Arbor Day in Georiga...Plant a Tree

Georgians celebrated Arbor Day on Friday. In 1941, the Georgia General Assembly set the third Friday in February as the state Arbor Day. While National Arbor Day is the third Friday in April, many states dedicate another day in the year as the state Arbor Day (Arbor Day Dates Across America) based on the time of year when it is best to plant trees. In Georgia, trees planted between October and mid-March have the best chance of becoming established before our summer heat sets in.

This weekend Mr. Southern Meadows and I added a few new trees to the woodland garden. Earlier this week, we took a trip to one of our favorite nurseries here in Northeast Georgia, Full Bloom Nursery and purchased two dogwoods (Cherokee Brave and Cherokee Princess), and a coral bark maple.

Here in Georgia our dirt is actually clay, Georgia red clay (a.k.a brick). As much as Scarlet O'Hara learned to love this clay, I haven't found the same enthusiasm. While some plants like kudzu grow ravishingly well in the clay, for most plants the density of clay makes for very poor drainage and provides limited oxygen. For most transplanted trees this is a recipe for death. So, there are several steps we took to make the environment more friendly for the health of our new trees.

First, Mr. Southern Meadows dug a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the root ball of the tree.


We filled the hole with some rich, organic, soil which is enhanced with some nice, smelly, cow manure.

We took the tree out of the growing container and gently loosened the soil around the roots so that they can establish themselves better by making optimal contact with the dirt. Placing the tree in the center of the planting area so that the rootball is just below the ground level.

Backfill the hole with the soil from the growing container, organic dirt and a little bit of the clay soil.

Water the tree with several gallons of water to settle the soil and remove air pockets that may be around the roots.

Cover the entire area around the tree with 2" to 4" of good organic mulch keeping the mulch 1" away from the base of the tree.

The Cherokee Brave Dogwood (Corrus florida) that we planted is native to the eastern U.S. It has pink blooms in mid-May and is considered one of the best red forms with its deep pink bracts that have a white center. The bracts are actually not part of the flower, the actual flower is the small central portion where the bracts join together.

Photo courtesy of Lavalette Nursery

In the fall red berries appear on the tree and the leaves turn deep red to burgundy. I can't wait! We planted this tree in the understory of some larger trees in the woodland garden. This will provide the partial-shade that it prefers but enough sun to allow for a nice show of blooms. A nice addition of this variety is that it tends to be more disease resistant to powdery mildew than some varieties.

Another variety of the Corrus florida that we purchased is the Cherokee Princess. This dogwood has very large white bracted flowers, up to 5" across, and blooms heavily every year.

Photo courtesy of Moon Nurseries

I am so enamored with the Coral Bark maple 'Sango Kaku' (Acer palmatum) that we put in last fall that I wanted to get another one.

The photograph above is the foliage during the spring and summer months. In fall the leaves change to a butterscotch yellow (photograph below).

And then it transforms itself into this gorgeous coral.

It is just an incredible tree all year.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture one acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people. So when Arbor Day comes around in your neck of the woods why not plant a tree!


  1. Congrats on the post, this year is dedicated to trees an all promotion is absolutely essential. We really need them!!

  2. How wonderful to have the space to keep planting trees!We planted 5 trees soon after we moved in and began creating the garden. That coral bark maple is gorgeous! I had to take out two small serviceberries last fall because voles/moles had eaten their roots. Grr... But it's ok since it made my Sunny Side garden even sunnier. Woo-hoo! Silver lining!

  3. I love your choice of trees. That coral bark maple is really something with that bright bark. I can see why you would want more than one. Planting trees at this time of year seems so funny to me as we just had another snowstorm this morning. I can't wait to get tree planting again but will have to wait at least a couple months yet.

  4. Karin, I have 'Cherokee Brave', and I love it. Great bark, branch structure, flower buds/color, berries, and fall color. The only thing that surpasses it is 'Sango-kaku', a true four season tree (I did a post in November). Excellent choices. Carolyn

  5. Thanks Lulu, I don't think I could ever have enough trees in my garden.

    Casa Mariposa, it will be a long time before I am out of room to plant trees. I'm glad you had a silver lining to your voles/moles. They are driving me mad in my garden. I have lost so many plants to their demise. I now have a method of planting which keeps them from eating the roots but it makes planting very tedious.

    Marguerite, I am very anxious for spring. I can't imagine waiting two more months still. Although it is gorgeous in your neck of the woods, I am definitely a warm weather gal.

    Carolyn, you wrote a wonderful post on your fall trees. I enjoyed reading about them and your lovely photographs. I am looking forward to the dogwoods blooming.

  6. Great endeavor for our beloved EARTH and the environment. Keep it up, and more power, love the colors of your trees too.

  7. oh how lovely these trees will be and that coral bark...ohhhh....I wish everyone would at least consider planting trees occasionally instead of cutting them down for more lawn...sigh

  8. Great post and some pretty flower. Like what you've done. I am your new follower. Come on by my new blog, I will be updating a lot this year with photos.
    Goldenray Yorkies

  9. Thanks for including pics of your Coral Bark during summer and fall. I've considered them, but never purchased because all I see is the winter form. A very pretty thing, indeed!

  10. You've chosen three beautiful trees~They will be gorgeous all year long. gail


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One of my favorite things about blogging is the conversation with readers. Leave a comment and let's get talking. ~Karin

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