The Mortons have done a lot to help trees, and now it's our turn. Taking time out to celebrate the planting of trees is more important than ever. The Arbor Day Foundation sponsors many activities and programs including Tree City USA certifications. Florida has 153 Tree Cities. Orlando has been a Tree City the longest—for 33 years. See www.arborday.org/states/?state=FL for other information and Arbor Day opportunities in Florida.
Most of the country celebrates Arbor Day in April, but here in Florida, it’s much better to plant a tree now. So both Florida and Louisiana celebrate Arbor Day the third Friday in January. Deciduous trees are dormant and others are less active, so they take to the shock of transplanting better. One thing to keep in mind is that January is right in the middle of our 7-month dry season. Extra irrigation over and above the rain and general landscape irrigation will be needed. For guidelines on planting and suggested irrigation schedules, see Ginny’s article: Trees and Shrubs: the "Bones" of Your Landscape.
Regionally Appropriate Choices for Your Arbor Day Trees…
We decided to poll some native nurseries in various parts of Florida for some guidelines and ideas of what trees would be the most appropriate and what they have in stock right now... We arbitrarily picked nurseries in different parts of the state, but there are many excellent native nurseries and you can find one near you on the Association of Florida’s Native Nurseries website www.afnn.org/gardening-public.
Starting in Tallahassee:
|Long leaf pines, a good choice for|
most of Florida
1. Longleaf pine - (Pinus palustris) for sun to 125'
2. Live oak - (Quercus virginiana) for sun to 80'
3. Swamp chestnut oak (Quercus michauxii) for sun to light shade,
100' and up
4. American beech (Fagus grandifolia) for light shade to shade,
100' and up
5. Chalk maple (Acer saccharum subsp. leucoderme) for sun to
light shade to 30'
Donna says, “Encourage planters to talk with their local nursery staff to find the right tree for their yard. They should dig around and be able to describe the soil - is it hard red clay or sandy or black and loamy—we have all three types in the Panhandle. They should know if there is a drainage problem—we have trees that can take wet spots. They should also be able to describe how much sun their yard gets - do they live in a woods or out in an open field or are there large canopy trees around. They should also know where overhead wires are in their yard. Then we can help pick the right sized tree and the right species for them. We can describe the special features of each - gorgeous fall color, flowers for hummingbirds, fruit or nuts for birds, fast or slow growing, showy flowers, colonial and so on.”
|Oooh... the red fall colors of red maple.|
James Loper at Reflections of Nature Nursery
1. Weeping Yaupon Holly- (Ilex vomitoria)
2. Flatwoods Plum- (Prunus umbellata)
3. Sand Live Oak- (Quercus geminata)
4. Red Maple- (Acer rubrum)http://www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=3925
5. Sycamore- (Platanus occidentalis)
James advises us to learn how to plant a tree correctly and he always plants a tree so the root flare is higher than the soil line and uses a lot of water at the time of planting to remove any air bubbles from around the roots. The first three trees on his list are smaller trees that are appropriate for people with less room. Lastly he advises look up--don't plant these new trees under a power line or over your septic tank, either.
|Simpson's stopper in bloom|
Sharon and Brent Dolan at Maplestreet Natives
1. Southern Red Cedar - (Juniperous virginiana)
2. Slash Pine - (Pinus elliottii)
3. Hercules club - (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis))
4. Simpson's stopper - (Myrcianthes fragrans)
Sharon notes that the Simpson's stopper is very cold hardy, so is looking good despite the recent cold temps. She likes its fragrant flowers, red berries and general willingness to grow well in sun, shade, dry or wet conditions. Cedars are great for screening; their dense upright branches give good cover and nest sites for birds, and the female tree has berries loved, of course, by cedar waxwings. The Hercules club is host for Giant swallowtail butterflies, and its leaves emit a light citrus-y scent. Another plus for this plant is its salt tolerance.
|Contrasting sides of Satinleaf leaves|
Loxahatchee - 561.798.1172
1. Live and Laurel Oaks - (Quercus virginiana and
2. Satinleaf - (Chrysophyllum oliviforme)
3. Dahoon holly - (Ilex cassine)
4. Gumbo limbo - (Bursera simarubra)
5. Jamaican caper - (Capparis cynophllophora)
Michael notes that he likes the oaks because they withstand hurricanes and are great for wildlife. However, they are not for small spaces. Satinleaf glistens beautifully in the wind when the leaves vibrate, alternately revealing shiny green tops and coppery-brown undersides. Gumbo limbo adds interest with its red bark, and varied trunk forms. For the small yard, Dahoon hollies and Jamaican capers (native despite the name) are wonderful, with flowers and berries respectively. Michael has containerized, healthy trees in sizes ranging from 8 to 25 gallons. He is open six days a week.
Arbor Day Foundation
If you join you can opt for 10 free trees with your membership, but if you do this please choose native species. On the other hand, since these trees are unlikely to be locally grown in Florida, you’d probably have better luck with trees from your local native nursery. May we humbly suggest the other option of having the foundation plant 10 trees in your honor in one of our nation’s forests, instead?
|10 live oaks is an Arbor Day option that's|
appropriate for all of Florida, except the Keys.
For south Florida zip codes, the choices are limited to 10 live oaks, 10 bald cypress or 5 crape myrtles.
Happy Florida Arbor Day!
Let us know which trees you have planted.