People who own naturally wooded lots or acreage will benefit from and enjoy the shade, coolness and beauty of a forest. There are several ways to develop these types of properties while capitalizing on their native beauty. One way is to leave the largest and healthiest trees that form the canopy untouched, remove weak, spindly and diseased trees, then selectively thin the undergrowth. Pine straw and leaf litter left on the site provide natural mulch, and grass and/or ground cover planted in open areas fill the gaps where trees have been removed.
By understanding a plant’s native habitat and simulating it in the landscape, you are more likely to have success growing the plant. Below are the eight major habitats in Georgia, listed from north to south Georgia:
Use Sweetgum as a shade or specimen tree. It is fast-growing and moderately easy to establish, especially when young. The spiny fruit can present a maintenance problem. It prefers moist, rich, acid soils and has moderate drought tolerance.
Use American Beech as a shade or specimen tree. It prefers moist, acidic, well-drained soils and full sun to partial shade. It is shallow-rooted and not for dry sites.
50 to 60 feet tall and 25 to 30 feet wide
Fruit of gorse is in a fine, densely-hairy oblong pod 10 to 20mm long by 6mm deep.
The pods are green when they are young, turning into a dark brown pod when mature. The pods each contain 2 to 6 seeds.
Seeds mainly fall around the plant, but pods can explosively eject seed up to 5m during hot dry weather. Most seed is in the top 2.5cm of soil but can be to 15cm deep. Seed will not establish below 8cm of burial.
All branches end in a green spine up to 5cm long, with deep grooves running along its length. Branches are hairy, covered with spines and short branchlets that terminate in spines.
In Victoria, gorse has been recorded growing throughout the State, except for the Mallee and parts of Gippsland. The heaviest infestations are located in the Central Highlands around Ballarat.