Every once in a while in the Chicagoland area, we have a good spring display of flowering trees. Some years the bloom buds are nipped by late freezes/Snowstorms. This year is amazing. Everything bloomed, including the Saucer Magnolia. The most planted would be the Crabapple. (Malus) They come in tree form, bush form, weeping tree form colors ranging from pink to white. The most important thing… Resistance to Apple Rust.
Now, although amazing in flower, the Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia Soulanguiana) rarely flowers this well due to hard hitting late freezes. This particular tree was hit really bad two years ago. So bad that its trunk was split all the way down. This happens when the sap starts to flow and freezes. Just like a frozen water pipe.
If you love magnolias, I would highly suggest planting Magnolia ‘Ann. This magnolia will bloom 2 weeks later than the Saucer Magnolia types. This means, blooms every spring. One added bonus is sporadic blooms till frost. On this large bush/tree its common to have about 15-20 blooms everyday during the summer.
One of my favorites would be the native redbud. (Cercis Canadensis) These trees grow to be 30′ tall and wide tops. But the shape of the tree is outstanding. Especially when in full bloom. The pink or white flowers bloom on the branches before the leaves grow. After the flower show, heart shaped leaves emerge. Look for ‘Cercis Canadensis ‘Forest Pansy! The leaves remain a red hue during most of the summer before becoming green.
Kousa Dogwood is a attractive spring blooming tree. Unlike its cousin (Pagoda Dogwood with flat fuzzy flowers) is more attractive. The white isn’t actually the flower though. Technically its flower bracts witch the flowers emerge from. (The green centers) Many cultivars are offered, and bracts range from white to pink. Do research cultivars raised in warmer zones will flower sooner, unfortunately increasing the risk of loosing all blooms that spring.
Service berries, are also a popular spring blooming tree/shrub. There are cultivars such as Regent that stay more shrub like and smaller. The picture is a regent serviceberry. And most books say they hold their foliage, I lose mine by the heat of summer, and is nothing more than sticks. Shadblow Serviceberry is usually grafted to create a tree. These will hold their leaves… I have heard of good jams made with the berries, but you have to be fast… Wildlife LOVE THEM.