Growing Cercidiphyllum (Katsura Tree)

Latin Name Pronunciation: sir-sid-ih-fil'-um

The mid-green foliage, which unfolds reddish purple in spring and turns glowing shades of yellow and apricot in fall, is a real feature of this beautiful tree from the woodlands of China and Japan. Fast growing, the Katsura quickly develops into a specimen tree with rounded, heart-shaped leaves similar to those of Cercis (Redbud). The weeping form, Cercidiphyllum japonicum f. pendulum, is a bit smaller than the species and has gracefully arching, slender branches.

Light: Full sun or partial shade.

Soil: Moderately rich, well-drained soil.

Watering: The key to getting your new tree off to a good start is moisture. Water thoroughly after planting, and keep a close eye on the plant over the following week. Then, give it a good soaking once a week during summer, unless rainfall is plentiful (more than 1in per week). Established plants can generally get by on less water, but most grow best if the soil remains evenly moist. Please note that more is not better. When in doubt, don't water.

Fertilizer: We recommend against fertilizing at planting time and during the first growing season in your garden. Plants need time to settle in before being pushed to grow. Most established plants grow best if fertilized with a light hand. Here at the Farm, we fertilize our specimen trees and shrubs just once -- in early spring -- with a light but even coverage of a balanced, granular fertilizer (such 5-10-10, 10-10-10, or an organic fertilizer). If a concentrated, water-soluble fertilizer is used, please follow the manufacturers'recommendations carefully.

Continuing Care: Protect from cold, dry winds, and water during dry periods. Minimal pruning is needed to maintain framework; prune in late winter or early spring, when dormant. Rarely troubled by insects or diseases.