“What’s New,” is a favorite question of tree growers, specifiers, tree planters and gardeners. Our research and development department is in constant pursuit of new and improved trees. Many are developed through our own breeding, selection and performance trialing efforts. Other promising candidates are brought to us for trial and potential introduction by growers, tree breeders, urban foresters and tree enthusiasts. In recent years, we’ve added some exceptional new trees to our lineup of more than 100 unique introductions and co-introductions. As always, we strive to develop new and improved cultivars that are not just new – they’re better.
Cultivars featured in this blog offer improved traits such as disease and pest resistance, stronger and more storm-resistant structure, better tolerance of heat and drought, better foliage quality and brighter fall color, etc. Characteristics like these boost our trees’ chances for success in a variety of landscape settings including challenging urban sites. The featured trees are currently available to the wholesale nursery trade. They may also be offered by your wholesale landscape distribution center or favorite garden center.
Acer saccharinum ‘JFS H1’
True to its name, Symatree® Maple is unlike any Silver Maple that’s come before it. A symmetrical, upright oval canopy is formed by upright, sturdy branches with open crotch angles that give it a storm-resistant structure. Unlike the species, it is compact in form and grows to a height and spread of only 30’ x 20’ as it reaches its mature size in about 30 years in an average urban landscape setting. Light green leaves are silvery beneath and present a two-tone effect when they shimmer in the summer breeze. Fall color is bright yellow to burgundy red.
The parent tree was a standout among seedlings grown from seed collected from a witch’s broom. Discovered by Dr. William Hoch of Wisconsin, the remarkable parent tree has produced neither flowers or seeds. Its Zone 3 hardiness and compact, symmetrical form give it great promise as an urban tree for the future forest.
Powder Keg® Maple
Acer saccharum ‘Whit XLIX’ PP 23957
Leathery dark green leaves of this prairie-tough sugar maple are heat and drought tolerant. They are resistant to the leaf tatter that results when hot summer winds batter the foliage of less heat-adapted trees. As its name implies, this cultivar offers spectacular, explosive fall color, plus stout branching and upright form.
The best of hundreds of seedlings grown by Dr. Carl Whitcomb introduced it as the best of hundreds of seedlings grown from Caddo Maple in a Stillwater, Oklahoma, landscape. Dr. Whitcomb relates his multi-decade story of bringing the tree to market, including the role played by JFS, on his website.
Powder Keg® Maple is proving to be a top performer in varied landscape settings across the continent. Hardy through USDA Zone 5, it grows to an approximate height and spread of 50’ x 40’).
Platanus x acerifolia ‘Morton Naper’
A stately, broadly pyramidal canopy forms as this big, bold shade tree matures in about 30 years to a height and spread of 60’ x 45’. Upright branches radiate at 45-60° angles from a strong, straight, central stem and leader to form a dense, symmetrical tree that’s well-suited for streets, parkways and expansive landscapes through USDA Zone 4.
Clean, green, anthracnose resistant foliage casts cool shade throughout the summer months. Leaves turn yellow before falling in autumn to reveal the bright, light grey bark of branches and trunk that harkens back to its native American Sycamore heritage. Hybridized by Dr. George Ware, Monumental™ is the anthracnose-resistant offspring of his cross of P. acerifolia pollen obtained from the U.S. National Arboretum onto a native sycamore (P. occidentalis) growing at the Morton Arboretum. See photos and learn more about this remarkable tree.
Ulmus davidiana ‘JFS KW2UD’
This new elm cultivar is well suited for cold and difficult growing conditions. Grown from seed collected from cold hardy native trees at the northern edge of its native range in China, it is hardy through USDA Zone 4 and is tolerant of both Dutch elm disease and phloem necrosis (elm yellows).
Selected as the most attractive and most like the American elm in appearance, it offers good branch structure, upright arching vase shape, rich green leaves and yellow fall color. Foliage falls cleanly in autumn to reveal a winter silhouette that recalls the classic American elm. Mature height and spread are approximately 60’ x 40’.
Summer Elixir® Elm
Ulmus chenmoui ‘JAB Morton’
Smaller in stature than most elms, this compact, mannerly tree is a good fit for many of today’s small-scale landscape settings. Stand-out characteristics include “a relatively small mature form, summer red-tipped leaves and rusty-red to blush-red fall color, and good structure,” according to co-introducer James Barborinas of Urban Forest Nursery, Inc., Mt. Vernon, Washington
Summer Elixir® is the best of many elm seedlings shared with Barborinas many years ago by Dr. George Ware of Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois. Ware encouraged Jim, a highly respected consulting arborist and longtime JFS customer, to continue evaluating the standout seedling which has grown to become a beautiful landscape feature. He eventually brought it to JFS for trial and potential introduction.
Handsome dark green foliage resists elm leaf beetle and flaunts fall colors of red, yellow and purple. Tolerant of Dutch elm disease, this diminutive, yet tough, tree grows to a height and spread of approximately 35’ x 30’ and is hardy through USDA Zone 5.
Zelkova serrata ‘JFS KW4ZS’
Clean, dark green summer foliage, symmetrical branching and a compact, dense canopy make this new introduction a standout among Zelkova cultivars. Selected by Plantsman Keith Warren for its unusually compact structure and intermediate size, this upright, vase-shaped tree is a better fit for many landscape settings than the typically larger cultivars of the species. Maturing to a height and spread of approximately 30’ x 25’, it offers all-season appeal that includes handsome winter structure and fine-textured foliage that turns rusty orange in autumn.