GPLT works to educate landowners in order to raise awareness and accomplish our mission to conserve and protect the lands, wildlife, waterways and air we all appreciate each day.
Protecting important lands is all we do. But we cannot do it without you.
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Georgia Piedmont Land Trust Inc
Spring Tree Planting
March 8, 2017
In urban/suburban landscapes, trees are usually selected based on two criteria:
> Fast growth to provide quick shade on sparse new home sites.
> Small to medium mature size to accommodate small lot sizes.
If you choose to select a fast growing tree be aware that many fast growing trees also have aggressive root systems with numerous surface roots. It is important to determine the mature size (width) of the desired tree and avoid planting the tree within that distance from septic tank drain lines or sewer lines.
Be aware that fast growing, large trees can quickly overpower a small landscape in an urban/suburban setting. Tree maturity is generally classified by the following height categories:
> Small: 15-25 feet
> Medium: 25-40 feet
> Large: taller than 40 feet
In the smaller urban/suburban landscapes medium tree selections are made for shading and screening. When planning the landscape consider the longevity of your tree selections:
> Long-lived, to be used as permanent shade trees.
> Short-lived, to be used only as temporary shade trees or screens.
Keep in mind short-lived trees will require greater maintenance and typically should not be planted near sheds, power lines and other structures that can be damaged by tree failure.
Stratification is the vertical layering of a habitat; the arrangement of vegetation in layers. The individual layers are inhabited by different animal and plant communities. In a typical urban/suburban landscape large and/or medium trees are used as the top layer/canopy to provide shade and smaller trees and large shrubs as the next layer or understory and the final layer is populated with small shrubs, flowers, plants and ground covers. It should be noted that smaller yards may not be able to accommodate a large mature tree.
Trees can be of two varieties:
> Flowering for accents and focal points, choose small ornamental trees for dramatic spring color.
> Non-flowering for shade, privacy and as backdrops, choose medium specimen trees for shade and a focal point.
Small trees provide outstanding foliage, flowers and fruits for landscapes with a minimum of maintenance. Trees with interesting branching habits are often used as accents. Some small evergreen trees provide good year round foliage while some deciduous trees in this group provide good fall color.
Small trees have a place in landscape plans for small lots and houses. They provide proper scale for small areas where often one tree would serve more adequately than several shrubs. Several trees in this size group are good for high backgrounds and screening, providing a taller barrier than shrubs.
Shade trees provide shade in summer. Many native shade trees develop good fall color. Evergreens can provide protection from wind and snow and provide year-round shade.
Shade trees are a staple of Southern landscapes to provide relief from the summer sun and heat. Additionally, shade trees can be used to channel summer breezes to desired locations, add monetary value to a property, define outdoor spaces, and improve landscape sustainability by reducing soil erosion, decreasing storm water flows, increasing rainwater infiltration and increasing wildlife habitat.
The effect of a shade tree is maximized when it is planted on the western or eastern side of a building or area where additional shading is desired. Many times trees are planted on both sides of a building that receives afternoon sun. Depending on the ultimate size and arrangement, only one to a few trees may be required to provide shade for an entire structure or outdoor living space.
Some native trees you may want to consider for your urban/suburban landscape include:
> Small: Flowering Dogwood, Eastern Redbud, Serviceberry, Fringe Tree
> Medium: American Hornbeam, Carolina Silverbell, Big-Leaf Magnolia, Georgia Oak
> Large: Red Maple, Sugar Maple, White Oak, Winged Elm
March 6, 2017
Trees provide essential structure and lay the framework for urban/suburban landscapes. They not only provide a focal point, but also offer shade as well as shelter for birds and wildlife. There are varieties for virtually all landscape needs and wants. Trees offer a range of color and foliage types, growth speeds and density.
Although there are many non-native trees that may be beautiful, a preference for native trees should be used when selecting trees for the local landscape because of the unique advantage they offer. Native trees evolved in the local environment which means they will be hardy, tolerate the local weather and pest populations. Georgia's forests are home to approximately 250 species of trees.
Planting trees in areas similar to their native habitat will maximize their chances of survival and success. In nature, the macroclimate of an area, including winter and summer temperature extremes, precipitation and humidity, dictates the geographic distribution of a native plant.
Environmental features such as moisture, soil pH and sunlight level of a smaller, more focused area, are called the microclimate. Subtle changes in microclimate influence where native plants grow. This becomes important to understand in urban/suburban landscapes where impervious surfaces, buildings and air pollution can create special types of microclimate conditions, such as heat islands.
Trees are most useful as a mitigation strategy when planted in strategic locations in the urban/suburban environment. They can be planted around buildings or to shade pavement in parking lots and on streets. Researchers have found that planting deciduous trees to the west is typically most effective for cooling a building, especially if they shade windows and part of the building’s roof.
Increasing the canopy cover increases rainfall retention, reduces rainfall intensity and reduces the rapid runoff that can result in soil erosion.
Environmental benefits include the filtering of particulates from the air, deposition of gaseous pollutants onto/into leaves, and avoiding pollution formation by cooling the atmosphere and reducing sunlight.
The key to encouraging long term healthy tree growth is planting the tree in location that will provide enough room for the root system to spread adequately. It is important to choose the location based on the mature tree size rather than the immature size at the time of planting.
Celebrating Arbor Day
March 1, 2017
Now is a good time to plant trees. It is best to transplant trees when they are dormant This means they are not producing food, may have dropped their leaves and are not actively growing. In Georgia, most deciduous trees, trees that lose their leaves, are dormant from late fall until the end of winter.
The first Georgia Arbor Day was proclaimed by the Georgia General Assembly in December, 1890. In 1941, the General Assembly set the 3rd Friday in February as the day of our state Arbor Day. While National Arbor Day is the third Friday in April, it is too warm at that time of the year to plant trees in Georgia. Trees should be planted between November and mid-March so they will have a better chance of becoming established before the onset of summer heat.
Every tree planted helps clean the air and water, beautify neighborhoods, provide homes for wildlife, conserve energy, and prevent soil erosion, among many other benefits.
As a homeowner you can contribute to creating a healthy urban/suburban habitat by adding native trees to your landscape.
Civil War Battlefield Protection
GPLT protects several areas of Civil War battlefields, near Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park in partnership with the Civil War Trust.
GPLT believes our heritage deserves protection for future generations.
We protect 600+ acres of Civil War battlefields.
GPLT protects several hundred acres of wetlands for the benefit of all Georgians.
Wetlands within and downstream of urban areas are particularly valuable, counteracting the greatly increased rate and volume of surface-water runoff from pavement and buildings. The holding capacity of wetlands helps control floods and prevents water logging of crops. Preserving and restoring wetlands together with other water retention can often provide the level of flood control otherwise provided by expensive dredge operations and levees.
Over 2,000 Acres Protected
GPLT has over 2,000 acres of land under protection.
GPLT has a diverse portfolio of protected properties to include Civil War battlefields in partnership with the Civil War Trust and the American Battlefields Protection Program, a green cemetery in partnership with the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, watershed restoration properties, conservation subdivision greenspaces, granite outcrops, habitats with threatened species and a community garden in partnership with citizens like you who care about green and open spaces in their communities.