Goldenchain Tree

(Question)

Good day,

Will a Goldenchain (Laburnum) Tree grow in Toronto (specifically Scarborough Bluffs)? If yes, are there any special considerations to assist it’s survival? We love the beauty of this showy specimen tree and hope to put one in our garden.

Thanks!

(Answer)

The flower of this stunning tree has been described by one writer as “beyond beautiful – in a world by itself” and its spring floral display is the overwhelming appeal of this graceful tree.  It has also been described as the Goldilocks of the plant world:  not just because of its gorgeous yellow racemes, but because it likes things to be just right.

The most common variety you will find in Toronto is Laburnum x watereri hybrida cross between Laburnum anagyroides and Laburnum alpinum.   In terms of special considerations, here are a few to consider.  Laburnum’s hardiness zone is rather narrow, between Zones 5 and 7, so it is vulnerable to cold temperatures and susceptible to limb breakage in winter.  It is also sensitive to excessive heat and drought, and it can be affected by sun scald if grown in full sun. Laburnum prefers a soil pH at the higher end, above 6, that is, neutral to alkaline. It can reach a height and spread of approximately 15 feet. It is not a long-lived tree.  Laburnum × watereri has been known to suffer from blight, canker and leaf spot.   Young specimens may require staking, and may also require pruning to develop a strong structure and to avoid future damage.  Also to note is that all parts of Laburnum are toxic, including the seed pods.

Despite what might seem like a long list of limitations, this is a very worthwhile tree to grow if you have a sheltered nook with well-drained soil for it.  It is well worth offering a Laburnum specimen a chance to thrive and to give you pleasure in your garden.

You may wish to refer to the following website for additional information:

 

https://landscapeontario.com/poisonous-plants