A Johnson’s Nursery origination; J.N. Plant Selections introduction, Fire King™ Musclewood lives up to its name with its fast growth, superior hardiness, and excellent structure. Selected by Mike Yanny in 2003, this cultivar is upright in youth becoming rounded with age. An excellent choice for restricted spaces where sunlight is limiting!
Fire King™ Musclewood is a versatile choice for many landscape applications. It tolerates full sun to full shade, is adaptable to many soil textures, and provides interest throughout the season. You will also note its vigorous growth rate, making it useful as a screen, specimen, shrub border, or understory tree.
The seeds and catkins provide food to many songbirds, grouse, and turkey. Its canopy and dense branching provide nesting habitat to many bird species. As a selection of Musclewood, this tree serves as a larval host to the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Striped Hairstreak, and White Admiral butterflies.
All Musclewoods require a healthy mulch ring to protect their roots from quick freezes, and Fire King™ Musclewood is no exception.
The excellent branching habit of Fire King™ Musclewood requires minimal pruning for shape and plant health. As with all trees, crossing branches should be removed as noticed.
The thin bark is susceptible to mechanical damage, so be sure to protect the trunk in fall with a tree guard to prevent buck rub or rodent girdling. A healthy mulch ring will also prevent damage from lawn implements.
Fire King™ Musclewood has no major insect or disease issues. Occasionally, stressed trees may develop fungal diseases, but this is best avoided by maintaining tree vigor.
Fire King™ Musclewood was selected by Mike Yanny at Johnson’s Nursery in 2003. During the severe, snowless winter with deep frost penetration, a crop of 563 musclewood seedlings were heavily damaged, with the majority of them being grubbed. Only 12 seedlings escaped the harsh winter unscathed, and the single best seedling would go on to become the Fire King™. This tree is noted for its superior hardiness, fast growth, and excellent branching habit. As with all of our musclewoods, this cultivar possesses our signature orange to red fall color with best results in full sun. It proves useful as a small stature yet moderately fast growing tree in restricted spaces. We installed a small 4 foot plant at our Menomonee Falls location in the summer of 2017, and we’re excited to see it grow!
Fire King™ Musclewood should be paired with plants that match its site and use. As a shrub border with wetter soils, consider using Irish Setter™ Dogwood or Ping Pong™ Buttonbush. As a specimen plant, use low perennials like Palace Purple Coralbells or Prairie Dropseed to show off the tree’s bark.