True North™ Kentucky Coffeetree
The University's Woody Landscape Plant Breeding project was initiated in 1954 with the objective of developing new and improved trees and shrubs for USDA plant hardiness zone 4 landscapes. Over the years, the project has led to the release of several notable varieties including the "Lights" azaleas, 'Summer Cascade' wisteria, and now a Kentucky coffeetree.
Kentucky coffeetrees (Gymnocladus dioicus) are moderately fast-growing and typically live long and healthy lives. They are tolerant of cold, heat, and drought and their upright habitat make them ideal for urban plantings. In Minnesota they are often seen as a suitable replacement for ash and even elm trees.
True North™ (Gymnogladus dioicus 'UMNSynergy') was released in 2015 as the University's second Kentucky coffeetree. A male selection, True North™ was first discovered in 1972. It is notable for its narrow, upright-oval form, superior branch architecture, and lack of fruit and seeds. Introduced by the University's Woody Landscape Plant Breeding and Genetics Project, True North™ grows 50-70 feet tall and 20-30 feet wide at maturity. It features large, dark-green leaves in summer and course, scaly bark in winter.
Breeders: Steve McNamara/Stan Hokansan