Chinese Fringe Tree


A Quick Guide to the Chinese Fringe Tree

The Chinese fringe tree is very popular because it has beautiful white flowers which appear in the spring just after the leaves have emerged. The flowers are large and very impressive on a tree that only grows to around twenty feet tall. They bloom for up to three weeks.



The Chinese fringe tree grows in USDA hardiness zones 5b and higher. It can be planted in many ways and places, including in a container or planter. Because the tree is so hardy, it is recommended for small to large lawns, patio decks, street and sidewalk trees, buffer and median strips and the islands in parking lots. The tree is not very showy in the fall but in more northern climates it will turn yellow.

The Chinese fringe tree does not need a lot of pruning but if it is growing in locations where people need to walk underneath it, pruning will be necessary. It grows multiple trunks but if you prefer having a single trunk, it is trainable to give you one. The fringe tree really is not fussy about everything having to be just right. For instance, it likes full sun, shade, partial sun and partial shade. It can grow in all types of soils as well--well-drained, sometimes wet, loamy, acidic, sandy or alkaline. It is even moderately tolerant of drought.

The Chinese fringe tree has a reputation for being hard to transplant, but it does fine in most situations. The tree is almost always sold in containers and tubs. Not many trees are as versatile as the fringe tree. Its capacity to thrive when planted bordering streets and sidewalks and in the middle of parking lots is quite extraordinary. With none of the damage incurred by Cleveland pear trees, the Chinese fringe trees can serve as replacements in cities and suburbs where these other trees have proved unreliable.

For the absolute best results, plant your Chinese fringe tree in a sunny spot where it will not experience a lot of wind. For the most flowers, plant the tree in acidic soil, full sun, and where the soil will remain moist. In southern states where there is more heat, the tree may remain green in the fall and not turn yellow. This tree can be propagated by seed and by cuttings. If there is an extensive drought, you will need to water your tree but it easily survives moderate droughts.

Other positive characteristics of the Chinese fringe tree are that it is usually free of both pests and diseases. You might sometimes find mites on your tree’s leaves but that is an extremely rare situation. It has also suffered from leaf spots, powdery mildew, and stem canker in tests but these are usually not enough of a problem to need treatment. If you do have any pest or disease problems, contact your county agricultural extension agent for diagnosis and treatment.

The Chinese fringe tree looks great in just about any yard. It has bluish fruit, which although not edible by humans, makes birds every happy. The tree is very slow growing, gaining only around four to six inches each year. It will eventually reach a height of 20-30 feet with a branch spread also of twenty feet.

These fringe trees are native to China, Japan and Korea.  They were brought to Great Britain in the 17th century and then introduced to America. In China, the leaves are used to make tea, which is said to smell and taste similar to green tea. The tree is very popular and sometimes hard to find at local nurseries. Many times they can be ordered or you can purchase them online.