8 Most Common Trees in Southern Georgia and How To Spot Them


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 42,000 people working in the tree trimming and pruning industry nationwide. There are plenty of national companies that will come in and trim your trees. But do they truly have a good understanding of trees in Southern Georgia and the specialist care they need?

Georgia is home to over 250 varieties of trees. But as we know, the climate and topography of Georgia vary depending on where you live. The trees that are native to the northern mountains are different from those you encounter in the south.

In this article, we’re going to explore eight of the most common Southern Georgia trees. We’ll see how you can spot them and how you can find the right tree care company to keep them in great shape.

1. Southern Magnolia
The southern magnolia is a beautiful tree that thrives in the balmy temperatures of southern Georgia. If you’re planning to add one to your garden, make sure you’ve got plenty of space. When they’re mature, they can reach up to 90 feet in height.

The southern magnolia is an evergreen tree so it’s not going to fade away during the winter. Its leaves are large and dark green – around 7 inches by 4 inches. But it’s their flowers that are the real showstoppers.

The flowers are delicate and white, yet can grow to a colossal 1 foot in diameter! They emerge during the late spring and give off a beautiful fragrance that perfumes the air. When the flowers drop, the tree develops a fruit.

They like lots of sun and need good drainage. Call in a tree trimming service to manage the growth if you don’t want it to get too large. Late summer is usually the best time for pruning.

2. White Oak Tree
White oak trees thrive in all parts of Georgia. In the warm climate of Albany, the white oak can reach dizzying heights of up to 100 feet. Some branches have been known to reach up to 50 feet in length.

If you’re trying to spot it, the name “white oak” is actually a little misleading. Don’t look for a pure white tree, but instead for one that has a pale gray, ashen-colored bark. When you look at a mature specimen, you’ll notice the bark looks like scales the higher you get.

In summer, its classic oak leaf-shaped foliage is bright, vibrant green. This turns to deep red in the fall, putting on a beautiful show before the leaves fall.

It produces bright yellow flowers around May and acorns begin to appear later in the summer, falling during October. This makes the white oak tree a magnet for wildlife who love to feed on acorns, including deer, birds, and squirrels.

Regular removal of deadwood is important for safety, as the dead branches can do a lot of damage in a storm. As this is a large tree, regular pruning can also help it to grow in a way that suits its environment. Most trees need to be pruned every three to five years once they mature and a little more regularly when young.

3. Flowering Dogwood
The flowering dogwood is one of the most common types of trees in Georgia – whichever part of the state you call home.

They’re native to the Eastern United States and are easy to grow in the Albany climate. There are several types that produce the white bracts – what most of us would term the flowers – and a few that produce pink or red bracts.

The beautiful white flowers most of us associate with dogwood trees are really a type of modified leaf. Four white, red, or pink bracts extend out, with a small pollinating flower in the center. The leaves are a vibrant green and a regular, oval shape.

If you have space in your garden to plant some larger trees for shade, dogwoods will reward you with stunning displays. They like well-drained soil and plenty of water. Call in a tree care company to stake and tie them as they grow above 4 feet in height.

4. Southern Live Oak
Think about Georgia trees, and you’ll think of oaks. The state is home to an abundance of varieties. But only one could be named the official state tree of Georgia – the southern live oak.

You can spot it by looking at its leaves.

They’re slender, yet tough and leathery, with a very dark green color. The underside of the leaves is a paler shade of green and full of tiny hairs. They grow to a maximum length of 5 inches and 2.5 inches in diameter.

It’s a spreading oak, so you’ll need a large backyard to accommodate one of these. Its trunk and boughs are solid and majestic. It’s common to find other plants living on the oak, such as Spanish moss.

These give the oak tree a beautiful appearance, but interestingly they’re not in a symbiotic relationship. The moss does not feed off of the oak.

They attract wildlife of all kinds when their acorns appear. Many animals from squirrels to wild turkeys love to feast on them.

5. Longleaf Pine
The longleaf pine is one of the most common types of trees in Georgia. In fact, their range extends all the way from East Texas to Southern Virginia.

You can spot them by their mottled, scaly bark which features different shades of brown and red. They produce typical pine leaves – hard, spiky, and dark green.

They’re not called longleaf for nothing! Their spindly leaves can reach up to almost 18 inches in length. Both male and female trees produce pine cones, which take about 20 months to develop.

They’re an extremely long-lived tree. It can take them up to 150 years to become mature. They can live for up to 500 years.

6. Sweetgum Tree
Sweetgum trees are native to Georgia and are ideal for backyard planting if you have the space. They’re also known as gumball trees. They get their name from the sweet, gummy sap that oozes out of the trunk when it’s cut open.

They grow up to 70 feet in cultivation and develop a trunk of up to three feet in diameter. But what makes them truly stand out is their beautiful, distinctive leaves.

They produce a leaf that is shaped like a five-pointed star. They look somewhat like a maple leaf but can grow up to 6 inches in width. They turn a stunning purplish-red color in the fall, putting on an awesome display.

The leaves also give off a pleasant aroma when crushed. The smell is reminiscent of citrus fruits and is fresh and sweet at the same time.

If you’re trying to spot them, look out for their pale grey bark, which is unevenly ridged. This develops into a gray-brown color as the tree ages. Some varieties produce spiky fruit.

7. Red Oak Tree
If you’re looking for a tree that will provide a stunning display each fall, look no further than the red oak tree.

It’s a tall tree – growing up to 75 feet – and it sends down deep roots. It needs a lot of space but will reward you with excellent shade cover and a very attractive appearance. Hot weather can stunt the development of a young tree, so choose a cooler time of year for planting.

You can recognize the red oak tree by its leaves which get broader toward the tip. They have pointed edges, distinguishing them from the white oak with its softer edges.

It produces two types of flowers – male catkins and small, red female flowers. The catkins hang down in clusters and the female flowers emerge at intervals, sometimes in small clusters and sometimes singly.

The female flowers develop into acorns which take two years to ripen.

8. Loblolly Pine
If you’re looking for a tree that will practically take care of itself the loblolly pine is a great choice.

You’ll find it all across the southern US, from Florida to East Texas. You can recognize it by its incredibly straight trunk and evergreen pine needles that grow up to 10 inches in length. The needles grow in tight groups of three.

The bark of mature trees develops an interesting, scaly appearance, looking like interlocking plates. They attract birds including red crossbills, pine warblers, and brown-headed nuthatches. Like other pines, you can expect a crop of attractive pine cones each year.

Caring for Trees in Southern Georgia
Choosing the right trees in Southern Georgia starts with understanding these native varieties. They’re the types of trees in Georgia that grow well and support native insects and birds. They also look stunning and there are so many varieties to choose from.

If your Georgia trees need some TLC, choose Tree-Line Arbor Care, LLC. We’re based out of Albany, GA, and are passionate about Southern Georgia trees. We provide a full range of services, from pruning to tree removal.

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