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Ohio Buckeye

Buckeye Tree

The Ohio Chapter ISA continued efforts is to advance responsible tree care practices through research, technology, and education while promoting the benefits of trees. This month Tree-Of-The-Month is the Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra). The Ohio Buckeye is the state’s tree of the State of Ohio and belongs to a plant family called Sapindaceae (Soapberry) and the genus called Aesculus. Aesculus is a genus of trees and shrubs in the plant family that are found in north temperate regions with palmately divided leaves, showy flowers in ample panicles, and large shiny seeds. The common name “Buckeye” was derived from the Native Americans who noticed that the glossy, chestnut-brown seeds with the lighter circular “eye” looked very similar to the eye of a buck (male) deer. The Ohio Buckeye and its related family members include other tree species and shrub forms that work well in many Ohio landscapes. The Aesculus family of plants like to grow in part shade to sunny locations. Aesculus family prefers average moisture to wet soil that will drain. Do not plant this group of plants in areas of the landscape that never free of standing water.

Buckeye Tree Buckeye Tree Buckeye Tree

The Ohio Chapter ISA recommends working with an ISA Certified Arborist when selecting or caring for any tree in your landscape. To better guide you on the vital plant information for the Ohio Buckeye use our friendly users guide below:

Tree Selection Tips

Genus Aesculus
Plant Family Sapindaceae (Soapberry)
Life cycle Perennial woody
Origin Native to most of the eastern United States excluding Florida, Carolinas, and Louisiana
Habitat Part shade, sun; average moisture to wet; deciduous forests, floodplains, urban and rural landscapes
Tree form Round to Oval (see reference)
Does it produce shade? Yes
Soil Moist, well-drained, variable pH, rich and deep
Bloom season April-May (Showy yellow-green flowers in early spring, emerging just before or with the foliage)
Fruit Fruits of Ohio Buckeye usually contain one seed (or nut) enclosed in a slightly spiny, golden-brown husk. Fruits may occur singly or in clusters, enlarging and becoming more obvious by mid- to late summer
Plant height 20-60 feet
Plant spread 10-30 feet
Growth rate Medium
Suitable for planting under or near electric(utility) wires No
Potential Concerns Ohio Buckeye often suffers from a non-detrimental plant disease called leaf blotch, leaf scorch, and powdery mildew on its foliage. Ohio Buckeye should be planted in partially shaded to fully shaded conditions for best foliage health in mid- to late summer. However, it should be planted in partial sun to full sun for best floral and nut production (preferably with supplemental irrigation during summer).

Written by Mark A. Webber BCMA, CPH, LTE,  MArborA, OCMNT, TRAQ



Photograph sources Mark A. Webber 2019

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