With so many trees on the planet, you would think they'd be pretty easy to grow. However, many tree species are incredibly picky. They only like to grow in soil with a certain pH, and if they don't have the right amount of moisture, they succumb to disease or the elements pretty quickly. Getting a tree to grow in your backyard therefore requires that you choose a type of tree that's suited for the specific conditions of your land -- or that you choose one of the few tree species that are tolerant of most any growing conditions. The northern catalpa is an incredibly tolerant tree species that often thrives where others have failed.
Characteristics of Northern Catalpa Trees
Northern catalpa trees are typically about 50 feet tall when mature, though some may grow larger. They have irregularly-shaped crowns, though they can be held to a more ovular shape if trimmed carefully when they are young. Thanks to their fast growth rate and dense, shade-producing foliage, cataplas make excellent additions to backyards. They're tolerant of air pollution, which makes them suitable even for urban areas.
The leaves of the northern catalpa are ovular in shape with thin veins. They turn yellow in the fall. In the spring, the trees develop bright white flowers.
Planting, Growing and Caring For Young Northern Catalpas
To plant a catalpa tree that you have purchased from a nursery, begin by digging a hole that is at least twice as wide as the root ball of the tree. The hole should be just deep enough that the root flare sits just above the ground surface. After filling in the hole, apply a 3-inch layer of mulch. This will slowly break down and add nutrients to the soil. Water the young tree well.
When your catalpa is young, providing it with water during times of drought will help it to thrive. Once it is 3 or 4 years old and has established roots, you won't need to water it anymore. It's not exactly necessary to have your young catalpa pruned, but doing so can encourage it to grow into a more symmetrical shape. If fungal diseases such as anthracnose and powdery mildew disease are common in your area, you may wish to have your northern catalpa sprayed with fungicides to prevent these diseases.
Northern catalpas live for about 60 years, so if you plant one now, you can enjoy it for the rest of your life. Even if you've had trouble getting other tree varieties to grow in your yard, chances are good that a northern catalpa will do just fine. For more questions about the right tree for your yard, contact a company like McGinty Bros., Inc. Professional Lawn & Tree Care.