Planting Native Trees
Fall Gardening Tip: Planting Native Trees Helps Nature in so Many Ways
With the summer sauna of 2020 behind us and winter’s cold still several months ahead, fall is the ideal time to plant the most important additions you can make to your yards and gardens – native trees.
Georgia is home to over 250 tree species, so your selection is vast. Since Georgia is a such a geologically and botanically diverse state, choose tree species found in your physiographic region. For most Georgia residents, that region would be the piedmont.
Oak trees are always a good and important addition to your backyard environment. Author and botanist Doug Tallemy once told a group of us at Elachee Nature Science Center that planting an oak tree would be the most environmentally important action the average person could take. Some ecologists estimate that an oak tree can provide over $200,000 in environmental services throughout its lifetime. In addition to providing food for multiple species of mammal and birds, the white, red and other oak species protect and enhance soil, clean water and air, and serve as host plants for hundreds of species of butterflies and moths.
Other great choices are berry-producers such as dogwoods, hollies, black gums, magnolias and mulberries. Each of these tree species produce pollinator-attractive spring blooms and energy-rich berries for migrating birds and other hungry animals in the fall.
A Few Planting Tips
- Small trees grow into big trees so make sure your young tree will have the room it needs to grow into an old tree. Research how large the tree might grow and plan accordingly.
- Dig a planting hole at least twice as big as the tree’s container.
- Protect young roots from hard winter freezes by mulching liberally to within a few inches of the trunk. Mind your mulch, though. Wood chips touching a tree’s bark over an extended period can impact the plant in a variety of ways – all of them bad!
Good Luck and Good Planting
If you would like to see mature native tree species, visit Elachee. Stroll along the Elachee Visitor Center balcony to experience the Tree Trail ecology interpretive exhibit. View and learn about many native tree species in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve. PLAN YOUR VISIT
Email or call us at Elachee (770-535-1976) if you have questions about our native trees.