Aesculus flava (Yellow Buckeye) - Qt Super Plugs


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Growing its best in rich Southern Appalachian cove forests, yellow buckeye is a striking tree.  Ranging from Southwestern Pennsylvania west to Southern Indiana and Illinois, South to Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia, yellow buckeye is most common in the Southern Appalachians and Ohio Valley.

Yellow buckeye is an important component of the Northern Hardwood Forests of the Southern Appalachians along with Beech, Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch & Red Oak, and requires a cool, moist site for germination (Which is why clearcut second-growth forests contain very little buckeye)

Yellow buckeye grows quite large over time, and is the largest native buckeye, capable of growing over 100 feet tall with a 4-foot diameter trunk.  The palmate leaves grow 10 to 15 inches long, turning pumpkin-orange in the fall.  The bark consists of large plates with a nice cinnamon-brown hue, and trees in the Appalachians become shaggy with moss and lichens.

The nuts are large for buckeyes, and somewhat poisonous - Squirrels and chipmunks don't seem too concerned about this, however, and eat them without problem.


Yellow Buckeye is an excellent tree for large yards and parks, especially where a highly diverse forest is desired.  The light-weight wood is very strong, and the trees rarely ever cast branches in storms.

Yellow Buckeye is much better to use in the landscape than Ohio Buckeye.  Compared to Ohio Buckeye, Yellow Buckeye has much larger leaves and a larger overall form.  The flowers are also larger, and make a more attractive floral display in the Spring.  Yellow buckeye isn't as susceptible to leaf spotting like Ohio Buckeye, and the foliage remains clear through the summer to yield an attractive pumpkin-orange fall color.

Yellow Buckeye nuts are favored by wildlife, and are very sweet; the nuts can be removed of their toxins by roasting and leaching the nuts.  Deer and Squirrels eat the nuts without any problems, but settlers purposely avoided putting cattle in buckeye coves because they would eat the buckeyes and get poisoned.

How to Grow Yellow Buckeye

Yellow buckeye is fairly easy to grow, and may be the best native tree buckeye.  It doesn't seem to be plagued by the leaf molds that hit Ohio buckeye, holding its leaves to make an attractive autumn display.  Plant in a rich, moist soil, and wait a few years for it to really take off.  A half-cup of Hollytone each spring helps the trees to grow a little more quickly.

In Southern locations, avoid windswept sites and areas exposed to hot afternoon sun - These trees prefer a cooler Southeast or Northeast slope, or a protected cove.

Our Yellow Buckeyes are started in RootMaker propagation trays and finished Quart SuperPlugs, and have a fibrous, well-branched root system.  The trees will be about 12-24" tall - Buckeyes don't grow very fast at first, but really take off after 2 growing seasons in the ground.

Common Name: Yellow Buckeye
Botanical Name: Aesculus flava