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The Society of Municipal Arborists has chosen the Kentucky coffeetree as the 2006 Urban Tree of the Year, based on its ability to withstand harsh urban conditions. Photo: SMA

The Society of Municipal Arborists (SMA) has chosen the Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus) as its Urban Tree of the Year. The tree was selected for its ability to adapt to a variety of harsh urban conditions and its strong ornamental traits.

According to Ithaca, N.Y.-based Cornell Urban Horticulture Institute director Nina Bassuk, the tree “is easy to transplant and takes off fast. KCT has no problem with alkaline soils. Did I mention the wonderful yellow fall color?”

Eric Berg, community forestry coordinator for the Kansas Forest Service, says the tree is one of his long-time favorites. “It has no serious insect or disease problems, holds up well under severe weather conditions, and it typically requires little corrective pruning for most landscape purposes,” he said.