Hardwoods

Baldcypress
Source: GFC, Duke and Stone

Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum)

Attributes
  • Ornamental
  • Wildlife food or cover

A coastal plain species found in river bottoms and swampy areas characterized by frequent and prolonged flooding. Baldcypress is a large, long-lived, deciduous tree reaching 100-150 feet in height and 3-6 feet in diameter. It grows best in full sunlight. It can be grown on many upland soils and can tolerate a wide climatic range making it increasingly popular in cities and urban areas as an ornamental or shade tree. Commercially, baldcypress should not be planted above the coastal plain, but for ornamental purposes its range can be extended considerably. The heartwood of old growth baldcypress is very resistant to rot. This is not true with younger second growth trees. In exposed situations the wood should be treated if rot resistance is essential. Baldcypress has long been favored for lumber, exterior siding, paneling, fences, furniture, cabinetry, flooring, shingles, and other uses.

Catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides)

Attributes
  • Firewise species (resistant to fire)
  • Wildlife food or cover

A small tree found naturally in the southern and gulf states. Catalpa is often planted as an ornamental because of its showy white or purple-tinted flowers and its unusual long, cigar-shaped, seed pods. It is frequently a host to caterpillars that are used for fishing bait.

Cherrybark Oak (Quercus falcata var. pagodifolia)

Attributes
  • Firewise species (resistant to fire)
  • Wildlife food or cover

Cherrybark is a massive, well-formed oak tree often reaching 120-130 feet in height and 3-5 feet in diameter. It is among the largest and fastest growing of the southern red oaks. It produces extremely high quality wood. Its common name comes from the mature, rough bark that is similar to that of black cherry and its scientific name from the pagoda shaped leaves. Its small acorns are valued by wildlife.

Crabapple (Malus angustafolia)

Attributes
  • Firewise species (resistant to fire)
  • Wildlife food or cover

A shrub or small tree, 20-30 feet in height, with a short trunk 8-10 inches in diameter. Crabapple is a moderate grower and performs best on moist soils, but can successfully adapt to drier sites. The wood is commercially unimportant. It is becoming increasingly popular as an ornamental tree because of its exceptionally fragrant, pinkish flower clusters that emerge in the early spring. It is also widely planted as a food source for many wildlife species especially deer and hogs. The tart fruit is often used to make jelly.

Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)

Attributes
  • Ornamental

Crepe myrtle (or crape myrtle) is a small tree or shrub, frequently with multiple stems, that produces blooms lasting 60-120 days. Originally from Asia this species has become naturalized throughout much of the United States. Seedlings of crape myrtle may produce flowers ranging from white to pinkish-red; however, clonal propagation is necessary to guarantee flower color.

Dogwood Tree
Source: Perdue University

Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Attributes
  • Firewise species (resistant to fire)
  • Ornamental
  • Wildlife food or cover

Flowering dogwood is one of the most common and beautiful native trees with its showy, white, petal-like, bracts that form in the spring. It is a small understory tree rarely reaching 40 feet in height with a short trunk 12-18 inches in diameter. The species grows on a wide range of sites varying from deep, fertile, moist soils along streams to light textured, well-drained, upland soils. The species can be adversely affected and even killed by prolonged drought or flooding because of its shallow root system. Its thin bark is easily injured by fire, lawn mowers, and string trimmers. Dogwood is a slow to moderate grower. Its greatest value comes from ornamental and landscape uses. The shiny, bright red seeds that mature in the fall are an excellent food for many wildlife species.

Georgia Oak (Quercus georgiana)

This small slow growing oak ranges from 25 - 75 feet in height. It is found naturally on the dry slopes of the piedmont region.

Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)

Attributes
  • Firewise species (resistant to fire)
  • Ornamental
  • Wildlife food or cover

Green ash is the most widely distributed species of the ash family. It is a small to medium sized tree 30-50 feet in height and 20 inches in diameter. It naturally occurs in moist river bottoms and along streams, but once established is extremely hardy even in drier conditions. It has a broad irregular crown with bright green foliage that turns a brilliant yellow in the fall. It is a popular ornamental because of its adaptability, hardiness and coloration.

Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

Attributes
  • Firewise species (resistant to fire)
  • Wildlife food or cover

A moderate to fast growing tree found in the mountains and piedmont, rarely in the coastal plain. Red oak is a medium to large tree reaching 80-100 feet in height and 3-4 feet in diameter. Open grown trees tend to have short boles and massive crowns. In the forest environment trees develop a tall, straight bole with a small, round, compact crown. Red oak makes its best development on deep, well-drained, loamy soils. It is classified as intermediate in shade tolerance. Northern red oak is one of the most important lumber producing species in the red oak group. It is used for flooring, furniture, and heavy construction timbers. The large acorns are an important food source for many wildlife species. Northern red oak has been extensively planted as an ornamental because of its spreading crown and deep red autumn color.

Pecan (Carya illinoensis)

Attributes
  • Ornamental
  • Wildlife food or cover

This seedling pecan species produces a generous crop of nuts each year after age 12 - 15. It may reach 50 - 70 feet in height.

Pear (Pyrus communis)

Attributes
  • Ornamental
  • Wildlife food or cover

The common pear reaches heights of about 40 feet. It produces edible fruit and thrives in moist soil conditions.

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

Attributes
  • Firewise species (resistant to fire)
  • Wildlife food or cover

A small to medium sized tree occasionally reaching 80 feet in height and 1-2 feet in diameter. Persimmon is found on a variety of sites ranging from deep, rich, moist, bottomland to well-drained uplands. Its best performance can be found on bottomland soils. Though it is shade tolerant, it thrives in full sunlight. The heartwood is used for textile shuttles. The sweet, pulpy fruit is edible when fully ripe and can be eaten raw or made into jellies and puddings. Persimmon trees are often planted as a source of food for deer, hogs, and other wildlife.

Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

Attributes
  • Firewise species (resistant to fire)
  • Ornamental
  • Wildlife food or cover

A medium sized tree that may attain a height of 70 - 80 feet and a diameter of 2 - 3 feet. Its native range is the Ohio River valley and central Midwest. It is not native to Georgia. However, it is commonly planted as an ornamental across much of the state. It has a fibrous, shallow root system, and produces abundant crops of small acorns. Pin oak is well adapted to wet, clay, river bottom soils, but does not tolerate flooding during the growing season. Its lustrous green leaves and pyramidal crown make it a pleasant landscape tree, but its thin bark is easily damaged by mowers and string trimmers.

Redbud
Source: Virginia Tech

Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Attributes
  • Firewise species (resistant to fire)
  • Ornamental
  • Wildlife food or cover

A shrub or small tree seldom reaching 50 feet in height and 12 inches in diameter. It grows well in a wide range of sites from moist bottomlands to dry slopes and ridges. It thrives in partial shade or full sunlight. It is prized for ornamental use with its showy purplish flowers that bloom in the spring before the leaves emerge.

Eastern Red Cedar
Source: GFC

Red Cedar, Eastern (Juniperus virginiana)

Attributes
  • Borders or windbreaks
  • Ornamental
  • Wildlife food or cover

A medium sized, aromatic tree growing 50-80 feet in height and 12-18 inches in diameter. Eastern redcedar has the ability to grow under varying and extreme climatic conditions on a wide variety of soils ranging from dry, rocky outcrops to wet, swampy land. Like most species, eastern redcedar grows best on moist, well-drained sites. It prefers acid soil although it will grow on slightly alkaline soils as well. It is considered intolerant of shade. The crown is dense and pyramidal to columnar in shape. It provides good nesting and roosting cover for birds and its seeds are eaten by many wildlife species. When planted at close spacing, redcedar makes an excellent hedge, blind, or wind break. Eastern redcedar is one of the top five species for Christmas tree plantings. It is considered a moderate grower.

Red Maple
Source: GFC

Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

Attributes
  • Firewise species (resistant to fire)
  • Ornamental
  • Wildlife food or cover

Average mature trees are 60-90 feet in height and 18-30 inches in diameter. Red maple is shade tolerant but not as tolerant as flowering dogwood. Seedlings are more tolerant than larger trees. Red maple can thrive on a wider range of soil types, textures, moisture, pH, and elevation than any other forest species in North America. It grows on diverse sites from dry ridges to swamps, although its best development is on moderately drained, moist sites. It is prized as an ornamental because of its rapid growth, brightly colored seeds in the spring, and red autumn colors. Red maple seeds are a good source of food for many wildlife species. Seed production may begin as early as age four.

River Birch (Betula nigra)

Attributes
  • Ornamental

This species cinnamon-colored, exfoliating bark contributes to its ornamental value. Reaches 40 - 70 feet in height.

Sawtooth Oak (Quercus acutissima)

Attributes
  • Firewise species (resistant to fire)
  • Wildlife food or cover

Sawtooth oak is a native of Japan, Korea, China, and the Himalayan area. The species has been extensively planted and performs very well in many eastern states. It is a medium sized tree that commonly reaches heights of 50-60 feet and diameters of 2-4 feet in its natural range. A member of the white oak family, it has a medium to large acorn. It is considered to be a moderate to fast grower. The leaves are chestnut-like in appearance. In the fall they turn a golden yellow before becoming brown. The leaves persist on the tree into the winter. It has been widely planted as a wildlife food source due to its abundant acorn crops. Acorns are highly resistant to insects and disease and production can begin as early as six years of age. Sawtooth oak is adaptable to a wide range of sites, however, it prefers acid, well-drained soils.

Sawtooth-Gobbler Oak (Quercus sp.)

While similiar in characteristics to the Sawtooth Oak, this species offer smaller sized acorns favored by wildlife species.

Southern Red Oak (Quercus falcata)

A medium-sized tree 70-80 feet high and 2-3 feet in diameter. Southern red oak is found throughout the southeast but is most common across the Piedmont region on drier, poorer sites. It typically develops a deep root system, short trunk, rounded crown and thick branches. It is classified as intermediate in its ability to tolerate shade.

Swamp Chestnut Oak (Quercus michauxii)

Attributes
  • Firewise species (resistant to fire)
  • Wildlife food or cover

Swamp chestnut oak is a well-formed tree with a massive trunk and narrow crown, averaging 60-80 feet in height and 2-3 feet in diameter. It is found on the best, well-drained ridges and loamy terraces in bottomlands throughout the piedmont and coastal plain. Swamp chestnut oak is intolerant of shade. The quality of its wood is second only to the very best white oak. The wood is used in many kinds of construction and for implements. The acorns are sweet and serve as a food for wildlife.

Water Oak (Quercus nigra)

Attributes
  • Firewise species (resistant to fire)
  • Wildlife food or cover

A medium sized tree reaching 60-100 feet in height and 2-3 feet in diameter. Water oak grows across a wide geographic range but is less common in the mountains. It adapts well to a variety of sites from bottomlands to well-drained uplands. It is considered fast growing and intolerant of shade. It is very easily injured or killed by fire or mechanical damage. The wood is utilized as oak lumber, but is generally of lower quality. Water oak frequently produces heavy acorn crops that provide food for many species of wildlife. It is widely planted as an ornamental.

Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera)

Attributes
  • Wildlife food or cover

Wax myrtle is an evergreen shrub or small tree that grows to a height of 12-15 feet, frequently having multiple stems. It is a nitrogen fixing species, native to the coastal plain and lower piedmont of Georgia. It provides excellent quail cover and habitat. It is browsed sparingly by white tailed deer. The persistent seeds are consumed by quail, turkey, waterfowl, and songbirds.

White Oak (Quercus alba)

Attributes
  • Firewise species (resistant to fire)
  • Wildlife food or cover

A large, long-lived tree often 80-100 feet in height and 3-4 feet in diameter. In the open it is characterized by a short stocky bole with a wide spreading crown. In forest stands it develops a tall straight trunk with a compact crown. White oak generally has the reputation of being a slow growing tree. It is found on a wide range of soils and sites but more frequently occurs on rich, well-drained soils. Growth is good on all but driest and shallowest of soils. White oak is classified as intermediate in shade tolerance. Its valuable wood is used for furniture, flooring, timbers, handles, barrels, and other specialty products. It produces large, sweet acorns providing an excellent food for wildlife. White oak is often planted as an ornamental because of its broad, round crown, dense foliage, and red to purplish autumn leaf color.

Wild Plum (Prunus angustifolia, or occasionally P. Americana)

Wild plum is a thicket forming shrub, or small tree. It produces a fleshy, red or yellow fruit, three-quarters to one inch in length in early summer. The fruit is eaten by a variety of wildlife species, and the thickets provide shelter and habitat for birds and small mammals. Fire can encourage thicket expansion and fruit production.

Yellow Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Attributes
  • Firewise species (resistant to fire)
  • Ornamental
  • Wildlife food or cover

One of the largest and economically most important hardwoods of the eastern forest. Yellow poplar often exceeds 100 feet in height and 4-6 feet in diameter. It grows rapidly on many soil types but performs best on moist, rich, well-drained soils. It does not adapt well to very wet or very dry sites. Yellow poplar is very intolerant of shade and requires full sunlight for best growth. Seedlings and young trees are very susceptible to fire and mechanical damage. The wood is straight grained and even textured making it desirable for a variety of uses. Yellow poplar is a prized ornamental with its large, conspicuous flowers, tulip-shaped leaves, and brilliant yellow foliage in autumn. The seeds are eaten by birds and other small wildlife.

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