All my life, I have heard that when the dogwood trees bloom it is time to go crappie fishing. The dogwoods are in bloom and the fish are biting.
But fishing is not what I am going to discuss today. For the past few weeks, I have enjoyed the blooming trees along Washington Road. The Bradford Pears and wild pears in bloom around William Few Park-way and Washington Road are outstanding this year.
I receive many questions about what type of trees are blooming in the woods along this section of the road each year. Another question is what is the tree with purple flowers, or what tree has a red color as it comes out? The tree with the purple flowers is the redbud, and the tree with the red color is red maple. We have a number of other flowering trees that do well in our area.
The tree that is enjoyed by most people is the dogwood. This is a small tree native to our area. Dogwoods like to grow in soil that is well-drained. If the soil is too wet, you can get root rot. Also, if the tree is stressed, the tree can be infested with dogwood borers -- an insect that attacks the tree trunk in the first four feet of the trunk. They will feed under the bark and slowly kill the tree. The best defense is to keep the tree as healthy as possible.
Dogwoods are under-story plants. They like to grow in partial shade. So the best place to plant them is under pine trees or in areas that receive morning sun. If they are planted in full sun or areas that receive afternoon sun, they will not look as good. The leaves will be smaller and point downward. However, the more sun that the dogwood receives, the more blooms it will produce. The berries of the dogwood are excellent food for wildlife.
Another tree that is a favorite of mine is the Eastern Redbud. The redbud is a small under-story tree with a heart-shaped leaf. The leaf is attached to the petiole at a 90-degree angle. Redbuds have the same growing conditions as the dogwood. Often, you will see them growing together in the woods. The flowers on the redbud are purple and just like the dogwood, the more sun that they receive the more flowers they produce.
There are some new varieties that are more sun-tolerant than the native redbuds. These are the forest pansy series developed in Texas and Oklahoma. The leaves on these trees are reddish or purple, so you get color from the blooms in early spring and from the leaves all summer. The forest pansy series is a Gold Medal Plant selection for Georgia.
One more tree that I like is the crabapple. There are numerous wild crabapples on Evans-to-Locks Road past Stevens Creek Road. They are in full bloom now and you can see the pink color throughout the area. Crabapples do best in full sun. The fruit can be a problem with crabapples.
One variety that does well in our area is "Dolgo," but it will produce a heavy crop of apples. This tree should be planted away from driveways, walkways and patios or it will leave a mess to clean up from the apples.
An additional gold medal plant selection for Georgia is the American Yellowwood. This tree is a little bigger than the dogwood, redbud and crabapples, which grow to about 20 feet in height. Yellowwood will grow to around 40 feet tall. In the spring, it produces clusters of yellow flowers that hang down. Like dogwoods, it is an under-story tree that likes moist, well-drained soils.
If you are looking for a flowering tree that does well in full sun, you might want to take a look at this year's Gold Medal Tree, the American Hornbeam. This is a native tree in our area. It will grow to 30 feet tall. It grows best in full sun and can be used as a replacement for Bradford pears. The flowers are a pale green to beige color. The tree will bloom at a later time than the other flowering trees, so you can spread the bloom over a longer period.
Every year that passes, we have more and more options on flowering trees to plant. If you are thinking about planting some flowering trees, look at your yard and determine this summer where they need to go based on sunlight and soil conditions.
Columbia County Extension Agent Charles Phillips can be reached at (706) 868-3413 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Extension Web address is www.ugaextension.com/columbia.
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