Trees of Colorado: The Ohio Buckeye
The Ohio Buckeye isn’t native to Colorado, but like so many other immigrants from the Midwest, it thrives here. Also known as the American Buckeye, this variety is a medium-sized deciduous tree that grows as tall as 80 feet in the Ohio valley though rarely tops out above 40 feet in Colorado.
Buckeye Seeds and Leaves
The Buckeye is a slow-growing tree with 3-6 inch five-fingered oblong leaf clusters and chestnut-like fruit. Unlike chestnuts, though, Buckeye seeds and leaves are poisonous to humans and some animals—squirrels being one exception. Native Americans, though, would blanch the nuts and extract the tannic acid from them to use in making leather goods. They would also let the nuts dry and darken and string them together in necklaces.
Buckeyes put on a spring show with large yellow flowers, and their leaves turn a brilliant orange in the fall, seedsadding a splash of extra color to the yellow and brown leaves typical of Colorado natives. Its large, dense leaves make it an excellent shade tree in summer, but can also make it hard to grow grass and other sun-loving plants under its umbrella.
As a large, full-leafed, round or oval tree with arching branches and light gray to grayish-brown deeply-furrowed bark makes the Ohio Buckeye an excellent specimen tree in a large yard or open space. Its spring flowers and fall color add to its attractiveness.
Care and Climate
Ohio Buckeyes are hardy to zone 7, like full to partial sun and well-drained soil. They are somewhat drought-tolerant but may need irrigation during prolonged dry spells. However, the minimal insect and disease problems they encounter in the Colorado climate make them relatively low-maintenance.
If you’re considering adding a Buckeye to your landscape, or have one that needs attention, Donovan Arborists offers planting, pruning, shearing and many other services to make the most of your outdoor space in an environmentally-friendly manner. Call us today for a free estimate at 303-623-8733.