Buckeye trees in ohio

Where to buy your buckeye tree

Some nurseries sell buckeyes, but you may have to order them online or from a catalog. Ohio buckeyes aren’t the most common, Smith said. She recommends looking for a nursery that focuses on native species.

If you’re going to start buckeyes from seed, you need to plant them as soon as you collect them, Snyder said. If they dry out, the embryo dies.

Can’t plant them right away? Put them in moist peat moss and refrigerate them. You also can plant the nuts in a container and let them sit through the winter until they sprout in the spring.

Snyder also suggests covering the plantings with quarter-inch hardware cloth fencing to keep chipmunks and squirrels from digging them up.

Planting pro tips

You can plant buckeyes in full sun, but since they are adapted to live in forest understory, Smith recommends giving them partial shade. Be aware that buckeyes can reach 40 to 60 feet in height, though, so you won’t want them in your flowerbed.

“Don’t put it up next to your house; put it in the back yard where it can grow and spread and do its thing,” Snyder said.

If space is an issue, he said smaller varieties such as bottlebrush or scarlet buckeyes are an option. “Scarlet buckeye is actually much more attractive in terms of its ornamental features, scarlet red flowers, shiny green leaves, great disease resistance.”

As for soil, Buckeyes are native to the banks of streams and forest floors. They do best in soils that are a silty clay loam, rich in organic matter, slightly acidic and moist but well drained.

They can grow in other conditions, but won’t do as well if soil is too dry, or very clay-based or sandy.

“Typically on new construction sites you’ll see soils that are really compacted,” Snyder said. “Buckeyes aren’t going to respond well to soils like that.”

Caring for your tree

Like many trees, buckeyes are low-maintenance. Keep an eye on the young tree, and if it splits into more than one main shoot, prune it. Late winter is a good time for that.

The good news is buckeyes don’t have fatal diseases or invasive predators like those plaguing other trees — at least not yet.

It is common, however, for buckeyes to get a fungal disease that causes brown blotches on the leaves. There’s not much you can do about it, and it usually doesn’t cause permanent damage. In the course of a season, the blotches can eventually spread over the whole tree, which can give it a “scorched” look. The leaves then fall off early.

Ready to get started? Head over to Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Science for more tips: 7 Things to Know About Growing an Ohio Buckeye Tree.

Bang for Your Buck(eye): Sprouting Tree Seeds

After 24 hours, I drained the buckeyes while I went to the greenhouse to find a few medium pots to fill with garden soil. I found six, so I headed up to the garden to dig up some soil, filling the pots about halfway. Next, I selected the best-looking buckeyes for planting (I doubt this makes any difference if there are no insect holes. You know…in the eye of the beholder and whatnot). I covered the buckeyes, pressing them slightly to firm the soil. Water and voila! The pots were seeded.

Then I selected a protected southern spot in a flowerbed to plant the pots. Now, you might be wondering why I just didn’t direct sow the buckeyes into the garden. Well, Ohio buckeye trees have very long taproots that can make transplanting difficult. When (and if) they sprout and grow into seedlings, I want to be able to remove the whole root to minimize damage to the tree. Plus, Matt can be a bit reckless with the mower, and on numerous occasions, little trees (and toys or kids’ shoes) have gotten whacked in half.

I did read that you can put buckeyes in the fridge if you don’t want to go to the trouble now. Just place your buckeyes in a plastic bag along with some soil for moisture and pop it into the crisper drawer (to impress your friends, the fancy-pantsy term here is cold stratification). Then when you’re ready to sow them in the spring, simply remove your buckeyes from the fridge and seed in pots or directly into the soil and wait for germination. After about three weeks, you should know if your buckeyes have sprouted. Keep an eye on the pots to insure they have not become rootbound, which can stunt your trees.

Now, remember that buckeyes are poisonous to most mammals. According to the USDA, buckeye trees are toxic to humans if any part is ingested, including leaves, bark, and seeds. And, if you’re worried about handling buckeyes, you can wear gloves to protect your skin. But, a good, thorough hand-washing should be good enough to remove any toxins.

Once my seedlings have a set of true leaves, I plan to relocate them to their permanent, partially shaded spot on the property. I’d like to have two trees, and need to place them at least 20 feet apart. Considered slow-growing trees, buckeyes will grow about a foot or two a year, depending on the variety. If you’re unsure about which variety you have, look at the hull. I’m fairly confident that I have Ohio buckeyes because the hulls are spiked and not smooth. There are six species of buckeye trees, growing in zones 4 – 7, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

So, if all goes well, I hope to have a few free buckeye trees to plant next summer. I always love to experiment with sprouting seeds that I collect along the way in order to maintain a sense of frugality in the garden. If you have any tips that I should know about with regard to sprouting buckeyes, leave me a comment below.


Corinne Gompf is a writer and hobby farmer in Morrow County, Ohio. She is a graduate from the University of Toledo, with a BA in English, creative writing concentration. Along with her husband, Matt, and two children, Fletcher and Emery, Corinne raises poultry, Boer goats, rabbits, and chemical-free produce. Connect with Corinne on her Heritage Harvest Farm Facebook page.

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Buckeye Trees

The Buckeye Tree in the United States belongs to the horse chestnut family and includes species like the Ohio buckeye, the Yellow buckeye and the California buckeye. Buckeye Trees are a deciduous tree native to the Central and Great Plains regions of the United States. It is one of the first trees to leaf in the spring and drops its leaves early in the fall. Buckeye Trees are so named because the seeds of the tree look similar to the eye of a buck, or male deer.

The Buckeye Tree is considered a medium sized tree, the Ohio Buckeye grows to a height of 40-60 feet with a diameter of 2-3 feet. The Yellow Buckeye can be 50-70 feet tall, but smaller species of buckeyes that strain to attain 30 feet in height include the Red Buckeye and the Painted Buckeye. Buckeye Trees produces flowers which appear on branched clusters in the spring. Being very adaptable to its environment, this tree thrives in conditions not suitable for other trees, and is hard to kill once it is established. Most Buckeye Trees prefer full sun to partial shade.

Buckeye Tree

The Buckeye Tree (Aesculus) can grow to a mature height of 50 feet in zones 4 thru 9 while the growth rate is at a medium speed this adaptable tree can be planted in soil conditions where others trees will not thrive. If so desired this ornamental tree can be placed in situations of less sun to become more of a shrub than the taller version trees.

Buckeye Tree traits:

This particular tree can survive even in circumstances that would kill another species of tree and after becoming fully established is extremely hard to kill. Those traits help to give it popularity for parks and nature areas around the country. The larger leaves will resemble that of a palm making this tree an exciting addition to your landscape. Gardeners will cherish this majestic tree as either a centerpiece or placed along the edge of your lawn for accenting.

Buckeye Tree considered among the prized ornamental trees:

One of the landscapers more popular shade trees the Buckeye Tree can be one of nature’s more treasured ornamental trees. Varieties include Ohio Buckeye and Yellow Buckeye, but each tree will produce the distinctive buckeye seed, so nicknamed by the Native Americans because of the resemblance to a male deer eye. Those seeds of the buckeye that are encased inside a hard husk while considered to be valuable good luck charms are poisonous along with the young leaves of the tree. After the fruit of the Buckeye, a tree has ripened fully, that fruit can be opened to reveal three separate shiny seeds.

Buckeye Trees a member of the horse chestnut family:

This beautiful shade tree provides the landscape with vibrant green foliage early in the season with the addition of yellow flowers in the spring drawing hummingbirds to the bright color and sweet nectar. The deep green of the leaves will be replaced in the fall with a beautiful golden orange color and the unique seed bearing spiny fruit.

Buckeye Tree Lore:

The glossy smooth seed from the tree has long been thought to bring good luck to those who carry one in their pocket or rub them while it seems more a case of mind over matter the Buckeye continues to be hailed as a good symbol. From our early ancestors to children of today the lucky buckeye is cherished for its magical ability to bring good fortune to those who possess them.

Ohio Buckeye flowers

Ohio Buckeye flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Ohio Buckeye

Ohio Buckeye

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Ohio Buckeye in fall

Ohio Buckeye in fall

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 35 feet

Spread: 35 feet


Hardiness Zone: 2b


An ideal choice for the small home landscape, with nice yellow flowers, good fall color and a compact growth habit, curiously fan-shaped leaves; susceptible to leaf scorch in dry sites, spiny seeds may necessitate some maintenance

Ornamental Features

Ohio Buckeye features showy spikes of creamy white flowers rising above the foliage in mid spring. It has dark green foliage which emerges light green in spring. The palmate leaves turn an outstanding coppery-bronze in the fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant. However, the fruit can be messy in the landscape and may require occasional clean-up.

Landscape Attributes

Ohio Buckeye is a dense deciduous tree with a more or less rounded form. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This is a high maintenance tree that will require regular care and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. It is a good choice for attracting squirrels to your yard. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Messy

Ohio Buckeye is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Shade

Planting & Growing

Ohio Buckeye will grow to be about 35 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 35 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 60 years or more.

This tree does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This species is native to parts of North America.

Buckeye Tree Planting: Information On Using Buckeye As A Yard Tree

Ohio’s state tree and the symbol for Ohio State University’s intercollegiate athletics, Ohio buckeye trees (Aesculus glabra) are the best known of the 13 species of buckeyes. Other members of the genus include medium to large trees such as the horse chestnut (A. hippocastanum) and large shrubs like the red buckeye (A. pavia). Read on for information about buckeye tree planting and some interesting buckeye tree facts.

Buckeye Tree Facts

Buckeye leaves are made up of five leaflets that are arranged like spread fingers on a hand. They are bright green when they emerge and darken as they age. The flowers, which are arranged in long panicles, bloom in spring. Green, leathery fruit replace the flowers in summer. Buckeyes are one of the first trees to leaf out in spring, and also the first to drop their foliage in fall.

Most of the trees in North America called “chestnuts” are actually horse chestnuts or buckeyes. A fungal blight wiped out most of the true chestnuts between 1900 and 1940 and very few specimens survived. The nuts from buckeyes and horse chestnuts are poisonous to humans.

How to Plant a Buckeye Tree

Plant buckeye trees in spring or fall. They grow well in full sun or partial shade and adapt to most any soil, but they don’t like an extremely dry environment. Dig the hole deep enough to accommodate the root ball and at least twice as wide.

When you set the tree in the hole, lay a yardstick or flat tool handle across the hole to make sure the soil line on the tree is even with the surrounding soil. Trees that are buried too deep are susceptible to rot. Backfill the hole with unamended soil. There is no need to fertilize or add soil amendments until the following spring.

Water deeply and in the absence of rain, following up with weekly waterings until the tree is established and beginning to grow. A 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the tree will help keep the soil evenly moist. Pull the mulch back a few inches from the trunk to discourage rot.

The main reason you don’t see more buckeyes as a yard tree is the litter they create. From dead flowers to leaves to the leathery and sometimes spiny fruit, it seems that something is always falling from the trees. Most property owners prefer to grow buckeyes in woodland settings and out-of-the-way areas.

Mistakes to Avoid when Growing a Buckeye Tree

The buckeye tree is a popular plant for landscaping because it’s eye-catching in all seasons. If you decide to try growing buckeyes, avoid these simple mistakes.

Not Understanding the Needs of a Buckeye Tree

You can easily avoid growing mistakes by understanding the requirements of a buckeye tree. Although they are hardy growers, certain things can benefit or hinder the tree’s full growth.

The buckeye tree prefers a moist and well-draining soil, which is neither too acid nor too alkaline. Gardeners often plant them in soil which is too dry. Buckeye tree roots are not very resistant to droughts and dry-periods. Not watering the buckeye enough is another mistake which can kill a perfectly good tree.

Buckeyes prefer partially shady conditions over full sun or full shade, although they can adapt. If you grow the buckeye tree in an area which is too exposed, you can cause the plant to grow very slowly or even stop growing at all. Too sunny a spot can also dry out the tree too quickly and leave it starving for water and nutrients.

Water frequently right up until Halloween. Mulch and fertilize the tree after the beginning of November.

Placing the Buckeye Tree Too Close to the House

Placing the buckeye tree too near the house can be a mistake, due to the extremely unpleasant odor of the plant. The bark, leaves and flowers all produce a scent that you may not enjoy close to your home.

Planting the buckeye too near to the house is also a mistake due to the size of the tree. It can grow to around 82 feet in height and is often very wide. Putting a large tree into too small a space is likely to dwarf other plants. Furthermore, it is bad for the tree; constant pruning of intruding branches may damage the whole buckeye.

Ohio State Fans: 7 Things to Know About Growing an Ohio Buckeye Tree

WOOSTER, Ohio — Spring’s a great time for Buckeye nuts to plant their own source of buckeye nuts.

Experts at The Ohio State University say the Ohio buckeye makes a good yard tree, though with caveats, and does best when put in before summer’s heat. Fall planting, too, is an option.

The Ohio buckeye is Ohio State’s symbol and is also Ohio’s state tree.

Paul Snyder, program assistant at the university’s Secrest Arboretum in Wooster, said the tree’s virtues include greenish-yellow spring flowers, pumpkin-orange fall leaves and eventually buckets of rich-brown nuts. The nuts are toxic and can’t be eaten but find good uses in crafts, especially for fans of the Scarlet and Gray.

“Ohio buckeye is native and is well-adapted to our soils and climate,” Snyder said. “But it’s not well-suited to small yards as it tends to get quite large with age.” The tree can grow 50 feet high.

Ohio buckeye leaves and flowers (Julie Makin, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)

“You have to know its limitations,” said Kathy Smith, Extension forestry program director in the university’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. The school, like the arboretum, is part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Here are the Ohio buckeye’s scarlet — er, red — flags to watch for.

1. Moist a must

It needs deep, well-drained, moist — but not wet — soil. The soil also can’t be too dry. In the wild, Ohio buckeyes tend to grow near streams and rivers, Snyder said.

2. Cool and green and (partly) shady

Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly on Ohio buckeye flowers (Brenda K. Loveless, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)

It also needs sun to partial shade. “In its native habitat, it grows almost as an understory tree, meaning it has protection,” Smith said.

3. Blotch on its record

Its bane is a disease called leaf blotch. Leaf blotch doesn’t kill the tree, but starting in late summer, “the leaves take on an almost scorched appearance, and the tree usually ends up completely defoliated,” Smith said.

4. Best on the side

For that reason, don’t use an Ohio buckeye as a focal point in your landscape, Snyder said. Instead, tuck it in your backyard or side yard.

“At home, I have one growing at the edge of my woods,” Smith said. “It’s actually growing quite well. It gets early morning light and some protection from the hotter afternoon sun.”

5. Grass goes

The Ohio buckeye’s dense leaf canopy makes it hard to grow grass underneath. But that has some benefits, too, Snyder said: Shade, less mowing and easier gathering of the nuts.

6. Totally toxic

Not just the nuts but all parts of the Ohio buckeye tree, including its leaves and bark, are highly toxic when taken internally, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture fact sheet. That goes for both people and livestock.

7. Oo, that smell

Its leaves also smell bad when crushed. That’s why the Ohio buckeye has such unflattering old names as “fetid buckeye” and “stinking buckeye.”

Still, Snyder, like Smith, is a fan.

“Ohio buckeye is a nice addition to the arboretum and has grown well here over the years,” he said.

Ohio buckeye leaves (H. Zell (own work) licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Several of those buckeye trees fell when a 2010 tornado hit part of the arboretum, which covers about 115 acres at the college’s research arm, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

“Since then, we’ve planted about a half dozen new ones throughout the grounds,” Snyder said. “There are still some nice buckeyes in the older part of the arboretum as well as near the bottom of the slide in the children’s area.

“Every Ohio State fan should have an Ohio buckeye tree if they have room.”

– 30 –

Aesculus glabra

Leaves: Deciduous. Leaves are composed of 5 leaflets, sometimes 7, that spread from the petiole or leaf stem like fingers. Leaflets are 3-6″ long, broadest in the middle of the leaflet, and narrowing to a long point at the end. Medium to dark green color. Fall color is yellow or a red-orange. Leaves do not stay on the tree long after turning color.

Bark/Twigs: Ash gray bark with thick, deep fissures.

Flowers/Fruit: Yellow-green flowers grow in upright, conical clusters 4-7″ tall by 2-3” wide. Leaves emerge before flowers are in bloom during late spring (May). Light brown capsules are 1-2” diameter and oval with a prickly cover and usually one seed. Seeds (buckeyes) are smooth, red-brown with a circular white patch and are poisonous.

Mature size and shape: Large. 40’h x 30’w. Oval to pyramidal with a rounded top. Branches grow down towards the ground and then arch back up at the ends.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun to partial shade. Moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil preferred. Does not tolerate drought well. Plant parts are toxic and should not be consumed. Buckeyes are often carried by people as tokens of good luck.

Landscape use and Maintenance: Good shade tree, best used in parks or natural settings with large open areas. Not ideal for urban use or as a street tree. Medium growing rate. High maintenance with seeds and flowers. Prune in early spring.

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-7

Family/Origin: Hippocastanaceae – Buckeye. Native from the Appalachians of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and N. Carolina to Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and southeastern Nebraska.

Campus use: Extremely uncommon. Only specimen. Can be found on south side of President’s Circle or southeast of the Alumni House (Bld 52).


Showy, loose to dense, semi-pyramidal branching clusters 4 to 6 inches long at branch tips. Flowers are intermixed staminate (male), pistillate (female) and perfect (both male and female parts), about 1 inch across with 4 pale yellow to greenish-yellowish petals. The upper petals are erect, oblong to spatula-shaped with fringed edges and an orange-red stripe down middle; lateral petals are egg-shaped, cupped forward with fringed edges. The 7 stamens are longer than the petals, flaring out and up from the center, white with deep orange tips (anthers). The single style is longer than stamens, white with an obscure stigma at the tip, extended down and out below the stamens. The calyx cupping the flower is bell shaped with 5 lobes, ¼ to 1/3 as long as the petals. Flower and cluster stalks are hairy.

Leaves and bark:

Leaves are opposite, long stalked, palmately compound with 5 to 7 leaflets. Leaves at branch tips can be tightly clustered nearly appearing whorled. Leaflets are 2½ to 6¼ inches long, ¼ to 2½ inches wide, generally elliptic, finely toothed around the edges, widest at or above middle, with a long or short taper to a pointed tip, and tapering at the base. The upper surface is hairless, bright green, the lower paler in color with conspicuous tufts of hair in vein axils. Fall color is gold to red-orange.

Branches and twigs are stout, especially on full sun specimens. Terminal buds very large, ½+ inch long, smaller below, egg shaped with a pointed tip. Bud scales are also egg-shaped with pointed tips, dull, light brown colored, and the tip edge slightly spreading. Leaf scars are broadly to narrowly smiley faced with three conspicuous vascular bundle scars. Bark a dull brownish gray due to very fine soft hairs, with scattered pale lenticels (pores), turning darker and smoother, though developing scaley patches with age.

Branch bark becomes rough with a shallow, wrinkly gray-brown ridge pattern; older bark is rough with shallow longitudal ridges. Trunks are typically 10 to 16 inches diameter max in Minnesota, but up to 24 inches in its native range.


Fruit is a fleshy, globular capsule, 1½ to 2 inches diameter, golden brown, the surface leathery and covered in short spines, though may be just bumpy rather than spiny.

Each capsule contains 1 to 3 nuts that are large, shiny, dark reddish-brown with a large, pale, circular “eye”.


Minnesota sits just northwest of Ohio Buckeye’s native US range, where it is typically a mid-sized understory woodland species. Grown in the open it can attain a massive size of up to 75 feet and trunk girth of 2 feet. In Minnesota it’s a fairly common tree in urban and rural landscapes, though typically grown in the open it rarely gets much taller than 40 feet, with a trunk diameter of 12 to 16 inches. It has only twice been documented as naturalized though it is likely widely under noted by field botanists. Squirrels love the nut, burying it widely and volunteer saplings are typically common in lawn edges, gardens and woodline edges near a parent tree. Considered by some as a “messy” tree due to the copious amounts of fallen nuts and husks, the tree itself is rather beautiful when in full flower. Squirrels typically take all the nuts leaving only discarded shells and husks to be raked up. While it can develop deep gold to red-orange fall color, it is commonly susceptible to foliar leaf spot diseases and leaf scorch causing premature leaf drop by late summer, especially in hot, sunny locations.

Ohio Buckeye resembles the related Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), which is native to the Balkans of southeast Europe and also planted in landscapes in the US, occasionally escaping cultivation the same as Ohio Buckeye. Horse Chestnut has white flowers and leaflets are all typically widest near the tip with an abrupt taper to a short point, where Ohio Buckeye has pale yellow flowers and leaflets have a longer taper at the tip. Horse Chestnut buds are also up to 1½ inches long, rather shiny and sticky with 6 to 8 vascular bundles in the leaf scar, where Ohio Buckeye buds are about ½ inch long, dull and smooth and have 3 bundles in leaf scars.

Buckeyes in Bloom

Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) Flower

I’ve been impressed with the buckeyes blooming on campus this spring. These trees seem to have been unaffected by our late spring frosts or recent downpours.

Buckeyes (also known as horsechestnuts) are members of the genus Aesculus. They all have palmate leaves ­ meaning they have about 5 leaflets that fan out like fingers on your palm. They have showy flowers in spring, which mature to large dark brown capsules by early fall. While the hard, shiny buckeye fruits are considered good luck when carried in your pocket, they should not be eaten since they are poisonous to people.

Members of this genus are used most often as landscape trees. All are coarse looking in winter with stout, barren twigs and branches. Most insist on sunny sun sites with moist, fertile, well-drained soils. All abhor poorly drained soils.

Below are descriptions of a few of the species planted at the Iowa State University campus in Ames. You might consider some of these for sites in your landscapes.

Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra) has greenish yellow flowers in mid May on trees that may reach 40 foot tall or more. While the foliage is a beautiful complement to the flowers in spring, the Ohio Buckeye is troubled by foliar diseases in some summers. The capsules are housed in husks covered with small spines. You don’t have to be from that other state college in Ohio to root for this buckeye!

The Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava) has yellow flowers in May and smooth capsules covering a pair of buckeyes. The leaves of this buckeye are less troubled by foliar diseases and often display decent orange fall color. But give this one plenty of room in the landscape ­ it often reaches 75 feet tall.

Common Horsechestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) has large showy white flowers with yellow and red centers. The leaves are large (up to 10 inches), coarsely toothed and turn yellowish in fall. The nut is enclosed in a spiny husk. The Common Horsechestnut is also a large tree, often reaching 50-75 feet tall at maturity.

For more vibrant flowers, the Red Horsechestnut (Aesculus xcarnea) is a popular landscape tree. The bold rose-red flowers are spectacular in May. The trees are smaller than the other horsechestnuts, usually ranging from 25-40 feet tall, making this beauty more suitable for the typical home landscape.

There are several hybrid buckeyes; most notably ‘Autumn Splendor’. The leaves of Autumn Splendor Buckeye have little summer leaf scorch and brilliant maroon-red fall color. The flowers are cream colored on trees that ultimately reach 30-40 feet tall.

The Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) is another red flowering buckeye. It is one of the parents in the Aesculus xcarnea cross. It is typically used as a large shrub or small tree and grows to about 20 feet tall. While the red flowers and foliage are more refined looking than the Red Horsechestnut, the leaves on Red Buckeye scorch and generally look poor on campus by mid to late summer (especially in soils that are dry). In addition, Red Buckeye is not commonly available in nurseries and garden centers in the Midwest.

One of my favorite buckeyes is the Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora). Bottlebrush Buckeye is also the oddball of the buckeye bunch. It is the smallest; reaching only 8-12 feet tall. Because of its diminutive size, it is often used as a shrub in the landscape. It has showy, white, 12-inch long flowers in summer (usually July) with elongated white stamens that give the flower a “bottle-brush” effect. The leaves are smaller than other buckeyes, dark green, finely toothed, and have no foliar disease problems. Bottlebrush Buckeye will also tolerate light shade considerably better than the other buckeyes and still bloom well. The only drawbacks to this buckeye are that it is slow to establish and is relatively expensive.

Red Horsechestnut (Aesculus xcarnea ‘Briotii’)

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