Friday, Feb. 17 is Arbor Day in Georgia. Trees offer many benefits in the landscape: beauty, wildlife cover/food, shade, stormwater filtration and runoff control, and they can even improve the value of a home. There are many reasons to plant trees, but it is important to plan your planting and choose a tree that is appropriate for your landscape and environment.
Paulding County Master Gardener Extension volunteers have been preparing to give away bare root seedlings to celebrate the day. Two different trees species have been selected: Sawtooth Oak and Flowering Dogwood. These trees were selected on the basis of their hardiness, growth characteristics and growth requirements. Before you plant any tree, you should ask yourself some questions to make sure you choose a tree that is suited to your preferences as well as the location where it will be planted. What is the purpose of the tree? What are the site conditions where you plan to plant the tree?
Sawtooth Oak will grow to be a large shade-giving tree and does best in a full-sun environment where it will have plenty of room to grow. It will be between 40 and 60 feet tall when it reaches maturity in about 20 years, and almost as wide as it is tall. So you want to make sure that it will have plenty of sun and space where you plant it. This is not one you should plant under the power line or close to the base of your home!
Flowering Dogwood is a smaller tree species that will grow best in the shade. As its name implies, it produces a beautiful flower early in spring before it leafs out. As it matures, it can grow to about 30 feet tall and may be as wide as it is tall. You read it correctly when it said it grows in shade. I know you have seen them planted in full sun, but their native habitat is the forest understory and therefore they are adapted to a lower-light environment and will be much healthier if they are somewhat protected.
Master Gardener Extension volunteers will help you decide which of these trees might be better suited to your yard and they will demonstrate how to plant bare-root trees and provide information to take home about the trees and instructions on how to plant bare-root trees.
Come pick up a tree seedling to plant and celebrate Arbor Day on Feb. 17 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Master Gardeners will have trees to give away at the City of Dallas, Civil War Memorial Trailhead Park, and at the Paulding County Government Administration Building in the main entrance area.
Remember, you can ask a Master Gardener or the County Extension Agent at 770-443-7616 or online at http://www.caes.uga.edu/extension/paulding/askanexpert.html. Master Gardeners welcome your gardening questions and requests for information on specific topics. We are here to help you with your gardening questions.