Trav the Tree Guy: The Top 10 Trees

Jan 15, 2024

There’s something that is so satisfying about planting a new tree in your lawn or in your landscape. It can be a large tree to provide shade, a small blooming tree for a flowerbed, or a lovely tree to mark a special occasion. No matter what the reason, planting trees has long term benefits to creating biodiversity on your property. While Colonial Gardens carries a staggering selection of trees, these are some of the favorites amongst our staff. These are tried and true performers in our area and provide a beautiful tree depending on your desired needs.

Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple

Fall Fiesta is a slow growing, but very strong wooded maple tree. It is also deeper rooted than other maple trees, making it perfect as a lawn tree. This beauty will grow on average of a foot or more a year, eventually maturing to about 60 ft tall with a spread of 30-40’. While some sugar maples have variable fall color, Fall Fiesta always has a consistent orange/red every year. A long-lived tree, often achieving 100-150 years.

Brandywine Maple

Brandywine Maple is a Colonial Favorite, and with good reason! This tree has an intermediate growth rate, typically of 18’’-24’’ a year. Its lustrous green foliage turns a wonderful bright red for its fall color, eventually fading to a maroon purple before the leaves drop. Will grow on average to around 45’ tall with a spread of 30’, making it ideal for a lawn or side yard tree. Finally, this tree is a male cultivar, which makes it a seedless maple! What’s not to love!?

Magnolia Virginiana

One of the toughest magnolias for Kansas City! Its semi-evergreen foliage is a glossy green, with a beautiful silver underside, giving the leaves a two-toned appearance. The small, creamy white blossoms appear in late spring into summer, eliminating the potential for a late frost from cutting its bloom cycle short. Blossoms have a very pleasing fragrance, reminiscent of lemons and a bit of vanilla. Fast growing to 25’ tall with a similar spread. Can be pruned to maintain smaller if desired.

Jane Magnolia

Jane is another magnolia that is tough as can be! Jane has a beautiful reddish-purple bloom with a white reverse. While her best bloom cycle is in mid-spring before the leaves emerge but will often have a few blooms that will open in mid to late summer. Jane tends to bloom a little later in the spring, helping with frost protection. The average size is about 20’ tall with a spread of 10’-15’. Requires minimal pruning once established.


This Missouri native is a harbinger of spring! Once you see the pinkish-purple blooms, you know spring is finally here! Redbuds come as a single or multi-stemmed forms and will reach a height and width of 15’-25’, depending on placement and pruning practices. Tough as nails, and with an irregular shape, every tree has its own personality! A personal favorite!

Black Gum

Hold your horses, this tree is not related to the much-feared Sweetgum! Also called tupelo, this tree has glossy green leaves that turn an eye watering reddish purple in the early fall. As the tree ages, it will provide a valuable pollen source, as well as small fruit that every songbird covets! Size in the landscape is varied, typically going to about 45’ tall and 25’-30’ wide. Can get larger with extreme age.

Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry

This cultivated strain of our native serviceberry is a true four-season beauty! It has lovely clusters of white blossoms in the spring, followed by a prolific berry set in June (hence it’s nickname “Juneberry”) While birds love the berries, you might want to pick them for you and your family: the are delicious and high in antioxidants. The fall color is a very fetching mix of yellows, oranges, and reds. The smooth bark is beautiful and pronounced in the winter landscape. Can be purchased as a single or multi-stemmed form, and typically reaches a height and width of 20’.

Royal Raindrops Crabapple

This cultivar is very popular because of its…..everything! It has beautiful fuchsia blossoms in the spring that fade to pink, then white before the petals drop. The crabapples are very small, around 3/8ths of an inch, and are very persistent. It has chocolate purple, maple-like leaves that turn an exceptional orange-red in the fall. It can grow to 15-20’ tall, and about 12-15' wide. Great small tree!

Bald Cypress

A fast-growing Missouri native tree, practically bullet proof once established! It can grow in standing water, but it is also drought tolerant, it can grow anywhere there is at least 8 hours of sun a day. It has beautiful green fernlike needles that turn a luscious bronze in the fall. This giant can get upwards of 100’ tall with age.

Swamp White Oak

One of the fastest growing oaks! It has glossy, multi-lobed leaves that turn a buttery yellow in the fall. Disease resistant, and capable of withstanding many different site locations, and heavy clay conditions. Moderate acorn producer, great for attracting native species. Landscape size is 45’-60’ tall and wide but can get larger with age.

Northern Red Oak

This is a fast-growing native oak species! This oak has beautiful, glossy deep green leaves that turn a gorgeous deep red in the fall. Tolerant of adverse conditions, this is a long-lived easy to grow tree. Missouri native and tough, it makes an exceptional shade tree. 45’-60 tall and wide, but can get larger with age. 

When you are ready, come on in. We will select the perfect tree for you, or shop online

Thanks for your thyme! - Trav

Written By "Trav the Tree Guy" Travis Morcha