set up an appointment with our certified arborist.