The Green Thumb Almanac

YOUR ONLINE GARDENING INFORMATION CENTER

Trees and Shrubs

Trees and shrubs are two of the most important elements in the landscape.  They provide structure and give the garden a sense of enclosure.  Shrubs are the walls of the garden and trees, the ceiling.

Trees By Joyce Kilmer


I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest against the earths sweet flowing brest.

A tree that looks at god all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray.

A tree that may in summer wear a nest of robins in her hair.

Upon whose bosom snow has lain who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me but only God can make a tree.

 

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On This Page!

  • How to Choose a Tree
  • Planting Your Tree
  • Those Glorious Hydrangeas
  • Tree and Shrub Care
  • Arbor Day Dates

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How to Choose a Tree

 
Search our Plant Library to find the right tree or shrub for your garden!
The Family Tree Nursery Tree & Shrub Catalog!
Download this valuable resource guide to trees and shrubs now!  It's Free!

Deciduous Trees

Deciduous is just a fancy way of saying 'trees that lose their leaves in winter.'  We often categorize them as either 'shade' trees or 'ornamental' trees.  The term 'shade tree' is also often used when describing trees that are 30 feet or taller at maturity, while 'ornamental tree' is used when describing trees that are under 30 feet tall.
 

Evergreen Trees

Evergreen trees are those which retain their leaves (needles) during the winter.  They are put into two categories; Broad-Leaved Evergreens and Needled Evergreens.  You will often hear them referred to as 'conifers' because they produce cones rather than flowers.  Evergreen trees do lose their leaves (needles) but at a much slower rate than their deciduous kin.
  • Ash
    Ash
  • Beech
    Beech
  • Birch
    Birch
  • Elm
    Elm
  • Dogwood
    Dogwood
  • Ginkgo
    Ginkgo
  • Linden
    Linden
  • Locust
    Locust
  • Maple
    Maple
  • Redbud
    Redbud
  • Sweetgum
    Sweetgum
  • Tulip Tree
    Tulip Tree
  • Walnut
    Walnut
  • Red Oak
    Red Oak
  • White Oak
    White Oak

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Planting Your Tree

Keep Trees Clear from Power Lines

To keep new trees from growing into utility lines, plant small, medium and large mature growth trees a proper distance from power line rights-of-way.
Small Trees - Mature height of less than 14 feet - within 20 feet of overhead power lines.
Medium Trees - Mature height of 40 feet or less - at least 20 feet from power lines.
Large Trees - Mature height over 40 feet - at least 45 feet from power lines.

Call Before You Dig!

In Kansas call 1-800-DIGSAFE
In Missouri call 1-800-DIGRITE

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Shrubs

'Shrub' is a vague term but generally refers to small, bushy or multi-stemmed plants.  It can be difficult to determine if a plant is truly a shrub.  Some large shrubs can be pruned to resemble small trees, while some small trees may appear 'shrubby' to some.  Shrubs also come in either deciduous or evergreen varieties.

Those Glorious Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas can be placed into three different categories; the Macrophyllas (mopheads and Serratas), the Paniculatas (PeeGee varieties) and the Oakleafs.  All will do fine with morning sun and afternoon shade.  Of the three, the Paniculatas do best with more sun.  No hydrangea will perform well in dense shade.  If your hydrangea does not bloom it could be that it does not get enough light.  Also, many hydrangea varieties bloom on old wood.  If they are pruned in the fall or if there is die-back from a severe winter, you may not have blooms the next year.  Only the Paniculatas should be pruned in early spring.  Mophead varieties are sensitive to soil pH.  If your soil is alkaline they will be pink...add Aluminum Sulphate to turn them blue!
 

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Tree and Shrub Care

Pruning

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Arbor Day

In 1872 J. Sterling Morton, editor of Nebraska's first newspaper, proposed the idea of a tree planting holiday to be called "Arbor Day."  By 1894 Arbor Day was celebrated in every state.
National Arbor Day
Last Friday in April
Alabama - Last full week in February
Alaska - Third Monday in May
Arizona - (North) Friday following April 1 (South) Friday following February 1
Arkansas - Third Monday in March
California - March 7 - 14
Colorado - Third Friday in March
Connecticut - April 30
Delaware - Last Friday in April
Dist. of Columbia - Last Friday in April
Florida - Third Friday in January
Guam - First Friday in November
Georgia - Third Friday in February
Hawaii - First Friday in November
Idaho - Last Friday in April
Illinois - Last Friday in April
Indiana - Second Friday in April
Iowa - Last Friday in April
Kansas - Last Friday in March
Kentucky - First Friday in April
Louisiana - Third Friday in January
Maine - Third full week in May
Maryland - First Wednesday in April
Massachusetts - April 28 - May 5
Michigan - Third full week in April
Minnesota - Last Friday in April
Mississippi - Second Friday in February
Missouri - First Friday after the first Tuesday in April
Montana - Last Friday in April
Nebraska - Last Friday in April
Nevada - (South) February 28, (North) April 23
New Hampshire - Last Friday in April
New Jersey - Last Friday in April
New Mexico - Second Friday in March
New York - Last Friday in April
North Carolina - First Friday following March 15
North Dakota - First Friday in March
Ohio - Last Friday in April
Oklahoma - Last full week in March
Oregon - First full week in April
Pennsylvania - Last Friday in April
Rhode Island - Last Friday in April
South Carolina - First Friday in December
South Dakota - Last Friday in April
Tennessee - First Friday in March
Texas - Last Friday in April
Utah - Last Friday in April
Vermont - First Friday in May
Virginia - Second Friday in April
Virgin Islands - Last Friday in September
Washington - Second Wednesday in April
West Virginia - Second Friday in April
Wisconsin - Last Friday in April
Wyoming - Last Monday in April

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