Small Native Trees & April 4 Successful Gardener Class

— Written By and last updated by Nancie Mandeville
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Dogwood Tree in Bloom

Small Native Trees can be added to your landscape to provide beauty and to attract wildlife to your garden.

Some small native trees you may consider are Eastern Redbud, Flowering Dogwood, White Fringetree, Sweetbay Magnolia, Common Witch-hazel.

Eastern Redbud and Flowering Dogwood both grow as understory trees or at the open edge of the woods and will grow to around 20-30’ tall and wide. Both of these natives bloom before their leaves emerge. The flowers of the Eastern Redbud are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. Seeds of both of these trees are eaten by birds and mammals.

White Fringetree is another understory tree that grows to be about 20’ tall and wide. It produces strappy, white fragrant blossoms in early spring just as its leaves are expanding. In the words of plantsman, Michael Dirr, “Birds relish the fruit that ripens in August – September.”

Sweetbay Magnolia is semi-evergreen, grows to be 20-30’ tall and about ½ as wide. This magnolia has a smaller version of the southern magnolia leaf, flower & fruit with the flowers having the same citrusy fragrance like that of the larger magnolia. It will grow in wet areas and fruit is eaten by birds and mammals.

Common Witch-hazel grows as a large shrub or small tree to 20-25’ tall and wide. This plant produces strappy yellow fragrant flowers in November and is always a delight when you find it in bloom in your garden. Fruit is eaten by birds, rabbits, and deer.

Consider adding one of these small native trees to your landscape to benefit wildlife and for your own enjoyment.

Join the Extension Master Gardener℠ volunteers ofUnion County for their free April 4, 2019, Successful Gardener Educational Program, at 7 p.m. at the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Union County office at the Union County Agriculture Center. The speaker will be Jean Woods from the North Carolina Native Plant Society and she will be discussing “Women Botanists” and the role they have played in Botany and Horticulture since the colonial period. The program is free, but you are requested to RSVP if you plan to attend by calling 704-283-3822 and leaving a message.