Advice from a Tree
Stand tall & proud. Sink you roots into the earth. Be content with your natural beauty.
Go out on a limb. Drink plenty of water. Remember your roots. Enjoy the view.
Trees are the walls and ceiling of our landscape. Not only do they block the sun, filter our air, anchor the soil and provide us with paper and building materials, trees also turn a hot, boring yard into a peaceful, cool retreat. Trees increase the value of a home and cut back on electricity use when planted where they can block the sun in the summer. Trees also provide necessary shelter and food for birds and other wildlife. When you plant a tree, you are taking care of your great- grandchildren’s generation.
Ornamental and flowering trees add a dimension to the landscape that can’t be duplicated by shrubs or perennials. Trees can provide winter interest, spring and summer blooms, vivid fall color, vertical height, spreading canopies, berries, peeling bark, and many other features.
Evergreen trees can hide your neighbor’s garage, buffer the noise of a busy road, block wind and create a private sanctuary.
Below are the trees we carry. This list is by no means complete, we are always adding to our selection and we can usually get a particular tree for you if it’s not on the list. We offer several sizes; 7 gallon being the smallest that average 5- 6 ft. high, up to large 15 gallon trees that range from 8-10 ft. high (scroll past the list of trees for advice on planting, watering, pruning, etc).
Cedrus deodara- Deodar Cedar, conifer
Graceful, pendulous branches. Forms a broad pyramid with silver- blue needles, makes an excellent specimen tree. Grows to approx. 40 ft. high by 15- 20 ft. wide in 30 years. Growth rate is medium, about 2 ft. per year when young, then slows down with age. Thrives in hot, dry sites in full sun.
Cryptomeria japonica- Japanese Cedar, conifer
Yoshino- graceful, stately tree that is an excellent replacement for Leyland Cypress. Fast growing to 30- 40 ft. Maintains a beautiful form without extensive pruning.
Cupressocyparis leylandii- Leyland Cypress, conifer
We no longer carry these trees. Diseases are surfacing in this region of the country that kill Leylands. Cankers and fungal diseases are the most common. We recommend Cryptomeria, Carolina Sapphire and Green Giant Arborvitae as excellent trees to block the neighbor without the worry of these diseases.
'Carolina Sapphire' Arizona Cypress- Developed at Clemson University. Forms a loose, airy pyramid of powder blue foliage with a wonderful fragrance to the soft needles. Grows very well in hot, dry sites. Grows to 25 ft. high by 10- 12 ft. wide.
Ilex species- Tree Form Hollies, broadleaf
Emily Bruner Holly- forms a dense, pyramid with dark green, shiny leaves. Extra large bright red berries literally circle the entire stem. Grows to approx. 20 ft. high by 8- 10 ft. wide. A relatively new cultivar that is becoming more popular due to its beautiful shape and deep green color.
Foster Holly- hybrid cultivar with very small, dark green leaves and a compact, pyramidal growth habit. Produces large amounts of red berries that persist thru winter. Grows to approx. 20 ft. high by 8- 10 ft. wide but can be maintained to desired size.
Mary Nell Holly- deep red fruits entirely circle the stems in clusters. Leaves are large and deep green. Mary Nell is a cultivar of Lusterleaf Holly which ranks among the best of the broadleaf evergreens. Grows to approx. 18- 20 ft. high by 8- 10 ft. wide.
Nellie R. Stevens Holly- Very vigorous and relatively fast growing, one of the most popular varieties in the Southeast. Sets large amounts of bright red berries. Large, shiny, deep green leaves. Forms a broad pyramidal tree to approx. 20 ft. high by 10- 12 ft. wide
Magnolia grandiflora- Southern Magnolia, broadleaf
Alta- dwarf variety, growing to approx. 20 ft high by 8-10 ft wide. Maintains dense, full shape with smaller leaves than the large varieties. Large white blossoms in summer.
Claudia Wannamaker- flowers at an early age, one of the best of the larger types. Grows slowly to 50 ft. high.
DD Blanchard- beautiful cultivar with larger flowers and richer orange underside of the leaf than native Southern Magnolia. 40-50 ft high x 25 ft wide.
Little Gem- dwarf form, growing to 20 ft. high by 10 ft. wide in 20 years. An excellent variety for the smaller yard. Blooms profusely at a young age and the leaves are much smaller than the larger forms.
Thuja occidentalis- Emerald Green Arborvitae, conifer
The perfect evergreen to screen narrow, tight spaces or to use at the corners of the garage and porch for vertical height. Grows to 10-12 ft high by 3-4 ft wide.
Thuja plicata- Green Giant Arborvitae, conifer
Green Giant- an excellent replacement for Leyland Cypress with prettier foliage. Will grow 3 ft. per year with proper moisture and fertility. Foliage turns bronze in winter, a rich green in summer. Grows to 30- to 40 ft. high by 12- 15 ft.
Flowering and Ornamental Trees
Acer palmatum- Japanese Maple
Magnificent specimen or accent tree, gives an aristocratic look that is unrivaled by any other tree. There are two types that are commonly offered at nurseries; the upright, or non- dissected varieties that include Bloodgood, Emperor, and Glowing Embers just to name a few. These varieties typically grow to 15- 18 ft. high. The other group is the dissected or lace- leaf type and includes popular varieties like Crimson Queen, Inaba Shidare, Red Dragon, and Tamukeyama. These are the weeping forms that have an umbrella shape, only growing to 5- 6 ft. high on average. We hand pick our Japanese maples from several sources and it’s impossible to predict which varieties we will have in stock at any given time. We carry sizes from 3 gallon up to 15 gallon and our trees are top quality specimens.
Betula nigra- River Birch
Very handsome specimen with peeling, papery bark that gives the tree winter interest. Usually grown as a multi- trunk tree. Leaves are small and cast light shade which gives the tree an elegant, wispy look. Fall leaf color is golden- yellow. As the name implies, River Birch like water and can be planted in areas that stay wet or are wet during rainy seasons. 'Heritage'- superior to the species; the bark is showier, the leaves larger and more glossy, and it grows faster. Very resistant to leaf spot diseases that infect wild trees.
Cercis Canadensis- Eastern Redbud
Native, flowering tree with graceful arching branches. Vivid pink blooms appear in March- April before the leaves emerge. Leaves are large and heart- shaped.
Forest Pansy- beautiful purple leaf type. New foliage emerges a vivid, shimmering red- purple. Mature leaves turn a dark, olive green in summer but the new growth is purple throughout the season. Flowers are more rose- purple than the species.
Lavender Twist- incredible weeping form that is as interesting in the winter as it is in summer. The branches twist and zigzag thru the canopy. This dwarf form only grows to 5-6 ft. high and it blooms profusely.
Cornus florida- Native Dogwood
Could be the most loved tree of the South. For best results, plant in partial sun, protecting the tree from harsh afternoon sun. Dappled light under hardwood trees is best. Wet, sticky clay can lead to root rot problems so amend a large area and leave part of the root ball exposed, then add organic matter around the root ball, creating a “raised bed effect”.
Aurora- (Cornus x rutgersensis hybrid cross between native Dogwood and kousa Dogwood) A hybrid Dogwood with increased vigor and tremendous resistance to anthracnose disease- a serious disease that kills native dogwoods when infected. Large blossoms provide a heavily textured, velvety appearance.
Cherokee Brave- vigorous grower, resistant to disease, reddish pink flowers with a white center.
Cherokee Princess- white flowering variety, blooms are huge; up to 5” across. Very resistant to canker and anthracnose disease, leading causes of decline and death of native Dogwoods.
Cornus kousa- Chinese Dogwood
Strong vase shaped habit gives this tree a unique shape in winter. Blooms later than the native Dogwood, usually in May- June. Large white flowers are followed by clusters of berries that resemble raspberries. More drought and sun tolerant than native Dogwood. A beautiful specimen.
Stellar Pink Hybrid Dogwood- very vigorous grower with overlapping soft pink flower bracts.
Ginko biloba- Ginko or Maidenhair Tree
Priceton Sentry- male form. Female varieties are undesirable due to messy, rotten smelling fruit. Princeton Sentry is listed as one of the best cultivars for bright gold fall color and upright growth habit. Leaves are fan-shaped and bright green in summer. One of the best trees for brilliant gold fall color. Slow to meduim growth. Ginkos get better with age- be patient!
Lagerstroemia indica- Crapemyrtle
What Southern yard would be complete without a Crapemyrtle specimen? One of the most versatile trees for the Southeast. The varieties with Indian names were bred by the US National Arboretum to be very resistant to powdery mildew. Will not flower well (if at all) in shade.
Catawba- dark purple flowers, reddish fall color. Grows to 12 ft.
Dynamite- bred by Carl Whitcomb, very mildew resistant. Fire- engine red blooms, new leaves are crimson- red. One of our best sellers due to its true red color. Grows to 20 ft. high
Muskogee- lavender-purple blooms, brilliant gold fall color. Grows to 20 ft high.
Natchez- pure white blooms, good orange and red fall color. The cinnamon brown peeling bark remains spectacular throughout the year. Grows to 20 ft. high.
Red Rocket- another Carl Whitcomb introduction. Mildew resistant. Deep rosy- red blooms and the new foliage is crimson red throughout the season. A pretty tree, even when not in bloom. Grows to 15 ft. high.
Sioux- intense pink blooms, very showy. Fall color is maroon- red. Older branches develop mottled, exfoliating bark. Grows to 15 ft. high.
Tonto- watermelon red, one of the most popular varieties. Semi- dwarf, growing to 10 ft. high. Fall color is bright maroon.
Tuscarora- deep coral pink blooms, widely planted across the Southeast. Fall color is orange- red. Spectacular mottled, peeling bark on older specimens. Grows to 15 ft. high.
Magnolia soulangeana- Saucer Magnolia
Rounded, shrubby deciduous tree reaching 10- 12 ft. high and wide. Blooms in March- April. Flowers are large and shaped like a lily. Listed below are the “Little Girl Hybrids” that were developed by the US National Arboretum.
Ann- deep purple red flowers, very showy.
Jane- reddish- purple on the outside, white inside
Magnolia stellata- Royal Star Magnolia
Dense, multi- stemmed deciduous tree growing to approx. 15 ft. high. Blooms in February- March. Double white flowers open before the leaves emerge. Each double flower has 25- 30 petals, making a beautiful display.
Malus x Calloway- Crabapple
Calloway is a cultivar that grows to 15 to 25 feet in height and forms a rounded canopy. This Crabapple is often recommended for use in southern gardens due to its high disease-resistance and its low chilling requirement for flower production. The beautiful, single flowers start out as soft, pink buds then open in early April into 1 to 1.5-inch diameter white blossoms. The small but highly ornamental, persistent fruits which follow are deep red and held on the tree until devoured by birds. They can also be eaten or canned.
Malus x Prarie Fire- Crabapple
Prairiefire crabapple is considered one of the best of the scab resistant crabapple cultivars in the nursery trade. It has purple new foliage, clear red-pink flowers, and abundant dark red fruit. Grows to a mature height of 20’. It bears purple leaves in the spring which later turn to reddish green as they mature. Flowers have a pinkish red color and keep their wonderful color all through the blooming period. Dark-red fruit are .5” in diameter and hang on the tree during the fall and winter providing food for song-birds. Very resistant to apple scab, cedar-apple rust, fireblight and mildew.
Parrotia persica- Persian Parrotia
Single- stemmed deciduous tree with ascending branches. Grows to 20- 30 ft. high by 15- 20 ft. wide. Makes a beautiful statement. One of the best small specimen trees for many reasons. Very tough, extremely tolerant of poor soil, pollution, and drought. Dr. Michael Dirr from UGA states in his textbook, “An outstanding ornamental tree that has few rivals. A fine accent, one of my favorites”. Leaves emerge reddish- purple in spring, changing to dark green during summer, then brilliant yellow to orange to scarlet red in fall. Blooms in March- April before the leaves emerge. The unusual flowers are crimson- maroon. Older branches and trunks develop an exfoliating jigsaw pattern of gray, green, white and brown similar to Lacebark Pine. All these characteristics give the tree year- round interest.
Prunus serrulata- Japanese Flowering Cherry
No doubt one of the most beautiful of all spring flowering trees. Grows to approx. 25’ high with a wide spread canopy. Fall color is a beautiful russet- orange. Blooms in March- April.
* Kwanzan- the most popular variety due to its clusters of double pink blooms that resemble carnations. Vase shaped, smaller size than others, typically 20 ft high with upright limbs. Blooms later, usually late April.
* Yoshino (Prunus x yedoensis)- pale pink to white flowers, can vary from tree to tree in color. Blooms literally cover the entire tree, putting on a magnificent show in spring, usually in March. This is the variety responsible for the Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, Ga. and it also graces the Washington D.C. area. Very fast growing to 30 ft.
Prunus subhirtella- Higan Cherry
This species represents two important varieties: pendula, or Weeping Cherry and autumnalis, which blooms in spring and fall. Ornamental Cherries are often described as short lived (usually 15-20 years) but the Higan Cherry varieties are the most cold, heat, and stress tolerant of the group and are the longest living.
Autumnalis- semi-double pink flowers that open sporadically on warm autumn days and then fully flower in spring. Grows to approx. 20 ft. high with a spread of 15- 20 ft. or more.
Pink Cloud Weeping Cherry- double pink flowers, growth rate is extremely fast to approx. 15 ft. high. The weeping outline makes this tree an excellent focal point.
Salix x sepulcralis, Weeping Willow
Water- loving, fast growing ornamental tree. Does well near water or in ordinary clay soil, but not suited for dry areas such as a bank or slope. Roots will seek out water, should be kept away from septic lines. Grows to approx. 25 ft. high with an even greater spread.
Taxodium distichum, Bald Cypress
Makes a nice focal point, even the outline of the bare limbs is beautiful in winter. Bald Cypress is a deciduous conifer and the needles are soft and airy in summer, changing to a pretty russet- orange in fall. Fast grower to 50’ high by 20 ft. wide. Will grow in or near water, but is surprisingly drought- tolerant once established.
Deciduous Shade Trees
Acer rubrum, Red Maple
One of the fastest growing shade trees, and responsible for much of the dazzling color of the Northeast Georgia mountains in fall. Named varieties will give much more reliable color and faster growth than the species.
*Autumn Blaze- excellent orange- red fall color that persists later than many other cultivars. Grows to 40- 50 ft. high.
*October Glory- the deep ruby- red color is more intense than most varieties. Has the ability to develop excellent fall color even when climate conditions are not ideal. Grows to 40- 50 ft. high.
*Red Sunset- not well known, but considered by many professionals to be one of the best cultivars. Excellent fiery orange- red fall color, develops a beautiful pyramidal outline. Fast growing to 45-50 ft. high.
Acer saccharum, Sugar Maple
Vivid, golden- orange fall color that can’t be duplicated by any other tree. Unfortunately for us, trees in New England are always more intense in fall color than they are here. Most years, however Sugar Maples still provide us with incredible shades of gold and bright orange.
* 'Green Mountain' Sugar Maple- more heat and drought tolerant. An excellent variety for Georgia- resistant to leaf scorch in hot summers.
Quercus palustris, Pin Oak, also called Swamp Oak
One of the fastest growing oaks, usually 12- 15ft. over a 5- 6 year period. One of the most widely used oaks because of it’s fibrous, shallow root system and it’s ability to tolerate wet soils. Dark glossy green leaves turn shades of russet- red in fall. Grows to 60- 70 ft. high with a spread of
30- 40 ft.
Quercus phellos, Willow Oak
One of the best oaks for overall texture and form. Long, narrow leaf resembles a willow leaf. Fall color is a pretty range of colors that vary from tree to tree and includes yellow, orange, and russet- red. One of the fastest growing oaks, averaging 1- 2 ft. per year and tolerates the worst of soils. Grows to 40- 60 ft. high with a spread of 30- 40 ft.
Ulmus parvifolia, Chinese Lacebark Elm
Allee Elm- The Lacebark Elm gets its name from the bark that exfoliates in a jigsaw-like pattern exposing light gray, gray-green, and bright orange colors; it is flecked with burnt orange, corkish patches. The rich green summer foliage changes to yellow with diffused reddish splotches. Highly resistant to Dutch Elm disease and is very tough and hardy. Grows to 40-50 ft high. An excellent shade tree with a unique look.
While planting different types of trees differs in the details, all trees eventually end up in a hole. But not any old hole will do. How you plant your tree will determine its growth and health for the rest of its life. Stunted trees that don't grow properly are usually the result of a tree that was planted too deeply, causing the crown of the tree to be too deep in the ground, smothering it.
The most common mistake when planting a tree is a hole which is both too deep and too narrow. Too deep and the roots don’t have access to sufficient oxygen to ensure proper growth. Too narrow and the root structure can’t expand sufficiently to nourish and properly anchor the tree.
As a general rule, trees should be transplanted no deeper than the soil in which they were originally grown. The width of the hole should be at least 2 times the diameter of the root ball or container. This will provide the tree with enough worked earth for its root structure to establish itself.
When digging in poorly drained clay soil, it is important to avoid ‘glazing’. Glazing occurs when the sides and bottom of a hole become smoothed, forming a barrier through which water and tree roots have difficulty passing. To break up the glaze, use a steel rake to work the bottom and drag the points along the sides of the completed hole.
Have good organic soil amendments nearby, ready to mix with the clay you remove from the hole. We recommend that you mix 60% clay from the planting hole with 40% amendments and use that mix to backfill the planting hole. Water well to soak the rootball and remove all air pockets.
Watering Young Trees
Conserve water and preserve trees by following these “smart watering” guidelines.
Deep watering. Young trees require regular watering for good health and stress prevention. Deep watering prevents weak surface roots from forming and encourages the growth of robust roots underground. Check soil moisture once a week 4-6 inches below the surface. Soil should be moist but not wet.
Watch for signs of drought stress. Are leaves wilting, yellowing, curling or browning at the edges?
Use mulch to help conserve moisture. Cover the soil with a 3- to 5-inch layer of mulch starting a few inches from the base of the trunk and extending 1–2 feet from the tree in all directions (creating a circle around the tree).
Lawn irrigation DOES NOT provide adequate irrigation for trees. Lawn irrigation or light sprinkling for 5 to 10 minutes waters only a few inches of soil and encourages weak surface roots.
Watering instructions to grow a healthy tree
After planting, through Year 1:
Three days after planting, fill the watering basin three times using a total of 15-20 gallons of water. This initial watering is very important as roots are the most sensitive right after planting.
For the next 3 weeks, fill the watering basin once a week with 10 gallons of water.
For the next 6 months following the planting, fill the watering basin every week with 10-15 gallons of water (skip this process each time it rains an inch or more).
For the remainder of the first year, water every other week with 10-15 gallons in absence of soaking rain. Roots need oxygen just as much as they need water, so don't overdo it.
Note: Keep your young tree mulched to suppress weeds and protect young roots from drying out.
When making a pruning cut on a limb, always cut just above a side branch. This makes the cut heal properly. Leaving a "stub" of branch will cause that piece of the branch to rot and not heal over properly.
The reasons for pruning can be grouped under the four following categories: training the plant; maintaining plant health; improving the quality of flowers, fruit, foliage, or stems; and restricting growth.
The first pruning of young trees (and shrubs) consists of removing broken, crossing, and pest-infested branches.
As a rule, the central leader of a tree should not be pruned unless a leader is not wanted, as is the case with some naturally low-branched trees or where multiple-stemmed plants are desired. Trees with a central leader such as maple or oak may need little or no pruning except to eliminate branches competing with the central leader; these should be shortened. Some pruning may be necessary to maintain desired shape and shorten extra-vigorous shoots.
The height of the lowest branch can be from a few inches above the ground (for screening or windbreaks) to 12 feet or more above the ground (as needed near a street or patio). Lower limbs are usually removed over a period of years, beginning in the nursery and continuing for several years after transplanting, until the desired height of trimming is reached.
The best time to prune trees is while they are dormant in winter and it is also easier to see what you are doing since there are no leaves on the tree. However, removing an entire branch from the main trunk can be done anytime of the year. When making this type of cut, it is important to leave the "branch collar", the place where the limbs joins the trunk. The wrinkles in the branch collar are the tree's first line of defense against the invasion of micro-organisms. The final cut should be made just outside these wrinkles which allows the tree to heal and produce new bark to cover the fresh cut.
A small example of trees that are popular in Georgia. Click on pictures for more detail.