Goldenchain Tree (Laburnum x watereri)
|Goldenchain tree (Laburnum x watereri)||Mature height is 15 to 20’ with a spread of 15 to 20’||Zones 5B through 7, full sun and some shade in afternoon, moist well drained alkaline soil|
The Goldenchain tree is a deciduous small flowering tree that can also be grown as a shrub. While not in bloom it is not the most beautiful tree on the property, but when in bloom this tree becomes the focal point of the entire yard. It is truly spectacular for 10 to 14 days if the weather stays cool. In the fall the seed pods will fall and add to the cleanup duties, but they are not a big deal. Perhaps most important to folks with dogs or small children, all parts of this tree are poisonous so you don’t want it anywhere you have chewing types wandering around. On the up side, these trees are almost pest free are not at all bothered by deer or other wildlife.
A vase-shaped tree that grows fairly rapidly, the Goldenchain trees come from the pea or legume family, consequently it collects nitrogen in its root system which improves the soil within the range of the root mass. The Goldenchain tree is often mistaken from the Goldenrain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata), and with such similar names and yellow blooms it’s no wonder.
The Goldenchain tree will grow from 15 to 25 feet tall and spread the same distance. The very green alternating leaves look something like a three leaf clover leaf, about 2 to 4 inches long. This tree is truly a drop dead spectacle when it is bloom in late spring to early summer. It has wisteria-like scented, drooping golden yellow flowers that can grow from 10 inches to 24 inches long depending on the variety. The flowers produce elongated pods 1 to 3 inches long that contain seeds. Because they are poisonous, they do not attract wildlife.
Goldenchain Tree Choices
Watereri, known as the Waterer Laburnum, is hardy to Zone 5, but it does best in Zone 6. It has an upright and spreading habit. The bark on younger trees is an olive green become green later in life. It has bright yellow flowers in pendulous clusters up to 10 inches long. Prefers cool summers. Watereri Vossii is very graceful and grows only 12 to 15 feet high with a 9 to 12 foot spread. It has a denser growth habit and bears flower clusters up to 18 to 24 inches long, has unusual but attractive green bark in its early life. Pendulum is a graceful tree with a weeping habit; slender weeping branches.