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Tetracentron - Growing Guide
Growing Tetracentron sinense
This is a tall, quick growing, deciduous tree achieving 50 or more feet in height which is grown primarily for its graceful arching branches and its exceptional red autumn colour. At Burncoose it is quite the best thing on the front drive in October where it flows above and over the hydrangeas and rhododendrons below it.
All this ignores the fact that this tree also has, in maturity, tiny yellow catkin-like flowers in 6in long spikes from the shoot tips in summer. The leaves too are attractive and ovate to heart shaped.
This plant has become scarce in the nursery trade in recent years and we have struggled to propagate it from semi-ripe cuttings in summer on bottom heat. The tree itself is totally hardy.
The nearest relative to this genus, tetracentron, with only one species, is trochodendron which is also limited to a single species. Before the 1990 hurricane Caerhays had a plant which was 40ft in height with a 4½ft girth in 1975 and easily then a UK Record Tree. The replacement will probably take another 60 years to get anywhere near this. The Caerhays plant was very probably from a 1901 Wilson introduction via the Veitch Nurseries.