by Kim Nichols Messer
Now that spring is just around the corner, it is the perfect time to plant a tree. There are so many options. Trees are just like people, they come in many varieties. Live Oaks, also called Classic Southern Oaks, provide shade and a beautiful canopy and can grow to 40 or more feet tall and wide. They are great for climbing or picnicking underneath. Bur Oaks are very similar, but their larger acorns provide great wildlife food. The Shumard Oak, with vibrant red fall color, has a more conical nature of growth and is very drought tolerant. Another favorite is the River Birch. It can grow to 40 feet. The multi-trunk variety is both handsome and hardy. The papery peeling bark with pinkish strips give the tree an ornamental quality. And of course, the Lace Bark Elm is truly a beautiful tree with its exfoliating bark. It has more of an upright nature and can grow to 40 feet. Another tree with an upright nature is the Japanese Blueberry. It will work as a standard tree or provide privacy when grown in shrubby form. The birds will enjoy the berries. The birds will also enjoy the berries on many different Holly varieties which are a good choice for an area with limited space. The Savanah Holly will grow to 30 feet, but in a columnar fashion at only 8ft wide.
Also good for smaller spaces are fruiting trees and ornamental flowering trees. Citrus trees are my favorite which stay around 10 to 15 feet. Some flowering Magnolia varieties remain smaller. The Jane Magnolia and the Fairy Magnolia with grow 10 to 13 feet tall with the Jane possibly topping out at 15 feet. Still great options for smaller areas. Some Crape Myrtles remain small. Siren Red, Pink Velour and Zuni Lavender average between 10 to 12 feet. All are easily planted, easy to maintain and are a welcome addition to any yard.
Trees provide us with many benefits and can be planted for many reasons. Mostly we think of shade and shelter or just fun to climb, but a tree planted, can be a celebration. We can plant a tree to celebrate a new beginning or mark a significant event. Plant a tree for Arbor Day, April 29th, to celebrate the benefits of trees. A tree helps clean the earth. A tree should make you smile. Remember, your family tree really can be a family tree.
Be green and smile at trees… They are smiling back… Enjoy!