Friday, December 30, 2011

Slow Growing Native Trees of Georgia

There are many landscapers who plant native trees so their yards will mature into an array of color and shade. However, some trees are typically slow growers and will take much longer to get to mature size than others. These four trees are all good native trees for any landscape, although they will grow slowly.

Carya ovata (P. Mill.) K. Koch (Shagbark Hickory)

This particular hickory has richly aromatic leaves and the wood is good for meat smoking in barbeques. It will get up to 70 to 90 feet tall with a spread of 30 to 40 feet. It is a slow grower. Known as the best tasting of the hickory nuts; one mature tree will ripen two to three bushels a year. It is shade tolerant and can tolerate normal drought. Plant this in sun or partial shade for maximum growth. This is bold and ornamental in the landscape.

Diospyros virginiana L. (Common persimmon)

Persimmon is a slow-growing deciduous tree that can grow up to 70 feet tall but will usually stop at around 40 feet. Flowers will appear from March to June, giving way to fruits mid-September to November. Commercially its wood is used for golf club heads and low-grade lumber. Unripe fruits have been used as a fever reducer, while ripened fruit is used as ink.

Fagus grandifolia Ehrh. (American Beech, Fagus grandifolia var. caroliniana)

A slow growing tree, the American beech prefers partial shade and well-drained soil. It will get 50 to 80 feet tall and have a spread of 40 to 60 feet. It has golden brown fall color and its fruits (nuts) will attract birds and squirrels. It has flowers that will appear just after the leaves. Beech has sensitivity to heat and drought.

Juglans cinerea L. (Butternut, White Walnut)

This slow growing walnut reaches a height of 40 to 60 feet tall and a spread of 30 to 50 feet. It is soil adaptable but prefers full sun. In summer it will have green foliage changing to yellow leaves in the fall. It has edible fruits that are oblong and covered with hair. It makes a good lawn tree. Folklore has this in use for eczema and headaches.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

White-Blooming Native Flowers of Georgia

Georgia is home to hot summers and cool winters, with a ground that is mostly red clay. Gardeners in this area have always had a little harder time than others in more topsoil-rich areas. Native plants of Georgia, however, are designed to grow in these conditions. These three native plants all have white blooms, for those looking to design a cool themed garden or want to contrast some other startling colored flowers.

Actaea pachypoda Ell. (White Baneberry, Doll’s-eyes, White Cohosh, Actaea alba)

A perennial herb with one to three foot stems, this plant has showy white fragrant flowers blooming from April to June. It fruits from July to August with 10 to 20 berry-like white fruits that give it the name “doll’s-eyes”. There is a red fruit variety as well. Baneberry prefers partial to full shade and a wet to moist well-drained soil. Soil should also be acidic. Propagate by seed or by root division.  If by root division, do so in early spring or fall. If by seed, plant them quarter-inch deep into the soil and plant as soon as the seed ripens. White baneberry is an old aborigine’s medicine for rheumatism. WARNING: While all parts are poisonous, the toxicity is more concentrated in the berries and roots. The toxic ingredients can be glycoside or essential oil, protoanemonin.

Ageratina altissima var. altissima  (L.) King & H.E. Robins. (White Snakeroot, Eupatorium rugosum)

This clump forming perennial grows up to four feet in height.  Erect dark purple/brown stems with white flat clustered flowers appear from August to October. Leaves are pointed and large. It is a great butterfly draw. Make sure that white snakeroot is planted in partial sun to full shade and in moist neutral soil, about three to four feet apart in spacing. It can be propagated by seed.  Historically, it has been used as a medicinal treatment for colds, liver disease, and fever.

Allium tricoccum Ait. (Wild Leek, Ramp)

The wild leek has clusters of small white flowers on a six to 10 inch stalk. Two oval leaves that are glossy will appear before the flowers do, with flowers coming May through July. Wild leeks taste like a mild onion and there is an annual “Ramp Festival” in the Great Smoky Mountains around the end of April. It prefers shaded areas and moist rich soils. Propagate by division or by seed. WARNING: Like the nodding onion, wild leeks have a low toxicity and can be eaten in small amounts but not large ones. It contains sulfides.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Planting and Growing the Paleleaf Woodland Sunflower

Also known as paleleaf suflower or woodland sunflower, this plant is a member of the aster family of plants. It is native to the United States and is botanically known as Helianthus strumosus.

Paleleaf Woodland Sunflower Description

Growing up to seven feet high, this stout-stemmed perennial has branching at the top. Leaves are narrow and oval, with green up top and white below. Flowers are yellow and on loose clusters near the branch tips. Flowers are two to four inches wide and on smooth to slightly rough stems.  Bloom season is between July and September.

Growing Guide

The paleleaf woodland sunflower isn't picky about where it grows. It can be fine in full sun to full shade. It does need a dry acidic soil. Propagate by seed, stem cuttings, or by clump division. Air dry the seed heads after collecting and refrigerate over the winter for best germination. In early spring you can do division if you'd like.


This native is found in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. It is seen in woodland edges and dry woods.

Interesting Facts

The paleleaf woodland sunflower is only one of 20 species of the sunflower that has yellow disk flowers that is in the eastern portion of North America.

Source: NPIN

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Planting and Growing the Birdfoot Violet

The birdfoot violet is a member of the Violaceae family of plants and is native to the United States. Botanically it is called Viola pedata.

Birdfoot Violet Description

Growing 4 to 10 inches tall, this flower has pansy-like flowers and grows as a clumped perennial. Leaves are deeply cut and green. Flowers are blue or purple hued, flat, and broad. The lowest of the petals will have streakings. Blooms also have orange anthers. Bloom season is between March and June.

Growing Guide

The Viola pedata prefers to grow in partial shade or full shade lighting conditions with a dry acidic soil. It will need good drainage. Propagate by seed or by root cuttings. Seed should be brown when collected, typically in mid-June, and then have 10 days of cold-moist stratification. Root cuttings can be done in he early spring, cutting lengthwise so that there is a bud and root to the cutting.


This native is found in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. It is seen in pinelands, prairies, and rocky woods.

Wildlife Attracted

This violet attracts birds and butterflies to the landscape. It is a larval host plant for the Regal Fritillary butterfly and does well in butterfly gardens.


The birdfoot violet is prone to getting crown rot if there is not well-drained soil.

Source: NPIN