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The Rhythms of Kansas City Trees: Seasonal Patterns and Care

The Rhythms of Trees: Seasonal Patterns and Care

A tree grows at its own pace and has its own innate chemistry. That’s why it’s important to protect trees from harsh weather conditions that stress them on a molecular level.

Eli’s Tree Service offers maintenance solutions to residential and commercial properties in Kansas City. Its crew handles small to large projects, including removing and trimming trees that could fall on structures or injure people.


Whether they are planted in our landscapes or in the wild, trees need proper care to thrive. Fertilizing helps to provide the nutrients that they need, especially when they are coming out of their winter dormancy. Mulching is another important practice that conserves moisture and provides nutrients as it decomposes.

Where we purchase our trees also makes a difference in their viability. A tree trimming kansas city professional will be able to recommend the best types of trees for our climate and soil conditions. And choosing a vendor that grows trees locally increases the likelihood that they will thrive when moved to your property.

Invest in the long-term health of your landscape by planting native trees that have evolved to our ecosystem over time. Join Bridging The Gap this spring to get a free tree seedling for your yard (while supplies last), or sign up to volunteer at one of our many workdays.


Whether you’re looking for shade in summer, color in fall or interest during the bleak midwinter, there are trees that thrive in Kansas City. A good place to start is with a native tree, which will have a headstart on weathering our climate.

In Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City, residents can count on head-turning displays of richly hued maple leaves each autumn. But the emerald ash borer, a tiny green hitchhiker from Asia that decimated the city’s ash-dominated street trees, taught Overland Park and other communities a lesson about dependence on a single species.

Landscapers have long tapped into the appeal of visual consistency by planting scores or hundreds of identical trees at a time. But the new normal is to embrace diversity. Robert Whitman, a landscape architect at Multistudio in Kansas City, leans heavily on regional species in his designs. He’s not an absolutist, though; he draws on non-native options if they better suit a site’s conditions and design.


KC’s weather has mellowed enough that perennials and annuals that couldn’t survive our harsh winters can thrive. But our summer and fall weather patterns still affect gardeners and landscapers.

This year, a prolonged period of warm weather early in autumn delayed the changing colors of some trees. And this week’s rain may mute the colors of others.

Leaves turn color primarily due to a compound called anthocyanins, which hide behind the leaf’s chlorophyll. Bright sunny days with cool nights encourage leaves to produce these anthocyanins.

For a tree that shows brilliant color in spring and fall, try Kentucky coffeetree, with its light pink to purple foliage. Or choose an evergreen that withstands our hot, dry summers, such as the fast-growing Taylor juniper. A native ornamental, redbud produces a splash of rose-pink color. And many species of maple work well in our climate, including flame, autumn blaze and red sunset maples. But non-native maples crowd out native flora that birds and butterflies depend on for food, shelter and nesting sites.


The winter landscape in a Kansas City neighborhood may seem subdued compared to the vibrant greens of spring and summer, but it’s not without its beauty. In winter, trees become the focus of holiday displays and a variety of architectural designs that transform streets and parks into a wonderland of lights and color.

Trees rely on an underground system to absorb water for nutrition and hydration. During freezing temperatures, however, that system can freeze and thaw, encasing branches in ice and potentially bending or breaking them.

Different tree species develop varying innate leaf colorations depending on genetics and the amount of anthocyanins they produce. Sumac and sassafras tend to turn a rich red, while dogwoods, maples, hickories, oaks, and black gums exhibit shades of yellow and red. As the leaves start to turn, chlorophyll breaks down, revealing other compounds that lend their autumnal brilliance.



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