I’ve enjoyed many fine years of beauty and shade from my two Chinese flame trees planted along the parkway. But keep in mind that these trees require some maintenance, primarily because they are deciduous trees. Once each autumn, there is a one-two day wind event that clears out most leaves, tiny branches, and paper lantern seed pods from my Chinese flame trees. Slow and steady? No way! Essentially, most of my year’s maintenance of these trees happens all at once after this wind event! And the results land mostly on my lawn and a small bit on my neighbor’s lawn. This year’s wind event happened a few days ago.
This tree is a survivor and will make every effort to propagate itself, so you’ll have to be vigilant unless you want your own private forest of Chinese flame trees. It all starts with the paper lantern seed pods. Check out the two dark round seeds in the center of the photo. This is a seed pod that has broken open. If there is enough moisture in your area and a bunch of these seeds make contact with the soil of your lawn, you’ll likely be spending time pulling out seedlings from your lawn, which, if left unchecked, will become their own stand-alone trees. In other words, it can become a weed. My area is generally very dry so it’s not really an issue.
My city maintains the trees and recently trimmed some branches that were growing near the base and elsewhere. As shown, a new sucker has appeared at the cut. If that sucker is left to grow unchecked, it will become a branch. How do I know this? The branch that was cut started as a sucker, just like this one!
In the end, there are trade-offs with this tree, which I love. The tree may be a good choice if you love a beautiful, showy shade tree in the warm months and you live in a relatively dry area.