Cercidiphylum japonicum - Katsuratree

Family - Cercidiphyllaceae

Size - 40 to 60 feet in height. Spread may be less than height or greater than height. Supposedly, trees in the U.S. grow narrower than those in Europe. All trees I have witnessed on our campus, and other locations tend to the upright shape. Growth rate can be medium to fast. Trees in this region may make 40 feet over time, but I don't think 60.

Foliage - The color on Katsura, especially in the early spring is strikingly beautiful. New foliage emerges a reddish-purple. It gradually changes to a beautiful blue-green. Fall color is not consistent here, but tends to be better on well established trees. The fall of 2002 was the best I've ever seen on Katsura, and ironically we held extremely warm summerlike temperatures well into the Fall. I have seen nice apricot-orange tones one year, and little color the next. It generally is a mixture of yellow. In the New England states this tree is known well for it's Fall color. Foliage is very aromatic when dried, it has a sweet, cinnamony/spicy aroma.

Flower/Fruit/Seed -

Bark - Brown, smooth when young, somewhat shaggy on older trees.

Problems - The biggest drawback I've seen is bark splitting. Every Katsura on campus (and in many locations elsewhere) has a bark split, on the lower southwest facing portion of the trunk. By 2003, you can see where the wound has covered over, but the best thing is to keep it from occuring. Some bark protection when young is necessary. Trees that are branched to the ground do not have this problem. Not very drought tolerant when young, and consideration must be given for supplemental watering for the first 2 to 3 years. However, the UAH trees have had very little supplemental watering over the years and have seemed to hold their own.

Landscape Use - Good tree for the residential, commercial or large property.

Performance - 7 The biggest drawback is bark splitting which I feel can be prevented. Other than this, it seems to be a excellent tree with attractive summer foliage, and potentially good Fall color.


Katsuratree foliage

Katsuratree in the Fall

Katsuratree foliage in the Fall

Katsuratree bark

Katsuratree bark splitting